From “Superman” to “Batman,” the ’80s brought several well-known comic book heroes to the big screen, and as the decade wore on, the trend only increased. It began, however, in 1990 with the lavish, big-budget adaptation of Dick Tracy, a pulp comic detective directed by and starring Warren Beatty. Decked out in bright, solid reds, yellows, and blues and populated by colorful, cartoonish heroes and villains in live-action, the film was a feast for the eyes, but it was also packed with A-list stars. Pacino played Tracy’s nemesis “Big Boy” Caprice with Dustin Hoffman, Madonna, Paul Sorvino, Mandy Patinkin and James Caan in memorable roles.
But one actor who refused to take part in the action was Lex Luthor himself, Gene Hackman. This news comes courtesy of the book Hollywood Hellraisers, which featured the likes of Beatty, among others. In it, it is revealed that the director and star had asked Hackman to appear in a small role in the comic book adaptation.
According to the book, however, Hackman had not enjoyed working with Beatty on another film a few years earlier, Bonnie and Clyde, in which Beatty insisted on more than 50 takes of a single scene. Perhaps annoyed at working with him, Hackman responded to the call for “Dick Tracy,” “I love you, Warren, but I just can’t do it.”