Michael Douglas on Kirk’s dismay over ‘Cuckoo’s Nest’ snub

News Hour:

Their once rocky relationship is closer than ever, but Michael Douglas has revealed dad Kirk still harbors one grudge — being snubbed for his son’s Oscar-winning “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.”

The younger Douglas was just 29 when he earned his place among Hollywood’s elite as the producer behind the first movie in 40 years to sweep the “big five” Oscars for best picture, director, actor, actress and screenplay.


Kirk, now 100, had starred in the Broadway version and even handed the movie rights for the iconic 1975 drama to his son, but was shocked when he was passed over for the role of convict Randle McMurphy in favor of the younger Jack Nicholson.

Michael, 72, told a Q&A in Hollywood on Saturday how his father’s plans to adapt the moderately successful 1963 play based on Ken Kesey’s novel had foundered after a number of years and he was about to sell on the rights.

“I say, ‘Please, Dad, don’t sell the project. It’s a great project. So let me take it and run with it and I’ll try to get it set up as a production and for you to play the part,’ and Dad said, ‘Okay great,'” Douglas recalled.

“Here’s where Kirk’s and my story digress. On his version, yeah sure, Michael gets the project, takes a year, sets it all up and doesn’t cast me in the part. If he were here right now, it’s the first thing he’d want to tell you.”


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