What if . . .

Basil Rathbone played other famous roles?

Did you know that Margaret Mitchell wanted Basil Rathbone to play the part of Rhett Butler in Gone with the Wind?* Nowadays it's hard to imagine anyone other than Clark Gable as Rhett Butler, but I'm sure that Basil would have given an excellent performance, too. Here's what the Gone with the Wind poster might have looked like:

When I learned of Margaret Mitchell's desire, I wondered, "What if Basil Rathbone had been cast in other famous roles?" What if Basil Rathbone had played . . .

Austin Powers?

or perhaps Dr. Evil?

Ben, in The Graduate?
("Mrs. Robinson, you're trying to seduce me!")

What if the famous dancing team had been
Rathbone and Rogers?

Could Basil have replaced Patrick Swayze and danced with Jennifer Grey in Dirty Dancing?
Darth Vader from Star Wars? Okay, that could be anyone behind that mask. How about . . . Obiwan Kenobi?

Have you ever imagined Basil Rathbone playing one of your favorite characters? Be creative! Take any photo of Basil from this site (or your own, if you have any) and combine it with a photo of the role you imagine Basil could have performed. Then e-mail the finished photo to me (gisbourne@basilrathbone.net), and I'll add it to this page.

Here are some wonderful contributions by Lisa Halverson, imagining Basil Rathbone as . . .

Jack Sparrow, pirate

Neo, in The Matrix

Indiana Jones


Bonnie Shawcross contributed this great photo:

Instead of Lady Gaga, we present Lady Baza!

What if Basil Rathbone had played the Joker in Batman? Here's a poster for a Batman movie that was never filmed.

Found this on the Internet: Orson Welles began preproduction on his adaptation of Batman in 1946. "Rumor has it that a treatment was written, costumes were designed and actors were lined up. ... Apparently, Welles himself was going to take on the dual role of Bruce Wayne and Batman ... Basil Rathbone was apparently set to play the Joker, Marlene Dietrich was to play Catwoman, George Raft was looking at Two-Face and ... James Cagney as the Riddler. What apparently killed any possibility of Orson Welles' Batman from being made was the fact that he wanted to play the lead, while the studio was in favor of Gregory Peck. Legend has it that when Welles found out about this, he immediately halted production and never considered the property again."
Presumably this was a hoax perpetrated by comics writer Mark Millar in 2003. Nevertheless, it's a great poster and a great "What if"!


What if Basil had been in Star Wars?  

as Obiwan Kenobi

as Darth Vader (imagine the voice!)

as Luke Skywalker in Return of the Jedi

as Han Solo in The Force Awakens (2015)

And what would Star Trek have been like if Basil Rathbone had played Mr. Spock?





* "Although MGM star Clark Gable was expected to play the role of the dashing war profiteer Rhett Butler, Errol Flynn, Ronald Colman, and Gary Cooper were also considered for the part. Author Margaret Mitchell told a reporter she favored Basil Rathbone for the male lead" (www.filmsite.org/gone.html).
     "An exchange of letters between [Margaret] Mitchell and Kay Brown over the next eighteen months indicated that the author had no 'inside' knowledge about the casting of Rhett or any other roles, but frequently related suggestions garnered from fellow Southerners and in July 1938 expressed the opinion that Gable was 'not as popular here in the South as in other sections of the country...in looks and in conduct Basil Rathbone has been the first choice in this section' " (http://www.afi.com/members/catalog/DetailView.aspx?s=1&Movie=1181).




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All original content is Marcia Jessen, 2016