Ronald Reagan was already a successful actor by the time Hal Wallis was getting around to producing Casablanca (which went on to become one of the most famous and best-loved movies of all time, Buzzkillers). And an early press release from Warner Brothers, the film’s studio, listed Reagan and Ann Sheridan in the lead roles.
This was just a publicity ploy. World War II had started and the United States had just jumped in when pre-production on the film began in January 1942. Reagan and Sheridan projected clean, all-American images, and the Warner Brothers wanted to drive some pre-production patriotic buzz for the movie.
Hal Wallis, the film’s producer, however, had wanted Bogart all along. Reagan was too genial to play a world-weary, hard-drinking, cynical American who left occupied France to run a bar in Morocco. Bogart practically embodied the role. Wallis also wanted someone more exotic than Ann Sheridan to drive both the romantic and the political plots in the film. The Swedish actress Ingrid Bergman projected just the right image. And big screen magic was born.
Harlan Lebo, Casablanca: Behind the Scenes
From Simon & Schuster, Casablanca: Behind the Scenes is Harlan Lebo’s behind-the-scenes look at the making of the classic movie that continues to enchant viewers 50 years after its release.
Published to coincide with MGM’s rerelease of the video, this stunning photographic retrospective captures all the glamour and excitement of a true film classic.