Brando’s Rebel Without a Cause Screen Test

Annex - Brando, Marlon (Apocalypse Now)_09Here’s a screen test of 23-year-old Brando trying out for the lead in Rebel Without a Cause. Brando is always working. For better or worse, the guy never stopped. His performances are filled with textures and grays because so much material seems to be streaming through his mind. Even here, where he clearly doesn’t have complete control of his moment to moment intentions. Sometimes he doesn’t even appear to playing the scene in his head, occasionally fidgeting or wandering off. Nonetheless, it comes off as real. The Rebel role was eventually made iconic by James Dean, whose doe-eyed good looks and cool maturity trapped in the body of a wispy late teen were a perfect match for the material. Obviously, Brando was moving to a different current than Dean that perhaps brought too much consideration to each adolescent word. Not to mention that Brando’s bulky shoulders, pouting cheeks, and fading hairline add years to a guy already too old for the part. It’s worth noting that Brando won the Oscar for On the Waterfront in 1955, the same year Rebel Without a Cause would be released.

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2 Responses to Brando’s Rebel Without a Cause Screen Test

  1. GaryLee828 says:

    Great find! 23 year old Brando reminds me a bit of Jason Clarke – and after the scene when they interviewed him he reminded me a lot of Ryan Gosling. I need to watch “On The Waterfront” soon. I have not seen it, and I have had the DVD for a while.

  2. DrFrood says:

    That’s a fantastic find – it’s always interesting to find out who else was in the running for certain roles, and speculating on how they would have approached the character differently. An actual screen test is even better so thanks for this.

    I’d love to have seen Pacino’s take on Han Solo, for example, or more about Nic Cage’s Superman (I can already picture ‘Superman loses his shit’ on Youtube). Apparently DiCaprio was in the running to play Patrick Bateman in American Psycho.

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