Early 1968, before Stanley Kubrick took the helm of A Clockwork Orange and created the classic we now know, Hollywood producer Si Litvinoff sent both a draft of Terry Southern's script and a copy of the original novel to John Schlesinger, just one of the filmmakers he approached to direct before pinning Kubrick down (incidentally, other potential directors, Litvinoff recently told me by email, included John Boorman, Roman Polanski, Ken Russell and Nicolas Roeg). Also sent to Schlesinger was the following letter, which is interesting if only for providing a fascinating snapshot of what could have been: an adaptation of Anthony Burgess’ novel starring a certain Mick Jagger in the lead role as Alex, accompanied by a soundtrack from The Beatles.
Indeed, the Stones frontman had his eye firmly on the role, but it seems David Hemmings was the favourite following his success in Blowup. This didn’t sit well with fans of Jagger, as evidenced by the petition also seen below, signed by such stars as Marianne Faithfull and all of The Beatles, that was sent to Southern. Their efforts were wasted. A year after Litvinoff’s letter was written, Kubrick stepped in. —Shaun Usher, Letters of Note