Marlon Brando can comfortably be named as one of the greatest actors to have ever graced the screen, not to mention one of the most important and influential, who revolutionized the way talent approached their roles by becoming the first high-profile Hollywood star to embrace Method acting.
His reputation and legacy in the business will endure forever, but we can only imagine what he could have accomplished had he not become so apathetic in the later years of his career. Brando was famous for turning up to set either incredibly late or not at all, while on many occasions he didn’t even bother learning his lines and had people standing just off camera holding cue cards for him to read from.
The Academy Award winner took a break from acting that lasted almost a decade between 1980 and 1989, but right in the middle he could have made his return in the most unexpected of places. Brando was offered the role of Colonel Alexei Zaysen in Rambo III, and even went as far as reading the script and adding his own notes regarding the character, but talks eventually broke down.
The Colonel Zaysen we got in Rambo III was a caricature who existed solely to be taken out by Sylvester Stallone’s title hero, in the most explosive and action packed installment of the entire franchise. While late-stage Brando often ran the risk of going through the motions and causing trouble on set, it would have been fascinating to see him tackle the villain in an 80s shoot-em’-up, if only to watch him acting opposite Stallone, who invited comparisons to the legendary star for his naturalistic and grounded breakout performance in the first Rocky over a decade previously.