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Heaven Can Wait (1978) Poster

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The first choice for Mr. Jordan was Cary Grant who reportedly turned down a US $1-million offer from Warren Beatty. Website Wikipedia states: "Beatty lobbied hard for Cary Grant to accept the role of Mr. Jordan, going so far as to have Grant's ex-wife, Dyan Cannon, who stars as Julia Farnsworth, urge him to take the part. Although Grant was tempted, he ultimately decided not to end his retirement from filmmaking". The Turner Classic Movies website states: "Beatty had some grandiose notions about who should play Mr. Jordan . . . He wanted Cary Grant . . . but Grant had retired a dozen years earlier, and had no interest in returning to the screen". Beatty also considered former Senator and 1968 anti-war Democrat presidential candidate Eugene McCarthy for the part prior to James Mason in the end being cast as Mr. Jordan.
Paul McCartney wrote a song for the film called "Did We Meet Somewhere Before?". Warren Beatty wasn't satisfied with it so the song was discarded. It was eventually used in the movie Rock 'n' Roll High School (1979).
Leslie Caron was also considered for the role of Betty Logan. Years after the film's released, Warren Beatty admitted that Julie Christie was the saving grace behind the film's success.
After Heaven Can Wait (1943), this was the second of two unrelated films of the same title to receive an Academy Award nomination for Best Picture.
Bruce Kimmel has clarified confusion regarding the film's source stage play and the various cinema movies associated with it in some way: "Once upon a time there was a play by Harry Segall called 'Heaven Can Wait', written in 1938 and not produced on Broadway. Nevertheless, the film rights were bought and the resulting 1941 film, retitled Here Comes Mr. Jordan (1941), was a hit. This was followed by a 1943 Ernst Lubitsch film called Heaven Can Wait (1943) that had nothing to do with Mr. Segall, his play or Here Comes Mr. Jordan (1941). Then came Down to Earth (1947), starring Rita Hayworth, which was a sort of sequel to Here Comes Mr. Jordan (1941), bringing back the characters played by Edward Everett Horton and James Gleason, but not the central characters. That same year [actually late 1946], the Segall play finally made it to Broadway but under a different title, 'Wonderful Journey' - a production that ran only nine performances. Flash forward to 1978 - Paramount Pictures and Warren Beatty remake Here Comes Mr. Jordan (1941) but change the title back to Segall's original title, 'Heaven Can Wait'. Two years later comes Xanadu (1980), starring Olivia Newton-John, which was a sort of remake of Down to Earth (1947), the sequel to Here Comes Mr. Jordan (1941). Now jump to 2001 when Segall's 'Heaven Can Wait' is remade again, this time as Down to Earth (2001) starring Chris Rock - and having nothing to do with Down to Earth (1947), the sort of sequel to Here Comes Mr. Jordan (1941)".
The fictitious Super Bowl game (Rams vs. Steelers) was filmed during halftime of the Rams/Chargers preseason at the L.A. Memorial Coliseum on September 1, 1977.
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The type of musical instrument Warren Beatty plays is a soprano saxophone and the composition he is often heard practicing is an old Italian ballad called "Ciribiribin".
James Mason once said about working with two directors (Warren Beatty and Buck Henry) on the film: "I was not upset by having two directors, but it was different. When Warren was in front of the camera, he decided it would be a nice idea to have somebody with whom he was on good terms behind it; he didn't have to bother with keeping an eye on the other actors."
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Premiere magazine voted this movie as one of "The 50 Greatest Comedies Of All Time" in 2006.
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The exquisite and grandiose Farnsworth Mansion in the film is portrayed by the Filoli Estate which is located at 86 Cañada Road, Woodside in California, USA. The movie's closing credits declare that the picture was "filmed in part at Filoli, a property given by Mrs William P Roth to the National Trust for Historic Preservation and administered by Filoli Center".
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James Gleason was nominated for an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor in the role of Max Corkle for this movie's source original film Here Comes Mr. Jordan (1941). This is the first time in Academy Awards history for a person to be nominated for a supporting Oscar for a role for which a different person would later also be nominated for a supporting Oscar: Jack Warden was nominated for Best Supporting Actor as Max Corkle in Heaven Can Wait (1978).
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The film was originally pitched to Warner Bros., but studio production chief David Geffen (one of Dreamworks' founders) ditched the idea for another film. After Geffen was fired, the project ended up in the hands of Barry Diller, who green-lit the go-ahead for the project. It was Warren Beatty's associate Richard Sylbert, also a studio executive, who recommended pitching the project to the Paramount Pictures studio. Beatty would later use the film's commercial and critical success as the leverage for financing his next film Reds (1981) which was also made with Paramount.
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Directors Arthur Penn, Mike Nichols and 'Peter Bogdanovich' were all considered to direct and were invited by Warren Beatty to helm the picture but they all turned down directing the movie allegedly due to Beatty's reputation for being too controlling.
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The film cast includes two Oscar winners: Warren Beatty and Julie Christie; and five Oscar nominees: James Mason, Dyan Cannon, Jack Warden, Buck Henry and Vincent Gardenia.
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Third and final [to date, October 2015] of three collaborations of actor Warren Beatty and actress Julie Christie. The films are Shampoo (1975), Heaven Can Wait (1978) and McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971). Reportedly, the pair were former participants in a personal relationship when they made Heaven Can Wait (1978). Under The name of "Jules", Beatty dedicated Christie a dedicatee for his next movie, the epic picture Reds (1981).
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The role of Joe Pendleton was originally a boxer in Here Comes Mr. Jordan (1941). Warren Beatty originally wanted to have Muhammad Ali play the boxer. When Ali's boxing schedule prevented him from doing the movie, Beatty - who could not box but could play football - recast the lead role as a football player
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In this movie the Rams play the Steelers in the Super Bowl. In Super Bowl XIV (1980) The Rams play the Steelers in real life. The Rams lost 31-19.
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The picture was selected for inclusion in the American Film Institute's America's Funniest Movies list of 500 movies nominated for the top 100 Funniest American Movies of all time known as the "AFI's 100 Years...100 Laughs" list.
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Kate Jackson was Warren Beatty's first choice for the role of Betty Logan but Jackson turned down the part. Mary Steenburgen was also a finalist for the character that in the end was cast with Julie Christie.
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The movie was nominated for nine Academy Awards in 1978 including Best Director but won only won Oscar which was for Best Art Direction-Set Decoration.
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Second of three collaborations of actor Jack Warden and Warren Beatty, the first having been about three years earlier with Shampoo (1975). These two 1970s films brought Warden to the peak of his acting career as he displayed a flair for comedy in both Shampoo (1975) and Heaven Can Wait (1978). As the faintly sinister businessman "Lester" in Shampoo (1975) and as the perpetually befuddled football trainer "Max Corkle" in Heaven Can Wait (1978), Warden received Academy Award nominations as Best Supporting Actor for both pictures but did not win the Oscar for either movie. Warden also later appeared in Beatty's Bulworth (1998) around twenty years after Heaven Can Wait (1978).
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Warren Beatty performed a number of roles on this picture. Beatty was the movie's co-director, the producer, co-screenwriter, lead actor, and top-billed star.
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The movie was announced in Hollywood trade magazines on 4th March 1977.
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Warren Beatty received four Academy Award nominations for this movie. The Oscar nominations were for Best Actor, Best Director, Best Writer (Adapted Screenplay), and Best Picture (Beatty was the producer). Reds (1981) was the second consecutive picture where Warren Beatty was Oscar nominated in four Academy Award categories for the one film. In Heaven Can Wait (1978), Beatty had been nominated for Best Actor, Best Director (co-director with Buck Henry), Best Adapted Screenplay (with Elaine May) and Best Picture (Producer). For Reds (1981), Beatty was nominated for Best Actor, Best Director (sole director), Best Original Screenplay (with Trevor Griffiths) and Best Picture (Producer). Of these eight nominations, Beatty only won just the one Oscar statuette, which was for directing Reds (1981).
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Only four times in Academy Award history have director-collaborators been nominated for Best Directing Oscars: Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins for West Side Story (1961); Buck Henry and Warren Beatty for Heaven Can Wait (1978); and Joel Coen and Ethan Coen for both True Grit (2010) and No Country for Old Men (2007). Of the four director Oscar nominated pairings, West Side Story (1961) and No Country for Old Men (2007) both won whilst True Grit (2010) and Heaven Can Wait (1978) both did not win. Joel Coen was also Oscar nominated for direction for Fargo (1996) where Ethan Coen also directed but was uncredited.
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The piece of classical music heard during the football training is Sonata No. 12 Op 1, in F Major, HWV 370 Allegro 2, by George Frideric Handel.
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The movie loosely inspired the Iron Maiden song of the same name. Their "Heaven Can Wait" track is included on their 1986 album "Somewhere in Time".
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The Oakland Raiders are mentioned as being close to Los Angeles. The Raiders would move from Oakland to L.A. in 1982, then return to Oakland in 1994, the same year the Rams moved to St. Louis, leaving L.A. without any NFL team. In 2016, however, the Rams returned to L.A.
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English actor and comedian Arthur Lowe was a offered a key role in the movie.
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Promotional materials such as movie posters for the picture prominently show Warren Beatty as an angel with a pair of wings but in reality Beatty is never seen adorned with wings in the movie at all and as such this artwork is purely impressionistic.
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The film, a remake, was made and released about thirty-seven years after its source Hollywood Golden Age classic Here Comes Mr. Jordan (1941), and about thirty-one years after that movie's sequel, Down to Earth (1947), which was also based on some of the same material, the 1938 play "Wonderful Journey" by Harry Segall which had originally been entitled "Heaven Can Wait".
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Final film of veteran actor and stuntman David Sharpe who worked uncredited in the stunt department as a van driver.
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Warren Beatty portrays three characters in this picture: Tom Jarrett, Leo Farnsworth, which were his two adopted personas, and his primary character, Joe Pendleton.
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Debut theatrical feature film directed by both actor-writer Buck Henry and actor-writer-producer Warren Beatty.
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Coast to Coast (1980) reunited actress Dyan Cannon with the Paramount Pictures Studio who had about two years earlier had made this Warren Beatty romantic-comedy fantasy film Heaven Can Wait (1978) which co-stars Cannon for which she received a Best Supporting Actress Academy Award (Oscar) nomination. Coast to Coast (1980) provided Cannon with a new vehicle for her talents but this time with a comedic lead role in a brand new Paramount Pictures production. The Oscar nomination for Heaven Can Wait (1978) has been said to have lead Cannon to be cast in the lead female role for Coast to Coast (1980).
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Heaven Can Wait (1978) is a remake of Here Comes Mr. Jordan (1941) both of which are filmed adaptations of a play written by Harry Segall called "Heaven Can Wait" (1938). The Turner Classic Movies website states: "Heaven Can Wait, the title of the original play that was adapted for Here Comes Mr. Jordan (1941) is often confused with the 1943 movie, Heaven Can Wait (1943), starring Don Ameche and directed by Ernst Lubitsch. The latter, though also a comic fantasy, has no relation to the Harry Segall play".
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This movie, Heaven Can Wait (1978), was made and released about thirty-five years after the unrelated but same-titled Golden Age of Hollywood picture Heaven Can Wait (1943).
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"Here Comes Mr. Jordan" is reportedly based on the play "Heaven Can Wait" (1938). However, there are two films with that title. The first film Heaven Can Wait (1943), staring Don Ameche and Gene Tierney, is based on the stage play "Birthday" (1935), written by Leslie Bush-Fekete. In the play and film, the central character is an older man who has lived a full life and is confronted by the devil, who has to decide if he qualifies to enter "Hades". It is a different storyline than the one for "Here Comes Mr. Jordan". The second film titled Heaven Can Wait (1978), staring Warren Beatty, based on a play with the same title, written by Harry Segall, is practically a word for word rewrite of Here Comes Mr. Jordan (1941). The one exception being that a football player replaces a ring boxer as the central character.
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The picture was selected for inclusion in the American Film Institute's America's Greatest Love Stories list of 400 films nominated for the top 100 American Greatest Love Story Movies of all time known as the "AFI's 100 Years...100 Passions" list.
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Buck Henry and Warren Beatty directed three actors all in Oscar nominated performances for Academy Awards: Warren Beatty, Jack Warden and Dyan Cannon but none of them won acting Oscars for acting in this movie.
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First of two collaborations of Buck Henry and Warren Beatty who both acted in and directed this movie with Beatty also producing and screen-writing. The second was about twenty-three years later with Town & Country (2001) where Beatty was an actor and Henry was an actor and screenwriter.
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First of two collaborations of Elaine May and Warren Beatty who would work together later on Ishtar (1987), where May wrote and directed and Beatty starred and produced, and whose release year was the digit reverse of Heaven Can Wait (1978)'s release year. The screenplay for Heaven Can Wait (1978), which May and Beatty wrote, is credited in the billing for its later remake Down to Earth (2001).
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The film was made and released about thirty-two years after its source stage play "Wonderful Journey" by Harry Segall, which had been originally entitled "Heaven Can Wait", had been first performed in 1946. The Broadway production opened at the Coronet Theatre on Christmas Day the 25th of December 1946 where it ran for only nine performances before it closed on 1st January 1947.
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Second of three major cinema movies of the film's source stage play. The first was Here Comes Mr. Jordan (1941), which produced a sequel called Down to Earth (1947), the second was Heaven Can Wait (1978), and the third was Down to Earth (2001). Heaven Can Wait (1943), despite having the same title as this first remake Heaven Can Wait (1978), was not a version of the film's source story, which was known on the stage as "Wonderful Journey" but was originally entitled for theatre as "Heaven Can Wait".
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Cameo 

Deacon Jones: The former Los Angeles Rams football player as Gorman.
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Les Josephson: The former Los Angeles Rams football player as Owens.
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Jack T. Snow: The former Los Angeles Rams football player as Cassidy.
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Jim Boeke: The former Los Angeles Rams, the Dallas Cowboys and New Orleans Saints football player as Kowalsky.
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Charley Cowan: Uncredited, the former Los Angeles Rams football player as a football player.
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Bryant Gumbel: Uncredited, as a TV sports-caster.
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Jim Healy: Uncredited, as a TV sports-caster.
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