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RKO 281 (TV Movie 1999) Poster

(1999 TV Movie)

Trivia

The size of the principal actors had to be modified for their roles. The 6'3" Liev Schreiber had to bulk up to portray Orson Welles, while John Malkovich, who stands about 6'1" (a full head taller than the real Herman Mankiewicz), had to be made to look much slighter and smaller than usual. James Cromwell, who stands a towering 6'7", was surrounded by actors in lifts, as the real William Randolph Hearst was about 6'3" or 6'4".
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This was originally planned as a theatrical film. The original cast consisted of Edward Norton as Orson Welles, Marlon Brando as William Randolph Hearst, Madonna as Marion Davies, Dustin Hoffman as Herman J. Mankiewicz, Meryl Streep as Louella Parsons. Ridley Scott was slated to direct. But studios passed on the film because of the projected $40 million budget. Scott dropped out as director. Brando and Hoffman also dropped out. Gene Hackman was considered to replace Brando and Al Pacino was considered to replace Hoffman. Eventually, the project was scaled down to a TV-movie and the entire cast was replaced.
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In the shot of Orson cutting the Citizen Kane script, one of Kane's lines is "Who knows what lurks in the hearts of evil men? The Shadow knows!" This was the classic introduction played at the beginning of every episode of Welles' famous radio program, "The Shadow".
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The title refers to the production number given by RKO to Citzen Kane.
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When Louella Parsons is shown viewing the film, the actual soundtrack and original dialogue from "Citizen Kane (1941)" is heard.
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On the script are various other narratives of Orson Welles' work with his Mercury Theatre and his move from New York plays to Hollywood movies (mostly under the supposed "VOICE" character).
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