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Michael Douglas claimed that Debra Winger was set to star alongside him in “Romancing the Stone,” but she lost the role after a bizarre incident.
According to the actor, he and Winger met for dinner at a restaurant ahead of the 1984 film, which is about a mercenary and a writer who fall for each during a Colombian jungle adventure. At the time, Winger was one of the most sought-after actresses in Hollywood after starring in 1982’s “An Officer and a Gentleman” with Richard Gere.
Things were going well. The 77-year-old said they were “talking and knocking back tequilas.” But then, the “Fatal Attraction” star claimed that on the way out, the actress leaned over and bit his arm.
“We walked out and, just as you kind of go ‘Oh you!’ and give someone a little punch in the arm, she goes ‘Oh you!’ and she reaches over, and she bites me on the arm,” the star alleged on Thursday’s episode of Rob Lowe’s “Literally!” podcast.
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“I’m like, ‘Aaargh!’” Douglas recalled. “She bites me.”
“She’s like jokey, and I’m looking at her,” he continued. “I don’t know, man, I’m thinking, ‘This could be rough.’ She seems interested, and I go back, and she’s broken the skin!”
Douglas said that at a later date he and Robert Zemeckis, the film’s director, were at the studio and talking about the film. That’s when the biting incident came up.
“I break down in tears,” said Douglas. “I can’t go into the jungle with her, she bit me! Look! She bit me in the arm.”
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According to Douglas, someone suggested Kathleen Turner as a potential replacement. The actress eventually landed the part.
A spokesperson for Winger didn’t immediately respond to Fox News Digital’s request for comment.
“Romancing the Stone” not only became a big success but Douglas and Turner, 67, reunited the following year for the sequel, titled “The Jewel of the Nile.” Turner won the Best Actress Golden Globe in 1985.
It wouldn’t be the last time the pair appeared together on-screen. They teamed up for the 1989 dark comedy “The War of the Roses” and in 2021, they reunited as battling exes for Netflix’s “The Kominsky Method.”
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Turner spoke about the alleged bite in her 2008 memoir “Send Yourself Roses.”
“He (Douglas) originally intended to have Debra Winger in the role of Joan, but they didn’t seem to get along as well as he’d hoped,” Turner wrote. “They met to discuss it at a Mexican restaurant, and she bit him, or so he said.”
As for Winger, the Oscar-nominated star later missed out on another role, but this time it was on her terms.
The 66-year-old was cast in the 1992 movie “A League of Their Own.” For her role as Dottie, she trained with the Chicago Cubs for three months. However, after Penny Marshall cast Madonna, Winger felt the director was making “an Elvis film.”
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Winger went on to quit the film and the role was taken over by Geena Davis. Winger collected a paycheck anyway.
“The studio agreed with me because it was the only time I ever collected a pay-or-play on my contract,” she told The Telegraph. “In other words, I collected my pay even though I did not play, and that’s very hard to get in a court.”
“As entertaining as [the finished film] was, you don’t walk away going, ‘Wow, those women did that.’ You kind of go, ‘Is that true?’” Winger added.
Winger said she thought Davis “did OK,” noting that “I certainly don’t begrudge any of them.” As for the Material Girl’s performance, Winger said, “I think [her] acting career has spoken for itself.”