According to Barry Letts in Beginning the End: Making 'The Time Warrior' (2007) (V), Bob Hoskins was his first choice for the role of Irongron in "Doctor Who: The Time Warrior: Part 1 (#11.1)" (1973). Hoskins was not available to take the part but recommended David Daker, who was cast instead.
"Most dictators were short, fat, middle-aged and hairless. Besides Danny DeVito, there's only me to play them".
Robert William Hoskins
26 October 1942, Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk, England
Robert William "Bob" Hoskins, Jr. (born 26 October 1942) is an English actor, known for playing Cockney rough diamonds, psychopaths and gangsters, in films such as The Long Good Friday (1980), and Mona Lisa (1986), and lighter roles in Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988) and Hook (1991).
Hoskins was born in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, England, the son of Elsie Lillian (née Hopkins), a cook and nursery-school teacher, and Robert William Hoskins, Sr., a bookkeeper and lorry (truck) driver. One of Hoskins's grandmothers was a Romani. His father, a Communist, brought up Hoskins as an atheist, and he now describes himself as an agnostic. In 1967, aged 25, Hoskins spent a short period of time in kibbutz Zikim in Israel (though he is not Jewish).
Hoskins's acting career started in London in the late 1960s when he was sitting in a pub enjoying a beer when someone came up to him and told him to go upstairs to audition for a play, which he did, and landed the role. His first major television role was in On the Move (1978), an educational series intended to tackle adult illiteracy, in which he played Alf, a removal man who had problems reading and writing. In the same year came to wider attention in the original BBC version of Dennis Potter's drama Pennies from Heaven as sheet music salesman Arthur Parker. Later, he played Iago in Jonathan Miller's BBC Television Shakespeare production of Othello.
Hoskins's performances in British films such as The Long Good Friday (1980) and Mona Lisa (1986) won him the wider approval of the critics and, in the case of the latter, a Cannes Award, Best Actor Golden Globe and BAFTA Awards and an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor. He also delivered comic turns in Terry Gilliam's Brazil (1985) and Super Mario Bros. (1993). Hoskins was not initially aware that Super Mario Bros. was based on the popular video game of the same name. His son had asked him what film he was working on, and recognizing it, showed Hoskins the video game on the Nintendo video game console. In a 2007 interview, he revealed that despite getting praised for his performance on the film, he was extremely unhappy with the film and was greatly angered by his experiences making it, referring to it as the "worst thing I ever did". During the late 1980s and early 1990s he appeared in advertising for the recently privatised companies of British Gas and British Telecom (now BT Group).
Hoskins had a small role as a rock band's manager in the Pink Floyd film The Wall, with a two-word expletive spoken part. He has also directed films. He was slated to be a last-minute replacement in the film The Untouchables if star Robert De Niro had not decided to play Al Capone. When De Niro took the part, director Brian De Palma mailed Hoskins a cheque for £20,000 with a Thank You note, which prompted Hoskins to call up De Palma and ask him if there were any more movies he didn't want him to be in.
Hoskins's first appearance to mainstream American audiences was in Who Framed Roger Rabbit, for which he received a second Golden Globe nomination. Some of Hoskins's other notable appearances include playing opposite Cher in Mermaids (1990), boatswain Smee to Captain Hook in Hook (1991), and Uncle Bart, the psychopathic and violent "owner" of Jet Li in Unleashed aka Danny The Dog. He has also performed in several television productions for the BBC, including Dennis Potter's Pennies From Heaven, Flickers, David Copperfield, and The Wind in the Willows. He played Nikita Khrushchev in the movie Enemy at the Gates (2001). Khrushchev was shown in his political commissar days during the Battle of Stalingrad. He received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in Mrs Henderson Presents.
In 2009, Hoskins made a return to British television in Jimmy McGovern's drama serial The Street, where he played a publican who stands up to a local gangster.
Ranked #97 in Empire (UK) magazine's "The Top 100 Movie Stars of All Time" list. [October 1997]
Father of Rosa Hoskins (born 1983) and Jack Hoskins (born 1986) with Linda Banwell.
Father of Alex Hoskins (born 1969) and Sarah Hoskins (born 1971) with Jane Livesey.
Has claimed to never have taken an acting lesson in his life and believes in the talent to be "all natural".
Worked in a circus as a fire eater.
Has portrayed four WWII leaders in films - Nikita Khrushchev (Enemy at the Gates (2001)), Winston Churchill (World War II: When Lions Roared (1994) (TV)), Benito Mussolini (Mussolini and I (1985) (TV)) and Lavrenti Beria (The Inner Circle (1991)).
He was Brian De Palma's second choice for the role of "Al Capone" in The Untouchables (1987) if Robert De Niro was not available. Hoskins was reportedly given a six-figure paycheck by De Palma for "being a great standby".
He adopted an American Accent for the role of "Eddie Valiant" on Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988).
Describes himself as "Five-foot-six and cubic".
His mother was German Romani (Gypsy) and his film The Raggedy Rawney (1988) was based on stories his gypsy grandmother used to tell him.
He was awarded the 1982 Critics' Circle Theatre Awards (Drama Theatre Award) for Best Actor of 1981 for his performance in Guys and Dolls and True West.
Is probably best known to American audiences for his role as down and out detective "Eddie Valiant" in Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988).
Spent several seasons with the Royal National Theatre and the Old Vic Theatre in London, where his credits included everything from a range of Shakespeare to Chechov to Shaw.
Graduated from the Central School of Speech and Drama, London, England.
Was considered for the role of "Senator Ralph Owen Brewster" in The Aviator (2004) before Alan Alda.
Replaced Danny DeVito as "Mario" in Super Mario Bros. (1993).
In his earlier years before acting he wound up looking after camels in Syria and later packing fruit on a kibbutz in Israel, among many other odd jobs.
He was a friend of actor/gangster John Bindon and gave a character reference at his Old Bailey murder trial. Bindon was acquitted.
The first record he bought was "Your Eyes Are The Eyes Of A Woman In Love" by Frankie Laine. He is a big fan of jazz music and his favorite albums include "Kind Of Blue" by Miles Davis and "Lambert, Hendricks, & Ross!"
On getting his first role: "I was three parts pissed. We were going to a party. And this bloke comes around and says: 'Right. You're next. Have you seen the script?'...And I got the leading part."
[speaking in 1988] "My life has taken off - my life, my career - everything. I can honestly say I've never been happier. I'm walking around thinking any minute now, 25 tons of horse-sh_t is going to fall on my head."
When you get to my age, what you want is the cameo. You get paid a lot of money. You fly in for a couple of weeks. Everybody treats you like the crown jewels. It's all great and if the film turns out to be a load of shit, nobody blames you.
My own mum wouldn't call me pretty.
I've watched films and even forgotten I'm in them.
You don't end up with a face like this if you're hard, do ya? This comes from having too much mouth and nothing to back it up with. The nose has been broken so many times.
You reach a point where the cameo is the governor. You go in there for a couple of weeks, you're paid a lot of money, everybody treats you like the crown jewels, you're in and out, and if the film's a load of shit, nobody blames you, y'knowwhadimean. It's wonderful.
The worst thing I ever did? Super Mario Bros. (1993). It was a f**kin' nightmare. The whole experience was a nightmare. It had a husband-and-wife team directing, whose arrogance had been mistaken for talent. After so many weeks, their own agent told them to get off the set! F**kin' nightmare. F**kin' idiots.
[On Robert De Niro] De Niro has only shown me kindness. He's a real friend. He's helped me shop for my wife's and my kid's Christmas presents. He's invited me round to meet his granny and he's come to my house for a pot-luck diner. That really knocked my wife out. I think she was finally impressed with me.
[On director Francis Ford Coppola] Coppola couldn't piss in a pot.
[On Neil Jordan] I think Neil is a magician. And I believe in magic.
[On the acting profession] I came into this business uneducated, dyslexic, 5ft 6in, cubic, with a face like a squashed cabbage and they welcomed me with open arms.
I realized one day that men are emotional cripples. We can't express ourselves emotionally, we can only do it with anger and humor. Emotional stability and expression comes from women. When they have babies they say "hello, you're welcome" and they mean it. It is an emotional honesty.