Scene from the 1957 film The Bridge on the River Kwai.
Movies - TV
The Bridge On The River Kwai Won Alec Guinness An Oscar, But It Wasn’t Always His Role
The World War II film "The Bridge on the River Kwai" is considered a classic, and it's the film that won Alec Guinness — who would go on to gain worldwide fame as Obi-Wan Kenobi — the Academy Award for Best Actor. It's a marvelous, star-making performance by Guinness, but amazingly, he wasn't the first choice to play Lt. Colonel Nicholson.
Guinness initially scoffed at the idea of playing Nicholson due to having some issues with the script, but he wasn't even director David Lean's first choice for the role. That honor went to Charles Laughton, who had famously portrayed the titular "Hunchback of Notre Dame" in 1939, but Laughton backed out given the toll the climate during filming would take on him.
Fortunately for movie history, Lean ended up bringing Guinness on board, and the once and future Jedi Master turned in one of Hollywood's greatest and most measured performances. Clearly, he knew how to walk the walk when it came to portraying a British officer, having been one himself in the Royal Navy during World War II.