Michael Douglas Confirms That Debra Winger Lost The Female Lead In “Romancing The Stone” Because She Bit Him

April 30, 2022 / Posted by:

Romancing the Stone is a classic 80s film featuring Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner as Joan Wilder and Jack Colton, a sexy couple who run around the jungle for two hours. If you’ve never seen it, flip on TNT and it’ll be on. It’s a cable TV classic! Stories of the film’s production have abounded from the Douglas-Turner almost affair that contributed to their on-screen chemistry to the dangerous alligator stunts. But there’s a bite that’s gotten more attention than that alligator that almost ripped off one of the trainers’ hands: Debra Winger’s. Ever since Turner spoke about the incident in her 2008 autobiography, people have wondered if Winger really took a bite out of Douglas. Turns out, it’s true!

Back in the day, Debra was highly sought after due to her roles in An Officer and a Gentleman and Terms of Endearment. So, of course, she was considered for the role in Romancing the Stone. Douglas and director Robert Zemeckis set up a dinner meeting with the would-be Joan to discuss the role. Unfortunately for Debra, she thought that something else was on the menu besides steak! via CNN:

Appearing on the 100th episode of Rob Lowe‘s podcast “Literally!,” the 77-year-old star confirmed longstanding Hollywood rumors that Winger lost the female lead role in the 1984 action adventure “Romancing the Stone” following their bizarre encounter.

According to Douglas, he and Zemeckis met with Winger at a Mexican restaurant in Texas while she was shooting “Terms of Endearment,” hoping to cast her as Joan. However, the dinner didn’t end quite the way Douglas envisioned.

“She comes out for us to have a dinner one night and we all have dinner together and we are talking and knocking back some tequilas and this and that,” Douglas told Lowe in the episode, released Thursday.

“We walk out and, just as you would kind of go, ‘Oh you!’ and give someone a little punch in the arm, you know, like a joke-around, she goes, ‘Oh you!’ and she reaches over and she bites me — on my arm.”

Another podcast breaks Hollywood news. Podcast hosts are the Woodward and Bernstein of our times! Though for the life of me, I can’t understand why Rob Lowe would have a podcast. He’s too pretty (so he says) to just be in audio. Anyway, Douglas explained that he was so traumatized from the bite that he ran to the studio heads to kill Winger’s dreams.

Douglas said he screamed in pain.

“She’s like jokey and I’m looking at her, ‘I don’t know, man’ — I’m thinking ‘this could be rough’ and she seems interested and I go back and she’s broken the skin,” he recalled.

From then on, it was a case of once bitten, twice shy for the film icon. When he got back to Hollywood, he said, he broke down in tears in front of film bosses.

“I break down in tears and say, ‘I can’t go to the jungle with her — she bit me in the arm!’ I said, ‘I can’t do it!'”

He said the studio executives agreed not to cast Winger.

Breaking skin and making a man cry? If only it was Armie Hammer and not Michael, Debra would have had a thriving career.


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