"The Bastard" (1968) (a.k.a. "The Cats", a.k.a. "Sons of Satan")
Status: Completed - Replaced by Rita Hayworth
Character Summary: The alcoholic mother of two gangsters, Martha grasps to the memories of her youth while attempting to prevent her sons from killing one another.
Description of the film:
Following a successful jewel heist, Jason (Giuliano Gemma) is betrayed by his mob-boss brother, Adam (Klaus Kinski).
Adam attempts to cheat Jason out of his share of the heist and has the tendons in Jason's right hand severed as so that he cannot shoot a gun.
Jason plots a revenge against his brother, while the brother's mother (Rita Hayworth) attempt to settle the bitterness between her sons before they kill one another.
The story was inspired by the Greek Tragedy "The Medea."
Joan's involvement in the production:
Originally accepted by Bette Davis (who later turned it down), Joan accepted the role in the spring – signing her contract in Mid-April, 1968.
Director Duecio Tessari was hired and the production was scheduled to begin principal photography on June 1st in Madrid, Spain, followed by filming on a Rome, Italy sound stage and location filming in New Mexico.
After Joan objected to the production's title of “The Bastard,” producer Turi Vasile agreed to change the title to “The Cats”, however, to Joan’s dismay the title was reversed back to “The Bastard” in May of 1968.
Issues between Joan and the production began early regarding the film’s billing.
Joan’s co-star in the film, Giuliano Gemma, had requested top billing for himself when agreeing to star in the film, and his contract stated he was to receive top billing.
Joan objected to this, saying to reporters "I told them I've earned it".
To resolve the issue, producer Turi Vasile agreed to give Joan top billing for the film in all countries except Italy, where her name would appear below the title in a special outlined box in publicity materials.
Principal photography was scheduled to commence on June 3rd, 1968 in Madrid, Spain. Joan backed out of the film only days before the scheduled start of filming. After abruptly backing out of the film, producer Turi Vasile sued Joan for breach of contract in New York in mid-July 1968.
The premiere of “The Bastard” was held in Italy on October 30th, 1968 with Rita Hayworth in the role.