10 Things You Didn’t Know About It’s A Wonderful Life

  
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8. Behind the Scenes Drama

Two of the writers, husband and wife Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett, walked out because they were not happy with how they were treated by Capa. Hackett claimed that he was condescending, especially towards Goodrich. “You just didn’t address Frances as ‘my dear woman,’” Hackett said in an interview. “When we were pretty far along in the script but not done, our agent called and said, ‘Capra wants to know how soon you’ll be finished.’ Frances said, ‘We’re finished right now.’ We put our pens down and never went back to it.”

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7. Casting

James Stewart wasn’t Capra’s only choice to play George Bailey in the film. Historian Stephen Cox alleged that Henry Fonda was also in the running for the part. Stewart almost passed on the role, but Lionel Barrymore – who portrayed Mr. Potter in the film – convinced him to take the part. For the role of George’s wife Mary, Jean Arthur was first offered the role, but had to turn it down because of her commitment on Broadway. Capra then offered the part to Olivia de Havilland, Martha Scott, Ann Dvorak and then Ginger Rogers. Donna Reed was then offered the part. According to her daughter, Mary Owen, Capra had seen Reed in They Were Expendable and thought she would be “just right for Mary Bailey.”

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