Know Which Star Wanted End of the Affair?

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An adaption of Graham Green’s The End of the Affair was in the works years before its release but concerns with censorship tied up the project. Initial drafts were too detailed regarding the portrayal of the extramarital affair, and so these themes were toned down.

Director William Wyler, known for directing several female stars, such as Bette Davis and Audrey Hepburn, was interested. However, when it appeared the film would have a hard time moving forward, he moved on.

When the film was first announced, Gregory Peck and Jean Simmons were being considered. Olivia de Havilland wanted to play the lead very badly.

After her contract with MGM ended, Kerr saw her chance to portray multi-dimensional characters. She said, “In the future, parts I choose are going to be about women who are alive. Real women. They may not be pleasant. They may be wicked. But they will be real people. It’s going to be exciting.”

Edward Dmytryk was very pleased with his female star’s performance. He said, “Deborah Kerr is a revelation. A superb artist, sensitive and passionate on the screen, she seemed to have no trace of temperament of ego.”

Dmytryk thought Kerr and Johnson were both enthusiastic about the roles. He remembered, “Like Johnson, she was usually on the set a half hour early, drinking tea with the crew and straining at the leash.”

Originally, the film jumped forward and backward. However, the studio felt that audiences might be confused by the shifts and recut it so that it was told in a more chronological approach. According to Dmytryk, Greene preferred the original edit.

Screenwriter Lenore J. Coffee was pleased to adapt the novel and found inspiration in the author. She said, “I like Graham Greene very much. He’s a convert to Catholicism too. He said something once that I will always remember, ‘I wouldn’t want a God I could understand.’ I have never forgotten that.”