A job offer from Francis Ford Coppola. With the benefit of hindsight it seems like the easiest decision, but remember this was very early-1970s. Lee Marvin was an Oscar-winning leading man and as such able to pick and choose his next role; Francis Ford Coppola on the other hand, although respected, was yet to win acclaim for his as-yet-unreleased The Godfather. It was the best part of a decade before Apocalypse Now saw the light of day; by then the Colonel in question had morphed from Karnage to Kurtz, and a certain Mr. Marlon Brando had taken the role.
The letter, along with the 1969 draft of Apocalypse Now that accompanied it, recently sold for a mere $5,078.05.
Mr. Lee Marvin,
We’d like you to play the part of Colonel Karnage in Apocalaypse Now. We’re an independant company in San Francisco financed by Warner Bros.
It’s a good script.
Francis Ford Coppola