Michael Douglas says Debra Winger lost part in 'Romancing the Stone' after biting him

Michael Douglas is revealing that Debra Winger was set to star in "Romancing the Stone," but in a way, she bit her chances goodbye.

The film, released in 1984, cast Kathleen Turner opposite Douglas in the romance adventure movie, instead. The studio was interested in "Terms of Endearment" actress Winger to play the lead role, until Douglas told executives about a painful interaction between the two.

Douglas, 77, joined Rob Lowe on his "Literally! With Rob Lowe" podcast in an episode released Thursday, sharing that Winger bit him on the arm after having dinner and "knocking back some tequilas" with him and director Robert Zemeckis.

"We walk out and just as you'd kind of go 'Oh, you' and give somebody a little punch in the arm like a joke, she goes 'Oh, you,' and bites me in the arm," Douglas said. "She's like joking and I look at her and I'm like 'Whew, I don't know man, this could be rough.'"

Douglas, who was a producer for the film, went back to the studio days after the toothy interaction, which he said "broke the skin," and told executives that he didn't think he could work with Winger.

"I break down in tears and say 'I can't go to the jungle with her, she bit me, look, she bit me in the arm,'" Douglas said.

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USA TODAY has reached out to Winger's reps for comment.

As Lowe listed other roles Winger went on to take, Douglas described the actress as "very, very talented" and "a character."

Winger was also expected to star in "A League of Their Own," but a bite didn't keep her away from it — Madonna being cast did.

Michael Douglas says after the bite he accuses Winger of, he asked the studio not to cast her but still says she's "talented."
Michael Douglas says after the bite he accuses Winger of, he asked the studio not to cast her but still says she's "talented."

Winger, 66, set the record straight in August about why she quit her starring role in the beloved 1992 baseball film, telling Britain's Daily Telegraph she objected to Madonna's casting because it made the project "an Elvis film."

Madonna, coming off her role as Breathless Mahoney in 1990's "Dick Tracy," signed on as center fielder Mae Mordabito in the story of the first female professional baseball league. In the final production, Geena Davis took the Winger's role.

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"The studio agreed with me because it was the only time I ever collected a pay-or-play on my contract," Winger said. "In other words, I collected my pay even though I did not play, and that’s very hard to get in a court."

Winger said she was ultimately dismayed by the film, and felt the story did not appropriately honor the original, real-life players.

"As entertaining as (the final film) was, you don’t walk away going 'Wow, those women did that.' You kind of go, 'Is that true?' " Winger said.

Winger, who had trained with the Chicago Cubs for three months for the role, said the actors did not train long enough to look convincing playing baseball on screen — except for Lori Petty and Davis who "did OK," she admits.

"I certainly don’t begrudge any of them," Winger said.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Michael Douglas says Debra Winger bit him, lost part in his movie