One of the more widely circulated and humorous anecdotes about Mr. Hoskins involved a film he wasn’t in at all: Brian De Palma’s “The Untouchables” (1987).
During preparation for filming, Mr. Hoskins had been asked to come to Los Angeles to talk about playing Al Capone, a part that eventually went to Robert De Niro. In fact, as Mr. Hoskins told the story, Mr. De Palma was quite straightforward about the fact that he really wanted Mr. De Niro, but that Mr. De Niro’s price was creating consternation at Paramount. Mr. Hoskins was engaged as a backup, in the event the studio could not come to terms with Mr. De Niro.
Sometime afterward, Mr. Hoskins received a check for £20,000 and a thank-you note from Mr. De Palma. “I phoned him up,” Mr. Hoskins recalled, “and I said, ‘Brian, if you’ve ever got any other films you don’t want me in, son, you just give me a call.’ ”