“No one will play Zheglov like me.” Who instead of Vysotsky was taken to the film “The meeting place cannot be changed”

Now it is difficult to imagine the cult film of Stanislav Govorukhin without Vladimir Vysotsky. However, this could happen – and the image of Zheglov in the credits would be listed for another actor.

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Zheglov is not a specific person. The Weiner brothers “painted” it from several real prototypes. In particular, the case of the murder of his wife, committed by her husband, was investigated by investigator Vladimir Arapov, and the restaurant incident went to Vladimir Korneev, who later led the MUR.

The result is an ambiguous, multifaceted book character with incredible charisma. And therefore the actor had to correspond to him.

Various actors auditioned for the role of Zheglov, including Yuri Kuzmenkov, who played Vanya Fedoskin in The Big Break; Leonid Yanovsky from “Lady with a Parrot”, Anatoly Popolzukhin, better known for theatrical performances.

But all these tests were of a formal nature – Stanislav Govorukhin gave way to the artistic council in order to create the appearance of competition for the main role. Like, I was looking for a better one. In fact, the director initially chose a disgraced bard and did not want to change him for anyone. But the leadership did not like Vysotsky very much – he was too independent, just like Zheglov.

As a result, the high authorities backpedaled – Vysotsky looked advantageous against the background of everyone else.

However, there was a dangerous candidate among the applicants – Nikolai Gubenko. Arkady Vainer himself, many years later, told how he “teased” Vysotsky, telling him: Nikolai would suit the role of Zheglov. Moreover, he ideally suited the image that was “drawn” in the book: handsome and broad-shouldered. Later, the authors themselves even agreed to change the appearance of the protagonist to match Vysotsky.

When Vladimir Semyonovich heard about Gubenko, then, to the great surprise of Arkady Vainer, he suddenly agreed: “He is a wonderful actor“. And about Sergei Shakurov, he also recognized his talent. But he added, after some thought and referring to both brothers Weiner: “But it’s better for you and Zhora, you need it as soon as I play».

And Vladimir Semyonovich was right: Zheglov in his performance is a canonical image that cannot be replayed.

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