THE MOVIES THAT COULD HAVE BEEN
Nobody can argue the simple fact that in order to make a good movie the most important thing is a solid script. Except me, of course. Being a struggling screenwriter myself, I wish I couldn’t… but I can. No, I’m beginning to believe that casting can be the most important and integral part to having a successful film. Sure, a good story will elevate a good cast’s performance to new and extraordinary heights. However, good casting (particularly in regards to acting but, of course, in direction as well) can take a mediocre script and make it something special.
As I’ve discussed before, the road from script to screen is a long one, that makes many twists and turns along the way. Many times, whether we see a film or not is solely dependent on whether or not a major star is attached to take on the heavy roles. Since the road is long, a lot of times, actors can come on to projects and be forced to drop out for a myriad of reasons including scheduling conflicts, creative differences, lack of interest, ego, money issues and so on. So, this week, I thought it would be interesting to look at some of the major movie roles that actors have passed on over the years and the reasons why.
It’s amazing to think how different some of our favorite movies could’ve been if the cast had been different. So, with that in mind, I present you with this weeks’s list: THE MOVIES THAT COULD HAVE BEEN.
SYLVESTER STALLONE as HAN SOLO?
Luckily, this one didn’t make it too far down the pipeline. Supossedly, Sly was one of the final thousand to be considered for Han Solo. I just thought the fact that he was considered bared mentioning. Could you imagine? “Yo, Leia… we did it!”
ERIC STOLTZ as MARTY McFLY?
I often wonder what this role could’ve done for Stoltz’s career. He has worked regularly, and in some great movies, but never really broken through to the forefront post-Memphis Belle. Sadly, the part was his, and he actually filmed scenes for the flick, but was let go a few days into production. Michael J. Fox, hot off his Family Ties fame, was brought in… the rest is cinema history!
MOLLY RINGWALD as PRETTY WOMAN?
The list of actresses that passed on playing Vivian Ward (A.K.A. Pretty Woman) is long. The reasons are understandable… playing a hooker can go both ways. Who knew this one would be a career launcher? Well, Julia Roberts. Too bad Ringwald didn’t see it. This is right about the time she descended into obscurity.
WARREN BEATTY as BILL?
If there’s one thing Tarantino’s good at, it’s quirky casting. According to Q.T., the role of Bill in the Kill Bill films was written for Warren Beatty, who ultimately passed. Q.T. has been quoted as saying that the film would’ve been quite different had Beatty accepted the role and that heavy Kung-Fu themes were heightened upon Carradine’s casting. I would’ve been interested to see what his initial vision was.
SEAN CONNERY as GANDALF?
Gandalf… the Scottish! Apparently, Connery passed on the role of Gandalf because he thought it was silly to play a wizard and he “didn’t understand” the script. Too bad… he was offered a reported 15% of the films gross which would’ve earned him a cool $400 million and made him the highest paid actor in history. Good call!!!
WILL SMITH as NEO?
In my research, Smith has been nothing but class when referring to Keanu Reeves portrayal of Neo in The Matrix. Stating that he would’ve “messed The Matrix up” and that Reeves had the patience to “let the film be (what it was)”. Still, as much as I LOVE The Matrix, it would’ve been neat to see Smith sparring with Fishburne’s Morpheus. I fear it might have been a little more of a Men In Black vibe… but I bet it would’ve still been a lot of fun.
MICHAEL MADSEN as VINCENT VEGA?
The role that ultimately relaunched John Travolta’s career was originally written for Michael Madsen. Travolta had been approached by Tarantino originally to play Clooney’s part in From Dusk ‘Til Dawn. He passed but jumped on board without thinking twice when Tarantino came calling for Pulp Fiction. The sad part is, the reason Madsen had to pass on the part was because he couldn’t get out of rehearsal for Wyatt Earp… OUCH!!!
Oh well, maybe we’ll get that Vega Brothers movie out of this mishap someday!
O.J. SIMPSON as TERMINATOR?
This one is one of the greatest pieces of cinema lore… EVER. Apparently, Jim Cameron fought his hardest to cast O.J. as the Terminator. The studio denied him citing that no one could ever buy (the then lovable) Simpson as a killer… I know, right? 🙂
CHRIS FARLEY as SHREK?
Is it just me or does he just look like Shrek?
This one bums me out a bit. Farley apparently recorded all, or most of the dialogue, for the first Shrek film but Mike Myers was brought in after his death. How fun could this have been!
FUNFACT (from IMDB) : “A remnant of Farley remains when Shrek uses “finger quotes” – a trademark of Farley’s character Bennett Brower.”
TOM SELLECK as INDIANA JONES?
The most notorious of them all… and, again, another unfortunate turn of events. Selleck was aggressively pursued (not asked, pursued!) by George Lucas and Steven Spielberg to play Indiana Jones in Raiders of the Lost Ark… one of the GREATEST CHARACTERS EVER WRITTEN FOR FILM. Unfortunately, he could not make the film due to being contractually obligated to play Magnum P.I. for CBS. DOUBLE OUCH!!! Harrison Ford was brought in and, well, you know. Sure, we still have Mr. Baseball, Quigley Down Under, 3 Men & a Baby… Little Lady… Higgins! But, come on!!! The worst part is even though Ford brought everything to the character that made the Indy we all know and love, I think we can all agree that the one thing Indy needed… was an early 80’s Porn Stache!!!
That’s it, Freaks and Geeks. Feel free to comment below. I never edit any of the comments. Remember, this was meant to be an interactive site, as much as I love the sound of my own voice.
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Check back Sunday this week as we will be doing our Desert Island DVD picks along with several other bloggers around the webosphere. Have a great week and thank God I was cast to write this bloggity-blog-blog!!!