Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Movie Roles: What could have been...

Last night, I was reading an interesting little article on News.com.au about roles that other actors may have played which could have really changed the character of those movies.

I mean, we all know about Nick Nolte and Tom Selleck being people that the producers originally wanted for Harrison Ford's two most iconic roles(Han Solo and Indiana Jones respectively), and there are a few other really public actor changes that are common knowledge now.

Some of the weird ones:

Independent of the article yesterday, I was having a discussion over at Burbanked and I found out something that really messed with my mind. Milos Forman wanted Bill Murray for the title role in the People vs. Larry Flynt. Now, there are a lot of perfectly valid switches people can make, it is true, but I have a really hard time imagining Bill Murray playing that role. And then I read that Tom Hanks was also considered for that role and now the back of my skull is slowly sliding down the wall behind me because that both blows my mind and provides me with an image that just isn't right.

I am also trying to imagine Christopher Reeve as Jack Cotton in Romancing the Stone... he didn't seem to have the roguish charms of Michael Douglas.

And Robert Redford or Burt Reynolds as Michael Corleone in the Godfather... WTF?!?

John Travolta as Forrest Gump: Well, I know he is dumb enough to make that believable, but man, there is no way I could like him in that role. *shudder*

Or Jennifer Love Hewitt/Melissa Joan Hart as the titular Lolita in Adrian Lyne's adaptation of that book. Somehow I think either of those actresses would have had an entirely different career if they had been given the role (and Natalie Portman turned the role down because of the response to her earlier sexually charged work in Leon/The Professional, and I have a feeling that she wouldn't have played Amidala)

Things I could have totally seen:

Jon Voight as Superman. I mean, he had the clean cut looks back then, the acting chops, and a little bit more marquee value than Reeve.

Stephen Baldwin and Halle Berry in Speed. I think that could have totally worked.

Tim Curry as the Joker in Tim Burton's Batman: This may be the most controversial of my picks, but I think there is a subtle insanity that Curry could have worked into that role. And I can see him doing a huge Joker smile as I type this.

Burt Reynolds in Soapdish: I like Kevin Kline, I really do, but the thought of Sally Field and Burt Reynolds playing former lovers who have to work together again on a Soap Opera would have been exceptional. Unfortunately, Loni Anderson convinced Burt that the only reason they wanted him was so they could make a laughingstock of him, so he didn't do the movie... and because of massive reshoots the movie required, Kevin Kline was then forced to pull out of the role of Peter Pan in Hook, which would have been another great bit of casting.

The greatest DOH! moment from the list to me:

Keanu Reeves was in Heat, but Val Kilmer was able to find the time in his Batman Forever schedule to take the part. Before he got the part in Batman however, he was scheduled to start filming an adaptation of a William Gibson short story Johnny Mnemonic, and there was suddenly an opening in that movie... which Keanu Reeves stepped into... and if you've seen that movie, wow... that is quite a demotion. I actually feel bad about that one.


Burbanked said...

There are a bunch of surprises in that article! I'm not sure I can agree with you on Speed working with Baldwin/Berry, however. That movie is kind of like a delicate, fragile trinket that sits on the edge of a mantelpiece - it's delightful to look at and everything, but I think any tiny shift and it would have crashed to the floor.

I've mused on some of these before, not the least of which are that Gene Hackman was considered for the role of Hannibal Lecter.(!) There's a website called notstarring.com that has LOTS of these kinds of trivia bits.

MC said...

So I take it Jeff Bridges and Ellen Degeneres and the evil Phil Collins in Speed would have caused the whole thing to burst into flames when it hit the floor then?

Notstarring! I couldn't remember the name of that site, and I thank you for reminding me. :)

Schadenfreude said...

Wait, were Al and Bobby already cast in Heat when Keanu had his scheduling issues? What the hell could he have going that trumped being in a movie with those two icons??? Ugh from that to Johnny Mnemonic? Big ouchies.

MC said...

No, Reeves got dumped because Mann wanted Kilmer in the first place, but he couldn't do it at first because of Batman Forever... but he found the time in his schedule with Schumacher to do Heat, and Reeves got pitched.

RC said...

huh, that's interesting.

i am soo glad john travolta didn't play forrest gump...

although if some one told me tom hanks was going to play that role...i couldn't believe he would pull it off as well as he did.

i'd go for a baldwin/berry speed...who knows if it would have worked...bullock does seem perfect, but of course, who knows how berry would have shifted the performane.

Jess said...

Tim Curry practically has the Joker smile without the aid of makeup or prosthesis, so that's a bonus. Actually, I think he would have been great in the role. Of course, I'm one of those weird people who didn't really like Jack Nicholson as the Joker.

Mayren said...

I am a big original Batman movie fan, however i think Tim Curry as Joker would have been stellar!
I too think he could have been better at the role than ole' Jack.
*hifives Jess*

SamuraiFrog said...

I think the fact that Speed works with two mannequins like Reeves and Bullock proves that the actors are incidental to it being just a good movie. I didn't know about Burt Reynolds in Soapdish, that would've been great.

DutchBitch said...

Robert Redford or Burt Reynolds as Michael Corleone? *shudder*

MC said...

RC: Well, originally the gal driving the bus was supposed to be the comic relief thus that possible Bridges/Degeneres pairing.

Jess: And he probably would have been a better Grinch in the live action version of that story as well(There is a moment in Home Alone II that really sells that point).

Mayren: Not that there is anything wrong with Nicholson as an actor in other things mind you, but I agree.

SF: That nice real world backstory made that pairing so sinfully good.

Dutchy: They argued that Redford could be Northern Italian... umm, and where is Sicily in Italy again... exactly.