There were many reasons AJ and I enjoyed our most recent movie-going experience, not the least of which was the casting. So it came as some surprise to learn that it was only after several inopportune back-outs that our leading lady was ever able to land the role at all.
Which had me thinking – how would that movie have been different if they’d gone with one of their original choices? How much of an impact do the actors really have? In that spirit, here’s an ode to 5 casting decisions that almost were:
1. The Terminator as portrayed by O.J. Simpson
James Cameron really missed a golden opportunity with this one. But keep in mind that, in a pre-1994 world, O.J. was a good guy. Like, obnoxiously so. An American Sweetheart on the same tier as Tom Hanks, Meg Ryan and that lovable ‘Where’s the Beef’ Lady.
It makes you think: maybe if he’d channeled his aggression as an iconic homo-cidal robot, he wouldn’t have felt the need to do it for real. I mean, football players have, like, ridiculous testosterone overloads right? They just can’t help killing people. So without a controlled environment to manage his rage once he retired football in 1979, it was only a matter of time before heads would (literally) start rolling. Amiright?
2. Die Hard’s John McClane as portrayed by Arnold Schwarzenegger
I know, Arnold. I just took away the role that pretty much made you. But here’s the thing, I have an even better one: the All American Hero in Die Hard! Love you Bruce, but this is too good to pass up. Besides, how could the male lead of Moonlighting possibly cross-over as an action star? Nice try, buddy. You’ll never make it in this genre. Better stick to softcore porn and occasional weiner slips on low budget indies.
Spencer could use more of that for his “collection.” Ahem, sorry – collection. Because I’d watch that stuff for artistic value, not anything weird. I got the internet, what do I need this bald beefcake’s bodacious bod for other than to propel a provocative story? And what’s with the third degree, anyway? This is about Arnold.
That dude’s got the enthusiasm, humor, and misguided patriotism to make for a really great John McClane. Yippee ki-yay indeed.
3. X-Files’ Dana Scully as portrayed by Pam Anderson
Gillian, we love you. We do. But unfortunately, we’ve chosen to go with a far more boobs contender.
It could just be me, but I think if the series had paired a self-identified sex addict with a busty blonde bombshell, it would have been all the better for it. Because if there was anything the X-Files did wrong, it was exploring unusual subjects in an interesting way, when that airtime could have been devoted to cleavage.
4. Labyrinth’s Goblin King as portrayed by Michael Jackson
In the final version, David Bowie perfectly blurs the line that divides family-friendly villain and child predator, but if Michael Jackson took the reigns? Well then, that line would be crossed.
Henson and crew made it a point to seek the three most sexually ambiguous pop-stars of the era to portray that character (Prince was also a contender). But whereas Bowie was a chameleon of prowess, MJ just kept quiet about his sexual exploits. Bear in mind that this was pre-allegations, but post-Feldman. So, deep down, we could buy into this version of the King of Pop: abducter of babies and dancer of magic dances in his weird little goblin-cave.
5. Hook as portrayed by David Bowie
Being that Bowie’s a true visionary, I imagine the entire movie would have taken on a whole different attitude. First off, his Hook would don alien-drag. The “ship” would obviously be some sort of highly advanced space-craft a la 2001. The crew would consist of scary extraterrestrial arachnids or sad-looking space-mimes. And Klaus Nomi would be his Smee, triangular shoulder pads and all.
There wouldn’t be a cohesive story so much as vignettes of a thematically connected idea, but each one would totally rule. There’d be a highly dramatic ending in which we’re not quite sure what happens. And by the end, any shred of innocence would be aggressively taken away from us. I mean come on, this is the guy who wrote “Rock N’ Roll Suicide”, for cryin’ out loud! Wake up and smell the roses already, you naive man-child! It’s a cold hard world out there and we’re all ultimately alone.
Which brings us to the essence of the Peter Pan story: in the end, everyone should get a job and hate the empty shell they’ve become.
See y’all in Neverland! Til next week, my lovelies.
Featured photo borrowed from WhatCulture.com