Small Talk: Alternative Universe Casting

So…one of the books I’m currently consuming is Powerhouse: The Untold Story of Hollywood’s Creative Artists Agency…they’re one of the most powerful talent agencies in the world. I picked it up as a business book; curious about the finer points of deal making when millions are on the line (my independence is more valuable than your acceptance). But! One of the book’s surprises is the casting stories.

If you think Eric Stoltz in Back to the Future or Tom Selleck as the Terminator is weird (yo Cameron why would a homicidal robot travel back in time only to grow a moustache?!) try these casting tales:

Following the success of Rocky II and Rambo Stallone’s agent offered him a comedy. Sly wasn’t feeling it and rewrote it, upping the action and cutting out most of the comedy. The rewrite sucked; eventually his agent was forced to give Beverly Hills Cop to Eddie Murphy. Can you picture Sly jamming bananas into a tailpipe?

Splash nearly starred John Travolta and Barbra Streisand. Hell no!

Rain Man… Bill Murray was offered the retarded brother while Dustin Hoffman was the older brother. That could work. Murray didn’t end up reading the script so Hoffman became the retard while Jack Nicholson was offered the older brother. That’s worse! They eventually rewrote the brother for Tom Cruise while setting up one of the smartest bits in Tropic Thunder:

Bad Boys was written for Jon Lovitz and Dana Carvey. What the crack?! When they dropped out it was given to Will Smith’s agent. Whew.

Last one…Thelma & Louise! It was first offered to Michelle Pfeiffer (no!) who passed and then Goldie Hawn (hell no!!). Goldie really wanted to do it (stop it!!!).

I am sure there is more to come I am only at 1991. This book is excellent and I recommend it. For now chew on those.


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