Life is full of disappointments...especially when it comes to Hollywood.
After seeing a great film we sometimes find it close to impossible to separate our most beloved (and most reviled) characters from the professionals that portray them.
Take Col. Nathan R. Jessup (A Few Good Men). Now, can you think of anyone (dead or alive) who could have held a candle to the performance given by Jack Nicholson?
Rumor has it that a young assistant writer on the production staff at the time, suggested Tom Skerritt (Viper from Top Gun) for the role since Cruise and Skerritt had "a demonstrated on-screen chemistry."
If the rumor is true, then his boss' response likely went like this:
Hmmmm... transfer Jack Nicholson... Yes, I'm sure you're right. I'm sure that's the thing to do. Wait, I've got a better idea. Let's transfer the whole cast...Even Kevin Pollack
Get me Aaron Sorkin on the phone. We're surrendering our position on the entire project.
Wait a minute, don't get Sorkin or Reiner just yet. Maybe we should consider this for a second...Maybe, and I'm just spit balling here, maybe, we have a responsibility to cast the best actors. Maybe we as Hollywood professionals have a responsibility to this country to see to it that the men and women charged with entertaining it are accomplished artists. Yes, I'm certain that I read that somewhere once. And now I'm thinking, young man, that your suggestion of transferring Mr. Nicholson, while expeditious and certainly painless, might not be, in a matter of speaking, the American way. Jack stays where he is.
And you're fired.
We can all breathe a sigh of relief that Tom Skerritt did not order the code red...
That said, the following list of films and their respective original star(s) may surprise you.
#1 THE TERMINATOR
Let's get the big one out of the way first. Yes, O.J. Simpson was the first choice for The Terminator, not Arnold. And the movie poster near the title of the post is a real one, no photo shopping...that's how seriously close we all were to seeing James Cameron's career get destroyed.
Luckily for the future Governor of California, James Cameron, and the Naked Gun Trilogy, the producers of the film feared that O.J. (and I am not making this up) was "too nice to be taken seriously as a cold-blooded killer." Probably related to that idiot writer from A Few Good Men.
Back to Mr. Simpson...Even though a jury of his peers would agree with Terminator's producers (a full ten years after it premiered), I am fairly confident (beyond a reasonable doubt, in fact) that had the movie starred O.J. the verdict in his criminal case would have turned out a little differently.
How different? Well, somewhere along the lines of "Hasta la vista, baby!"
That's all for now, but don't despair, I'll be back...
STAY TUNED FOR, "PART II" OF
"TOP PLAN B CASTING CALLS"
FOR MORE FILM POSTS, PLEASE VISIT: DavidAaronGray.com