‘Sway’ isn’t just a song title
First of all, you can stop emailing me, captain crazyballsâ€¦ the Mailbag will be up this weekâ€¦. Weâ€™ve just been a little bit swamped here at the hole, but youâ€™ll have your orgasmic question-and-answer session this week. I believe Adam is scouring through your emails as we speak. Apologies for the delay!
Onto this weekâ€™s caffeine-induced rantâ€¦
I think I, as in outspoken webpage chief, had a part to play in the acting of Christian Bale as Batman. Yep, Iâ€™ll take the credit â€“ and the bitches too. When I interviewed him for â€œCaptain Corelliâ€™s Mandolinâ€ a few years back Iâ€™d mentioned that his name had been bought up by a few comic book fans â€“ or whatever Iâ€™d read in forums – as someone that could possibly satisfactory wear the charcoal boots of a new Batman. He loved the idea. He wanted it. One thing lead to another and the rumour spread that Bale was interested and that Bat-fans liked the idea.
Bale later told me that heâ€™d love the chance to try out for the Caped Crusader, but was also interested in playing James Bond. Both were way out of his reach – - or so he believed.
â€˜â€™I’ve also been a big fan of Tim Burton’s Batman moviesâ€, the Brit told me in 2002. â€˜â€™His almost gothic approach brought a wonderful cinematic feel to an American hero. I’d love to do either part but I’d also worry about being typecast. James Bond in the new Millennium has so much potential – in the new movie xXx, the Bond character is skewered as being out of step for our times – Bond is in dire need of updating.â€™â€™
I kept in touch with Bale and his online representative at the time and together we championed him for the batcave.
Within twelve months, Warner Bros was rumoured to be seriously looking at Bale to headline â€œBatman Beginsâ€.
I tell ya, whether you believe it or not, we â€“ the people of the electric orgy we call the internet constituency â€“ do have a bit of sway when it comes to who gets cast in the movies.
You really think Christian Bale wouldâ€™ve gotten Batman if 90% of the comic-book boffins on the net didnâ€™t champion his casting? No wayâ€¦ the guy could barely open a movie (â€˜â€™Reign of Fireâ€™â€™ anyone? â€˜â€™Equilibriumâ€™â€™?), let alone turn up as a screen smudge on Warnerâ€™s radar at the time. Either because they didnâ€™t want the net take a dump on the new Batman the way they did Joel Schumacherâ€™s â€œBatâ€ flicks or, it was their way of apologizing for â€œPolice Academy : Mission to Moscowâ€, the WB listened to the fans and tested Bale. And whaddyaknow? He was the right guy for the part after all. (And though a lot of folks did like Brandon Routh in the part â€“ just as many didnâ€™t â€“ Warner couldâ€™ve possibly did some more forum scouring to see who comic book boffins wanted as their Superman; things mightâ€™ve worked out a bit better for them with that one). He mightnâ€™t say it, but I know Bale is thankful that everyone got behind him.
Even though weâ€™re not aware of it â€“ Vin Diesel being dumped from â€œHitmanâ€; Sylvester Stallone returning to â€œRamboâ€ and â€œRockyâ€; Sony cancelling the â€œXXXâ€ series; Angelina Jolie being naked in â€œBeowulfâ€ – I reckon us mother[board]-fuckers have a lot more sway than your local librarian would give us credit for. Weâ€™re in a good position at the moment â€“ we have a way of letting the studio know if we arenâ€™t happy with something (we spam forums, we annoy the guy that runs er, um, my site, and we can publish open letters to studio heads online â€“ and I bet they read every darn one of them – - if not them, their knob-polishing secretary would), and by golly, theyâ€™ll answer if they donâ€™t want their next tentpole to have equal B.O returns as â€œCatch & Releaseâ€.
But what did we do before the internet? Yes, I know we spent our time playing â€œMousetrapâ€ and listening to Icehouse records, but I meanâ€¦ how did we let the filmmakers or studios know we werenâ€™t happy with a casting decision or the direction a movie-in-the-making was progressing? Bottom line : We didnâ€™t. We couldnâ€™t. We, quite frankly, were kept out of the loop until the movie hit the screens. If youâ€™d read 6 months before its release that Richard Chamberlain was set to star in the remake of â€œKing Solomonâ€™s Minesâ€ and didnâ€™t agree with it, itâ€™d be bad luck. Even if youâ€™d read about his â€˜rumoured castingâ€™ in a showbiz magazine months before he was signedâ€¦ thereâ€™d be no way of letting the studio know (unless you can do a good Steven Spielberg impression on the phone) you hated the idea.
But Iâ€™m thinking execs were a little bit smarter back then, than they are today, and near always cast the right person in the right role. OK, so some still criticise the casting of Michael Keaton in â€œBatmanâ€ (1989) but for the type of â€œBatmanâ€ movie it was â€“ an off-the-wall interpretation of the comic that was strangely different â€“ it worked (in my opinion), but by and large, studios wouldnâ€™t shoot a frame of film before they had the right guy in front of the camera lens.
Hereâ€™s 10 films that couldâ€™ve turned out a lot different had studio execs simply stuck to their first choice â€¦
Starring : Matthew Modine (“Crazy for You”)
Ultimately they ended up with Tom Cruise, but initially Paramount wanted Matthew Modine to headline. In this case, it was Modine who passed. Yeah, Iâ€™m with you, not only did he pass on a gung-ho action flick that had the potential to turn him into a huge star but [even if he had to blow him off between scenes] Jerry Bruckheimer couldâ€™ve set the guy up for life. Modine does a tampon-sponsored wrestling movie, with music by Madonna, but he wonâ€™t do this? The reason Modine passed on the movie? He didnâ€™t like its one-sided view of the cold war. WTF? This is the same guy that appeared in â€œFull Metal Jacketâ€ a year later, right? Good luck on cable TV, Matt.
The Hunt for Red October
Starring : Kevin Costner (“No Way Out”)
A Cowboy, yes, but a C.I.A agent? Maybe a straw-chewing one raised in Texas, but not Jack Ryan. The Ryan of Clancyâ€™s books is a charming, suave and sophisticated city slicker who ultimately (in the books) works his way up to president. For my money, Alec Baldwin was a terrific Jack Ryanâ€¦ and I doubt the film wouldâ€™ve been half the movie it is if Costner had ended up accepting the role of Ryan. I like the guy, but I just donâ€™t think itâ€™d have worked. Tom Clancy can keep out of thisâ€¦ he hates everyone.
Starring : Tom Cruise (“Born on the Fourth of July”)
You already probably know about this one â€“ Tom Cruise was offered the role of Neo in â€œThe Matrixâ€. They came close to scoring him a couple of times, but ultimately the ghost of L.Ron Hubbard didnâ€™t approve of the scriptâ€¦ or something, so Mapother turned it down. If theyâ€™d gotten Cruise there wouldâ€™ve been no money left in the budgetâ€¦ at least with Keanu Reeves they had enough dough left over for some spiffy effects!
Starring Burt Reynolds (“Smokey and the Bandit”)
Before Bruce Willis, FOX made an offer to Burt Reynolds to play John McClane. I shit you not â€“ Burt Reynolds; Smokey. Burt was the man back in the day, but even in 1987 his share price was falling – As evidenced by the film he ended up making instead of â€œDie Hardâ€, â€œSwitching Channelsâ€ (Panadol sales went up the month it hit video) â€“ and I doubt â€œDie Hardâ€ wouldâ€™ve turned out the same movie with him in it. As good as the script and direction was Bruce Willis was just so darn good in that movie – He made the movie for many.
Back to the Future
Starring Eric Stoltz (“Mask”)
Now the studio didnâ€™t stuff up here per sayâ€¦ they had originally cast Michael J.Fox in the lead role of Marty McFly but when the producers of â€œFamily Tiesâ€ wouldnâ€™t free Foxy to do the movie, they had to recast and they believed Eric Stoltz was the best guy to step in. Then, of course, Fox became freeâ€¦ and so Stoltz was let go. I had a chat with Stoltz about this last year and even he admits that â€œBack to the Futureâ€ wouldâ€™ve been a different movie had Michael J.Fox not been in it. He said Fox was Marty, there was no doubt about it, and there was no bad blood at all there. We both agreed that it was meant to beâ€¦ Would Quentin Tarantino had been interested in â€˜The guy from Back to the Futureâ€™ to play a long-haired drug dealer in â€œPulp Fictionâ€? I doubt it.
Starring Billy Zane (“Dead Calm”)
Did you know that Billy Zane was originally cast in the Patrick Swayze part? Yeah, I like Zane too (he was great in â€œDead Calmâ€), but heâ€™s not Johnny Castle. But more so, thereâ€™s no fuckinâ€™ way Billy Zaneâ€™s version of â€œSheâ€™s Like the Windâ€ was going to go Top 40.
Beverly Hills Cop
Starring Sylvester Stallone (“Rocky”)
Again, youâ€™ve probably all heard about this â€“ originally â€œBeverly Hills Copâ€ was going to be less of a comedy, and more of a hardcore action pic, and itâ€™s then that Sylvester Stallone was attached to play Axel Foley. Iâ€™m pretty sure those chains on the truck Axel was holding onto at the start of the movie wouldâ€™ve broke if Sly had played the part, donâ€™t you? And somehow I donâ€™t think Judge Reinhold wouldâ€™ve been our Billy. Just donâ€™t see it. Credit to Jerry Bruckheimer for both a) casting Eddie Murphy as Axel Foley b) Having that topless bar scene in â€œFlashdanceâ€
Starring : Paul Hogan (“Crocodile Dundee”)
Paul Hogan helping his lover, Demi Moore, mould some pottery into shape? Couldâ€™ve happened â€“ if only Hoges didnâ€™t pass on the role of Sam Wheat. Man, Patrick Swayze has saved us a couple of times now â€“ say what you like about his face, but itâ€™s been good to us over the years. â€œThatâ€™s not a Pot, this is a Potâ€.
Starring : Josh Hartnett (“Hollywood Homicide”)
You all know about Nicolas Cage and â€œSuperman Livesâ€ right? OK, so we wonâ€™t touch on that oneâ€¦ mainly since that was a studio fuck-up of enormous proportions (that actually started filming that!). How about Josh Hartnett as the caped Crusader in â€œSuperman Returnsâ€? His deal near came off. Brett Ratner, who was directing the film back then (eeek), told IGN Filmforce at the time that Hartnett (and another guy who was up for the part briefly, Jude Law) had a lot to consider when offered the role. “No star wants to sign that, but as much as I’ve told Jude and Josh my vision for the movie, I’ve warned them of the consequences of being Superman,” Ratner said. “They’ll live this character for 10 years because I’m telling one story over three movies and plan to direct all three if the first is as successful as everyone suspects.”Betcha liking Brandon Routh a lot better now, hey? Suddenly youâ€™d like to see that â€œSuperman Returnsâ€ sequel, right? OK, some of you do. (* Yes I know, the internet was around then but this near darn happened…. because nobody spoke up!)
Starring : Ben Affleck (“Gigli”)
Not a great movieâ€¦. But itâ€™s a good movie, thanks to Mark Wahlberg. Consider then that Ben Affleck was originally offered that part. Yeah, sucks like a razor-toothed hooker, hey? (* Again, the internet was around then… and the only reason Wahlberg for the part was because Ben rejected it. It was too violent for him apparently… pussy).
So if you hate a casting decisionâ€¦. Or would like to see someone play a certain characterâ€¦ say it loud and say it proud, they ARE listening!
P.S – The NEW Moviehole is coming (hence the hold-up on the Mailbag and such things of late!). Stay Tuned. You’ll love it… or hate it… or simply tolerate it.