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Caffeinated Clint – Sway Isn’t Just a Song Title

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‘Sway’ isn’t just a song title

First of all, you can stop emailing me, captain crazyballs… the Mailbag will be up this week…. We’ve just been a little bit swamped here at the hole, but you’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 week’s caffeine-induced rant…

I think I, as in outspoken webpage chief, had a part to play in the acting of Christian Bale as Batman. Yep, I’ll take the credit – and the bitches too. When I interviewed him for “Captain Corelli’s Mandolin” a few years back I’d mentioned that his name had been bought up by a few comic book fans – or whatever I’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 he’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.

‘’I’ve also been a big fan of Tim Burton’s Batman movies”, the Brit told me in 2002. ‘’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.’’

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 “Batman Begins”.

I tell ya, whether you believe it or not, we – the people of the electric orgy we call the internet constituency – do have a bit of sway when it comes to who gets cast in the movies.

You really think Christian Bale would’ve gotten Batman if 90% of the comic-book boffins on the net didn’t champion his casting? No way… the guy could barely open a movie (‘’Reign of Fire’’ anyone? ‘’Equilibrium’’?), let alone turn up as a screen smudge on Warner’s radar at the time. Either because they didn’t want the net take a dump on the new Batman the way they did Joel Schumacher’s “Bat” flicks or, it was their way of apologizing for “Police Academy : Mission to Moscow”, 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 – just as many didn’t – Warner could’ve possibly did some more forum scouring to see who comic book boffins wanted as their Superman; things might’ve worked out a bit better for them with that one). He mightn’t say it, but I know Bale is thankful that everyone got behind him.

Even though we’re not aware of it – Vin Diesel being dumped from “Hitman”; Sylvester Stallone returning to “Rambo” and “Rocky”; Sony cancelling the “XXX” series; Angelina Jolie being naked in “Beowulf” – I reckon us mother[board]-fuckers have a lot more sway than your local librarian would give us credit for. We’re in a good position at the moment – we have a way of letting the studio know if we aren’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 – and I bet they read every darn one of them – – if not them, their knob-polishing secretary would), and by golly, they’ll answer if they don’t want their next tentpole to have equal B.O returns as “Catch & Release”.

But what did we do before the internet? Yes, I know we spent our time playing “Mousetrap” and listening to Icehouse records, but I mean… how did we let the filmmakers or studios know we weren’t happy with a casting decision or the direction a movie-in-the-making was progressing? Bottom line : We didn’t. We couldn’t. We, quite frankly, were kept out of the loop until the movie hit the screens. If you’d read 6 months before its release that Richard Chamberlain was set to star in the remake of “King Solomon’s Mines” and didn’t agree with it, it’d be bad luck. Even if you’d read about his ‘rumoured casting’ in a showbiz magazine months before he was signed… there’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 I’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 “Batman” (1989) but for the type of “Batman” movie it was – an off-the-wall interpretation of the comic that was strangely different – it worked (in my opinion), but by and large, studios wouldn’t shoot a frame of film before they had the right guy in front of the camera lens.

Here’s 10 films that could’ve turned out a lot different had studio execs simply stuck to their first choice …

Top Gun
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, I’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 could’ve set the guy up for life. Modine does a tampon-sponsored wrestling movie, with music by Madonna, but he won’t do this? The reason Modine passed on the movie? He didn’t like its one-sided view of the cold war. WTF? This is the same guy that appeared in “Full Metal Jacket” 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 Clancy’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 Ryan… and I doubt the film would’ve been half the movie it is if Costner had ended up accepting the role of Ryan. I like the guy, but I just don’t think it’d have worked. Tom Clancy can keep out of this… he hates everyone.

The Matrix
Starring : Tom Cruise (“Born on the Fourth of July”)
You already probably know about this one – Tom Cruise was offered the role of Neo in “The Matrix”. They came close to scoring him a couple of times, but ultimately the ghost of L.Ron Hubbard didn’t approve of the script… or something, so Mapother turned it down. If they’d gotten Cruise there would’ve been no money left in the budget… at least with Keanu Reeves they had enough dough left over for some spiffy effects!

Die Hard
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 – 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 “Die Hard”, “Switching Channels” (Panadol sales went up the month it hit video) – and I doubt “Die Hard” would’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 didn’t stuff up here per say… they had originally cast Michael J.Fox in the lead role of Marty McFly but when the producers of “Family Ties” wouldn’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 free… and so Stoltz was let go. I had a chat with Stoltz about this last year and even he admits that “Back to the Future” would’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 be… Would Quentin Tarantino had been interested in ‘The guy from Back to the Future’ to play a long-haired drug dealer in “Pulp Fiction”? I doubt it.

Dirty Dancing
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 “Dead Calm”), but he’s not Johnny Castle. But more so, there’s no fuckin’ way Billy Zane’s version of “She’s Like the Wind” was going to go Top 40.

Beverly Hills Cop
Starring Sylvester Stallone (“Rocky”)
Again, you’ve probably all heard about this – originally “Beverly Hills Cop” was going to be less of a comedy, and more of a hardcore action pic, and it’s then that Sylvester Stallone was attached to play Axel Foley. I’m pretty sure those chains on the truck Axel was holding onto at the start of the movie would’ve broke if Sly had played the part, don’t you? And somehow I don’t think Judge Reinhold would’ve been our Billy. Just don’t see it. Credit to Jerry Bruckheimer for both a) casting Eddie Murphy as Axel Foley b) Having that topless bar scene in “Flashdance”

Ghost
Starring : Paul Hogan (“Crocodile Dundee”)
Paul Hogan helping his lover, Demi Moore, mould some pottery into shape? Could’ve happened – if only Hoges didn’t pass on the role of Sam Wheat. Man, Patrick Swayze has saved us a couple of times now – say what you like about his face, but it’s been good to us over the years. “That’s not a Pot, this is a Pot”.

Superman Returns
Starring : Josh Hartnett (“Hollywood Homicide”)
You all know about Nicolas Cage and “Superman Lives” right? OK, so we won’t touch on that one… 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 “Superman Returns”? 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 you’d like to see that “Superman Returns” sequel, right? OK, some of you do. (* Yes I know, the internet was around then but this near darn happened…. because nobody spoke up!)

Four Brothers
Starring : Ben Affleck (“Gigli”)
Not a great movie…. But it’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 decision…. Or would like to see someone play a certain character… 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.

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About Caffeinated Clint

The writer/publicist/producer who wears the editor hat on Moviehole. Favorite films include "Say Anything...", "The Hunt for Red October", "Jerry Maguire", "Almost Famous", "Die Hard", "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo", "Young Guns", "American Psycho", "Back to the Future" and the "Star Wars" series.
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