55 Dumb Movie Decisions We Almost Got
Movies go through rewrites and changes like beavers go through trees on their way to building something glorious. That doesn't mean we can't take a look at the scraps and gape in shock and awe.
1. Rocky almost threw his fight to Apollo Creed on purpose and would've taken his winnings to help Adrian open up a pet shop of her own. Obviously, there was way more money in Rocky winning and a bunch of sequels, so that's the reality we got.
2. Jack Black was almost Green Lantern in a movie that was less of a superhero movie and more of a wack Jack Black flick with some superhero stuff thrown in. It featured gross scenes with Black getting drunk, eating severed heads, and trapping bad guys in giant green condoms.
3. Universal Studios wanted to cut the speed dating scene in The 40-Year-Old Virgin because they felt it made Steve Carell look like a serial killer. They tried so hard to make him seem less like a serial killer throughout the whole movie because, frankly, he kinda did seem like one.
4. Tim Burton's Batman originally featured Joker killing even more parents -- including Dick Grayson's. Luckily for everybody involved, they decided to cut the Robin stuff entirely and focus on making the best Batman they could.
5. Bambi almost wandered into yet another corpse -- this time, not just his mum, but the hunter who shot her. Bambi would've found the hunter all charred to bits, burned to death by a fire he started.
6. Gladiator 2 was written when Russell Crowe hired Nick Cave to put it together -- yes, the Bad Seeds rocker, that Nick Cave. This script had Maximus fighting in wars all throughout history, eventually ending up in the Pentagon. The studios scrapped it for being "too over the top."
7. Titanic almost ended with some really corny garbage dialogue and weird dancing. James Cameron, fortunately, wised up and went with the silent-but-meaningful ending that's come to be a classic.
8. The Shining ended pretty openly, with Jack freezing to death and the audience kind of wondering what happened. But in the original version, an epilogue showed Jack's family getting taken in, adopted by the hotel manager, then moving to Los Angeles.
9. E.T. was originally a horror movie. That glowy finger? It was supposed to be able to kill with a single touch. Steven Spielberg even framed it as "suburban evil" vs. "suburban good."
10. Stan Lee was super ready to make Spider-Man movies way back in the 1970s. His first stab had him partnered up with Steve Krantz, and it involved singing, dancing, and craziest of all -- Nazis.
12. Truly horrifying characters get into a bunch of wacky misadventures in all sorts of settings and with all kinds of other characters. You know who Jason Voorhees almost had a movie with? Cheech and Chong. Studios ultimately decided that comedy-horror wasn't gonna work.
13. Back To The Future: Part II wasn't originally about the whole multiple timelines, Biff-as-Vegas-personified insanity that we know and love. Instead, it was a hippie fest set in 1967, where Marty gets thrown in jail and convinces his hippie parents to get busy havin' babies.
14. Nobody really wanted to make Stranger Things and have it centered around the kids. But the Duffer Brothers insisted on making the kids the stars, and they're precisely what made the show the hit it is today.
15. Jordan Peele's Get Out was a horror movie that terrified us with Twilight Zone racism, but his original ending was almost terrifyingly realistic. It would've had Chris sent to jail to make a broader point about Black people's unjust mass incarceration in America.
16. How out-of-place would it have been to see zombies everywhere in Captain America: Civil War? It was initially a story about a bomb that turned people into rage zombies and had way less Iron Man. Well, Robert Downey Jr. asked for a bigger role and a bigger paycheck, and that's how we got the story we got.
17. Part of the beauty of Groundhog Day was that it didn't require some weird supernatural explanation for the repeating sequences of events. But the studios wanted it to all boil down to aliens or witch hexes, a wildly unnecessary thing that might've ruined a classic film.
18. The Toy Story 3 that the world came to know and love gave us closure for Andy and his toys. The one we almost got was set mainly in Taiwan, with Woody and the gang heading out there to rescue Buzz, who's been shipped in for repairs due to a recall.
19. The original cut of Shrek starring Chris Farley was, by all accounts, pretty darn bad. That wasn't Chris Farley's fault, but when Mike Myers came in, he changed Shrek's character from, well, a Chris Farley character into the cranky old ogre we've all come to know and love.
20. J.J. Abrams once put together the script for a Superman movie, called Superman: Flyby, in which Superman's home planet Krypton would never have been destroyed. The biggest, weirdest part would've been where Superman's dad, Jor-El, would commit suicide by disembowelment in prison in an attempt to communicate with his son.
21. The producers panicked over the end of Se7en and didn't want Gwyneth Paltrow's head to end up in a box. They tried to rewrite it so that it'd be Brad Pitt's dog's head in the box instead, but thankfully Pitt wasn't having any of it.
23. George Lucas tried to make a TV show called Star Wars: Detours that was more or less an animated sitcom. It featured weird dancing, Obi-wan trying to use the Force to hit on women, and stormtroopers complaining about bathrooms. They made 39 episodes that were (thankfully) unreleased.
24. Before Ang Lee took on the Hulk in 2003, there was going to be a version made in 1997 with Billy Crudup in the titular role. Crudup's Bruce Banner would've been testing the effects of long-range space travel on prisoners -- yeah, human experimenting -- when he accidentally turns the prisoners into gamma-radiated bugs he has to fight.
25. The original masks for the Scream movie looked really dumb. Designs were all over the place, but luckily the team found the now-famous mask in an old lady's house where they were filming and made it the icon it is today.
26. Michael Bay's Project Almanac was a boilerplate time travel movie, but with one huge Michael Bay-sized problem -- it was using actual plane crash footage. That's pretty upsetting for a number of reasons, and luckily the studios found a way to make CGI planes blow up instead. Bay couldn't even tell the difference!
27. The first attempt at Harry Potter movies was almost real bad -- they wanted to make them American and animated, two things that really don't suit the franchise at all. Steven Spielberg dropped out as director because rather than separating these super-thick books into individual movies, he wanted to mash a couple together at a time.
28. Jason Voorhees' original face covering was basically a bag over his face. However, they needed to do light tests on the Jason makeup, and rather than waste time doing so much makeup for a light test, a crew member slapped on a hockey mask, the director loved the look, and the rest is history.
29. The Usual Suspects' iconic lineup scene was supposed to be a very serious, you know, police lineup. Instead, Benicio del Toro was farting all over the place and making the whole cast laugh like crazy. Finally, director Bryan Singer gave up and let the improv scene just happen. Boom, movie magic.
30. Despite writing the character of The Sheriff in Blazing Saddles, Richard Pryor couldn't play his own part. He had a bit too much of a cocaine problem; therefore, nobody would insure him, so he couldn't actually be in the movie.
31. Courtney Love is on record as claiming that she and husband Kurt Cobain were in serious talks to be in Quentin Tarantino's Pulp Fiction as drug dealers Lance and Jody. Tarantino, on the other hand, claims to have never met them in his life.
32. Star Wars: The Force Awakens had a bizarro opening -- Luke Skywalker's severed hand floating around space. The hand would've burnt up descending to the planet Jakku, and the lightsaber would've been picked up by an alien, presumably Maz Kanata.
34. Actress Piper Laurie, better known as Carrie's Mom, thought she was in a comedy the entire time. She played just about every line for laughs and had to be told that she was in a horror movie. Luckily, she didn't listen and played a definitely terrifying psychopath made all the more convincing by her attempts at humor.
35. Pixar's Inside Out gave us an imaginary friend named Bing Bong, who makes the ultimate sacrifice to help his emotional friends. He was almost way more of a Lewis Black type -- he was going to be angry all the time, using violence and anarchy to attempt to prevent Riley from growing up.
36. The Back to the Future series curiously never touches on how exactly the lazy teenager Marty became friends with Doc Brown, who's clearly got some kind of whack-a-doodle past involving nuclear stuff. A fourth draft of the script would've given us some explanation -- he started out by paying Marty and giving him free beer in exchange for cleaning up his lab space.
37. Anchorman, arguably the most quotable movie of all time, only got to be that way because of extensive reshoots -- so extensive, in fact, that they took all the cut scenes and were able to release a crappy direct-to-DVD movie. Over 40% of the film, including a weird hippie subplot, was rewritten and reshot, which gave us a classic San Diegoite (San Diegoan? San Diegan?) movie.
38. Sister Act is a hilarious movie about Whoopi Goldberg making some nuns cool by changing the words of pop songs so that they're church songs, and helping the local community. It was supposed to be a Bette Midler film, which would have made the juxtaposition of a Jewish woman in a nun habit into a whole bit.
39. Frasier's brother Niles was never meant to be a part of Frasier. The casting director had seen David Hyde Pierce in a different TV show and thought, "Man, he really looks like Kelsey Grammar, I gotta get that guy in here somehow."
40. Derek Zoolander requires an in-depth explanation of why male models are being used as highly-trained assassins, which was already funny in and of itself. But what made the scene iconic is an improvisation -- where Ben Stiller forgot his lines and asked, once again, "But why male models?"
41. The Graduate has one of the most famous kinda-ambiguous endings of all time. It almost ended a lot sooner, with a bunch of super-upset wedding guests ready to throw Dustin Hoffman under that bus. Instead, director Mike Nichols had a substitute director on the bus doing the filming, who just forgot to yell "Cut!" and got the incredible ending shot we know today.
42. Tupac Shakur apparently was close to getting the role of Mace Windu over Samuel L. Jackson. He let slip in an interview that he was reading for the part, but unfortunately was murdered before we'd have a chance to know what could have been.
43. Shawshank Redemption is a classic movie that got nearly every element right and remains one of the best Stephen King adaptations of all time. But when eventual-director Frank Darabont pitched it, the studio tried to get Rob Reiner to direct it and make Tom Cruise the star. Luckily, Darabont stuck to his guns and directed things his own way.
45. Kevin Costner was an excellent bodyguard. You know who needed a reliable bodyguard, perhaps with whom she'd have a romantic fling? Princess Diana. That would've been the plot of The Bodyguard 2, except Princess Di was in her fatal car crash the day after the script was turned in.
46. The Lord of the Rings film series already had to trim a lot of fat from the books to get the films to a manageable length. But Harvey Weinstein had the brilliant idea of getting Quentin Tarantino to direct all the books, a whopping 1200 pages' worth, into just one movie. Pass.
47. Fox really hated the raunchy Merc With A Mouth version of Deadpool that Ryan Reynolds gave us, and pushed really hard for a more family-friendly version. But after some test footage went viral, they kinda had to roll with it, and now it's about as successful as an R-rated superhero can be.
48. Disney nearly made a gritty Seven Dwarves origin story. It would've shown such child-appropriate nightmares as Dopey having seen the death of his mother in the first act. You know, before heading into the rest of the fun stuff.
49. The idea for Gremlins 3 would finally have solved the issues with time zones and the whole "don't feed after midnight" problem. It also would've gotten the humans to maybe consider murdering the fuzzy little Gizmo guy.
50. Michael Jackson really badly wanted to play Professor X in his very own X-Men movie. He was so desperate for any Marvel role that he attempted to buy Marvel. Like, the whole brand.
51. A Nightmare On Elm Street almost took itself much more literally. An early script had Freddy Krueger actually totally defeated -- the whole movie was actually nothing more than a bad nightmare.
52. We almost didn't have the iconic Part of Your World song in The Little Mermaid because Jeffrey Katzenberg thought that kids would think it was boring. He assumed this because a kid spilled popcorn during a test screening and thought it meant the kid wasn't paying attention.
53. Tim Burton's Beetlejuice almost had a sequel called Beetlejuice Goes Hawaiian. It would've been a wacky juxtaposition of you know, Beetlejuice, but up against a whole beachfront scene. It would've been made if Burton hadn't gotten caught up with his Batman movies.
54. Simba was almost a lazy, annoying jerk. He was manipulated into being that way by his uncle Scar (who was originally a baboon), so he would be an easier lion king to overthrow, a sort of the Tsar Nicholas II of lions.