Five Things We Learned From the ‘Clue’ Documentary

Other than who killed Mr. Boddy
Five Things We Learned From the ‘Clue’ Documentary

Whether out of an admiration for screwball comedies or simply a love of random objects being used as (highly ineffective) murder weapons, the 1985 bomb-turned-cult hit Clue has a number of obsessive fans. Now, one of these fans has made a feature-length documentary about the making of the movie, featuring new interviews with the film’s director and cast.

Since we just can’t get enough of Clue-based discourse, here are some of the things we learned from Who Done It: A Clue Documentary… 

It Was Almost Interactive

According to interviewee John Hatch, author of an upcoming book about the film, the earliest treatment for Clue was written by producer Debra Hill, who envisioned a more interactive version of the movie. Hill’s idea involved a “Detective Parker” (a nod to the makers of the board game: Parker Brothers) and prompts for the audiences to shout at the screen, in either approval or disapproval, at his proposed solutions to the crime. 

Director Jonathan Lynn Tried to Quit the Project

Originally brought on to write a script for John Landis (who was set to helm Clue himself), Lynn initially tried to quit because he couldn’t think of a motivation for the wacky events the story necessitated, telling his agent, “I really think I’m wasting my time here.” The agent convinced him not to fly back to England and instead stay and “try and think of something.” Which he clearly did. 

It Would Have Starred Carrie Fisher, If Not for Cocaine

The legendary Fisher was originally supposed to play the role of Miss Scarlet, a plan that was disrupted by her trip to rehab after a “near-fatal overdose” (Lynn admits that he thought her constant sniffing was merely “hay fever”). Lynn and Hill were fine to wait out the 30 days and keep Fisher in the role, but the studio insurance people wouldn’t have it, and she was eventually recast with the also-great Lesley Ann Warren.

Mr. Boddy Was Dubbed By an Unknown Actor

The aptly-named victim of the Clue game is, of course, Mr. Boddy, played in the movie by the lead singer of the hardcore punk band Fear, Lee Ving. 

According to Lynn, this was purely because Paramount wanted a popular musician in the movie. But Ving’s voice was entirely overdubbed by another actor whose identity remains shrouded in mystery. 

A Lot of Actors Were Considered for the Role of Wadsworth the Butler

The central role of Wadsworth the butler was played to perfection by the wonderful Tim Curry, but a lot of actors were apparently considered for the role. John Cleese was an early favorite, so much so that in some early drafts, the butler was literally named “Cleese.” Robin Williams’ name came up in casting discussions as well, but Lynn seemingly most wanted to cast a young Rowan Atkinson in the role, despite the fact that he was unknown to American audiences at the time. Lynn even had Atkinson put together a reel for the studio, telling him that it was because “Paramount have never heard of you.” But according to Lynn, “I don’t think they ever watched it.” 

You (yes, you) should follow JM on Twitter (if it still exists by the time you’re reading this). 

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