John Goodman Begged Steven Spielberg to Let Him Out of the ‘Flintstones’ Sequel

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John Goodman Begged Steven Spielberg to Let Him Out of the ‘Flintstones’ Sequel

John Goodman did not have a gay old time in Bedrock. In an interview with Total Film as reported by DeadlineFlintstones director Brian Levant says Goodman begged producer Steven Spielrock, er, Spielberg to let him out of a contract that would have forced him to return for the comedy film’s sequel, Viva Rock Vegas

Levant says that the plan was to shoot The Flintstones and Viva Rock Vegas back-to-back, similar to what had been done with Back to the Future 2 and Back to the Future 3. But while Goodman starred in the 1994 smash (it broke the box-office record for Memorial Day weekend, besting Spielberg’s Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade), he didn’t want to become known for a part he didn’t enjoy playing. 

According to Levant, Goodman set up a meeting with Spielberg, pleading, “Please don’t make me do any more of these.” Sounds like the begging worked — neither Goodman nor most of the film’s original cast returned for Viva Rock Vegas

But we don’t have to take Levant’s word for it — Goodman himself hasn’t been shy about his distaste for Fred Flintstone. He told GQ in 2019 he never wanted the role in the first place. “They kind of sandbagged me,” he explained. “Steven Spielberg cast me in a film called Always, and I was just in heaven. This is the best thing. So on the day of the first table read, he goes, ‘Ladies and gentlemen, I’d like to say something before we start. I’ve found my Fred Flintstone.’”

Even in the retelling, Goodman looks like he got socked in the gut: “It just took the wind out of me. It’s not something I was looking forward to doing. Yeah, I felt like I was sandbagged. It was hot. It was sweaty.”

Making The Flintstones wasn’t total misery for Goodman, though. “I got to meet Jonathan Winters who was in a scene. That was great.” And he also enjoyed working with his Barney Rubble co-star. “Moranis is the best. I loved showing up for work with Rick Moranis.”

Spielberg’s Amblin Entertainment did produce that sequel, Viva Rock Vegas, but with an almost entirely new cast. Mark Addy, hot off The Full Monty, took over as Fred, and Stephen Baldwin was hired as the new Barney. Both The Flintstones and Viva Rock Vegas got crushed by critics, but unlike the original, audiences stayed away without Goodman as the lead. It racked up four Razzie Award nominations, and there hasn’t been a big-screen Flintstones ever since. 

Goodman, for one, hopes the franchise stays as dead as the dinosaurs.


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