6 Famous Musicians Who Almost Landed Iconic Film Roles
Whenever somebody like a musician, or a comedian, or a junior sales associate at Staples gets cast in a Hollywood movie, we always respond like they're a dog who can play basketball. WHY? WHAT? HOW? SURELY THIS IS AGAINST THE RULES. But what's far weirder than the unexpected celebrities who got cast in major roles are the unexpected celebrities who very nearly got cast in major roles. For example ...
Michael Jackson Wanted To Play The Doctor
Michael Jackson obviously saw himself as a larger-than-life superhero. Not only did he try to buy Marvel so that he could make an X-Men and/or Spider-Man movie, but at one point in the '80s, producers were seriously considering him for the role of the Doctor in a movie adaptation of Doctor Who. Apparently, they didn't care much about getting a British actor to play the iconically British role, and they also didn't care about how nightmarishly insane that would have been.
In the book Now On The Big Screen: The Unofficial And Unauthorized Guide To Doctor Who At The Cinema, Charles Norton asserts that Paramount executives really wanted Jackson for the role, as Jackson had just starred in his own science-fiction film, Moonwalker. And this makes sense according to Hollywood logic, which dictates that when you've done one thing moderately well, you should then get put in charge of the biggest thing ever.
This wasn't just some cocaine-induced fever dream of an out-of-line executive. Jackson knew of the project and was supposedly "quite keen" on coming aboard. Eventually, the film would fall through, which was undoubtedly for the best.
Had Jackson passed on the film, studio executives did have a backup in mind. It was -- and I can't stress how much I'm not shitting you about this -- one Bill Cosby. You may recognize him as also not being British and also having horrible revelations about him come out since the '80s. Basically, in both alternate universes where this movie happened, it ruined everything forever.
Courtney Love Claims She And Kurt Cobain Were Almost Cast In Pulp Fiction
You need to take this next entry with a big grain of salt, because Courtney Love is about as reliable a narrator as the protagonist from House Of Leaves. (I have a degree in English, so you bet your ass I'm going to throw it in whenever I can.) According to an interview with Love, Quentin Tarantino asked her and Kurt Cobain to take Rosanna Arquette and Eric Stoltz's parts in Pulp Fiction. For whatever reason, Tarantino thought Cobain would be perfect for the role of a laid-back drug dealer married to a woman who often makes terrible decisions. I'm sure that wasn't a passive-aggressive dig at Love in the slightest.
The rumor may have some credence, too. In the liner notes of In Utero, Nirvana thanked Tarantino, for some reason. Maybe they were just giving a shout-out to a talented filmmaker who wanted to put Cobain in his movies. Maybe the band members were really big fans of Reservoir Dogs. Maybe Nirvana was leaving us Da Vinci Code-style clues so that we can find the infamous Cobain's Gold. The world may never know.
In the same interview, Love told the reporter that Tarantino himself can confirm the rumor. So why hasn't anyone asked yet? The press tour for Once Upon A Time In Hollywood is about to start, so for the love of grunge, someone pop this question. Even if, once again, he says he never met Cobain, it will surely inspire one of Courtney Love's greatest Twitter rants. Nostalgia is huge right now, and a Tarantino/Love feud is the snippet from 1995 we all need right now.
Glenn Danzig Was Considered To Play Wolverine
As impossible as it seems, Hugh "Did You See Him In Oklahoma? He's Actually Pretty Good" Jackman wasn't always the #1 choice for Wolverine. Russell Crowe and Dougray Scott were up for it at one point, and producers were also apparently considering Glenn Danzig of Misfits fame.
It makes sense in the loosest way possible. Danzig is only 5 feet 4 inches, so he definitely would have been the shorter version of Wolverine from the comics. He's also a huge comic fanatic, and a screenwriter for the first X-Men did say he came in to read for the role. There exists an alternate reality in which Glenn Danzig is Wolverine, and if there isn't already Sliders fanfic about that, there really should be.
Although it's probably for the best that Danzig didn't end up with the job. In an interview with LA Weekly, he said he thought the first X-Men film was terrible and that if he played Logan, he "wouldn't have been as gay" as Jackman. Not really sure how hitting on Jean Grey for 120 minutes can be construed as gay, but I kind of hope Danzig does get cast in the next X-Men film ... in the role of Glenn Danzig, and the movie is nothing but two hours of Nightcrawler kicking him in the dick.
Gwen Stefani Was Almost In Mr. And Mrs. Smith
Mr. And Mrs. Smith was a moderate success when it came out in 2005, but these days, it's better-known as the vehicle that brought us Brangelina and destroyed Braniston. So paparazzi can all thank the TMZ gods that the role of Mrs. Smith went to Angelina Jolie and not another major contender: Gwen Stefani.
Stefani had previously been in The Aviator, and upon realizing she wasn't the worst actress in the world, she went to multiple auditions for Mr. And Mrs. Smith. She supposedly got pretty far, too. In an interview with Vogue, she said the auditions were down to her and Jolie. So you had established actresses like Nicole Kidman and Catherine Zeta-Jones coming in, and producers were like, "Nah, we want the lady who did 'Hollaback Girl.'"
Pop culture would have been drastically different in the mid-2000s had that part gone to someone else. It's possible Brad Pitt never would've met Jolie, and he and Aniston could have stayed together. Maybe he would've ended up having an affair with Stefani, who does have a proclivity for dating her co-stars. Instead of Brangelina, we could've gotten Brefani, which is definitely some kind of Italian alcoholic beverage.
Roger Waters Was Kicked Out Of The Pink Floyd Movie
Pink Floyd -- The Wall is a cinematic excursion into the music of Pink Floyd. So it would only make sense to feature the band as prominently as possible, which is why the lead role went to ... Bob Geldof? The guy responsible for Live Aid and the forever-ridiculed song "Do They Know It's Christmas"?
It's not that Waters didn't want to be in the movie. He actually wrote the screenplay and helped design the storyboards. Although the main character's name is "Pink," he would occasionally refer to the protagonist as "Roger" in the script, which is about the clearest hint you can give outside of renting a billboard that reads "I am Pink Floyd. Gimme the part, please."
So what happened? According to the book Saucerful Of Secrets: The Pink Floyd Odyssey, Waters lost out due to the oldest problem in the book: He couldn't act worth shit. His screen tests revealed he was terrible, so they had to kick him out of his own movie, which was a pretty ballsy move. The director, Alan Parker, instead cast Geldof due to his "dangerous quality and physical unpredictability." That has got to be hurtful to a rock star's ego, since he was essentially being told he had a safe quality and physical predictability.
Eminem Has Almost Been In A Bunch Of Action Movies
Eminem earned critical acclaim for his portrayal of a white rapper from Detroit in 8 Mile, but he was also supposed to star in the lead role in Neill Blomkamp's Elysium. The part ended up going to Matt Damon because Eminem wanted the movie to shoot in his hometown of Detroit. Then there's Southpaw, a boxing movie wherein Jake Gyllenhaal reenacts Raging Bull. However, this role was actually written with Eminem in mind, and he was very close to starring in it, but a few weeks before he needed to begin training, he bowed out to focus on his music. So instead of watching Eminem beat the shit out of people for two hours, we got The Marshall Mathers LP 2. Truly, the world is a darker place because of it.
Around 2006, Eminem was also being courted to star in Jumper. You remember Jumper, right? The classic sci-fi flick in which Hayden Christensen jumps around or ... something? Director Doug Liman originally wanted Eminem for the lead role, but after he met with Christensen, who I'm assuming did his "I hate sand" monologue, he knew he had his man.
The only notable role Eminem has really had since 8 Mile was in Judd Apatow's Funny People, where he played himself. However, he also got to effectively belittle Ray Romano, so maybe it all worked out for the best.
Mike Bedard is on Twitter, and you can bring happiness into your life by following him.
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