Everyone is fond of films. We all love them. We love the plots (sometimes), the love scenes (boobs), the themes (symbolism), and most of all the characters (boobs?). Characters are the anchors that keep the ships that are our brains implanted in the ocean that is the film’s story. It is very deep and very meaningful to us that the characters come off the page, and not just because I just wrote it. But people make the decisions when it comes to casting these icons. The Hollywood Machine has it down to a science when it comes to matching actors to characters. But we all know that people aren’t perfect. So what would have happened if Tom Hanks were cast as Ray Kinsella in Field of Dreams or Will Smith were to have portrayed Neo in The Matrix? Well, here’s what I think those films…NAY…the world would have been like.
Tom Selleck as Indiana Jones (Raiders of the Lost Ark)
This example of a famous role being turned down is probably the most well known. Tom “Mustachio” Selleck was originally cast to play the legendary role of Indiana Jones, which later of course went to the legendary Harrison Ford. Now you might be saying, “What a complete moron”, but let us think about this logically. Mr. Selleck turned down the role because he had a prior obligation to CBS’s hit television program Magnum P.I. (Overcompensating?). Now would life have changed if Mr. Selleck had accepted the role of Indy? Of course. We’d all instinctively think Tom Selleck was a bad ass instead of having to find out he IS a bad ass by getting into a bar fight with him. But would the Indiana Jones movies been as good? Probably not. Harrison Ford IS Indiana Jones. The character oozes from his pores just as easily as sweat does from mine when I have to use a public toilet. The world we know it is based off of the fact that we live in a constant of space-time and that Harrison Ford is Indiana Jones. I, however, will give this to Tom Selleck. If you go back and watch “Magnum P.I.,” you will notice it is basically Indiana Jones in Hawaii. He’s got the old guy who helps him, there’s car chases, and adventure! Plus, kids are always finding cursed Tiki gods while on vacation there.
Final Synopsis: Tough luck Mustachio
Eric Stoltz as Marty Mcfly (Back to the Future)
The 1980’s were a hell of a time. You could say “shit” in PG movies, racism was still an acceptable form of humor, and Back to the Future defined a generation’s childhood. One of my earliest memories is of watching BTTF at my grandmother’s house. I remember being confused when Marty Mcfly later became a teenage Werewolf. In another famous “what if” casting scenario, what if Eric Stoltz had played Marty Mcfly instead of Michael J. Fox? This may be as equally well know as the Tom Selleck/Indiana Jones debacle, but would the world have been tilted off its axis? Would donuts rain from the sky and would our currency be based on some system of trading Pogs? I argue, no. Eric Stoltz could have pulled off the Marty Mcfly awkwardness just as well as Mikey Fox. The only real thing that could have changed is that this could have given “Gingers” (it’s our word so I can say it) slightly more respect. It would have given suburban America a chance to see that we, in fact, are human. If the plucky hero of BTTF were a red head, that could have started a change in Red Haired American race relations. It is my opinion however, that either actor would have played the character much like Michael J Fox did. The movie is just too good to be ruined. This movie did make Michael J Fox a household name. People love this guy if only for the fact that he was Marty Mcfly. For those of you arguing that NBC’S Family Ties made him a household name…shut up, you’re stupid and wrong (sorry). For Stoltz however, we’d have to sit through some quality but altogether forgettable films and wait for his triumphant return as a drug dealing, sleazy, heroin addict in “Pulp Fiction”. What was the name of his character in that? Oh yeah, Eric Stoltz.
Final Synopsis: BTTF owns your face. Stoltz was spared the horrible Parkinson’s-like side effects of time travel.
Emilio Estevez as Chris Taylor (Platoon)
As stated before, the 1980s were a hell of a time especially for the brothers Sheen. Emilio was in the Brat Pack doing movies about rich teenagers while Charlie was developing a fine and respectful laundry list of deadly habits. So what if Emilio had taken the part of Private Chris Taylor in Oliver Stone’s Vietnam War epic Platoon instead of Charlie Sheen? …. Anyone? That’s right, who cares. These guys are practically the same person. In fact, I don’t think they’ve ever been photographed together (fact). It is my firm belief that had Emilio taken this part the only thing that would have changed is he and Charlie would have just swapped lives. Emilio would briefly get to bang Denise Richards and Charlie would have taken over as the black sheep of the family. That’s right…the drug addled hooker addict ISN’T the black sheep. If you wish to see how this reality may have actually played out, rent the film Young Guns.
Final Synopsis: WASH
John Travolta as Forrest Gump (Forest Gump)
Now we all know that Forrest Gump plays Forrest Gump in Forrest Gump. Wait…what? It’s a guy named Tom Hanks acting? That motherfucker is a good actor. This movie is maybe the only movie shown on TNT more than Shawshank Redemption and Lord of the Rings combined and it STILL makes me cry every time. Tom “Bosom Buddies” Hanks won a second consecutive Best Actor in a Leading Role Oscar for Forrest Gump. Someone forgot to tell him he was never supposed to be famous or successful. Oh well. But what if John Travolta had been Forrest Gump instead of Tom “I am a Motherfucker” Hanks. If you remember back into your early 1990’s trivia that you probably memorized for Quizzo (srs bzns), you might recall a little film called Phenomenon. In this movie, John Travolta plays a Joe Everyman who gets zapped by something which turns him into a genius. But more than that, it turns him into a fucking Jedi. He starts levitating objects and solving the world’s energy crisis in his spare time, all while chasing a MILF played by Kyra “The Closer” Sedgwick. In the end, it turns out he has a brain tumor which ultimately he succumbs to. Deadly brain cancer apparently makes you a Jedi (shrugs).
So what does this have to do with Forrest Gump? Good question. Phenomenon is the EXACT INVERSE of Forrest Gump. It is oft referred to as 1/Forrest Gump in some Hollywood circles. Whereas Forrest Gump was a lovable idiot and ultimate underdog, John Travolta in Phenomenon (character hereby to be referred to as “Phenomenon”) is the exact opposite. The guy talks to trees because he’s so smart. At one point, he starts breaking mirrors with the Dark Side of the Phenomenon. Could Mr. Travolta have pulled off playing Forrest? No way. Tom Hanks was made for the character and at the same time he made that character. Travolta at this time was on a bit of an upswing. Pulp Fiction had put him back on the map and the powers that be probably thought it would benefit them to put him in something great to cash in on his rising star. Win win situation right? But even more than that what if Travolta did take the part? It is my firm belief that had John Travolta portrayed Forrest Gump, the entire universe would have been destroyed. Let’s look at this in mathematical terms. If Forrest Gump = Forrest Gump/1…and Phenomenon = 1/Forrest Gump what do you get? Think about it. You get nothing. Not only did Tom Hanks give us a brilliant movie that will be remembered for all time as long as there is film, he saved the world. This may be an overreaction of course. Thankfully we will never know how truly terrible Forrest Gump would have been had John Travolta played Forrest. When you kiss your children and grandchildren to sleep tonight (gross), just remember what could have been and be thankful that Tom Hanks is and will continue to be here to save us from the cruelty of evil. Mother fucker shot at a tank with a .45 (History Channel)…a NAZI tank.
Final Synopsis: You divided by zero…. OHHHH SHIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII……
Josh Henderson is a red headed douche nozzle(actor/writer) that has opinions that should rarely (never) be taken seriously.