Payday Loans
Bill Murray


  1. JE Freeman, Alien: Resurrection, 1976.   Change of Dr Mason Wren in another unnecessary Alien chapter.  Directed by an unhappy Frenchman, Jean-Pierre Jeunet. He has never trodden on another LA soundstage.

  2. Peter Riegert, National Lampoon's Animal House, 1978.  Harold Ramis wrote Boone for Chevy Chase’s replacement on Saturday Night Live but“Murricaine Bill”  refused it.  “I’m basically a lazy person, I’ve got to get motivated to get out of bed.” He accepted several other Ramis movies - the best being Groundhog Day, 1993. Except they never spoke to each other for 21 years after it. “At times, Bill was just irrationally mean and unavailable,” said Ramis. “He was constantly late on set. What I’d want to say to him is just what we tell our children: You don’t have to throw tantrums to get what you want. Just say what you want.” They made up shortly before Ramis died in 2014.

  3. Robert Hays, Airplane!, 1979.   To paraphrase Oscar Wilde’s Lady Bracknell… “To lose one Animal House may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose both it and Animal House in a Plane, looks like carelessness.” Such was the fate of  Murray and Chevy Chase. Plus Bruce (now Caitlyn) Jenner. David Letterman (no, really), Barry Manilow (honestly, I don’t make these things up), Robert Wuhl.. .and Fred Willard, who confessed: “I didn’t understand it!” Directors David and Jerry Zucker (with Jim Abrahams) sent up overly serious movies by dubbing their own improvised dialogue.  When they caught Zero Hour! - a 1957 film about an ex-WWII pilot landing a stricken passenger flight - they thought: “Why don’t we recreate the whole thing?” Thus, Airplane’s conception. They wrote it as a comedy for non-comics, a concept so new that no one understood it. Except Paramount’s Michael Eisner.  “We told the actors to pretend that they didn’t know they were in a comedy. Said co-star Robert Stack: “I get it - we’re the joke!”
  4. Dudley Moore, Arthur, 1980. The suits wanted a US star. Brand new auteur Steve Gordon wanted Dud. Gordon won, made a big hit, but never a second film - he died at 44 in 1982.   John Belushi had passed, scared of being typed as a drunk (surely the least of his troubles!). Orion Pictures’ other choices for the titular rich man-child were: Murray, Jeff Bridges, Chevy Chase, Steve Martin, Robin Williams… and quite ridiculously, James Caan, Jack Nicholson, Al Pacino (that would have been tough going!), Robert Redford, Sylvester Stallone, John Travolta. Enough for an Arthur XI soccer squad - and one reserve.
  5. Harrison Ford, Raiders of the Lost Ark,  1980.
  6. Christopher Walken, The Dead Zone, 1983.      The Murraycane was the surprise choice of author Stephen King for his Johnny Smith gaining extra-sensory gifts after a five year coma. He can foresee the future. And change it.  “But he had a commitment, or he was on vacation,... something like that.”  Story of the Murray career. After musing upon fellow Canuck Nicholas Campbell, director David Cronenberg fell for Walken. Or, rather, for his face. “That’s the subject of the movie. That’s what the movie was about. All the things that are in his face.” This was the seventh of King’s 313 screen credits.  

  7. Tom Hanks, Splash, 1983. 
    Hanks always claimed he was director Ron Howard’s 11th choice for Allen Bauer in his breakthrough movie. Sorry, Tom - 15th! And here they be: Murray (PJ Soles was to be his mermaid), Jeff Bridges, Chevy Chase, Richard Gere, Steve Guttenberg (Howard chose him for Cocoon a year later), John Heard, Michael Keaton (he also refused Alan’s brother, Freddie), Robert Klein, Kevin Kline, Dudley Moore, David Morse, Burt Reynolds, John Travolta (his agent turned him off it!), Robin Williams. Murray was cock   o’ the walk due to Ghostbusters. “I knew then I was gonna be rich and famous… and be able to wear red clothes and not give a damn,” Murray proclaimed. “All you people in red, you know what I’m speakingabout.

  8. Jack Nicholson Prizzi’s Honour, 1984.        ”Do I ice her? Do I marry her?” Conundrum for Charley Partanna, hit-man for the Prizzi Family, when he falls for a fellow contractor: Kathleen Turner. John Huston had ten other Charley notions, each as mad as the other. Italians Al Pacino, Sylvester Stallone, even John Travolta made more sense than, say, Murray, Tom Hanks, Dustin Hoffman,   Bill Murray, Ryan O’Neal, Christopher Reeve (!), Burt Reynolds, Jon Voight. Of course, Nicholson was the unlikeliest Brooklyn Mafioso since the Corleones’ James Caan, but terrific. Because Huston kept reminding him: ”Remember, he’s stupid!”
  9. Dave Coulier, The Real Ghostbusters, TV, 1986-1991.   Two years after the movie, the blissfully laconic Music took over Murray’s big screen role of Peter Venkman when Murray refused the toon series.  Murray hated his TVoice - “I sound lilke Garfield.” He insisted the producers start over with Coulier. Ironically, Murray later took over voicing a certain  fat, lazy, lasagna-lovingcat for the 2003 movie,  following the tragic 2001 death of Music - the TV Garfield, 1983-1991. Murray reprised the role in Garfield: A Tale of Two Kitties, 2005, and was Venkman on the video-games
  10. Debra Winger, Legal Eagles, 1985.  A lesson in how not to make a movie because it started all wrong. No one was in it for the right reason.  Nobody was in control of it.   The reason to  make it… always   The Package.   All CAA clients.      Result: one giant flop for Hollywood super-agent and film arranger  Michael Ovitz.   He and Mr GhostbustersIvan Reitman wanted Dustin  Hoffman and his Tootsie  flat-mate, Bill Murray, as the titular lawyers.  They wound up with Redford and... Debra  Winger.  “Bob disliked Ivan becaue Ivan was too commercial,” reported Ovitz. “Ivan disliked Debra because she was a prima donna… and she disliked Ivan right back. Bob and Debra had zero chemistry, and the script was all concept and no highs.”

  11. Rob Lowe, About Last Night, 1986.       John Byrum felt Bill was more than just a Saturday night TV clown. For their version of David Mamet’s Sexual Peversity In Chicago, they flew Nick Nolte to meet Murray in New York. “Not,” said the then director, Rob Cohen, “a match made in heaven.” Bill proved more passionate about Byrum's idea of filming W Somerset Maugham’s The Razor’s Edge.“I am Larry Darrell. And you have a meeting tomorrow with [Columbia's] Frank Price to tell him why.”
  12. Michael Keaton, Gung Ho, 1986.       A name was required and director Ron Howard tried to land Murray or Eddie Murphy - although he always wanted “my secret weapon.” Er, Keaton..?

  13. Chevy Chase, !Three Amigos, 1986.
    Five years earlier, Steven Spielberg contemplated making the Western comedy.  Obviously he would retained the same Lucky Day - writer-producer Steve Martin.  Plus Murray as Dusty Bottoms (oh, ho!) and Robin  Williams set to steal it  all as Ned Nederlander.  The John Landis’ version comprised Martin, Chevy Chase and Martin Short.   Oh yes,and the film Spielberg made instead was a small, personal project.  ET

  14. Robin Williams, Club Paradise, 1986.      The, er, comedy died once Murray and John Cleese were switched to Williams and Peter O’Toole. As Chicago critic Roger Ebert put it: “The credits aren't long, but they are long enough for the Williams character to drop every shred of credibility as a Chicago fireman.”
  15. Jack Nicholson, The Witches of Eastwick, 1986.       “There’s riskier material and riskier ways of working.” On hearing this from his lady, Anjelica Huston, who had been testing with Murray, Nicholson expressed his interest in being Darryl Van Horne and she called director George Miller: This is your lucky day! Jack was signed - within hours. Huston was not. She was both annoyed/pleased that Nicholson did not fight for her inclusion. Murray had re-spun Jack’s 1960 masochistic dental patient in the 1986 musical version of Little Shop of Horrors.
  16. Sidney Poitier, Little Nikita, 1987.      Columbi's new  production chief, David Puttnam, offered him the “benevolent FBI agent. I didn’t think these two terms worked together and a lot of people-the public - didn't think so either.” Puttnam later, allegedly, complained Murray was not putting any of his Ghostbusters fortune back into the industry, which helped lead to Puttnam’s getting the bum’s rushfrom heading Columbia in LA.
  17. Michael Douglas, Fatal Attraction, 1987.
  18. Tom Hanks, Big, 1987.    Steven Spielberg’s sister, Anne, wrote the script. about a teenager wishing himself in an adult’s body.   Josh possibiles included the unlikely Robert De Niro and Harrison Ford, plus Albert Brooks, Steve Guttenberg (shooting 3 Men and a Baby), Michael Keaton, Bill Murray, Denis Quaid,Judge Reinhold and Robin Williams  (who did his own take on the notion in Francis Coppola‘s Jack, 1996, first aimed at to Hanks !). And Fox simply  rejected Gary Busey and… John (Box Office Poison) Travolta.  First choice Hanks had to finish Dragnetand Punchlinebefore he could head up Anne’s third and final filmed script, ninth and last producing gig. She’d also acted - in Escape To Nowherein 1961, when her brother directed. At 13.
  19. Charles Grodin, Midnight Run, 1987.  In the frame for Jonathan "The Duke" Mardukas were Albert Brooks, Chevy Chase, Cher (oh yes!), Steve Martin, Bill Murray, Robin Williams. Plus  Bruce Willis - also up for Robert De Niro’s skip-tracer, or modern-day bounty-hunter, dragging Grodin’s hysterical embezzler ($15m!) back to Vegas… with the FBI andthe Mob chasing them.
  20. Bob Hoskins, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, 1987.
    Chevy Chase was too nervy, Harrison Ford too pricey, Eddie Murphy regretted passing… and no one could contact the notorious hideaway Bill Murray… When he read that in a paper, he screamed out loud - he would have loved making that film.  Not that much fun, reported Hoskins. “I had to hallucinate to do it,” he told Danish TV. After working with green screens for six months, 16 hours a day, he lost control.  “I had weasels and rabbits popping out of the wall at me.” Surprisingly, the murder mystery where the chief suspect is a carton character was based on the never made Cloverleaf, Robert Towne’s third Jake Gittes script (for Chinatown, read Toontown). So who should be Gittes, er, shamus Eddie Valiant? Well, why not Gittes, himself - Jack Nicholson? No, OK, Ed Harris, Robert Redford, Sylvester Stallone? Director Robert Zemeckis considered Charles Grodin, Don Lane. And auditioned Peter Renaday.

  21. Steve Martin, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels,1988.     Marlon Brando-David Niven’s Bedtime Story con men caper was tailored for Mick Jagger-David Bowie, passed to Eddie Murphy, reconstructed for Murray-Steve Martin. Finally,Martin took on Murray’s lout and Michael Caine became the sophisticate.
  22. Dustin Hoffman, Rain Man, 1988.      With Hoffman as his smart alec brother. Said Bill:“People say: You could do anything you want. Well, what do I want to do?” The answer, apparently was... Scrooged.  That he was!
  23. Christopher Reeve, Switching Channels, 1988.     Just not his year for decisions. He was anti-CAA packaging. So was the box-office.
  24. Michael Keaton, Batman, 1988.
  25. - Robin Williams, Dead Poets Society, 1988.    “Carpe diem. Seize the day, boys. Make your lives extraordinary.” Disney offered Dustin Hoffman  this one to direct -  “and star in, if you like” He did like. Except Rain Manfinally got moving. And Disney couldn’t wait.  Next? Murray, Alec Baldwin, Mel Gibson, Liam Neeson, Robin’s pal Christopher Reeve  and Mickey Rourke backed off. Williams dithered for ages and finally agreed. His co-star, Ethan Hawke, called the film: One Flew Over the Robin's Nest… with Wlliams as Jack Nicholson, Norman Lloyd as Nurse Ratched and Robert Sean Leonard as Brad Dourif.
  26. Robert De Niro, Awakenings, 1989.     Director Penny Marshall backed away for her first choice - fearing that Murray’s  name on the marquee would have the public anticipating expecting a comedy.
  27. Jeff Bridges, The Fabulous Baker Boys, 1989.   First idea was to turn Chevy Chase and Murray into the musical brothers vying for a superb singer Michelle Pfeiffer Making Whoopee on their piano.  Texas auteur Steve Kloves then thought of real brothers. Dennis and Randy Quaid passed and the Bridges boys jumped at the rare chance of working together.
  28. Tom Hanks, Turner & Hooch, 1989.  Bill, Chevy Chase, John Larroquette, Dudley Moore and Jack Nicholson (!) all fled from police detective Scott Turner and his French mastiff dog in this Odd Coupleriff.  With the dog, Beasley, as Walter Matthau and, of course, Hanks is, was and always will be a second Jack Lemmon (in all his career choices). Henry Winkler, Happy Days’Fonzie, was sacked after two weeks as director by Disney suit Jeffrey Katzenberg - who doubled his errors by using the wrong ending, where the dog dies. (A TVersion with Thomas F Wilson never survived the putrid pilot.
  29. John Heard, Home Alone, 1990.  For the zero roles of Macauley Culkin’s forgetful parents (in a film written for and duly stolen by him), an astonishing 66 stars were considered - including 32 later seen for the hot lovers in Basic Instinct:Kim Basinger, Stockard Channing, Glenn Close, Kevin Costner, Jamie Lee Curtis, Michael Douglas, Carrie Fisher, Harrison Ford, Mel Gibson, Jodie Foster, Linda Hamilton, Daryl Hannah, Marilu Henner, Anjelica Huston, Helen Hunt, Holly Hunter, Diane Keaton, Jessica Lange, Christopher Lloyd, Jack Nicholson, Sean Penn, Michelle Pfeiffer, Annie Potts, Kelly Preston, Dennis Quaid, Meg Ryan, Martin Sheen, Sylvester Stallone, Sharon Stone, John Travolta.   Other potential Pops were Dan Aykroyd, Jim Belushi, Chevy Chase, Jeff Daniels, Tony Danza, John Goodman, Charles Grodin, Tom Hanks, Robert Hays, Steve Martin, Rick Moranis, Bill Murray, Ed O’Neill, John Ritter, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Tom Skerritt, Robin Williams… and the inevitable unknowns: Broadway’s Mark Linn-Baker, Canadian musicians-comics  Alan Thicke ("the affordable William Shatner") and Dave Thomas.
  30. Mel Gibson, Air America, 1990.    “He loved it,” said the helmer of the hour, Richard Rush. “But he wasn’t ready to do a movie.” Not even with, at that time, Sean Connery.

  31. James Caan, Misery, 1990. 
    “Leading men hate to be passive; hate to be eunuchised by their female co-stars."  Top scenarist William Goldman on why 22 actors avoided the prospect of being beaten up and beaten to an Oscar by  Kathy Bates as the mad fan of writer Paul Sheldon. Warren Beatty prevaricated but never actually said no (nor yes). Richard Dreyfuss regretted disappointing director Rob Reiner again after refusing When Harry Met Sally, 1988 (they had earlier  made a classic of   King’s novella, The Body, as Stand By Me, 1985).   William Hurt refused - twice. Jack Nicholson didn’t want another King guy so soon after The Shining.  While Dustin Hoffman and Al Pacino being up  for the same role was nothing new  - but Robert Redford and Morgan Freeman was  Also fleeing the  32nd of Stephen King’s staggering 313 screen credits were Tim Allen, Jeff Daniels, Robert De Niro, Michael Douglas, Harrison Ford, Mel Gibson, close pals Gene Hackman and Dustin Hoffman, Ed Harris, John Heard, Robert Klein, Bill Murray, Ed O’Neill, John Ritter, Denzel Washington, Robin Williams and Bruce Willis… who went on to be Sheldon in Goldman’s  2015 Broadway version.

  32. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Kindergarten Cop, 1990.   It was around  this point that Bill withdrew from movies, sacked his agent, and  ran  his own life and career - extremely well.   Future co-star Tilda Swinton says he has the look of “a tired child who has laughed so much he aches – but finds it too complicated to fully explain the joke… It’s like talking to a crumpled bag of sweets.”
  33. Bruno Kirby, City Slickers, 1990.   Facing 40, three Manhattan dudes book into a dude ranch and join a cattle drive and… a perfect comedy!  Kirby, Jason Alexander, Buddy Hackett, Bill Murray, Ray Romano were in the frame for  Ed Furillo… while  Robin Williams  was offered his choice of  the trio but was Hook-ed by Steven Spielberg. Jack Palance stole the movie and Oscarnight - winning a support award 38 years after his only nomination (for the Shane gunman). He celebrated with one-arm push-ups on the Academy stage - and the 1993 sequel.
  34. Jim Belushi, Curly Sue, 1990.  “What I thought would be this cute, sweet little movie experience ended up going on for something like five months,” reported Kelly Lynch. “So much money was spent. It was insane! It was going to be me, Alec Baldwin and Kevin Spacey -  a whole different situation. They left for stage dates].  Those were two guys I knew really well, but I'd never met Jimmy [Belushi] before, and then he and [director John Hughes making his final film] didn't get along. I kinda felt like a mom dealing with two 12-year-old boys.“  Also in the Bill Dancer mix were Jeff Bridges, Richard Dreyfuss, Mel Gibson, Jeff Goldblum, Steve Guttenberg, Ray Liotta, Kurt Russell, Tom Selleck, Sylvester Stallone, John Travolta, Bruce Willis. And Bill Murray  - off shooting What About Bob?  So he missed working with Kelly. She said every time Road House was on TV, Murray would phone to tease her husband, Mitch Glazer, about her sex scene with Patric
  35. John Goodman, King Ralph, 1991.    Hollywoodisation of the Emlyn Williams novel, Headlong, about an English actor becoming the UK monarch. Producer Jack Brodsky brought it to director Sydney Pollack in 1986for that most British actor - Bill Murray! Goodman’s TV fame, image, freedom - and likeability - had grown apace while Bill's was stricken almost mortally.
  36. Robert De Niro, Cape Fear , 1991.    When Steven Spielberg was contemplating a re-make of  the dark 1962 thriller, he wanted (another surprise) Murray for the the heavy - unattracted to the violent script! Next idea: the flamboyant David Johansen, from the 70s glam rock band, New York Dolls. Once the Amblin project was passed over to Martin Scorsese, it was obvious who was going to be eating the scenery...
  37. Dan Aykroyd, My Girl, 1991.    Murray, Tim Allen, Chevy Chase and  Steve Martin were in the mix for young Anna Chlumsky’s undertaker father in this little gem.  Allen and Chase were siphoned off for not  being known for drama. Murray was busy asking What About Bob?  And Martin was the Father of the Bride.  Aykroyd has just tried drama in for Driving Miss Daisy-  and won an Oscar nod!
  38. Tim Allen,  Toy Story, 1992.       First,  Murray, then  Chevy Chase missed the #1 film of 2005 in the US by refusing to  voice Buzz Lightyear - named after NASAtronaut Buzz Aldrin and facially based on the director John Lasseter’s eyebrows, cheekbones and dimpled chin
  39. Emilio Estevez, The Mighty Ducks (UK:Champions),  1992.  From January 22 to April  11 to be precise.  With  Estevez beating  bro’ Charlie Sheen, plus Tom Cruise, Michael J Fox, Tom Hanks and even the scenarist Steve Brill, himself, to  the seen-it-all-before sports movie about, this time, a kids’ team in  the Pee Wee ice hockey leagues. Also in the puck mix was Bill Murray, way too old – except it was first  written that way, much darker and less comedic. Until Disney got hold of it.
  40. Denzel Washington, Philadelphia, 1993.      At first, director Jonathan Demme felt that the lawyer should be a comic, to infiltrate some lightness in the heavy drama.  Not a comment to convince Bill to hang around. His client, another lawyer fighting his unfair dismissal because he had AIDS, would have  beern Daniel Day-Lewis. Originally, the lawyer  was Italian-American Joe Martino,. That changed to Joe Miller when it was offered to Gibson,  and Robin Williams before Denzel showed interest and director Jonathan Demme had longed to work with  him - and did so again ten years later in The Manchurian Candidate re-hash.

  41. Tom Hanks, Forrest Gump, 1993.  "My name is Forrest Gump. People call me Forrest Gump."  Author Winston Graham (who did not write that line, it was a Hanks adlib) saw John Goodman as his creation. Director Robert Zemeckis did not.    His first choice was Harry Anderson  - stuck in Dave’s World, 1993-1997. Chevy Chase, Bill Murray, Bill Paxton and John Travolta simply refused.  Big misake confessed Travolta.  Well, they all, agreed on that when Hanks earned his second consecutive Oscar plus an estimated $40m from his profits-deal. Life was really like a box of chocolates or a movie deal.  “Ya never know what you're gonna get."

  42. Michael Keaton, The Paper, 1994.     For any film, any time, director Ron Howard always, stubbornly  preferred Keaton.  Well, they are about as vapid  as each other.

  43. Tim Allen, The Santa Clause, 1994.  The guy who accidentally kills Santa (it was shooting him, but Disney wasn’t having that) and take over his duties was penned for for Bill Murray. “Not my kind of humour,” he retorted.  Next in line:Allen, Rowan Atkinson, Jim Carrey, Richard Gere, Steve Guttenberg, Tom Hanks, Robin Williams. Plus eight  Batman candidates: Alec Baldwin, Jeff Bridges, Pierce Brosnan, Michael J Fox, Mel Gibson, Kurt Russell, Patrick Swayze and the winning Michael  Keaton.

  44. Anthony Hopkins, The Road To Wellville,  1994.    UK director Alan Parker’s version  of life on the health farm set up by cereal king, Dr  John Harvey Kellog
  45. Tom Hanks, Forest Gump, 1995.       An early, as they say,  consideration.   Not a good one.  An early one.

  46. John Goodman, The Flintstones, 1994.   
    Yabba-dabba-don’t!   Thin Bill as the Stone Age hero? Yeah, in a fat suit, why not? An idea as dumb as putting Bill in a cat-suit for a Garfield venture.  Dan Aykroyd, James Belushi, John Candy, Chevy Chase  came and went.   The live action take on the cartoon series (The Simpsons of its days, 1960-1966), would never have happened if Goodman had been unable to squeeze it in during his Roseanne series hiatus. Because, according to co-creator Joseph Barbera: “When John Goodman was born, he was stamped Fred Flintstone right there on his bottom.”  The producer agreed. End of debate.  ’Cos the  producer was Steven Spielberg!   

  47. Eric Roberts, Doctor Who (The Movie), TV, 1996.
  48. Woody Harrelson, The People vs Larry Fynt, 1996.     Another biography from Ed Wood scenarists Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski. Director Milos Forman preferred his Flynt to Columbia's. Anyway, Murray never returned phone calls.   If you could find his number. What else is new?
  49. JE Freeman, Alien: Resurrection, 1996.  So… no reunion of the Ghostbusters Murray and, in her fourth and final Alien chapter, Sigourney Weaver. Pity.
  50. John Goodman, The Borrowers, 1996.    The delicious villain, Ocious P Potter,  was not in the 1952 Mary Norton  book that Peter Sellers tried to film in 1964.  So he would have been Pod, the four-inch-high patriarch of the tiny Clock family living  beneath the floorboards of a house owned by ”human beans”.  Three versions had already been hits  when this Anglo--American version was launched. The battle for Ocious was, therefore, UK v US…   Martin Clunes, Bob Hoskins, Griff Rhys Jones, Alan Rickman v Tim Allen, Chevy Chase, Danny DeVito, Jeff Goldblum, Christopher Lloyd, Steve Martin,  Bill Murray,  Ed O’Neill, Robin Williams.  The fact that Pesci was also suggested signaled a ton of Home Alone physical attacks on poor Goodman, which out off both Steven Spielberg and his apprentice, Robert Zemeckis, from directing.  They weren’t required!  Nor were Rowan Atkinson and comic-turned-director Mel Smith - off busily making their own Bean movie for the same UK/US companies.

  51. Burt Reynolds, Boogie Nights, 1997.   Murray, Albert Brooks, Harvey Keitel, Bill Murray and director Sydney Pollack were offered the porno film-maker Jack Horner in director Paul Thomas Anderson’s exploration of the 70s porno biz as a family unit  . Plus Warren Beatty and Jack Nicholson, who had been supporters of hardcore star Harry Reems during his 70s’ legal hassles. Pollack regretted refusing the role and  Reynolds regretted accepting it. He rowed with PTA, won the best reviews of his career, a Golden Globe and his one and only Oscar nomination. Yet he still still fled PTA’s Magnolia, 1999.
  52. Matt Dillon, There’s Something About Mary, 1998.    Fox wanted Bill Murray as sleazuy private dick Pat Healy, latest in a long line smitten with the gorgeous Cameron Diaz. The Farrellly brothers rightly said he was too old and suggested Azaria, Cuba Gooding Jr or Vince Vaughn. Easiest role for Dillon - he was Cameron’s lover at the time.
  53. Christopher Lloyd,  My Favourite Martian, 1998.  A Martian makes a visit – and friends with Jeff Daniels’s reporter. There goes the neighbourhood (title of another Daniels’ movie,  circa 1992).  The five possibilities for  “Uncle Martin”      were Murray (a tad obvious), Michael Douglas, Charlton Heston(!), Martin Sheen - and Star Trek’s latest skipper, Patrick Stewart.
  54. Jason Lee, Dogma, 1999.     Said Rolling Stone critic Peter Travers: Thou shalt not stop laughing... New Jersey auteur Kevijn Smith reached high (Murray, John Travolta) and low (Adam Sandler) for his demon Azrael in his askew take on religion. "It's hard to conceive of a flick without Jason," he said when his mate was not free for the fallen angel, Loki. "Luckily, his schedule freed up and he was able to segue into Azrael. You couldn't ask for a better villain. Jason became the guy people in rehearsals measured themselves against - such was the passion and intensity of his performance."
  55. Adam Sandler, Big Daddy, 1999.     Chris Farley sadly ODed months before he was due to be Sonny the toolbooth attendant adopting  a five-year-old boy (played by twins) to impress his girlfriend. And so Sandler collected a hefty cut of the $235m box-office. I still can’t see why. We’ve seen it all before: Chaplin’s The Kid, Shirley Temple’s Little Miss Marker, Jim Belushi’s Curly Sue, evenTakeshi Kitano’s Japanese Kikujiro the previous year and, Hugh Grant’s About a Boyto come in 2001 Yawn!  No wonder Murray and Jack Nicholson fled.
  56. Mike Myers, Shrek, 2000.    A decade earlier athis Amblin Entertainment, long before giving birth to DreamWorks, Steven Speilbergwas planning his animation debut - and selected Murray for the titular gree ogre (Shrek is Yiddish for monster) oppositeSteve Martin’s Donkey.Murphy and the DreamWorks Animation chief, Jeffrey Kaztzenberg, friendsfor years, had always promised themselves a toon movie. This one turned into three features and two shorts. 
  57. Billy Bob Thornton, Bad Santa, 2003.   Jack Nicholson withdrew for  Something’s Gotta Givewith “Special K” (Diane Keaton), Murray left for  Lost In Translation, Larry David was wed to  his TV series,Curb Your Enthusiasm and Dennis Leary came and went.  Billy Bob won  - and got drunk  for one scene as the titular Willie.
  58. John Goodman, Monsters, Inc,  2000.      Bill tested  and won the Monstropolis gig of voicing  the blue James P “Sulley” Sullivan. Except the Pixar  execs couldn’t reach him by phone, fax, post, mail, pigeon, pony express  or agent to confirm dates. “We took that to mean No,” said director Peter Docter. Goodman was a good move: he suggested getting Steve Buscemi  for  Randall Boggs.
  59. Bernie Mac, Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle, 2002.   Murray was not a happy camper on the first film in 2000 . Director McG said the actor attacked him in-set - denied by Murray. But he certainly had a blazing row with co-star Lisa Liu that halted shooting for a day! He refused to reprise Charlie’s right-hand man, Bosley, the sequel… allowing the character to become, suddenly, black.  Inevitably, Jamie Foxx and Will Smith were considered - but pricey. Enter: burly Mac.  Film flopped, so no 3 or 4. Indeed no more Angels until actress-turned-auteur Elizabeth Banks’ lukewarm 2019 reboot. With Bosley as a woman. Banks, in fact.  Next time, Peter Dinklage?

  60. Johnny Depp, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, 2002     
    The first one…  Well, the second…    Back in the 90s, Steven Spielberg got his hands on the first script (by Ted Elliott and Terry Rosso) and was dickering between Steve Martin, Bill Murray and Robin Williams for Captain Jack Sparrow.  (Why not Tom Hanks?) Spielberg couldn’t have been more wrong - or totally old-fashioned.   Whether the Spielbergian Jack would also have had mascara, gold teeth and a Keith Richards’ rock ‘n’ roll shuffle, we’ll never know. Because, believe it or not, Disney refused the very idea of a film based one of their Disneyland rides.  Until, that is, the studio hired Stuart Beattie and Jay Wolport to  beef up the  original screenplay. Over the years, seven other actors in were approached about Sparrow: Jim Carrey, Robert De Niro, Cary Elwes, Michael Keaton, Matthew McConnaughey, Rik Mayall and Christopher Walken.

  61. Eddie Murphy, The Haunted Mansion, 2003.    Phantoms were in and Disney was ready! with this this spectre special… as long as one of the 1983 Ghostbusters agreed to be Jim Evers. None did. Not Aykroyd, Bill Murray, Rock Moranis or Harold Ramis. Twenty years later, Murphy headed the tale named rather than based on the Disneyland attraction.

  62. Martin Freeman, The Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy, 2005.
  63. Mos Def, The Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy, 2005.

  64. Johnny Depp, Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, 2004. 
    Surely, Murray would have scared the kiddywinks, like some other Tim Burton ideas: Nic Cage and Chris Walken. Tim’s 30 fancies for chocolatier Willy Wonka were his ole Betelgeuse, Michael Keaton. Plus Murray, , Rowan Atkinson, Dan Aykroyd, Jim Carrey, Chevy Chaze, Warwick Davis, Robert De Niro, James Gandolfini, Dwayne Johnson, Ian McKellen, Marilyn Manson, Steve Martin, Rik Mayall, Mike Myers, John Neville, Leslie Nielsen, Brad Pitt, Peter Sallis, Adam Sandler, Jerry Seinfeld, Will Smith, Patrick Stewart, Ben Stiller, Robin Williams. And the surviving Monty Python crew (also up for the 1970 version): John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, Michael Palin. Among the five exec producers, author Roald Dahl’s widow, Liccy, wanted her husband’s favourite Willy - Dustin Hoffman  If not possible she voted for UK comics, Eddie Izzard or David Walliams. She was quite happy with Depp… who found Willy’s voice while riffing on a a stoned George W Bush!

  65. Greg Kinnear, Little Miss Sunshine, 2005. Murray and Robin Williams were first/second choices for Richard Hoover, trying to teach nine-step programmes when he’s barely at three. And father of little Miss Abigail Breslin, teaching her co-dysfunctionals about life. National Lampoon’s Family Vacation with soul, said Rolling Stone’s Peter Travers.  Alec Baldwin, Thomas Hayden Church, David Duchovny, Ray Romano nearly Hoovered.  Michael Ardnt quit his job as Matthew Broderick’s assistant to pen the script - and won the for best original screenplay. His next credits included such pears as Toy Story 3, Hunger Games: Catching Fire and Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens!

  66. Jeff Daniels, The Squid and The Whale, 2005.   Fled from head of a weirdo family.  Excuse: He needed a break after Broken Flowers. And thereby embarrassed Daniels…  He had a sex scene with Anna Paquin, who had been his daughter teaching geese to fly in  Fly Away Home nine years earlier. “We tried not to think about... you know, geese.”

  67. Billy Bob Thornton, School For Scoundrels, 2005.     Murray ran, possibly understanding the script was a disastrous re-hash of the 1959 UK original... not that funny, it’s true, but at least it had class via Alistair Sim, Ian Carmichael, Terry-Thomas, etc.The choice of BBT as the now foul-mouthed Dr P (for Potter, the author Stephen Potter) was, said UK critic Philip French, “rather like casting Burt Reynolds as Bertrand Russell.”
  68. Jason Lee, Alvin and the Chipmunks, 2006.   For some reason, all the A List - Murray, Tim Allen, Jim Carrey, Chevy Chase, Ben Stiller, John Travolta - edged back from being Dave Seville - the chipmunks’ adoptive father, songwriter and supplier of that iconic yell: Allvviinn!! Main reason Lee accepted the role was because it had been offered to his idol, Murray. “I was so excited I did backflips!”  He flipped better than he voiced...
  69. Bruce Willis, Over The Hedge, 2006.    The DreamWorkers wanted Bill and Harold Ramis  to voice the RJ, the racoon, and Verne,the Turtle.But this was no Shrek. And two Garfield movies were toon enough for him.
  70. Steve Carrel, Dinner For Schmucks, 2009.   Among the 2006 choices for the pathetic loser (due opposite Steve Martin) in  the (as always, highly flawed) re-make of the French Diner de cons, 1998, writer-directed by Francis Veber. If they’d only stopped tampering with his (near) perfection…   when Jacques Villeret was the original con

  71. Jim Broadbent, Arthur Christmas, 2010.  Murray was up for Santa - and not for the first time. He also said that The Santa Clause, 1994, and Bad Santa, 2002,  were "not for me.” While Broadbent agreed to both his Santa offers. He first Claus-ed in Get Santa, 2013. 
  72. Jack Nicholson, How Do You Know, 2010.     When Murray passed on playing Paul Rudd’s father,  Nicholson jumped aboard. Anything for a pal…  particularly when he is auteur James L Brooks, for whom Jack made three films (Terms of Endearment, Broadcast News, As Good As It Gets) resulting two of his three Oscars. Not. This. Time. 
  73. Anthony Hopkins, Hitchcock, 2012.    Hitchcock’s back in business!   With two films headlined by UK actors (Anthony Hopkins, Toby Jones) in bad impressions and fat suits. This is the second one: Hopkins directing Psycho. And telling Janet Leigh: “You can call me Hitch. Hold the cock.”   Hitch didn’t look (or sound) like Hitch and  idem for those playing Janet Leigh and Vera Miles, however young James D’Arcy was an uncanny Anthony Perkins.  Apart from Johnny Depp, the casting only seemed interested in avoirdupois over plausibility…  Paul Giamatti, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Bill Murray, Oliver Platt – and, stupidly, only two other Brits,  Richard Griffiths and Alfred Molina…  but not the perfect Timothy Spall - already up for Hitch in TV’s terrible The Girl, about making Tippi Hedren, The Birds and Marnie.
  74. Christoph Waltz, The Zero Theorem, 2013.     Too busy completing his seventh Wes Anderson movie, The Grand Budapest Hotel, to join Terry Gilliam’s film.“Terry’s a fun guy to hang out with,” said Murray. “His stuff doesn’t always work for me, but its not for lack of trying. He really throws it out there.Now if I had a pint of Terry’s blood, I would get some shit done.”



















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