Bruce Campbell


  1. Dan Hedaya, Blood Simple, 1984.    The Chin played the Hedaya role in a teaser trailer – all bloody and crawling down the road  – for the first Joel and Ethan Coen movie.
  2. Reed Birney, Crimewave, 1985.     “A week before production began they dropped Bruce… and put in their own lead.”  Director Sam Raimi on his first encounter with a major studio (Columbia Pictures).  “Then, in the course of the shoot, they began pulling  pages from the script and rewriting” – the original scenario by Raimi and the Coen brothers, Ethan  and Joel, no less!  Bruce took another role; he was, after all, one of the producers.  “I was never allowed my cut of the film,” added Sam, who saved  Columbia’s industrial bacon with his three Spider Man hits, 2002-2007.  
  3. Roddy Piper, They Live, 1987The pitch was fine: Drifter finds some sunglasses that let him to see that aliens have taken over the Earth. And, apparently, the film.  Lousy! Which is probably why 18 other big guns, said nadato being Nada: Alec Baldwin, Michael Biehn, Jeff Bridges, Tom Cruise, Harrison Ford, Mel Gibson, Tommy Lee Jones, Michael Keaton, Christophe(r) Lambert, Dolph Lundgren, Bill Paxton, Ron Perlman, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone, Patrick Swayze, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Bruce Willis plus three mere pistols: Brian Bosworth, Bruce Campbell, Stephen Lang).  And the less said about Russell’s wrestler replacement, the better.“Just John Carpenter as usual,” said the Washington Post,  “trying to dig deep with a toy shovel.”
  4. Dale Midikoff, Pet Sematary, 1989.   “The Chin“ was first choice for Louis  in It Creed in the  27th of Stephen King’s staggering 313 screen credits. This was the first time he scripted one of his books. Indeed, the book that scared him the most. So much so, he shoved it, out of sight, in a drawer. As with Carrie,  his wife, Tabitha, rescued it. Where are we without our wives?  They were on location for much of the shooting – 20 minutes from their home in  – where else but Maine.  (Both guys have played Elvis).
  5. Warren Beatty, Dick Tracy, 1989.  Sonny Bono with the missus, Cher, as Tess, were set for a 70s’ musical version that never flew.  Next came Ryan O’Neal in the earlty 80s.  Then, Bruce Campbell, Robert De Niro, Harrison Ford, Richard Gere, Mel Gibson, Paul Newman, Jack Nicholson, Robert Redford and even such total opposites as George C Scott and Tom Selleck were seen in ’89.   James Caan settled for a cameo as Splandoni.  Beatty agreed to direct if he could play Tracy, his boyhood idol.  He felt the horror star Bruce Campbell was “too TV like”(!) Campbell found it impossible to mount a Tracy TV series – Beatty still held the rights and said: “Only if I play him.”
  6. Liam Neeson, Darkman, 1990.When losing The Shadow gig, Sam Raimi created his own superhero.  He wanted his pal Campbell – from the same high school drama class  and the two Evil Dead horrors – as the titular Peyton Westylake. “I was not  enough of a [acting] commodity for Universal. But Liam Neeson at the time, he did a couple of well-known things in Europe, but I don’t think people could have picked him out of a police line-up here. Sam threw me the bone: Why don’t you be the final [disguised] Darkman. “So,” he added wit laughed, ” I am Darkman.  Technically.”
  7. Jeff Goldblum, Jurassic Park, 1992.
  8. Keanu Reeves, Speed, 1993. The Chin had never been in such rarefied company… There were 30 stars queuing for Die Hard On A Bus. From A Listers Jeff Bridges, Kevin Costner, Tom Cruise, Michael Douglas, Harrison Ford, Richard Gere, Mel Gibson, Tom Hanks, Kurt Russell, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone, Patrick Swayze, even Mr Die Hard, himself, Bruce Willis… to the B group: Kevin Bacon, three Baldwin brothers (Alec, Stephen and William), Michael Biehn, Bruce Campbell, George Clooney, Johnny Depp, Richard Dreyfuss, Michael Keaton, Christophe(r) Lambert, Viggo Mortensen, Dennis Quaid, Mickey Rourke, Tom Selleck… and two also-rans Bruce Campbell and Chuck Norris. All crushed by a whippersnapper!
  9. Dylan Walsh, Congo, 1995.  Seen for primatologist Peter Elliot, he was given Charles Travis. So it goes.
  10. Billy Zane, The Phantom, 1995.    Campbell, a fantasy film cult, was a favourite choice for the titular Kit Walker. However, ever since reading comics while shooting Dead Calm, 1988. Zane had been pumping iron for years to fill the suit with real muscles. Also made down-under, the first screen Phantom since the 1943 serial with Tom Tyle r(andAce The Wonder Dog) withered on the vine.Zane was impressive enough for James Cameron to grab him for a trifle called Titanic. Ironically, Cameron’s Avatar star, Sam Worthington, was due for the modern day reboot announced in 2008.

  11. Doug Bradley, La Lengua asesina/The Killer Tongue, Italy, 1996. Bruce had moved on from gorey thrillers; director Alberto Schiama called up Hellraiser’s Pinhead.
  12. Vincent D’Onofrio, Men In Black, 1996.   The Chin and John Turturro both passed on the hill-billy with an alien uncomfortably inside him – like Orson Welles in a suit of armour,  suggested critic Roger Ebert. D’Onofrio based Edgar on John Huston-George C Scott’s voices, Pete Sellers’ Dr Strangelove movements and… bugs.
  13. Brendan Fraser, The Mummy, 1998. A surprise winner, particularly as it starred Fraser instead of…  Ben Affleck or Matt Damon (they’d just won their Goodwill Hunting script Oscar), Evil Dead’s Bruce Campbell (his first studio offer), Leonardo DiCaprio (keen but tied to The Beach), the unknown Stephen Dunham (instead, he debuted as Henderson), Matthew McConaughey, Chris O’Donnell, Brad Pitt, Kurt Russell, Sylvester Stallone and the star of the 2016 flop, Tom Cruise. Not as the titular Imhotep, of course,  but the heroic Indiana…er… Rick O’Connell.
  14. Robert Patrick, The X Files, TV, 2000-2002.    Actors who had played Elviis and Elvis’ father were up for the same role… of   Dana Scully’s new FBI partner. Bruce was in  the running until T-1000 shuffled in. (In other  biopix, Patrtck was also the fathers of  Johnny Cash… and Linda Lovelace). Adam Baldwin, Dean Cain (the 1993 TV Superman) and Lou Diamond Phillips auditioned for John Doggett – when Fox Mulder went missing. (A money row, what else).  Patrick said the Special Agent could well be his most favourite character – but he could not play him in then the tenth season due to his new Scorpion gig, 2014-2018.  He once declared: “I’ve done 55 movies and, in all seriousness, there’s maybe five that are good and the rest are crap.”
  15. Dylan Baker, Spider-Man 2, 2004.    Too recognisable to be Dr Curt Connors as first planned. Sam Raimi, suddenly an A List director, gave his pal a smaller role – in all three Spidey movies.
  16. Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Supernatural, TV, 2005-2008.   The Chin and ex-BeastmasterMarc Singer were early choices for John Winchester, for  a dozen episodes as father of two sons, hunters of all, manner of things going bump in the night. At 39, JDM was a mere dozen years older than his oldest boy: Jensen Ackles as Dean Winchester.   Campbell and Singer were 47 and 57.




 Birth year: Death year: Other name: Casting Calls:  16