Cheech Marin

  1. Bill Murray, Stripes, 1980.   Or what would have been Cheech and Chong Join the Army…  if the duo’s manager hadn’t insisted (without them knowing) on 25% of Ivan Reitman’s next five films.   The script was rebooted for Murray and his pal, the scripter Harold Ramis, with C&C’s stoner stuff handed to Judge Rheinhold’s Elmo. There was some kinship with Goldie Hawn’s Private Benjamin, 1979 – PJ Soles wore the same uniform in both movies. The comedy made Murray and Ramis and increased  US Army recruitment by 10%.  Honest!
  2. Chick Vennera, The Milagro Beanfield War, 1988.  For his star-packed, second directing gig,  Robert Redford saw 100 videotapes of  Hispanic actors  for the pivotal farmer role of John  Nichols’ 1974 “magic realist” New Mexican trilogy.. Cheech thought he’d won it.  “In the end he was not quite right,” said Redford. (Nor was Edward James Olmos). “I saw a certain character and it was not coming. And Chick came in very late and was close to what I saw in my mind.” “I wasn’t Chicano,” said Broadway’s Vennera, “but I had an Argentinian family and a definite Spanish affinity. I’d done my homework, hanging out in border bars with a tape recorder  to get the idiom and the accent. I was confident, fluid.”  Not to mention, excellent.
  3. Bob Hoskins, Super Mario Brothers, 1992.   Cheech chonged and Danny De Vito, Bruno Kirby also steered clear of the videogame’s Brooklyn plumber Mario Mario. Hoskins, among others, had been attracted by the by the script from fellow Brits Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais but Disney changed all that. “The whole experience was a nightmare. It had a husband-and-wife team directing (Max Headroom’sAnnabel Jankel and Rocky Morton) whose arrogance had been mistaken for talent. After so many weeks their own agent told them to get off the set!”
  4. Ernie Sabella, The Lion King, 1994.   Sabella (and his usual partner, Nathan Lane) were the hyenas, before being upped to Tim (the meerkat) and Pumba (the warthog).


 Birth year: Death year: Other name: Casting Calls:  4