Edward James Olmos


  1. René Enriquez, Hill Street Blues, TV, 1981-1987.    He refused to be Steven Bochco’s Lieutenant Ray Calletano. He guested in three episodes, realised his bad judgement and promptly signed on for Anthony Yerkovich’s Lieutenant Martin Castillo on Miami Vice, 1984-89.
  2. Al Pacino, Scarface, 1982.     Both De Niro ands EJO refused to be Tony Montana. Who could blame then? Brian De Palma was directing!
  3. Jonathan Pryce, Something Wicked This Way Comes, 1982.      Olmos and Christpher Lee were short-listed for the creator of Dark’s Pandemonium Carnival. Maybe they saw what was coming… Disney suits rejected a Stephen King script and a Georges Delerue score (!), added special effects willy-nilly and held up the release for a year while trying to mend their own mistakes. No way to treat author Ray Bradbury.
  4. Christopher Lloyd, Star Trek III: The Search For Spock, 1983.    Where was Spock? Behind the camera, directing the first of his two Treks. Leonard Nimoy wanted Olmos for a “more physically intimidating” Klingon commander and as this was before Miami Vice, Olmos needed the money. Except producer Herve Bennett felt him too small: “a quarterback, we need a defensive tackle.” Nimoy finally agreed – because Lloyd was more operatic and intimidating. In 2009, he said Kruge was one of his favorite roles.
  5. Paul Winfield, The Terminator, 1983.        Louis Gossett Jr was also in the mix for the pragmatic, honest cop, Lieutenant Ed Traxler.
  6. Martin Sheen, Firestarter,1984. Sorry, not into cops just yet – not even Stephen King’s Captain Hollister.
  7. Chick Vennera, The Milagro Beanfield War, 1986.   Too old.   (Ah, those dreaded words).  Robert Redford’s second directing gig (eight years after Ordinary People) came from John Nichols’ “magic realist” New Mexican trilogy., Redford had 2,000 Hispanic actors seen, 100 videotaped. Including Vennera –  from Broadway! “I wasn’t Chicano 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. While Cheech Marin was also…  too old.
  8. Rowan Atkinson, The Witches, 1988.   All the Americans in director Nic Roeg’s  mix for  the mi ce-hunting hotel manager Mr Stringer – William  Devane, Andy Garcia, Edward James Olmos, even  director Robert Rodriguez – had to bow to, Rowan Atkinson. A double-whammy year for him as it also marke3d the birth of his accident-prone  Mr Bean.
  9. Anthony Quinn, Revenge, 1990.      Too busy preparing his helming debut (American Me, 1992). So was his intended co-star Kevin Costner (Dances With Wolves) – and he shot his first.
  10. Stuart Wilson, The Mask ofZorro, 1997.      Antonio Banderas was the (perfect) hero versus the villainous Rafael Montero. But which one?  Olmos, Giancarlo Giannini, Scott Glenn, Lance Henriksen, Sam Shepard.  It became a third gig for Wilson and Bond director Martin Campbell, after No Escape, 1993, Vertical Limit, 2000.




 Birth year: Death year: Other name: Casting Calls:  10