Gary Busey

  1. Keith Carradine, Nashville, 1974.   “They wanted Gary Busey for Tom,” said Carradine, “which was much more on the money in terms of Gary’s energy and personality. It would have made much more sense on first blush.” Busey was busy in The Texas Wheelers pilot with Jack Elam. Robert Altman then switched Carradine from Bill to Tom, leader of the band: an amoral rocker. [Every woman in the audience felt his I’m Easy was aimed at them]. “Never felt right. I did not like him. What you see is a guy who doesn’t like himself. It’s brilliant. It’s the truth. I wish I could say I was such a good actor. It had nothing to do with acting. It’s the genius of Bob putting me in a circumstance that made me really uncomfortable to have to fulfill the obligations of that character.”
  2. Emilio Estevez, Maximum Overdrive, 1986.  Busey was keen.  Stephen King was not. And he was, for the first time, directjng his own script –  19th of his staggering 313 screen credits.  “If you want it done right, you have to do it yourself.”  Hah! He has had no memory of writing the novel due to his alcohol addiction – and was “coked out of my mind” making the movie. Why hasn’t he directed a second time? “Just watch Maximum Overdrive a moron movie.”
  3. 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 Dragnet and Punchline before he could head up Anne’s third and final filmed script, ninth and last producing gig. She’d also acted – in Escape To Nowhere in 1961, when her brother directed it. At 13.
  4. Charlie Sheen, Cadence, 1990.   “Creativedifferences” with the boss, Martin Sheen. Stupid tactic when the director has three actor sons!
  5. Rick Moranis, Little Giants, 1994.    Quaid and Gary Busey became Moranis and Ed O’Neill as brothers running rival football teams in the tiny  township  of Urbania, Ohio.
  6. Eric Bogosian, Under Siege 2: Dark Territory, 1994.   Producers wanted the first siege’s villain resurrected. Steven Seagal did not. Villain have the best lines, after all: “Good evening, la dies and gentlemen, this is your captor speaking…”
  7. Dennis Hopper, Waterworld, 1994.   Allthe usual villains were considered: John Malkovich, Gary Oldman, even Nicholson. Busey, for the record, was the last man killed on Gunsmoke, after a reign of 20 years.
  8. Fred Ward, Joe Dirt, 2001.   The titular David Spade searches for the parents who ditched him as a kid at the Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona. After shooting a scene with Busey and Roseanne Barr as Pa and Ma, director Dennie Gordon discovered what we all knew – Roseanne had too much baggage for such the cameo. Joe’s folks then became Ward and Caroline Aaron. Just as the Grand Canyon was played by the Dead Horse Point State Park in Utah.
  9. James Todd Smith, Mindhunters, 2004. To prove he was serious about acting, the rapper LL Cool J reverted to his real name, lost 40 lbs and hung out with Philadelphia police in training for his cop, Gabe Jensen. The science fiction title proves to be Cluedo Meets The FBI on a clichéd island (in Holland), (no, really), where profilers are being trained… and, as it happens, killed. TRhe title is FBI slang for its ISU, Investigative Support Unit, assisting US cops in tracking mainly serial killers. Released (more like escaped) in 2005.
  10. Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Watchmen, 2008. Not so much “Who watches the watchmen?” as Juvenal  asked, but who them playeth? In the 90’s when Paramount was keen, Busey was the rapidly murdered Edward Blake   (aka  The Comedian).. Then, Warners took over the rights and went through Nathan Fillion (also shortlisted for Dan Dreiberg aka Nite Owl), Thomas Jane, Tommy Lee Jones, Ron Perlman… before hiring Morgan, distant kin of… the Rockefellers, Humphrey Bogart, Daniel Boone, Katharine Hepburn, Tennessee Williams…  even the Liittle House on the Prairie author Laura Ingalls Wilder.






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