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Ving Rhames

  1. Tony Todd, Night of the Living Dead,1990.    George A Romero scripted the re-make  of his 1968 horror classic and gave it to his trusty make-up effects man (and sometime actor) Tom Savini to direct - superbly. Tom ploughed through  the  inevitables for the heroic Ben: Laurence Fishburne, Ving Rhames and and  ER doc, Erique La Salle.Rhames had to do was wait 14 years  to win another George Romero re-tread, Dawn of the Dead, 2004.  But then  he was a star name by then, thanks to Marsellus Wallace in Tarantino’sPulp Fiction, Tom Cruise’s buddy, Luther, in Mission: ImpossibleAnd Walter Robbins in ER, 1994-1996
  2. Randy Brooks, Reservoir Dogs, 1991.
  3. Gregory Hines, Renaissance Man, 1994. Gave up this better paid role to be the merciless Marsellus Wallace in Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction - after having missed out on Reservoir Dogs. And that begat ER, Mission: Impossible, Striptease...
  4. Michael Jai White, Spawn, 1996. All the obvious heavyweights - Cuba Gooding Jr, Will Smith, Wesley Snipes, Tony Todd (Candyman), Denzel Washington  and Tarantino favourites Samuel L Jackson, Ving Rhames - were seen for the movies’ first black superhero. (The later filmed Black Pantherwas born first, in a 1966 comic - 26 yearsbefore Spawn).  Plus the usual rappers LL Cool J, Snoop Dogg, Tupac Shakur. And the inevitable unknown: Allen Payne, from New Jack City (with Snipes).  Not easy, said White, to win audience sympathy for “the most tragic character I’ve encountered,” a government assassin back from hell. Hence, Spawn 2and Spawn 3: The Ultimate Battlenever battled.
  5. LL Cool J, Any Given Sunday, 1999. Among various actors talking about this gridiron drama with director Oliver Stone .
  6. Ray Romano, Ice Age 1 & 2, 2002/6. Both Ving and James Earl Jones were first voices considered for Manny the mammoth.
  7. Charles S Dutton, Secret Window, 2003. A cramped schedule meant Rhames had to miss the Stephen King thriller.
  8. Billy Zane, The Pleasure Drivers, 2005. The slim, stylish Zane was a surprise replacement for the mammoth Rhames.
  9. Michael Jai White, Undisputed II: Last Man Standing, 2005. The new Mike Tysonesque Chambers for the sequel was the star of the Tyson tele-film, 1995.
  10. Kurt Russell, Grindhouse (Death Proof segment), 2007. Before aiding Russell’s career, Quentin Tarantino also looked at his favourites - Rhames, Mickey Rourke, Sylvester Stallone - for Stuntman Mike. He drove a Chevy Nova with JJZ-109 plates - same as Steve McQueen’s Ford Mustang in Bullitt, 1968.



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