- Richard Hatch, Battlestar Galatica, TV, 1978-1979. In the runningfor Captain Apollo (like two other future TV icons David Hasselhoff, Don Johnson). Then, rather like Dirk Benedict becoming Starbuck, Hatch was all signed up literally hours before shooting began.He’s the only Galaticanappearing inboth the original and rebooted series, 2004-2009.
- Robert Urich, Vega$, TV, 1978-1981. Selleck and Urich once co-starred in Bunco, a 1977 TV pilot. Now, Tom didn’t want to go down mean streets anew (after Magnum PI), Urich didn’t mind (after Spenser). Selleck returned to law enforcement as ex-homicide dick Jesse Stone hiding out as police chief of the small New England town of Paradise, in four tele-films, 2005-2007.
- Dirk Benedict, Ruckus, 1981. Too big! Writer-director Max Kleven considered Selleck for the leadbut felt that,at 1.92m,hewas too magnum-isized.The ex- Battlestar Galactica star was 1.80m.
- Roger Moore, Cannonball Run, 1981. Which is the bigger laugh: a lookalike 007 or lookalike Magnum? Bond won. Tom remained close to Cannonballer Burt Reynolds, producing Burt’s would-be comeback TV series, BJ Stryker, 1989-1990.
- Harrison Ford, Raiders of the Lost Ark, 1981.
- James Garner, Victor/Victoria, 1982. TV’s Garner-with-a-tash decided he wanted the part - too late! He was locked into his Magnum, PI series - the same contract that lost him Indiana Jones.
- Arnold Schwarzenegger, The Terminator, 1983.In all, 52 actresses were considered, seen, or tested for the robot assassin’s target,Sarah Connor - but a mere eight guys for the killer from the future, itself. Selleck, Michael, Douglas, Mel Gibson,Kevin Kline, Jürgen Prochnow, Randy Quaid,… It was when Orion boss Mike Medavoy decided on OJ Simpson as the Terminator (!) and Arnie as Reese, that Cameron realised Schwarzi was the perfect, coolest Terminator in town.
- Michael Keaton, Batman, 1989.
- Don Johnson, The Hot Spot, 1989.
Robert Mitchum was the matrix for drifter Harry Madox - and first choice in 1962. Nearly 30 years later, it was to be Mickey Rourke and Debra Winger. Or Selleck, Kevin Costner, Harrison Ford, Richard Gere, Dennis Quaid, Sam Shepard, Patrick Swayze opposite Anne Archer, Jodie Foster, Melanie Griffith, Theresa Russell, Uma Thurman and ultimately, Virginia Madsen. Just not necessarily for this movie… Replacing UK director Mike Figgis, Dennis Hopper totally changed the entire gig! In a 2014 AV Club interview, Johnson explained how three days before shooting began Dennis “called a meeting. ‘OK, we’re not making that script. We’re making this one.’And he passed a script around the table that had been written for Robert Mitchum in the ’60s... based on a book called Hell Hath No Fury… Wow! The Figgis script was really slick and cool, and it was a heist movie. But this was real noir. The guy was an amoral drifter, and it was all about how women were going to take him down… And that was the movie that we ended up making.” Hopper’s Last Tango In Texas was hailed by Chicago critic Roger Ebert as “a superior work in an old tradition.” He wuz right!
- John Goodman, Born Yesterday, 1992. Tom fell out when the re-make budget insisted on cutting three high-priced stars to one - Melanie Griffith.
- Arnold Schwarzenegger, Total Recall, 1989. After 42 drafts, no third act and one bankruptcy, Total Recall was total madness… Italian cinemogul Dino De Laurentiis’ never-ending Martian thriller was nearly made by Dreyfuss in Italy, Patrick Swayze in Australia… and William Hurt for Canadian director David Cronenberg… Next up for the heroics were Selleck,Jeff Bridges, Christopher Reeve, before almost becoming a B-movie with little Matthew Broderick (!), or Mark Harmon (cheapest on the list). Then, Dino went belly-up… enabling Arnold to take over and (Dino had refused to audition him!) and move Mars to Mexico where everyone got the touristas except him - he had his food, water, B12 shots flown in from home after a rotten Mexperience during Predator, 1986.
- Roberts, Doctor Who (The Movie), TV, 1996.
- William Hurt, Lost In Space, 1998. New Line expected a send-up. The casting of Gary Oldman changed the tone from, as Hurt put it, adolescent escapism to an entertainment raising certain issues.Family v technology, workaholism, morality.No wonder it flopped.
- Perry King, Titans, TV, 2000. Passed on Richard (his name in Friends) forthe first five of the 13 episodes shot; NBC aired 11 only and then cancelled the series. So, Tom missed having the heart attack while havingsex with Yasmin Bleeth!
- Mark Harmon, Freaky Friday, 2003. Sixteen years after 3 Men and a Baby, Disney tied to rope Selleck back into whacky as the future husband of Jamie Lee Curtis - unfortunately swopping lives with her teenage daughter, Lindsay Lohan. Just for one day. One too many for Selleck.
- Taylor Kitsch, John Carter, 2011. The near-Indy finally got a near-Indy role.... in 1992. When it was called, correctly, Princess of Mars.