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Patrick Swayze (1952-2009)

 

  1. John Travolta, Grease, 1978.    Like other contenders, Swayze (son of choregographer Patsy Swayze) had been in the Broadwayshow. He made his film debut the following year in Skatetown, USA.
  2. John Laughlin, Crimes of Passion, 1984.  Swayze’s Dirty Dancing was clean compared to this noxious slice of Ken Russellmania.  Alec Baldwin, and  Jeff Bridges were also seen for  the square Bobby Grady getting love and sex lessons from Kathleen Turner’s part-time hooker in Ken Russell’s most outlandish film - although the reason could be the mass of cuts made to  get an R and not an X rating.  Roger Ebert said that. And this: “You know you're in trouble in a sex movie when you spend more time thinking about the parts they left out than the parts they put in.”
  3. Tom Cruise, Top Gun, 1985.    Refused the US Navy pilot ace called Maverick So did:  Matthew Broderick, Nicolas Cage, John Cusack, Emilio Estevez, Michael J Fox, Tom Hanks, Matthew Modine, Sean Penn.
  4. Mel Gibson, Lethal Weapon, 1986.     In all, 39 possibilities for the  off-kilter, ’Nam vet cop Martin Riggs - not as mentally-deranged as in early drafts (he used a rocket launcher on one guy!)  Some ideas were inevitable: Alec Baldwin, Michael Biehn (shooting Aliens), Jeff Bridges, Michael Douglas, Harrison Ford, Richard Gere, Al Pacino, Sean Penn, William Petersen, Dennis Quaid, Christopher Reeve, Kurt Russell, Charlie Sheen, Sylvester Stallone, John Travolta, Bruce Willis. Some were inspired: Bryan Brown, Nicolas Cage, Willem Dafoe, Jeff Goldblum (he inherited Gibson’s role inThe Fly), William Hurt (too dark for Warner Bros), Michael Keaton, Michael Madsen, Liam Neeson, Eric Roberts. Some were insipid: Jim Belushi, Pierce Brosnan, Kevin Costner, Kevin Kline, Stephen Lang, Michael Nouri (he joined another cop duo in The Hidden),  Patrick Swayze. Plus TV cops  Don  Johnson, Tom Selleck… three foreign LA cops:  Austrian Arnold Schwarzenegger, Dutch Rutger Hauer and French Christophe(r) Lambert. And the inevitable (Aussie) outsider Richard Norton.
  5. Roddy Piper, They Live, 1987The pitch was fine:Drifter finds some sunglasses that let him to see that aliens have taken over the Earth. And, apparently, the film.  Lousy! Which is probably why 18 other big guns, said nadato being Nada: Swayze, Alec Baldwin, Michael Biehn, Jeff Bridges, Tom Cruise, Harrison Ford, Mel Gibson, Tommy Lee Jones, Michael Keaton, Christophe(r) Lambert, Dolph Lundgren, Bill Paxton, Ron Perlman, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Bruce Willis (plus three mere pistols: Brian Bosworth, Bruce Campbell, Stephen Lang).  And the less said about Russell’s wrestler replacement, the better.“Just John Carpenter as usual,” said the Washington Post,  “trying to dig deep with a toy shovel.”
  6. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Total Recall, 1989.    All signed and sealed forshooting in Australia under Bruce Beresford, when producer Dino De Laurentiis went bust. And Schwarzi swooped.

  7. 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 Swayze, Kevin Costner, Harrison Ford, Richard Gere, Dennis Quaid, Tom Selleck, Sam Shepard 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!


  8. Kurt Russell, Tango and Cash, 1989.  Sylvester Stallone was Raymond Tango – without question. But who would he accept as his equally frame cop pardner, Gabriel Cash? After Swayze ran (to solo billing in Road House), the list was long… Michael Biehn, Pierce Brosnan, Kevin Costner, Harrison Ford, Richard Gere, Mel Gibson, Don Johnson, Michael Keaton, Ray Liotta, Liam Neeson, Michael Nouri, Gary Oldman, Robert Patrick, Bill Paxton, Ron Perlman, Dennis Quaid, Gary Sinise, Bruce Willis and James Woods. They lost out on the debatable pleasure of four directors! From the Russian Andrei Konchalovsky to, secretly, Stallone..!

  9. Danny Glover, Predator 2, 1990.  Producer Joel Silver wanted an Arnie sequel. Arnie warned him off it. The movie would take a major dive, the director and script were all wrong... “The story was in Los Angeles. Nobody wants to see predators running around downtown LA. We already have predators. Gang warfare is killing people all the time. You don’t need extraterrestrials to make the town dangerous.”   He was right, The sequel was one of the biggest 1990 bombs, while his Terminator sequel went through global roofs. Schwarzi never worked with Silver again. Swayze was first asked to replace him. (He had first been due for Total Recall - in Australia - before Arnold made it in Mexico). However, Swayze was injured during Road House.

  10. Richard White, Beauty and the Beast, 1990.     Swayze, Rupert Everett and Donny Osmond were just not arrogant enough for Gaston in Disney’s 30th toon feature. And the Tennesseean White was. Osmond, however, went royal, by joining the Broadway production in 2006.
  11. Jason Patric, Geronimo: An American Legend, 1993.     Alec Baldwin also lost the US Cavalry rank of 1st Lieutenant.

  12. Keanu Reeves, Speed, 1993.  There were  30 stars queuing for Die Hard On A Bus. From A Listers Jeff Bridges, Kevin Costner, Tom Cruise, Michael Douglas, Harrison Ford, Richard Gere, Mel Gibson, Tom Hanks, Kurt Russell, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone, Patrick Swayze, even Mr Die Hard, himself, Bruce Willis… to the B group: Kevin Bacon,three Baldwin brothers (Alec, Stephen and William), Michael Biehn, Bruce Campbell, George Clooney, Johnny Depp, Richard Dreyfuss, Michael Keaton, Christophe(r) Lambert, Viggo Mortensen, Dennis Quaid, Mickey Rourke, Tom Selleck… and two also-rans  Bruce  Campbell and Chuck Norris.  All crushed by a whippersnapper!
  13. Steve Martin, Leap of Faith, 1993.   Made three years after writer Janus Cercone first delivered it. With the absolute wrong star.
  14. Dennis Quaid, Dragonheart, 1995. Harrison Ford, Mel Gibson, Liam Neeson and Robin Williams were also on the short-list for Bowen… and to be pally with a dragon with Sean Connery’s voice. That’s Hollywood!
  15. Willem Dafoe, The Boondock Saints, 1999.    Having read the script, critically trashed as “clichéd, inelegant, and slow-witted,” Swayze passed on thegay, opera-loving FBI agent hunting - and envying -a pair of Boston Irish twins knocking off the Mafia, Russian and local. The film was writer-directed by Troy Duffy, mistakenly touted by propducer Harvey Weinstein as the new Tarantino - well, the F Word was used 246 times (versus 272 in Reservoir Dogs,265 in Pulp Fiction)
  16. Will Patton, Road House 2: Last Call, 2006. Swayze did not approve the sequel - or the money. And so, his Jack Dolton character became Nate Tanner…   As if Swayze was ever coming back!
  17. John Michael Higgins, Fired Up, 2008.    Waiting for a series…  The reason Swayze quit a role of a gay coach at acheerleader camp waspurely “artistic’ said his agent - in no way connected with the chemotherapy treatment for the actor’s pancreatic cancer. He was, in fact, waiting to hear if the A&E network was picking up a series option onhis veteran FBI agent character in a pilot called The Beast.  It did.
  18. Robert Hatch, Zombieland, 2009.    When his plan was several celebrity zombies, director Ruben Fleischer offered one to Patrick before his cancer was diagnosed. His scene would have mockedhis Dirty Dancing and Ghost hits.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 






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