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Tim Curry


  1. Michael York, Cabaret, 1971.     To accommodate Liza Minnelli, Sally Bowles was changed from Brit to Yank in the Bob Fosse musical - and so vice-versa for her pal, Brian Roberts (aka the author Christopher Isherwood, called Clifford Bradshaw on stage). About 20 Brits were seen for Brian including Leonard Romeo Whiting and a future James Bond. Timothy Dalton. Plus Curry (Dr Frank-N-Furter, from The Rocky Horror Picture Show),  David Hemmings, Jeremy Irons, Malcolm McDowell, John McEnery, Paul Nicholas, future auteur Bruce Robinson. John Rubinstein was the sole American, when it looked as if York could not  get free in time and Brian would be American after all. 
  2. Malcolm McDowell, A Clockwork Orange, 1971.  After Mick Jagger’s interest camer and went  (with the other Stones as his droogs directed by John Schlesinger), Venetian maestro Tinto Brass was keen on adapting the Anthony Burgess novel. Ken Russell loomed large with, of course, his main man, Oliver Reed, as Alex. Curry and Jeremy Irons simply fled.  Stanley Kubrick delayed his version until finding the right leading thug. Once he saw Lindsey Anderson’s Ifin 1968,  he told his wife: “We’ve found our Alex.”And if McDowell hadn’t been available?  “I probably wouldn't have made the film."Kubrick used the same Dutch sculptures and paintings featured the year before in Dropoutby Brass - who later chose McDowell for his infamous Caligua, 1979.
  3. Tom Hulce, Amadeus, 1984.     During his UK casting period, Czech director Milos Forman saw Curry who played the role on-stage. At 38, he was too old on-screen for Johann Chryostom Wolfgang Theophilius Mozart.
  4. Christopher Gable, Doctor Who #135: The Caves of Androzani, TV, 1984.    John Nathan-Turner aimed (too) high for the final (and favourite) adventure of Doc5 Peter Davison. For the disfigured hero, Sharaz Jek, the producer wooed Curry,David Bowie, Mick Jagger or Oliver Tobias. Rather than be in it,they all preferred to stay home and imply watrch the regeneration into Doc6 Colin Baker - the least popular of all the Time Lords. Gable, the ballet-dancer made a movie star by director Ken Russell, had previously been chosen for Major Salateen.
  5. Jack Nicholson, Batman1988.
  6. Christopher Lloyd, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, 1988.   Producer Steven Spielberg (and the Disney suits) found Curry’s test as Judge Doom quite terrifying. As if Lloyd was not - he never even blinked!   They’d even considered Christopher Lee  - and Jon Pertwee, surely too sweet. Also seen: John Cusack, Roddy McDowall, Sting.
  7. Tony Randall, Gremlins 2: The New Batch, 1989.     Curry was director Joe Dante’sfirst choice for the voice of Brain Gremlin in the sequel that Dante didn’t want to direct.
  8. Harvey Keitel,Thelma & Louise, 1990.
  9. Robby Benson, Beauty and the Beast, 1990.      Laurence Fishburne, Val Kilmer and Mandy Patinkin also made sense as potential voice of The Beast - but Regis Philbin, c’mon! US audiences would have guffawed on recognising the voice of the nation’s most famous morning TV host.
  10. Jonathan Freeman, Aladdin, 1991. Disney’s voice choices for Jafar, our hero’s foe, the Sultan’s evil vizier, were Curry, Kesley Grammer, John Hurt, Christopher Lloyd. Plus the future X-Men co-stars Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart. Merging Boris Karloff with Vincent Price, Freeman remained in Jafar mode (for sequels and video games) for the next 20 years.

  11. Mark Hamill, Batman, TV, 1992-1995.    Luke Skywalker took over voicing The Joker when it was deemed that Curry’s version was surely what it was supposed to be -“too scary.”
  12. Roberto Benigni, Son of the Pink Panther, 1992.    Oh, what a woeful mess as director Blake Edwards tried yet again to keep his Panther annuity alive when his star, Peter Sellers, was dead.  Given the choice of Curry (more suitable as Dreyfus), Rowan Atkinson, Gérard Depardieu and Kevin Kline, Edwards chose the Italian Benigni - far less subtle than Peter Sellers - but a good excuse to resurrect Claudia Cardinale from the first film, The Pink Panther, 1962,  as his mother, Maria Grambelli, following  her affair with Clouseau. Except, of course, CC was an Indian princess  in the first film and Maria was Elke Sommer in the second, A Shot in  the Dark, 1963.  So much funnier than  this… shot in the the head.
  13. Jeremy Irons, The Lion King, 1993.  In the frame to voice the villainous Scar in the 32nd Disney toon - Bambi meets Hamlet in Africa! - were either top Brits, Curry, Irons, Malcolm McDowell - or assorted Hollywood-mafiosi James Caan, Robert Duvall, Ray Liotta.
  14. Hugo Weaving, The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, Australia,1994.     Been there, donethat, didn’t bother with a postcard because if you don’t know that... you shouldn’t be making cross-dressing movies...
  15. Christopher Gable, Doctor Who #135: The Caves of Androzani, TV, 1984.     Mixed signals about Sharez Jek... Rock idols like David Bowie, Roger Daltrey, Mick Jagger and the rockerish Tim Curry - or actors Patrick Allen, Nicholas Ball, Steven Berkoff, Brian Cox, Christopher Gable, Michael Gambon, Julian Glover, John Hurt, Derek Jacobi, Martin Jarvis, Michael Jayston, Oliver Tobias.
  16. Christopher Lloyd, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, 1987.    he legend goes that Curry’s test terrified producer Steven Spielberg and his director protege, Robert Zemeckis. So, Curry was too scarey… and John Cleese too funny! What did they want? Not Roddy McDowell, Sting or Robin Williams either. And Christpher Lee passed. Lloyd was a strictly MOR toon (he never blinks) who, in an earlier draft, had been the hunter who killed Bambi’s mother.  
  17. Paul McGann, Doctor Who (The Movie), TV, 1996.  
  18. Eric Roberts, Doctor Who (The Movie), TV, 1996.      
  19. Christopher Lloyd, Anastasia, 1997.     Curry and two other Brits - Jonathan Pryce and Patrick Stewart- were also up forvoicing the mad Russian monk,Rasputin. But Back To The Future’s Doc Brown beat Dr Frank-N-Furter (of The Rocky Horror Picture Show), Brazil’s Sam Lowry andStar Trek’sJean-Luc Picard.
  20. Kevin Kline, Wild Wild West, 1999.     Warners encouraged director Barry Sonenfeld to chase after Will Smith for West, James West ('nuff said?). But not, alas, after his first choice for Artemus Gordon.

  21. Christopher Lee, The Lord of the Rings trilogy, 2000-2002.
  22. Leonard Nimoy, Atlantis: The Lost Empire, 2001. Disney science fiction has never gelled until this animated feature from the Lion King/Hunchback of Notre Dame/Beauty and the Beast trio: producer Dan Hahn, directors Gary Trousdale, Kirk Wise. They jumped at the chance of Spock voicing the Atlantean king - after (literally) penciling in Curry.
  23. Rowan Atkinson, Scooby-Doo, 2001. Who should be the villain Mondavarious?  Mr Bean or Dr Frank-N-Furter? And the winner is Atkinson. Playing it, said critic Roger Ebert, as a private joke.
  24. Johnny Depp, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, 2006. Only Brit considered when, during 25 year, the titular casting also included Russell Crowe, Robert De Niro, Michael Douglas, Richard Dreyfuss, Gene Hackman, Dustin Hoffman, William Hurt, Kevin Kline, Steve Martin, Jack Nicholson, Al Pacino. Curry was the sole Brit considered and the most lunatic notions were... Warren Beatty, Harrison Ford and… Robert Redford!
  25. Bill Skarsgård, It, 2016.   No, no, he’d already done It. For the 1990 mini-series - the year Stellan Skarsgård’s son/Alexander Tarzan Skarsgård’s brother was born.. Among his rivals for Pennywise, Stephen King’s shape-shifting horror clown were were the too obvious Jim Carrey, Willem Dafoe, Johnny Depp, Jackie Earle Haley. Plus Richard Armitage, Kirk Acevedo (of Oz), Jim Carrey, Johnny Depp, Paul Giamatti, Tom Hiddleston, Doug Jones, Ben Mendelsohn (argued over money), Will Poulter (bad scheduling), Channing Tatum, Hugo Weaving… even Tilda Swinton. Only Stellan Skarsgård’s son/Alexander Tarzan Skarsgård’s brother could produce both a child-like and creepy-like Pennywise. “It’s beyond even a sociopath, because he's not even human. He’s not even a clown… [that’s] a manifestation of the children’s imaginations, so there’s something child-like about that.” Hence, It: Chapter Two, 2019.
  26. Johnny Depp, Sherlock Gnomes, 2017.   Depp voiced Holmes in his third toon - after Curry withdreww from the gig. Chiwetel Ejofor made his vocal-debut as Dr Watson and Michael Caine was Lord Redbrick - as in Gnomeo & Juliet, 2010. Good to know they’re still together after seven years. So what’s next from producer Elton John: Gnome, Sweet Gnome?











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