James Spader

  1. Sean Penn, Taps, 1981.     Auditioned and lost.   Nor for the first   or last time.
  2. Scott McGinnis, Wacko, 1981.   In the mix for a new Norman Bates in a total send-up of horror movies. The cops are hunting the pumpkin-headed Lawnmower Kiler.  Easy, he’s the director  (and future Vanity Fair editor) Greydon Clark. Other characters included Dr Moreau and Damien, while others attend  Alfred Hitchcock High.
  3. Andrew McCarthy, Pretty In Pink, 1985.     Spader – and Charlie Sheen – tested for Blane… described on the casting call sheet as “a hunky, square-jawed jock. ” Not my type, moaned the third-time Joph Hughes star, Molly Ringwald. After the McAudiiton, she told Hughes: “That‘s the kind of guy I would fall in love with.” Spader preferred Stef. Always more fun to play the villain.
  4. Michael Bowen, Iron Eagle, 1985.     Seen by Canadian director Sidney J Furie for Knotcher in the silly fly-boy number delayed to avoid clashing with Tom Cruise as another jet jock in Top Gun.
  5. Will Patton, No Way Out, 1986.  For his excellent thriller (labyrinthine and ingenious, said Roger Ebert) the under-praised Aussie director Roger Donaldson looked at his fellow Aussies Bryan Brown and Colin Friels for the villain Gene Hackman’s aide.  Plus Alec Baldwin, Michael Biehn,  Richard Dreyfuss, Scott Glenn, John Heard, Stephen Lang, Gary Oldman, Ron Perlman, Sam Shepard, James Spader, JT Walsh. Patton got the gig and  was cast as gay again in The Punisher, 2003.
  6. Scott Campbell, Dying Young, 1991.     Turned it down like the big boys Daniel Day-Lewis, Mel Gibson.
  7. Kevin Bacon, JFK,  1991.
  8. Mandy Pantinkin, The   Music   of   Chance, 1993.     Offered the clean-cut drifter in the red sports car, Spader said he preferred  the rabid-looking gambler – “for free.” And he played him like a distant cousin of Dustin Hoffman’s Ratso Rizzo “I’d play him a second time for free!”
  9. Peter Greene, The Usual Suspects, 1994.     Jeff Bridges, Johnny Cash, Tommy Lee Jones, Al Pacino, Charlie Sheen, Christopher Walken were also up for Redfoot, the LA fence.  The New Jersey actor  got the part – but no credit. 
  10. John Leguizamo, To Wong Fu, Thanks For Everything, Julie Newmar, 1995.    Quite the prettiest result of the tests in drag.   Frankly, too gorgeous!
  11. David Thewlis, The Island Of Dr. Moreau, 1996. m      Talked about it in June 1995. His character had to say the most apposite line of the entire farce to Marlon Brando: “Has it occurred to you that you’ve totally lost your mind?” Everyone wanted to work with Marlon Brando. At the start…Thewlis (and not Spader, Gary Oldman, Bruce Willis or James Woods) replaced Rob Morrow who had swopped roles with Kilmer and then quit when the director Richard Stanley was sacked after a fewdays. (Numbers differ). Kilmer and Bruce Willis found themselves in divorce battles. Brando’s daughter, Cheynne, committed suicide. And without new helmer John Frankenheimer ever knowing, Stanley had joined the extras… Brando welcomed Thewlis by saying: “Go home, David. This is not a good film to work on. It is cursed.” Thewlis could say much more about the making of the farce – but feared such honesty would kill his career.
  12. Michael C Hall, Dexter, TV, 2006-2014.    The Showtime cable network shortlisted 14 stars, from the impossible (Dan Aykroyd, Macauley Culkin, Tom Cruise, Sean Penn, Ben Stiller) to the plausible (Spader, John Cusack, Jake Gyllenhaal) for the Miami Metro PD bloodstain-splatter analyst moonlighting  as a serial killer… of serial killers. 

 Birth year: Death year: Other name: Casting Calls:  12