Jeff Daniels

  1. Robin Williams, The World According To Garp, 1981.      Ever wonder why Jeff never made real stardom?  Because Robin Williams broke free of the tube  and won  The Big Breakthrough Role!
  2. James Caan, Misery, 1990.    “Leading men hate to be passive; hate to be eunuchised by their female co-stars.”  Top scenarist William Goldman on why 22 actors avoided the prospect of being beaten up and beaten to an Oscar by  Kathy Bates as the mad fan of writer Paul Sheldon. Warren Beatty prevaricated but never actually said no (nor yes).  Richard Dreyfuss regretted disappointing director Rob Reiner again after refusing When Harry Met Sally, 1988 (they had earlier made a classic of   King’s novella, The Body, as Stand By Me, 1985).   William Hurt refused – twice. Jack Nicholson didn’t want another King guy so soon after The Shining.  While Dustin Hoffman and Al Pacino being up  for the same role was nothing new  – but Robert Redford and Morgan Freeman was  Also fleeing the  32nd of Stephen King’s staggering 313 screen credits were Tim Allen, Jeff Daniels, Robert De Niro, Michael Douglas, Harrison Ford, Mel Gibson, close pals Gene Hackman and Dustin Hoffman, Ed Harris, John Heard, Robert Klein, Bill Murray, Ed O’Neill, John Ritter,Denzel Washington, Robin Williams and Bruce Willis… who went on to be Sheldon in Goldman’s  2015 Broadway version.
  3. John Heard, Home Alone, 1990.  For the zero roles of Macauley Culkin’s forgetful parents (in a film written for and duly stolen by him), an astonishing 66 stars were considered – including 32 later seen for the hot lovers in Basic Instinct:Kim Basinger, Stockard Channing, Glenn Close, Kevin Costner, Jamie Lee Curtis, Michael Douglas, Carrie Fisher, Harrison Ford, Mel Gibson, Jodie Foster, Linda Hamilton, Daryl Hannah, Marilu Henner, Anjelica Huston, Helen Hunt, Holly Hunter, Diane Keaton, Jessica Lange, Christopher Lloyd, Jack Nicholson, Sean Penn, Michelle Pfeiffer, Annie Potts, Kelly Preston, Dennis Quaid, Meg Ryan, Martin Sheen, Sylvester Stallone, Sharon Stone, John Travolta.   Other potential Pops were Dan Aykroyd, Jim Belushi, Chevy Chase, Jeff Daniels, Tony Danza, John Goodman, Charles Grodin, Tom Hanks, Robert Hays, Steve Martin, Rick Moranis, Bill Murray, Ed O’Neill, John Ritter, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Tom Skerritt, Robin Williams… and the inevitable unknowns: Broadway’s Mark Linn-Baker, Canadian musicians-comics  Alan Thicke (“the affordable William Shatner”) and Dave Thomas.
  4. Bruce Davison, Short Cuts, 1993.         “Robert Altman remembered me from something he watched on TV,” says Davison.   
  5. Judge Rheinhold, The Santa Clause, 1994.  For the new (shrink) husband of Tim Allen’s ex-wife, Disney looked at Rheinhold, Daniels, Warren Beatty, Bryan Cranston, Robert De Niro, Peter MacNicol, Stanley Tucci, Bradley Whitford  – and the inevitable unknown, Lance Kinsey, out of Chicago’s Second City troupe and the Police Academyfarces. Joe Dante, Richard Donner, even Steven Spielberg were Disney’s dream wishes to direct.
  6. Mark Williams, The Borrowers, 1996.  Jeff Daniels, Ron Perlman, Kurt Russell were a somewhat bizarre trio seen for Exterminator Jeff in the fourth of six screen versions (including a Japanese toon)  of the 1952 Marty Norton  book about the four-inch high Clock family  living  beneath the floorboards of a house owned by ”human beans.”
  7. Kevin Spacey, American Beauty, 1998.        Chevy Chase, Kevin Costner, Tom Hanks, Woody Harrelson (!), John Travolta and Bruce Willis  were also in the mix for the miserable spouse/father, Lester Burnham. UK stage director Sam Mendes fought hard  for Spacey. “There’s one thing better than having a really good actor, and that’s having a really good actor who has never done this kind of role before.” Spacey won his second Oscar despite masturbating in the shower – the high point of Lester’s  day: “it’s all downhill from here.”
  8. Robert Patrick, Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle. 2002.   Drew Barrymore bought the movie rights and proved herself as star and producer with the 2000 movie and even this no-so-hot sequel. By chasing the always dependable Daniels for Ray Carter. Film flopped. So no 3 or 4. Indeed no more Angels until actress-turned-auteur Elizabeth Banks’ lukewarm reboot… as many as  17 years later!
  9. Larry David, The Three Stooges, 2011.      For a brief moment, the Farrelly brothers’s salute to their slap-happy idols was nearly a reunion of the dumb duo of Daniels and Jim Carrey – as Sister Mary-Mengele, no less, and Curly. They (wisely) avoided the obvious flop. When the brothers scuttled back to safety with Dumb and Dumber To, 2014, who else could play those parts?

 Birth year: Death year: Other name: Casting Calls:  9