Judd Nelson


  1. Matt Dillon, The Outsiders, 1982.     Part of Francis Coppola’s intensive ensemble casting sessions at Stage Five of his Zoetrope Studios – “go right on Marlon Brando Way. Follow it to Budd Schulberg Avenue and it’s just next to the commissary.” During the auditions, Coppola would switch 30 young actors around from this role to that, back to this role and then into a whole other one… Baldwin finished in the mix for Dallas Winston but novelist SE Hinton voted Dillon after loving him as her Tex in 1981. Coppola and Dillon were  a rotten match to begin with, until the director fell for the 18-year-old and, naturally, chose him straight after this for his second SE Hinton film, Rumble Fish.

  2. Zach Galligan, Gremlins, 1983.      For a wee while, Billy Peltzer was tossed about between Nelson and Emilio Estevez before being similarly tossed about by what critic Roger Ebert called “a plague of reprehensible little beasties who behave like a rodent road company of Marlon Brando’s motorcycle gang in The Wild One.”

  3. Kiefer Sutherland,Bright Lights, Big City, 1987.To change his white bread image, Michael J Fox took over Jamie from Tom Cruise – and suggested Sutherland for Tad Allagash. To the chagrin of Nelson, Emilio Estevez  and Rob Lowe.
  4. Christian Slater,Heathers, 1988. In the morbidly funny tweenage angst opus, JD could have been Jason Bateman, Jim Carrey, Judd Nelson –  or Brad Pitt, who got his revenge two years later by beating Slater to another (but career-making)  JD inThelma and Louise.
  5. Nicolas Cage,Vampire’s Kiss, 1988.   The Breakfast Club member nearly joined the blood suckers until the strange Cage won another strange character. After bedding Jennifer Beals, he believes he’s a vampire in what the Washington Post critic Hal Hinson condemend as “stone-dead bad, incoherently bad.”
  6. Jim Carrey, Ace Ventuera, Pet Detective, 1993.      That way a sequel would never have been made. Nor a superstar!   Also in the Ace frame: Whoopi Goldberg, Rick Moranis, even the UK’s Alan Rickman.
  7. Eric Roberts, Doctor Who (The Movie), TV, 1996.   
  8. Joshua Malina, The West Wing, 2002-2006.   Rob Lowe wanted out of the series – best take on US politics since Advise & Consent in 1961.   Nelson, Jon Cryer, Dermot Mulroney,  and even Home Aloner Macauley Culkin  were in the mix for the new  Will Bailey character  while Lowe became  a US Senator as his get-out storyline.  Lowe returned for the final two episodes in 2006, to assist the new POTUS, Jimmy Smits.  By 2007, Lowe was running for President in TV’s Brothers & Sisters.  Malina was a pal of creator Aaron Sorkin – in everything Sorkin had written from A Few Good Men onwards. And hs brother-in-law played CJ’s fella: Timothy Busfield.
  9. Michael C Hall, Dexter, TV, 2006-2013.     The Showtime cable network shortlisted 14 stars, from the impossible to the plausible (Tom Cruise, Macauley Culkin, Sean Penn, James Spader) for the Miami Metro PD bloodstain pattern analyst moonlightingas a serial killer… of criminals escaping justice.



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