Michael J Fox

  1. Timothy Hutton, Ordinary People, 1980.    Novelist Judith Guest’s anatomy of a family more in pain than love  reminded Robert Redford of “the missed signals” of his own upbringing, – it became  his directing debut. For the son of the Jarrett famlly,  he looked at Emilio Estevez,  and Sean Penn – and  MJF who ahd been working all night and turned up ip five minutes late for his audition. “Redford took one look and obviously hated me on sight.  Then, he sat, flossing his teeth and looking bored.”  Hutton who won an Oscar in his debut.
  2. Tom Cruise, Risky Business, 1982.      Brian Backer, Ncholas Cage (still Coppola at the time), Michael J Fox and Tom Hanks were in the Joel Goodsen loop before it came down to Taps finds Cruise and Timothy Hutton.   Tim fell out, preferring Sidney Lumet’s Daniel, so Cruise was born! Backer later joined Hanks in The Money Pit, 1985.    Fox added his J initialin tribute to the Bonnie and Clyde getaway driver, Michael J Pollard.
  3.  Scott Baio, Charles in Charge, TV, 1984-1990.     The role of Charles was written for  Fox who preferred Family Ties, TV, 1982-1989.  Just so everyone remember who Boai was, his mother from Happy Days, TV, 1981-1984, Ellen Travolta played his momma again.
  4. Ralph Macchio, The Karate Kid, 1983.    The surprise hit had been  aimed at Nicolas Cage, Jim Carrey, Tom Cruise, Jon Cryer, Robert Downey Jr, Kyle Eastwood, Anthony Edwards, Crispin Glover, Sean Penn,   Eric Stoltz, brothers Emilio Esteves and Charlie Sheen and the Initialers  Michael J Fox, C Thomas Howell,  D B Sweeney. At 22, looking 16, Macchio made  Daniel LaRusso (ex-Weber) his own in four  films and two video-games… and named his son Daniel.  The Character is claimed by many but was based on the early life of scenarist Robert Mark Kamen. It’s a great coming-of-age story,,” said Macchio.  And 40 years later, and people still stop him in the street to quote  dialogue at him.  Same thing happened to Fox after he preferred make a little thing called… Back to the Future.
  5. John Murray, Moving Violations, 1984.   When is Bill Murray not Bill Murray? When he’s Bill’s younger brother John trying some (weak) copy-Bill schtick. Fox suits preferred such rubbish to the bright Fox, who they rejected like cancer. This was John’s first and last starring role among his meagre 14 films during 1978-2012, including two with Bill, Caddyshack, 1979, and Scrooged, 1988… by which time the rejected Fox had conquered the world when travelling  Back To The Future.
  6. Tom Cruise, Top Gun, 1985.    Among those passing on cocky USNavy jet pilot Lieutenant Pete “Maverick” Mitchell  were: Fox, Kevin Bacon, Scott Baio,  Jim Carrey, John Cusack, Robert Downey Jr, Rob Lowe, Matthew Modine (took exception to the script’s Cold War politics), Patrick Swayze, Eric Stolz John Travolta (too pricey) and brothers Charlie Sheen and Emilio Estevez.  Too young, at 20, Sheen sent the whole movie up in Hot Shots! 1990. Maverick became one of Cruise’s signature acts – still  took 34 years for a sequel!
  7. Jon Cryer, Pretty In Pink, 1986.      “My favourite actor I’ve never worked with,”  says John Hughes.  “I’ve never had anyone come in for a cold reading and pick up the rhythm of my writing style the way he did.  He hit every nuance and every beat exactly as I’d intended.  Spooky. And hearing Michael do it, I went home and pumped that part up.  He had a lot to do with the way it was eventually written.  And then he had to do Family Ties Vacation, 1985. That was quite a  disappointment.  It was  a long,  long search before finding Jon Cryer.”
  8. Matthew Broderick, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,  1986.     All the Bueller Generation were considered for Ferris: Jim Carrey,  Tom Cruise, John Cusack, Johnny Depp,  Robert Downey Jr  and Eric Stolz.
  9. Jason Bateman, Teen Woolf Too, 1986.     Enough with all that make-up awready! MJF suggested his werewolf replacement should be the real brother of his  TV Family Ties sister, Justine Bateman.
  10. Michael Keaton, Batman, 1988.
  11. Billy Crystal, City Slickers, 1990. Facing 40, three Manhattan dudes book into a dude ranch and join a cattle drive and… a perfect comedy!  Nicolas Cage, Kevin Costner, Michael J. Fox Tom Hanks, Mike Myers, Dennis Quaid were the outsiders for  Mitch – won by Crystal, who worked on the script without credit. Robin Williams was offered his choice of the trio but was Hook-ed by Steven Spielberg. Chicago critic Roger Ebert noted: “So many ways this movie could have gone wrong… that it’s sort of astonishing, how many ways it finds to go right.”

  12. Scott Weinger, Aladdin, 1991.   Fox was the obvious voice choice when the hero was drawn to resemble him. The street urchin’s look was later switched to Tom Cruise country and Brad Kane got the gig – until replaced by Weinger at the famous 11th hour. And he remained in Aladdin mode (for sequels and video games) for the next 24 years.
  13. Michael Douglas, Basic Instinct, 1991.
  14. Tom Hanks, A League of Their Own, 1991. “There’s no crying in baseball….” Long-time ball fan, director Penny Marshall had never heard of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League (1943-1954) until seeing a 1987 PBS documentary. She swiftly contacted the makers to join her Hollywood writers to use their title for a fictional comedy-drama version.  Penny staged baseball tests for about 2,000 actresses – if you can’t play ball, you can’t play the Rockford Peaches! (Gdena Davis, Rosie O’Donnell, Lori Petty were best). Jim Belushi and Laura Dern were set to star in 1990 when Fox suddenly pulled the plug; Tom Hanks and  Geena  took over at Columbia.  
  15. Emilio Estevez, The Mighty Ducks (UK:Champions),  1992.  Same role. Same story.  Different sport.  Forget  baseball  – hello,  ice-hockey…  With Estevez beating  bro’ Charlie Sheen, plus Tom Cruise, Michael J Fox, Tom Hanks,  the way too old Bill Murray and even the scenarist  Steve Brill, himself,  to  the seen-it-all-before sports movie. The one, said Chicago critic Roger Ebert,  “about the misfit coach who is handed a team of kids who are losers, and turns them into winners while redeeming himself.”
  16. Jeff Goldblum, Jurassic Park, 1992.
  17. Tim Allen, The Santa Clause, 1994.   The guy who accidentally kills Santa (it wasshootinghim, but Disney wasn’t having that) and take over his duties was penned for for Bill Murray. “Not my kind of humour,” he retorted.  Next in line:Allen, Rowan Atkinson, Jim Carrey, Richard Gere, Steve Guttenberg, Tom Hanks, Robin Williams.  Plus eight Batman candidates: Fox, Alec Baldwin, Jeff Bridges, Pierce Brosnan, Mel Gibson, Kurt Russell, Patrick Swayze and the winning Michael  Keaton.
  18. James Spader, Critical Care, 1997.      Director Sidney Lumet’s health care satire announced in  1995, couldn’t  raise finance on Fox’s name.
  19. John Cusack, Conair, 1997. When Tony Scott was piloting the script. The following year, Fox announced he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 1991.
  20. Hank Azaria, Godzilla, 1997.    MJF or Azaria – that was the dreaded director Roland Emmerich’s idea for Victor ‘Animal’ Palotti.   And you wonder why Azaria prefers voice-work! Two of the other players, Nancy Cartwright and Harry Shearer, also worked on The Simpsons. For, by 2020, more than 600 episodes. The Simpsons are great fans of Godzilla.  (The Japanese one). 
  21. Charlie Sheen, Spin City, TV, 2000-2002.    When Fox quit his series due to Parkinson’s Disease, Sheen shone in his stead – leading to his own huge hit series,  Two And A Half Men, 2003-2011. Following his 2011 meltdown, Sheen was replaced in that by Ashton Kutcher.

  22. Brendan Fraser, Looney Tunes: Back in Action, 2002.  “A pretty grim experience all around –  longest year and a half of my life.”  Director Joe Dante refusing to say anymore about how his planned tribute to his late friend, toon ikon Chuck Jones, ended up a mess. Then again, when the suits approve Fraser over MJF, George Clooney, Leonardo DiCaprio, Will Ferrell and Sylvester Stallone for DJ Drake, you know you’re in trouble.
  23. Zach Braff, Chicken Little, 2004.   To find the right voice for the hero of the paltry poultry picture, Disney went through Michael J Fox, David Spade – even Holly Hunter when the suits thought of a heroine. Plus Matthew Broderick – with his wife, Sarah Jessica Parker, in the frame for Abby Mallard. 
  24. Ezra Miller, Flashpoint, 2019.    Released in 2023… As many as 28 years earlier, Fox had been the choice of Batman amed producers Jon Peters and Peter Guber to immortalise a certain DCreation named  Barry Allen – aka The Flash.  The project was deep-sixed until resurrected after Miller beat Bradley Cooper, Matthew Fox, Ryan Kwanten, Chris Pine, Scott Porter and  Ryan Reynolds to flashin Warner’s also much delayed Justice League, 2016 – and then into this first solo adventure. Well, he did believe he moved faster than Superman.  “Just by a little bit.”



 Birth year: Death year: Other name: Casting Calls:  23