Ron Perlman


  1. Gary Busey, Lethal Weapon, 1986.   There were 39 possibles for Mel Gibson’s suicidal cop.  Just seven for this bad man target, Mr Joshua. John Saxon was first choice – but off he was having A Nightmare on Elm, Street: Dream Warriors.  Next up: Perlman, Keith Carradine, Scott Glenn, Tommy Lee Jones, , Christopher Walken, James Woods… and a slimmed-down Busey.  He said the role rescued his career.
  2. 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.
  3. Dennis Farina, Midnight Run, 1987.   A great buddy movie (better than the same director Martin Brest’s Beverly Hills Cop), has skip-tracer Robert De Niro (in top comedy form) and Vegas embezzler Charles Grodin on the run from the FBI and the Vegas Mob, represented by Farina (a Chicago cop for 18 years before turning actor). His rivals for the gig were Perlman, Alec Baldwin, Dennis Hopper, Harvey Keitel, Ray Liotta.
  4. Roddy Piper, They Live, 1987The pitch was fine:  Drifter finds some sunglasses that let him to see that aliens have taken over the Earth. And, apparently, the film.  Lousy! Which is probably why 18 other big guns, said nadato being Nada: Perlman, Alec Baldwin, Michael Biehn, Jeff Bridges, Tom Cruise, Harrison Ford, Mel Gibson, Tommy Lee Jones, Michael Keaton, Christophe(r) Lambert, Dolph Lundgren, Bill Paxton, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone, Patrick Swayze, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Bruce Willis (plus three mere pistols: Brian Bosworth, Bruce Campbell, Stephen Lang).  And the less said about Russell’s wrestler replacement, the better.“Just John Carpenter as usual,” said the Washington Post, “trying to dig deep with a toy shovel.”
  5. Kevin Costner, Bull Durham, 1987. Ron Shelton had one helluva job trying to win backing for his directing debut. “Baseball? Get outa here. Ball movies don’t sell.”  But his producer Thom Mount was part-owner of the real Durham Bulls squad and recognised what Roger Ebert would call a sports movie that knows what it is talking about – because it knows so much about baseball and so little about love.” Orion stumped up $9m, eight weeks, creative freedom – the cast cut their costs because of the script. For the minor-league veteran, Crash Davis, Shelton  looked at: Alec Baldwin, Tom Berenger, Jeff Bridges, Harrison Ford, Richard Gere, Don Johnson, Tommy Lee Jones (he was baseball icon Ty Cobb in Shelton’s Cobb, 1994), Michael Keaton, Stephen Lang, Nick Nolte (more into football), Bill Paxton, Ron Perlman, Dennis Quaid, Kurt Russell (who worked on the script with Shelton), Sylvester Stallone, Bruce Willis – and even three foreigners to the game: Aussie Mel Gibson, French Christophe(r) Lambert and Austrian Arnold Schwarzenegger. Result: more sports from Shelton (basketball, golf, boxing) and more baseball movies from Hollywood: A League of Their Own, Eight Men Out (with Sheen), Field of Dreams (Costner), Major League I and II  (Berenger and Sheen).  
  6. Kurt Russell, Tango & Cash, 1989.    Sylvester Stallone was Raymond Tango – without question. But who would he accept as his equally frame cop pardner, Gabriel Cash? After Patrick Swayze ran (to solo billing in Road House), the list was long… Perlman, Michael Biehn, Pierce Brosnan, Kevin Costner,  Richard Gere, Mel Gibson, Don Johnson, Michael Keaton, Ray Liotta, Liam Neeson, Michael Nouri, Gary Oldman, Robert Patrick, Bill Paxton, Dennis Quaid, Gary Sinise. Plus three future Sly co-stars: Harrison Ford,  Bruce Willis and James Woods. They all lost out on the debatable pleasure of four directors! From the Russian Andrei Konchalovsky to, secretly, Stallone..!
  7. Adam Baldwin, Next of Kin, 1989.     Perlman, Baldwin (no kin to Adam), Robert De Niro, Michael Keaton, Ray Liotta, John Malkovich, Jack Nicholson, Sean Penn, Tim Robbins were seen for mobster Joey Rossellini in the hillbillies v the Mafia re-run of the same UK director John Irvin’s tons better Raw Deal, 1985.
  8. Peter Wingfield, Highlander, TV, 1995-1998.     Perlman and John Rhys Davies (Gimil in The Lords of the Rings trilogy) passed on being Methos as if they knew he was a one-off, albeit in a two-part episode. Well, they wuz wrong.  Wingfield (as Welsh as JRD) made such a great of being Duncan MacLeod’s Watcher, that he was kept around for 22 epsiodes and then two films: Highlander IV – Endgame, 1999, and Highlander V -The Source, TV, 2007.  Well deserved!  Methos was, after all, the oldest Immortal in the pack, clocking in at 5,000-plus years.
  9. 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 Mary Norton  book about the four-inch high Clock family  living  beneath the floorboards of a house owned by ”human beans.” 
  10. Dave Foley, Postal, 2006. Ron was first up for cult leader Uncle Dave in the controversial post-9/11 satire from Germany’s Uwe Boll, “the most openly despised filmmaker of his generation,” according to San Francisco critic Peter Hartlaub. Perlman’s third movie was The Name of the Rose, 1985, and he followed Sean Connery around like a fanboy. “He made it look effortless,” he told Rebecca Rubin, Variety, September 22, 2017. “But when I watched him craft these performances, it wasn’t effortless at all. It was incredibly well thought out… His respect for the written word was gorgeous and illuminating. I probably never had an acting mentor that meant more to me than him.”

  11. Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Watchmen, 2008.      Two producers, Lawrence Gordon and Lloyd Levin, wanted Perlman to be Edward Blake, aka The Comedian. But Ron was the busiest man in movies – eleven roles in 2008.. 16 in 2009. Next? Gary Busey, Nathan Fillon, Thomas Jane, Tommy Lee Jones. Then, Warners took over the rights. And went decidedly cheaper. By which time, Perlman had his own franchise as Mike Mignola’s Hellboy.
  12. James Marsters, Dragonball, 2008.        Bad timing. Ron was asked to be Lord Piccolo just as he was continuing his alter-ego in Hellboy II: The Golden Army.  Marsters saw Piccolo as Shakespearean and spent hours in make-up for the opposite of the good looks ordered by the suits. At 58, Perlman was already the oldest superhero actor and often the TV or video-game voices of Batman, Clayface, Killer Croc, Conan, etc. Oswald, Marmaduke, 2009. Busy enough with five other films that year year, Ron passed on voicing the elderly mastiff,  Chupadograaka Buster, in the screen version of “the world’s most lovable Great Dane” from the comic-strip in 600 papers across more than20 countries.. Other animal voices were suppled by Steve Coogan, George Lopez, Kiefer Sutherland, Owen Wilson.
  13. Sam Elliott, Marmaduke, 2009.  Busy enough with five  other films that year year, Ron passed on voicing  the elderly mastiff Chupadogra  aka Buster, in the  screen version of  “the world’s most lovable Great Dane” from the comic-strip in 600 papers across more than 20 countries.. Other animal voices were suppled by Steve Coogan, George Lopez,  Kiefer Sutherland, Owen Wilson.
  14. Chris Noth, Frankie Goes Boom, 2010.      Offered two roles, Ron chose Phyllis – yes, Phyllis – over Jack and shaved arms, legs, chest, had a pedicure and manicure to become “the ugliest woman you’ll ever seen in your life.”
  15. Mikael Persbrandt, The Hobbit,  2011-2012
  16. Tom Cruise, Jack Reacher, 2011.   
    Some of the names – and heights – up for Lee Child’s craggy ex-military cop-cum-Sherlock-homeless  were absurd.  Jim Carrey, for example. Jim Carrey!  Some 25 others  were Nicolas Cage, Russell Crowe, Johnny Depp, Cary Elwes,  Colin Farrell, Harrison Ford, Jamie Foxx, Mel Gibson, Hugh Wolverine Jackman, Dwayne Johnson (“I look back in gratitude that I didn’t get Jack Reacher”),  Avatar’s Stephen Lang, Dolph Lundgren, Edward Norton, Ron (Hellboy) Perlman, Brad Pitt, Keanu Reeves (he became John Wick x 5),  Kurt Russell, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Will Smith, Sylvester Stallone, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Vince Vaughn, Denzel Washington and the battle-fatigued  Bruce Willis.  Any of them would have been more acceptable than Tom Cruise  – with the exception of Carrey, Depp, Elwes, Reeves and, obviously the Euros. Pitt was best of the pack (remember Fight Club?)… although no one even thought of the obvious choice –   Liam Neeson!  Reacher fans were livid about  the 5ft 5ins Cruise daring to be  the  6ft 5ins  action hero. Reminiscent of Anne Rice’s capitulation over  tiny Tom as her “very tall” Lestat in  Interview With The Vampire, in 1994, author Lee Child declared: “Reacher’s size is a metaphor for an unstoppable force – which Cruise portrays in his own way.” Ah! But then in 2018, after the sequel, Child changed his tune about his child. (They share the same birthday, October 29).  ”Ultimately, the readers are right. The size of Reacher is really, really important and it’s a big component of who he is… So what I’ve decided to do is – there won’t be any more movies with Tom Cruise… We’re re-booting,  we’re going to try and find the perfect guy.” And they did with 6ft. 2ins Alan Richtson – Aquaman in Smallville and Hawk in Supergirl and Titans – for the Amazon series.

  17. Kevin Durand, The Strain, TV, 2014-2017.    The wonderful sounding  Vasiliy Fet was written for Perlman, one of the  director Guillermo del Toro’s regular stars. But now busier than ever  – eight  2014 movies! – following his biker series, Sons of Anarchy, 2009-2014. Perlman’s role model was Sean Connery. They made The Name of the Rosetogether. “I followed him around like a fanboy, ”he told Variety’s Rebecca Rubin, September 22, 2017. “I probably never had an acting mentor that meant more to me than him. On my days off, I would watch Sean work. He made it look effortless. But It was incredibly well thought out, it was incredibly respectful to the material, and there was a real aesthetic to the actor bringing an inanimate role to life.”
  18. Kurt Russell, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, 2016.    Aged between Christopher Plummer and Max Von Sydow’s 87 and Matthew McConaughey’s 47, fifteen actors were Marveled about for Ego, father of Chris Pratt’s hero, Peter Quill aka Star Lord.  The others in the  loop were Perlman, Alec Baldwin, Michael Biehn, Robert De Niro, Mel Gibson, Stephen Lang, Viggo Mortensen, Liam Neeson, Gary Oldman, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Christoph Waltz and Bruce Willis.
  19. Josh Brolin, Deadpool 2, 2017.   With Ryan Reynolds reigning supreme as the wise-cracking, cancer-ridden, super smart-ass hero, could oppose him as Cable, the heftily armed cyborg? (“You’re dark  – sure you’re not from the DC Universe?” our Marvel hero asks him). Deadpool creator Rob Liefeld wanted Russell Crowe – and even after Brolin signed, pushed for Jon Hamm. Other Mr Impregnable ideas included Alec Baldwin, Pierce Brosnan, David Harbour, Stephen Lang, Brad (he shot his Vanisher cameo in two hours), Michael Shannon and the wrinkly brigade (yawn) Mel Gibson, Dolph Lundgren, Ron Perlman, Kurt Russell, Arnold Schawarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone and Bruce Willis.Already Marvel’s villain Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War, Brolin had a four-film deal, to reveal more about Cable and, doubtless, extra gags about his stepmother Barbra Streisand’s 1982 Yentl.


 Birth year: Death year: Other name: Casting Calls:  19