Ryan Phillippe

  1. Heath Ledger, The Patriot, 1999.  After Braveheart, Mel Gibson tackles the  American Revolutionary War… sans slavery!  Ledger, Phillippe, Jake Gyllenhaal, Joshua Jackson, Freddie Prinz Jr, Brad Renfro, Paul Walker and Elijah Wood were seen for Gibson’s eldest son – murdered by a sadistic British officer. Fed up with only being teenage beefcake, Ledger was about to quit acting and return down-under when he won Gabriel. 
  2. Tobey Maguire, The Cider House Rules, 1999. Author John Irving went through four directors before settling on the Swedish Lasse Hallström to handle what Roger Ebert called a David Copperfieldesque  story (or, indeed, stories). For Homer, finally leaving his orphanage and surrogate father Michael Caine (winning his first Oscar), Hallström looked at The Class of ‘97 – Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, James Franco, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Jake Gyllenhaal, Ethan Hawke, Edward Norton, Ryan Phillippe, Mark Wahlberg, Paul Walker. And chose Leonardo DiCaprio, who passed it to his (monotoned) pal, Maguire. 
  3. Ethan Hawke, Training Day, 2000.     Denzel Washington read young actors to be his fellow cop, while they were all holding fire, hoping to win the  Spider-Man franchise.   Tobey Magurie won both gigs, until Hawke flew in. 
  4. Hayden Christensen, StartWars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones, 2000.
  5. Olivier Martinez, Unfaithful, 2001.   For his passionate US update of Madame Bovar (well, Claude Chabrol’s La femme infidèle, 1969)  (same thing) UK director Adrian Lyne saw six potential husbands, 13 cheating wives – but just three possible lovers for Diane Lane. Phillippe and Brad Pitt were front-runners until Lyne decided the guy should be French. And said Chicago critic Roger Ebert, able to suspend a woman indefinitely in any position during sex. French guys adored this commercial for Ze French lurverrrrs! .
  6. Eion Bailey, Mindhunters, 2002.      Ten Litle Indians meets an FBI serial killer training unit…   Not released (more like escaped) until 2005.

  7. Gabriel Mann, Dominion: Prequel To The Exorcist, 2003.
  8. James D’Arcy, The Exorcist: The Beginning, 2003.

  9. Jake Gyllenhaal, Brokeback Mountain, 2004.
    Hollywood was not keen on Annie Prouix’s 1997 short story – two gay shepherds in Wyoming, get outa here!  Until directors (more than actors) queued to make it.  Ang Lee, Joel Schumacher – but first in line was Gus Van Sant, first in line (obviously). He called up Phoenix and Matt Damon (obviously, they’d made his To Die For and Good Will Hunting, respectively). Ang Lee was considering retirement when the script “nurtured” him back to work. He found many actors were scared to play gay. Leonardo DiCaprio, Ryan Philippe and Brad Pitt all refused. Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal did not. Ironically, Philippe made Crash – which beat Brokeback to the Best Film Oscar to everyone’s surprise, including the presentor, Jack Nicholson. At least, Ang Lee was Best Director.

  10. Christian Slater, Mindhunters, UK-Holland-Finland-US, 2004.      Surprisingly for a Finnish director (Renny Harlin) and an all-afrliun)_ and an all-American cast, the overall influence was Agatha Christie’sclosed-world-murders formula. Only louder.
  11. Cuba Gooding Jr, Shadowboxer, 2005. Schedules, schmedules!   “I often get a job because of how I look. I hope that I keep the job because of how I act.”
  12. Aaron Eckhart, The Dark Knight, 2007.
  13. James McAvoy, Wanted, 2007.  McAvoy was first turned down  in favour of Phillippe, until Kazakhstan  director Timur wanted someone geeky for his first US  thriller. “It’s trash,” admitted Rolling Stone’s Peter Travers, ”but I love it anyway. Brutal, sexy, built to thrill and minus a scintilla of redeeming social value.” Yeah!

  14. Chris Evans, Captain America: The First Avenger, 2010.  
    The first screen version of the WWII propaganda comicbook hero  – Defender of the Defenceless – since Republic’s 1944 serial (with Dick Purcell), two 1979  tele-quickies (Rep Brown) and the 1989 movie (Matt Salinger, son of the monumental JD, no less). A 1981 Universal plan for Jeff Bridges never flew. Nor did Cannon’s 1984 take which UK director Michael Winner never got around to casting (well, not out loud).  Also missing the 2010 nine-picture deal for Cap Am sequels, Avengersmovies and cross-overs were… Jensen Ackles, Wilson Bethel, Michael Cassidy, Dane Cook, Chace Crawford, Garrett Hedlund, Kellan Lutz, Johnny Pacar, Scott Porter, Alexander Skarsgård, Will Smith, Sebastian Stan (chosen for Bucky Barnes), Channing Tatum (in last three), Mike Vogel, Sam Worthington.  Plus two of the Jonas brothers  band (Joe and Kevin), three of the TV-Marvelverse: Wilson Bethel (Daredevil), Chad Michael Murray (Agent Carter), Derek Theler (New Warriors).  And John Krasinski. “This is stupid,” he yelled during his costumed test, “I’m not Captain America!” And he wasn’t.  But he was Amazon’s TV’s surprise Jack Ryan  in 2018.

  15. Theo James, Golden Boy, TV, 2013.      Phillippe had been chased for pilots over the years. He finally accepteda planned series following the meteoric rise of street cop to detective to commissioner. Within a fortnight he’d quit, fretting about the rigours of a series, as experienced during a guest arc on Damages. His replacement was a busy Brit from the huge 2010 UK hit, Downton Abbey – created by Julian Fellowes, who also wrote Phillippe’s 2001 UK film and something of a Downton pilot: Gosford Park.
  16. Billy Crudup, The Sanford Prison Experiment, 2014.  Production delays meant Phillippe had to leave and pass  on to Crudup the behavIoural scientist Dr Philip Zimbardo –  in charge  of the real 1971  experiment  on paid students  volunteers to discover  why jails affect  the people both sides of the bars. As if that was not patently obvious, ie the warders have all the power and abuse the convicts who have none.


 Birth year: Death year: Other name: Casting Calls:  14