Billy Zane

  1. Patrick Swayze, Dirty Dancing, 1986.   Can ya dance? Sure! (What else would a hungry actor say). So Johnny Castle (originally Italian) went through Benicio Del Toro, Billy Zane and Adrien Zmed before arriving at Swayze – who hated ”the porno title.” MGM, Miramax, Orion, Warner,  Universal, rejected the project as “too girly.” Hadn’t they seen Flashdance? (Even Paramount passed and it had made Flashdance!).  The guys and dolls –  Jennier Grey, Sarah Jessica Parker, Winona Ryder, Sharon Stone, Pia Zadora  – were interchanged in further tests to locate The Couple. Jennifer begged: “Anyone but Patrick!” They had a good/bad history filming Red Dawn, 1983, but agreed to put their differences aside. Swazye (15 years older than Johnny) had been with the Elliott Feld Ballet but removed  “dancer” off his CV, due to a dance-damaged knee.  Vestron  was  not sure what it hard and asked The Rose producer  Aaron Russo to take a look. His  advice: “Burn the negative and collect the insurance.” The little film that grew is still making $1m per year…  The hit song  – (I’ve Had) The Time of My Life” –  led to something new at weddings: You can now lift the bride…  (Oh and Swayze turned down $6m or the sequel).
  2. Andy Garcia, The Godfather: Part III,  1991.
  3. Joe Pantoliano, Taxman, 1999.      Billy lost this one because of an idiot agent’s error… Billy  loved Israeli director Avi Nesher’s  script  (tax man stumbles over Russian Mafia murders) and asked his agent fix a  meeting with the producers.  His agent did so – but with the producers of Taxman (beautiful new tax inspector disrupts a town). Even with such differences – thriller v comedy –  no one  realised it wasn’t the wrong film until half-way through the meet. Billy agreed to do it,  anyway.
  4. Vince Vaughn, Starsky and Hutch, 2004.      He was well out of what critics called Crime and Punishment.
  5. Kevin Spacey, Superman Returns, 2006.




 Birth year: Death year: Other name: Casting Calls:  5