Cary Elwes

  1. Kevin Costner, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, 1990.    First Mel Gibson, then Elwes steered clear of Sherwood. Elwes changed gear two years later for a rather different take. He was Mel Brooks’ Robin Hood among other… Men in Tights.
  2. Campbell Scott, Dying Young, 1991.    Like Love Story all over again,  men queued up to reject it. Mel Gibson, Daniel Day-Lewis, James Spader…
  3. Oliver Platt The Three Musketeers, 1993.    Elwes was so in the  mix for (a rather slim Porthos)  that he appeared in a promo interview with Charlie Sheen (Aramis)  and Kiefer Sutherland (Athos) on the E! Network.  But not in  the romp.
  4. Charlie Sheen, Deadfall, 1994.    Third film by director Francis Coppola’s nephew, Christopher. Second was: Gunfight at Red Dog Corral. 
  5. Johnny Depp, Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl, 2002.  The first one…  Well, the second… no, third idea…  Disney would not permit even the mighty Steven Spielberg to film the original Ted Elliott-Terry Rosio script based on the sacrosanct Disneyland ride. And, anyway, pirate movies hadn’t worked since their 40/50s’ heyday. Then again, why not just a little tele-film…  With, say, handsome Cary Elwes? Or, much more like it:  Rik Mayall or Christopher Walken. Whether the telly-Jack Sparrow would also have had mascara, gold teeth and a Keith Richards’ rock ‘’n’ roll shuffle, we’ll never know. (Depp also wanted no nose!). The idea was shuttered. Until the suits wised up and got Stuart Beattie and Jay Wolport to beef up the  original screenplay. Over the years, seven other actors were approached about Sparrow: Jim Carrey, Robert De Niro, Michael Keaton, Matthew McConnaughey, Steve Martin, Bill Murray and Robin Williams.

  6. 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.



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