Payday Loans
Keanu Reeves

1. - Charlie Sheen, Platoon, 1986.   He passed. He was young. And foolish. And as unknown as his prenom. Becausd he was often billed as KC Reeves.Kyle MacLachlan and  Jim Morrison were  also on parade for Chris in the only Vietnam war movie made by a Vietnam war veteran.  Auteur Oliver Stone grunted through eight months  of ’Nam combat (twice wounded) during 1967-1968 This then, was as  viscerally close to the real thing as possible, feasible or desirable - ie, not John Wayne’s spurious propaganda, Green Berets, 1967. As Chicago critic  Roger Ebert noted: “It does not make war look like fun.”

2. - Andrew McCarthy, Less Than Zero, 1987.      Originally cast as Clay Easton in Brad Pitt’s (uncredited) second movie - he waspaid $38. 

3. - Alex Winter, Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, 1987.     Director Stephen Herek whittled down 200-300 actors to 24 for the time-travellers meeting Beethoven, Billy The Kid, Freud, Lincoln, Napoleon, Socrates.  At one time it looked as if the guys would be Brendan Fraser and Pauly Shore (future Encino Manco-stars in 1991). Except thescript’s skinny teenagers became more cool when Winter, 21, and Reeves, 22, blew away all other hopefuls – when testing for each other’s role.  Also up for Bill S. Preston, Esqwere Sean Penn…  and River Phoenix, whotwice co-starred with Reeves in I Love You to Death, 1989, and My Own Private Idaho, 1990. “Everyone was auditioning for both roles,” Reeves told Hollywood Reporter 30 years later. “We were playing these clowns, fools, but in an epic sense that they’re confronting tragedy with ebullience.. It’s still funny.” The bodacious dudes made  a hit (after two years on a bankrupt shelf) and a sequel - Bill & Ted's Bogus Adventure, 1990 - and remained good pals ever since, Reeves making cameos for several films directed by Winter, such as Freaked, 1993. Washington Post critic Hal Hinson called them frisky and companionable. “Like unkempt ponies.”

4. - William Baldwin, Backdraft, 1990.        Tested for firefighter Brian McCaffrey. So did Robert Downey Jr, Dermot Mulroney and Brad Pitt. But director Ron Howard felt Baldwin looked more like Kurt Russell’s brother.Reeves’ test was among 54 such tapes banned fromauction in Beverly Hills by the actors’ union in April 2013. “Auditions are not public performances,” said the SAG-AFTRA. “Performers are entitled to expect them to remain private.” And yet not a word when Paramount's Real TV tabloid show starting running such audition tapes…in 1995!

5. - Devin Ratray, Home Alone, 1990.    Co-stars in I Love You to  Death, 1990, and My Own Private Idaho, 1991, Reeves and River Phoenix were the (pricey) favourites for Macauley Culkin’s bullying older brother, Buzz. Enter: actor-singer-songwriter Ratray.

6. - Woody Harrelson, White Men Can’t Jump, 1992.    “I was on Cheers for   eight years and I couldn’t get another job,” recalled  Harrelson. “I thought I’m going to be Woody Boyd forever, which is not bad, but I really thought I was capable of more." And he might have remained but for the fact that Keanu didn’t give good basketball. Woody’s “mindset was very positive and confident -  “I’ve gottta get this part. And then, of course, it did change my life.” 

7. - Gary Oldman, Bram Stoker's Dracula, 1992.       Director Francis Coppola decided to make the old legend "younger, very erotic, very romantic and very horrific." Losing his favourites - Jeremy Irons, Daniel Day-Lewis - Francey looked at everyone else, mainly during auditions at his Napa Valley estate… Reeves, Armand Assante, Antonio Banderas, Nick Cassavetes, Nicolas Cage, Rupert Everett, Colin Firth, Andy Garcia, Hugh Grant, Ray Liotta, Kyle MacLachlan, Viggo Mortensen, Dermot Mulroney, Michael Nouri (a long way from Flashdance), Adrian Pasdar, Jason Patric, Aiden Quinn, Alan Rickman, Christian Slater and Sting. Reeves was considered better suited - hot!  - for Lucy’s guy, Jonathan Harker.

8. Dermot Mulroney, Point Of No Return, 1993.        Having gained Bridget Fonda, Gabriel Byrne, Harvey Keitel for his Nikita make-over, producer Art Linson still wanted "extra insurance" as the girl-assassin's boyfriend - and pushed for Point Break's Reeves or John Cusack.

9. - Jean Reno, Léon (US: Leon: The Professiona), France, 1994.       The word spread about auteur Luc Besson’s new projects. Keanu (and Mel Gibson)made it known they expected to be the hit-man. Besson, however, kept the faith with his pal Reno - in five of the previous six Besson movies.

10 - Matthew Modine, Cutthroat Island, 1995.      Geena Davis found it tough to land a co-pirate - who wouldn't steal her limelight. Director-husband Renny Harlin made many walk the plank.


11 - Val Kilmer, Heat, 1995.      To cash in on Speed or not to... Rather than re-working Michael Mann's excellent 1989 TV pilot, LA Takedown, Reeves bypassed Mann, Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and $7m for a previous promise to tackle Shakespeare in Winnipeg for $2,000 a week. He proved one of three best Hamlets seen by London Sunday Times critic Roger Lewis, "for the simple reason: he is Hamet," embodying the innocence,splendid fury, animal grace and emotional violence of the Danish prince.”Surely, if he had beenthat good, the production would have transferred to Broadway.

12 - Jared Harris, I Shot Andy Warhol, 1996.      "They'd offered it out to various stars,"says Harris (son of Richard). about the titular victim."At one point, they were talking about Keanu Reeves until they thought that might upset the balance of it. They decided to have auditions and I went in..."

13 - Jason Patric, Speed II, 1996.      "I didn't want to work in that genre at the time." Jan De Bont, Dutch directorof both Speeds, felt Keanu's "fear of stardom" made him refuse. His best decision.


  (Clic to enlarge)  

* Twogether  again!  Keanu and Sandra in Speed 2 screamed the posters  Not so...  Only Sandra Bullock stayed on the bus - er, cruise liner in the Caribbean - for the totally unnecessary sequel. Jason  Patric was the new hero.  Who? Exactly!

©   20th Century Fox, 1996


14 - Harrison Ford, Air Force One, 1996. A US President aged 28…!   The action-man POTUS was written for Kevin Costner, too busymailing The Postman. He suggested Ford and if he passed, a new list included Tom Hanks, Tommy Lee Jones (Bill Clinton’s Havard room-mate), John Malkovich (a wannabe presidential assassin during In The Line of Fire, 1992), Dennis Quaid (brother Randy had played LBJ), Keanu Reeves (at 28?), and ex-California Governor Arnold Schwarzeneger. The current Prez, Bill Clinton, loved the movie; future POTUS Donald Trump was inspired by it - “Harrison Ford on the plane... He stood for America!” Quizzed on TV about this, Ford turned to the camera and wearily said: “Donald, it was just a movie. Things like this don't happen in real life.”

15 - Will Smith, Men In Black, 1997.      His worst...Not that director Barry Sonenfield ever wanted the studio's choice. Reevessaid he had better things to do. Like going on tour with his Dogstar band. Some called it:Dogsomethingelse.

16 - Paul Rudd, Object Of My Affection, 1998.      Passed on director Nicholas Hynter's tale of Jennifer Anistonfalling for a gay.

17 - Will Friedle, Batman Beyond, 1998.  The toon idea was an older Batman passing mask and cape to a high-schooler…Great efforts were made to persuade Paul Newman into voicing an older Bruce Bat, opposite Reeves as the kid, Terry McGinnis.   That, of course, was before either of them heard scenarist Paul Dini admitting the main reason for the series was to sell toys…  This was Friedle’s vocal debut; he went on to speak for Green Arrow, Nightwing, Bumblebee and Star Lord Peter Quill.

18 - Eddie Murphy, Bowfinger, 1999.       The role of Hollywood's toppermost star Kit Ramseywas written for him by Steve Martin, who had made Parenthood with Reeves ten years before.

19 - Hugh Jackman,X-Men quartet, 1999-2013.    "Hey, bub, I'm not finished with you yet…”  Jackie Earle Haley, Gary Sinise and Kiefer Sutherland were in the 1989 Logan/Wolverine frame.  In the early 90s. James Cameron chose, of all people,  chubby Bob Hoskins. The fans voted for Jack Nicholson...   well, he’d been a decent Wolf in 1994. Fox could not think beyond Keanu Reeves. Russell Crowe felt Logan was too similar to his 1999 Gladiator…and just a toon, anyway. Took him a dozen years to understand comics and succeed Marlon Brando, no less, as Superman’s father, Jor-El, in Man of Steel.  Director Bryan Singer searched on through… Singer-songwriter Glenn Danzig, Aaron Eckhart, Mel Gibson, Viggo Mortensen   (a great idea but not finished with Aragorn in The Lord of the Rings), Edwards Norton (also considered for Scott Summers/Cyclops) and - oh no! - Jean-Claude Van Damme.  Finally, Singer chose Dougray Scott - but he was stuck on Mission: Impossible II in Australia which is where Jackman came from (on Crowe’s reccommendation) to save the day. And the franchise. Jackman was Wolverine in ten movies (Deadpool 2 included) across 19 years. (By contrast, Sean Connery, was James Bond for 007 times). 

20  John C Reilly, Chicago, 2001.

21 - Johnny Knoxville, Men in Black II, 2001.    Reeves and Robert Downey Jr (not yet Iron Man or Sherlock Holmes), auditioned for Scrad, a two-headed, shapeshifting Kylothian alien often morphing into human form as Charlie. “Although that is not as amusing as you might hope,” commented Chicago critic Roger Ebert.  Would have been with Downey!

22 -  Chris Klein, Rollerball, 2002. Lucky to have escaped such a disastrous re-hash.  

23 - Jake Gyllenhaal, Midnight Mile, 2002.        Obviously, Dustin Hoffman, Susan Sarandon, were happier working with an actor. 

24 - Christian Bale, Batman Begins,  2004.

25 - Brandon Routh, Superman Returns, 2005.

26 - Kelsey Grammer, X-Men: The Last Stand, 2005.  London’s Flemyng (39) and Keanu By contrast,  (41) were possibles for the blue behemoth before the franchise’s new helmer, Brett Ratner, voted for the  Cheers/Frasier/boss TV star (50). Grammer reprised the Beast in X-Men: Days of Future Past, 2013, for returning director, Bryan Singer. 

27 - Mark Wahlberg, Shooter, 2006.    According to William Goldman, the film’s script doctor, Clint Eastwood, Harrison Ford, Robert Redford refused the betrayed hero tricked into being another Lee Harvey Oswald. So director Antoine Fuqua went younger, changing Bob Lee Swagger’s betrayal from 70s’ Vietnam to 90s’ Ethiopia. Reeves became first choice...

28 - John Cusack, 1408, 2006.  Change of paranormal debunker finding true terror in a hotel’s Room 1408 – which has already scared 50 people to death! ”I'm not telling you not to stay in that room for your own good,” says Samuel L Jackson.  “Frankly, selfishly, I just don't wanna clean up the mess.”  The 81st of Stephen King’s staggering 313 screen credits Is his homage to the similar HG Wells tale, The Red Room. Cusack (Danny in the King classic, Stand By Me, 1985) would team up  with Jackson and King again in Cell, 2015.

29 - Ben Stiller, Tropic Thunder, 2007.       The idea was born 20 years earlier when autuer Stiller heard his pals in Hamburger Hill and Platoon actually believing their booty camp training made them into real soldiers!! Stiller was first going to play Rick Peck with Reeves in Stiller’s final role of Tugg Speedman -modeled on Sly Stallone The Younger.

30 - Matthew Fox, Speed Racer, 2007.     Turned down the request of his Matrix directors, the Wachowski brothers (by now, brother and sister, Andy and Lana - later sisters Lily and Lana) to play, Racer X from the Japanese anime series. He was right.  Film flopped.


31 - Billy Crudup, Watchmen, 2008.      Not so much “Who watches the watchmen?” as Juvenal asked, but who them playeth?  In the 20 years it took to film Alan Moore’s DComic-book, directors changed  from Darren Aronofsky, Michael Bay, Tim Burton, Terry Gilliam and  Paul  Greengrass to, ultimately, the lesser  Zack Snyder. So did their choices for Jon Osterman, aka Dr Manhattan: Reeves was somehow in the same frame as the musclebound Dolph Lundgren and Arnold Schwarzenegger!

32 - Taylor Kitsch, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, 2008.   Remy LeBeau/Gambit finally showed up in  the fourth film. Back in 2005, director Bryan Singer saw Tatum and Josh Holloway but chose cReeves as Gambit in what he’d planned as the third film - helmed in 2005 by Brett Ratner when Singer left to ruin Superman Rerturns. Something he regretted before, during and after watching Ratner’sX-Men: The Last Stand, 2005.  Josh Holloway felt the role was too close to his current gig, Lost,.TV,2004-2010. Tatum   was due to later inherited the Cajun mutant.

33 - Benedict Cumberbatch, Doctor Strange, 2015.  Discussed, planned, written, re-spun since 1986, always dropped despite scripts from Alex Cox, Wes Craven, Bob Gale, etc, until chosen as the  portal into the supernatural side of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.Mads Mikkelsen  was first choice. But that was in in 2013…  Among those later flownup the flagpole were TV doctor Patrick Dempsey, Johnny Depp, Colin Farrell, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ryan Gosling, Jake Gyllenhaal, Jon Hamm, Tom Hardy, Ethan Hawke, Jack Huston, Oscar Isaac, Matthew McConaughey, Ewan McGregor, Vincent Price (in 1986!), Keanu Reeves (listed but never approached - how wise!), Justin Theroux. Oh and two Jokers: 2015’s Jared Leto and 2018’s Joachin Phoenix.  Finally, production wisely waited until after Cumberbatch’s Hamletstagetriumph in London. If Iron Man is Mick Jagger, Strange is Jim Morrison… and could be head of the MCU when Robert Downey pawned his ironmongery.

34 - Will Smith, Suicide Squad, 2015.    After seeing 14 possible Harley Quinns, director David Ayer shuffled through 19 Deadshots. None hit the target. Not Daniel Craig, Matt Damon, Johnny Depp, Leonardo DiCaprio, Idris Elba,  Colin Farrell, Michael Fassbender, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Jon Hamm. Nor Reeves, Oscar Isaac, Joel Kinnaman (he became Rick Flag), Matthew McConaughey, Ewan McGregor, Robert Pattinson, Brad Pitt, Alexander Skarsgård and Jason Statham. Another Warner/DC flop  because Warner wasn’t Marvel and Smith was way too top-heavy for a team effort.

35 - Chris Prat, Passengers,  2016.   First developed for  Keanu Reeves (and Blunt) at his and Stephen Hamel’s Company Films, the interstellar love story nearly took off at the Weinstein Company (yeah, that long ago) with McAdams or Reese Witherspoon as Reeves’ co-star. Columbia signed Lawrence (for $20m) and Chris Pratt ($12m). They were hot -  yes, but in separate films. Together, they were glacial. Allowing Michael Sheen to steal the proceedings as a robotic barkeep (“across between a puppy and a toaster”) in a copy-Shining bar.   On the Starship Avalon. Hence the bartbot was called… Arthur.

36 - Jude Law, Captain Marvel, 2018.     Marvel’s pursuite of Reeves continued - this  time  forthe Kree named Yon-Rogg.  But maybe Reeves didn’t get the advice Law received from his Sherlock Holmesco-star, Iron ManRobert Downey Jr.. “He talked about how making a Marvel Cinematic Universe movie is fitting this one piece into a bigger picture, and giving yourself over to that. It's not about trying to understand everything. Just do your piece."

37 - Michael B Jordan, Tom Clancy’s Remorse, 2019.  The 1993 book was about John Kelly who became John Clark in the Jack Ryan franchise, played by Willem Dafoe in Clear and Present Danger, 1993,and  Liev Schreiber in The Sum of All Fears, 2001.  Preferring  his John Wick franchise,  Keanu Reeves passed on $7m for a ’94 Clark solo trip. Gary Sinise was due in ‘ 95, Tom, Hardy in 2012 and finally Jordan - already  Adonis Creed, Erik Killmonger, Guy Montag, Johnny Storm -  had a new hero to embody.



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