Payday Loans
Jean-Claude Van Damme

  1. Kevin Peter Hall, Predator, 1987.  The actioner with two future Governors: California’s Arnold Schwarzenegger and  Minnesota’s ex-wrestler Jesse Ventura. Having “the title role,” helped the lone Belgian in  town win a three-picture deal. with lowly Cannon Films. Once signed for Bloodsport, Van Damme worried he might get injured inside the predator suit - and kept “fainting” on the Mexican set until he got what he wanted -  the sack. That’s one story. The other has producer Joel Silver ordering him to stop kick-boxing. “The predator is not a kick-boxer!” “But,” said JCVD, ”I’m obliged to play him like that for my fans “ “And,:” yelled Silver, “I’m obliged to fire you,. “Get out!”  Van Dammemay have been the muscles from Brussels but Pittsburg’s Hall beat him where it counted - height.  Hall was 6ft. 9ins.   Perfect for the titular beast. No to mention,  Harry the friendly Sasquatch  (looking like Chewbacca’s father) in the 1986 Harry and the Hendersons movie and 1991 series.

  2. 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, appartently, the film. Lousy! Which is probably why 18 other big guns, said nadato being Nada: JCVD, Alec Baldwin, Michael Biehn, Jeff Bridges, Tom Cruise, Harrison Ford, Mel Gibson, Tommy Lee Jones, Michael Keaton, Christophe(r) Lambert,  Dolph Lundgren, Bill Paxton, Ron Perlman, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone, Patrick Swayze, 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.”

  3. Mark Harmon, The Presido, 1988.  Lee Marvin and Jeff Bridges as two cops with a history  became  Sean Connery and Don Johnson and wound  up as Connery and Harmon...   Strange that so many -  JCVD, Alec Baldwin, Michael Biehn, Jeff Bridges, Harrison Ford, Mel Gibson, Richard Gere, Michael Keaton, Dolph Lundgren, Bill Pullman, Dennis Quaid, Kurt Russell, Patrick Swayze, Bruce Willis… even rival biceps Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone - were contacted for the second banana rôle. And a bad one. Matching what Chicago critic Roger Ebert called “a clone, of a film assembled out of spare parts from… the cinematic junkyard.”
  4. Patrick Swayze, Next of Kin, 1989.   Country bumpkins v the Mafia. Again. For the hero of his respun Raw Deal, 1985, UK director John Irvin went from The Obvious Aces: Kevin Costner, Tom Cruise, Clint Eastwood, Harrison Ford, Richard Gere, Mel Gibson, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone, Bruce Willis… to the Tango and Cash possibles: Michael Biehn, Jeff Bridges, Pierce Brosnan, Kurt Rusell… plus The Also-Rans: Tommy Lee Jones, Kris Kristofferson, Dennis Quaid. And even French Christopher Lambert, Swedish Dolph Lundgren and Belgian Jean Claude Van Damme… for a Chicago cop!
  5. Michael Biehn, Timebomb, 1991.     The studio said: No Biehn.  Get Chuck Norris or... The Muscles from Brussels.  The Israeli writer-director Avi Nesher said: No.  Biehn said: I'll take a salary cut. The studio said: We love him!

  6. Sasha Mitchell,  Kickboxer 2: The Road Back, 1991.      Once described as “a Van Damme sequel without Van Damme.” He  passed to be twins in Double Impact. Well, of course he did!
  7. Linden Ashby, Mortal Kombat, 1994.    Bruce Lee’s son, Brandon, was set forJohnny Cage in the $20m debut of the franchise based on the video game when accidentally shot dead during The Crow, 1993. JCVD, Tom Cruise, Gary Daniels, and Johnny Deppwere bypassed by the Floridiansurfer and martial arts champ. And JCVD preferred to make Street Fighter... and stupidly, arrogantly refused a three-film Universal deal at $12 a pop. He insisted on $20m -- to help pay for his $10,000 a week coke habit. “Everything I was touching was making money. Jim Carrey was being paid a fortune. And I wanted to play with the system. Like an idiot!" Studios agreed and cut him off."I was on the blacklist. That was it."
  8. Ted Prior, Mutant Species, 1994.    Director David A Prior had big ideas - Arnold Schwarzenegger  and Van Damme opposite Dee Wallace Stone, Bill Duke and Michael Ironside. The suits cut his cloth to match his  his B-horror flick. However, Prior got his way about  Powers Boothe… and the ex-Captain Marvel,  Jackson Bostwick. 
  9. Tom Sizemore, Heat, 1995.    William Petersen, director Michael Mann’s star of To Live and Die in LA ten years earlier, passed Michael Cheritto on to, briefly, Jean-Claude Van Damme (!).  Then, Michael Madsen was selected and rapidly  dropped without (public) explanation.   Sjzemore had been first reserve in case either Robert De Niro or Al Pacinio (or their possible replacements, Nick Nolte, Jeff Bridges) dropped out. Never happened so auteur Michael Mann obviously felt obligated to compensate Sizemore with a decent role.

  10. Wesley Snipes, Demolition Man, 1999.    The dumbest of the  twelve producers (associate, co-, exec, etc) wanted Van Damme   - or Steven Seagal - as the ultra-violent nasty, Simon Phoenix…
  11. Sylvester Stallone, Demolition Man, 1999. … while both guys were more  interested only in hero, John Spartan, but hey! Sly soon had a lock on that!  Van Damme said they should swop roples.  JCVD was finally a   villain in The Expendables 2  in 2011  - for Stallone! “He’s had his ups and downs,” said Sly, "but I believe once you've had that star, it's just a matter of re-igniting it.”

  12. Bruce Payne, Highlander IV - Endgame, 1999.  Aka: Highlander: World Without End. After the so-so series, Christophe(r) Lambert came back with the tele-Immortal Adrian Paul (as Connor and Dunan MacLeod) to tackle the horribly evil Jacob Kell who had 666 kills. (Number remind you of anything…?). Before Surrey’s Payne was selected, candidates included David Bowie and Billy Idol from the music world and JCVD from the world of schlock. 

  13. 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),Edward (also considered for Scott Summers/Cyclops) and - oh no! - JCVD!  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 has been Wolverine in ten movies (Deadpool 2 included) across 19 years. (By contrast, Sean Connerywas James Bond for 007 times). 

  14. Bruce Payne, Highlander: Endgame, 2000.   Two rock stars – David Bowie and  Billy Idol – and splits specilalist Jean-Claude Van Damme formed a rather mixed bag of possibilities for  the villain - the fourth with a name starting with a K.  Payne fell ill with bronchitis on location in Romania and it was four months before he could return and finish the movie.  His dastardly Jacob Kell was  is split in half by Christophe(r) Lambert’s Connor MacLeod and became two people… but only in the trailer!

  15. Jérôme Le Banner, Astérix aux jeux Olympiques (Asterix at the Olymnpic Games), France-Belgium-Germany-Italy-Spain, 2006, When JCVD passaed on the Roman athlete Cornedurus, his replacement was the French champion kickboxer,  mixed martial artist and wrestler.  Given the Olympic theme, various Euro sport celebs had guest slots: Tony Parker (basketball), Amelie Mauresmo (tennis), Michael Schumacher (Formula One car racing), Zinedine Zidane (soccer

  16. Hiroyuki Sanada, Rush Hour 3, 2007.    In the mix for the villain Kenji (with Tony Jaa, Vinnie Jones, Steven Seagal and Wenzhuo Zhao) when director Brett Ratner’s  Jackie Chan-Chris Tucker road show hit Paris.

  17. Steve Prouty, Zombieland, 2009.    The first idea was to have a celeb as the punched-in-the-face zombie. Mark Hamill, Matthew McConaughey, Joe Pesci, Patrick Swayze, were also contacted. By 2011, Sylvester Stallone invited JCVD to join The Expendables 2. “He’s had his ups and downs,” said Sly, "but I believe once you've had that star, it's just a matter of re-igniting it.”

  18. 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.

  19. Tom Scott, Enemies Closer, 2013.   When director Peter Hyams  was offered the film, Van Damme was attached as the hero.  “Been there, done that,“ said Hyams. He wanted Van Damme as the villain. “I told Jean-Claude that I was going to fashion the bad guy to be this incredibly flamboyant character: a cross between Hannibal Lecter and Robin Williams. He's going to be crazy, funny and lethal. And he pulled it off beautifully… It was a chance to show a different side of Van Damme. His character is all ninety-degree arcs: he's smiling and sweet one minute, then sticks a knife in someone's belly.“

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