Jay Leno

  1. Larry Franco, The Thing, 1981.       Stand-ups like Fleischer, Jay Leno Gary Shandling were always welcome at reading sessions as studios were keen on seeing how they might  work as actors – with future films  or series in mind.      Hello, Seinfeld!  
  2. Rick Moranis, Ghostbusters, 1983.   The paranormal was, said Dan Aykord, his family’s business. That and having stayed in a house haunted by Mama Cass Elliott inspired his dark, futuristic update of such 40s’ comedies as Bob Hope’s Ghost Breakers and the Bowery Boys as Ghost Chasers –  penned for John Belushi, Eddie Murphy and himself. Dan was actually writing a line for John when hearing about his shock death. (He said  Slimer was John‘s ghost). Murphy was busy (policing Beverly Hills !) as the script was totally respun and/or improvised, leaving little of Dan’s dark, futuristic take on 40s’ ghost frolics. Jay Leno and Candy were up for  Louis Tully. Leno was tied up and Candy, well, he  didn’t like the part” said Dan. Or, he  wanted to it play completely differently –  wtth German accent, and  a pair of schnauzers. There was no reason for either and already the script had enough hounds – the Terror Dogs, not to mention Sigourney Weaver’s dog act. So, bye-bye John and enter his SCTV cohort. And guess what, Moranis. had his own ideas, too (and so played him as a nerd).
  3. Tim Robbins, Howard The Duck, 1985.     Everybody wanted to voice Marvel’s Howard T Duck… Leno, John Cusack, Martin Short, Robin Williams. Plus voicing specialists Townsend Colman and Rob Paulsen (more than 500 credits between them). Zien was not a voice-actor. Howard was the big deal production of the year… massive budget… George Lucas, Mr Star Wars, producing… his American Graffiti writers, writing. And. It. Bombed! Willard Huyck never directed again. And in need of funds to complete his Skywalker Ranch, Lucas sold to Steve Jobs what became… Pixar!   Six years later, Jay won Johnny Carson’s coveted Late Show role! Able, therefore, to ridicule such flops.
  4. Tom Hanks, Forest Gump, 1995.    The most off-the-wall casting idea… Nice guy and all, but  Leno does not share  the essential ability of Hanks – or any half-way decent actor –  to transcend self and  become someone else.


 Usual occupation: TV Chat Show HostBirth year: Death year: Other name: Casting Calls:  4