Jim Belushi


  1. John Malkovich, The Killing Fields, 1985.    “But I did Salvador, so I still got it out of my system – the political thing.”
  2. Robert Carradine, Number One With A Bullet, 1986.One brother succeeded by another.
  3. Mel Gibson, Lethal Weapon, 1986.      In all, 39 possibilities for the off-kilter, ’Nam vet cop Martin Riggs – not as mentally-deranged as in early drafts (he used a rocket launcher on one guy!) Some ideas were inevitable: Alec Baldwin, Michael Biehn (shooting Aliens), Jeff Bridges, Michael Douglas, Harrison Ford, Richard Gere, Al Pacino, Sean Penn, William Petersen, Dennis Quaid, Christopher Reeve, Kurt Russell, Charlie Sheen, Sylvester Stallone, John Travolta, Bruce Willis. Some were inspired:  Bryan Brown, Nicolas Cage, Willem Dafoe, Jeff Goldblum (he inherited Gibson’s role in The Fly), William Hurt (too dark for Warner Bros), Michael Keaton, Michael Madsen, Liam Neeson, Eric Roberts. Some were insipid: Jim Belushi (he made a hash of partnering Dan Aykroyd in a dreadful re-hash of Dragnet), Pierce Brosnan, Kevin Costner, Kevin Kline, Stephen Lang, Michael Nouri (joined another cop duo in The Hidden), Patrick Swayze. Plus TV cops  Don Johnson, Tom Selleck… three foreign LA cops: Austrian Arnold Schwarzenegger, Dutch Rutger Hauer and French Christophe(r) Lambert. And the inevitable (Aussie) outsider Richard Norton.
  4. Tom Hanks, Dragnet, 1987. “Ladies and gentlemen, the story you are about to see is true. The names have been changed to protect the innocent. For example, George Baker is now called Sylvia Wiss.”  Sending up Jack Webb’s seminal Dragnetcop show (1951-1959) is so easy, how come the film is so  bad?  Dan Aykroyd had Jack Webb down pat. “Not an imitation,” said co-writer (and director) Tom Mankiewicz,   “an incarnation.” So Dan must be Friday – or no movie!  But who should be his stupidly named partner, Pep Streebek?  In 1985, John Candy was mentioned – briefly.  Then, Jim Belushi, brother  of John, Dan’s dead co-Blues Brother. Then, Hanks proved available. Webb’s 1967-1970 version partner, Harry Morgan, played their boss – the now Captain Bill Gannon.   
  5. Michael Douglas, Fatal Attraction, 1987.
  6. Whoopi Goldberg, Homer and Eddie, 1989.    Russiandirector Andrei Konchalovsky’s game-plan – RobinWilliams and Belushi – collapsed when Jim could not deal with memories of Williams and his dead brother John.Konchalovsky “fell in love with Jim, a marvellous, interesting,unpredictable actor” and made him the retard, Homer, and “had the crazy idea”” to change his Eddie into a woman. “Well, Homer is as feminine as Eddie is masculine.”
  7. Robert Downey, Jr, Air America, 1990.Second choice after Bill Murray parachuted from director Richard Rush and Sean Connery’s 1985 plan.
  8. John Heard, Home Alone, 1990.  For the zero roles of Macauley Culkin’s forgetful parents (in a film written for and duly   stolen by him), an astonishing 66 stars were considered – including 32 later seen for the hot lovers in Basic Instinct:Kim Basinger, Stockard Channing, Glenn Close, Kevin Costner, Jamie Lee Curtis, Michael Douglas, Carrie Fisher, Harrison Ford, Mel Gibson, Jodie Foster, Linda Hamilton, Daryl Hannah, Marilu Henner, Anjelica Huston, Helen Hunt, Holly Hunter, Diane Keaton, Jessica Lange, Christopher Lloyd, Jack Nicholson, Sean Penn, Michelle Pfeiffer, Annie Potts, Kelly Preston, Dennis Quaid, Meg Ryan, Martin Sheen, Sylvester Stallone, Sharon Stone, John Travolta.   Other potential Pops were Dan Aykroyd, Jim Belushi, Chevy Chase, Jeff Daniels, Tony Danza, John Goodman, Charles Grodin, Tom Hanks, Robert Hays, Steve Martin, Rick Moranis, Bill Murray, Ed O’Neill, John Ritter, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Tom Skerritt, Robin Williams… and the inevitable unknowns: Broadway’s Mark Linn-Baker, Canadian musicians-comics Alan Thicke (“the affordable William Shatner”) and Dave Thomas.
  9. Bill Sinclair, Dinosaurs, 1991.    Wanting to pursue a serious film career, Jim nixed the role of Earl Sinclair. The Dinosaurs are an animatronic stone-age working-class family created by Jim Henson for Disney.
  10. Tom Hanks, A League Of Their Own, 1992.  Long-time ball fan, director Penny Marshall had never heard of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League (1943-1954) until seeing a 1987 PBS documentary. She swiftly contacted the makers to join her Hollywood writers to use their title for a fictional comedy-drama version.  Penny staged baseball tests for about 2,000 actresses – if you can’t play ball, you can’t play the Rockford Peaches! (Geena Davis, Rosie O’Donnell, Lori Petty were best). Jim Belushi and Laura Dern were set to star in 1990 when Fox suddenly pulled the plug; Tom Hanks and Geena took over at Columbia.  Also on the plate for team manager Jimmy Dugan were Bryan Cranston and Michael J. Fox.  Instead, this is the movie which rescued  Hanks from comedy, leading to two successive 90s’ Oscars. “It enabled me to throw away that totally likeable and naive and cheerful and charming and good-looking persona that I’m burdened with -t o play a guy with his entire life right there on his shirt sleeve.”
  11. Burt Reynolds, Cop And A Half, 1992.Offered the cop when Kurt Russell and the half-pint MacCauley Culkin quit. But he’d already been a cop with a dog in K9. Once bitten...

  12. John Goodman, The  Flintstones, 1994.  Yabba-dabba-don’t!  Before any script was written, producer Joel Silver signed Belushi  as the Stone Age hero  in 1986, with a  (leased) Mercedes for a year instead of cash.  Project passed to Steven Spielberg in 1988 and would never have happened if Goodman had been unable  able to squeeze it in  during his vacation from  the Roseanne series. Because, according to co-creator Joseph Barbera: “When John Goodman was born, he was stamped Fred Flintstone right there on his bottom.”
  13. Eric Roberts, Doctor Who (The Movie), TV, 1996.    
  14. Rip Torn, Hercules, 1996.    Belushi, John Goodman, Gregory Peck and Patrick Stewart were in the frame to voice Zeus. Apart from Peck, they all went on to supply other voices for other Disney characters Belushi, for example, was Benny the Squirrel in The Wild, 2005. (Twenty years earlier Mrs Torn, actress Geraldine Page, voiced Madame Medusa in The Rescuers at Disney).
  15. Joe Morton, Blue Brothers 2000, 1998.    “I wanted Jim but he was doing a TV show,” relates family pal Dan Aykroyd.The next year, Belushi voiced his brother’s old Jake role in the animation series.
  16. Godley, Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, 2004.     Director Tim Burton ran through many TV dads for Mr Teavee. Jim was, er, Jim Belushi for 145 episodes of According To Jim, 2001-2007. Also in the mix: Tim Allen, Dan Castellaneta, Ed O’Neill, Ray Romano, Bob Saget and Kurtwood Smith. Godley was a huge 1998 hit as Kenneth Williams in London’s behind-the-Carry-On-scenes play, Cleo, Camping, Emmanuelle, and Dick.







 Birth year: Death year: Other name: Casting Calls:  16