John Candy

  1. Joe Flaherty, Used Cars, 1980.         Double parked!  Or not wanted… Otherwise, something could have been easily arranged as Steven Spielberg was directing him in 1941– while exec producing Used Cars.
  2. John Belushi, Neighbours, 1981.     Plan A for the John Hughes story at Carolco was Candy and Sylvester Stallone as the fighting neighbours.  Plan B at Columbia was the brothers Blue, Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi.  Five years later, Candy did make another Hughes tale: Planes, Trains & Automobiles.  
  3.  Eugene Levy, Splash, 1983.      Candy studied the script and wanted to be Dr Walter Kornbluth. No, no, no, said director Ron Howard, you’re Tom Hanks’ brother. OK, said Candy, but, hey, you know who’d just nail Kornbluth? And he suggested Levy, also from the SCVTV troupe – Canada’s Second City Television series.  Splash really boosted Levy’s  Hollywood career leading to the American Pie franchise – and the 1992  Camp Candy with John and his kids, Chris, 8, and  Jennifer, 12.
  4. Rick Moranis, Ghost Busters, 1983.       Who ya gonna call…?  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 John Candy were up for  Louis Tully. Leno was too busy and Candy, well, he didn’t like the part, recalled  Dan. Or, he  wanted to it play completely differently – wtih a 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). 
  5. 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  was so  bad?  Dan Aykroyd was bound to be Sergeant Joe Friday – or no movie!  But who should be his stupidly named partner, Pep Streebek? John Candy was mentioned –  briefly – the  year before.  Then, Jim  Belushi, brother  of Dan’s dead cohort, John. Hanks took on his first supporting role, after two big flops. “I just took the job as a hired gun.  Dan has s this Joe Friday set in stone… so much so I wonder where I fit in.” Nowhere.
  6. John Ashton, Midnight Run,1987.   Candy and John Goodman had to bow to Ashton – for Marvin Dorfler in the great buddy movie. Yeah, better than the same director Martin Brest’s Beverly Hills Cop, 1983.  Robert De Niro and Charles Grodin – lean, mean bounty-hunter and his captured hysterical embezzler – were an unexpectedly superb comedy duo. 
  7. Jon Lovitz, A League of Their Own, 1991.  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, Geena Davis took over at Columbia Well.  Also on the plate for the AAGPBL talent scout Ernie Capadino  were Candy and Danny De Vito.
  8. Robin Williams, Aladdin, 1991.    Disney’s voice choices for the blue Genie included Candy, Albert Brooks, Matt Frewer, John Goodman, Steve Martin, Eddie Murphy, Martin Short… As if anyone could match Williams’ dazzling 16 hours of improv. (So much ad-lib finished on screen, the toon was denied any adapted script Oscar nomination!). In typical whirlwind manic a brilliance (at union scale!), Williams used everyone from Ethel Merman to Groucho Marx, William F Buckley to Carol Channing, Nicholson to De Niro!   “Good but not great,” noted Chicago critic Roger Ebert, “with the exception of the Robin Williams sequences, which have a life and energy all their own.” Indeed.
  9. John Goodman, The Flintstones, 1994.     After ludicrous thoughts of  thin guys in fat-suits (Dan Aykroyd, Chevy Chase Bill Murray) burned up on re-entry to planet Earth,  chubby Candy was set to succeed James Belushi as the Stone Age hero.    Not for long. The live action take on the cartoon series (The Simpsons of its days, 1960-1966), would never have happened if Goodman had been  unable  able to squeeze it in during his Roseanne series hiatus. Because, according to co-creator Joseph Barbera “When John Goodman was born, he was stamped Fred Flintstone right there on his bottom.”  The producer agreed. End of debate.  ’Cos the producer was Steven Spielberg.  
  10. Danny Glover, Gone Fishin’, 1996.       Candy and Rick Moranis passed  on  the two fishing buddies.  The film was eventually made with Glover and Joe Pesci after Candy’s death and the semi-retirement of Moranis. “This unbelievably moronic comedy” (Washington Post)  led to  the tragic death of a stuntwoman in a boat gag that also  injured  her husband and father, stunters both.  

  11. Kevin Bacon, Telling Lies in America, 1997.    Candy was eager to play Billy Magic in what was then Magic Man, whentoldby his agent Ron Meyer that it would hurt his career. Writer Joe Estzerhas (the film was about his youth) called CAAin fury and Meyer admitted that CAA “was still after me” because of his famous 1989 letter to the CAA “Kingfish, himself, the Thousand-Pound Gorilla – Michael Ovitz!”(and his infamous foot soldiers) for “threatening to destroy my career because I was refusing to turn my back on a friend” by switching to another agent.
  12. Eddie Murphy, Holy Man, 1998.       Joe Roth and his Caravan Pictures started developing the comedy for Johnto play G in 1993.
  13. Queen Latifah, Last Holiday, 2005.   Fans of Ealing Studios comedies, LA scripters Jeffrey Price, Peter S Seaman decided to rehash JB Priestley’s 1950 Alec Guinness scriptwith Candy as George Bird.Years after his death, Latifah became Georgia Bird.
  14. Will Ferrell, Curious George, 2006.    Arnold Schwarzeneggerwas also chased to be The Man in the Yellow Hat in the mid-90s. Ferrell voiced thekids’ character inthe tots’ toon. 

 Birth year: 1950Death year: 1995Other name: Casting Calls:  14