Michael Ironside


  1. Peter Weller, RoboCop, 1986.   The cop as a machine – “the future of law enforcement.”   Blade Runner bred the idea. Actors galore came and went: Armand Assante, Tom Berenger, Dale Dye (Hollywood’s favourite military adviser on Vietnam war films), Peter Fonda (“Here I am!” “No, you’re not!”), Rutger Hauer, Lance Henriksen (when Weller complained about the suit),  Michael Ironside (first choice, but too short for the RoboSuit), Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone. Most were too big for the suit, (seven of them), too bulky to fit into a police car! Every studio in town laughed at the concept. Even the short-tempered Dutch director Paul Verhoeven first thought it a dumb actioner. (Read it again, said his missus).  Orion took a chance on it (and his Hollywood debut), ending up with two sequels, four more as movie-length TV series episodes,  two cartoon shows, various comic books…  and a $1bn-plus from toys and figurines alone. Ken Russell said it was the greatest science-fiction film  since Metropolis in 1927. Ken was always over then top.
  2. Powers Boothe, Mutant Species, 1994.    Director David A Prior had big ideas – Arnold Schwarzenegger and  Jean-Claude Van Damme, opposite Dee Wallace Stone and Michael Ironside as Frost. 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.
  3. Kevin Kilner, Earth: Final Conflict, TV, 1997-2001.  Ironside was all set to be Commander William Boone when Kilner was given the role. After 24 chapters, he was gone, too, replaced by Robert Leeshock’s Major Liam Kincaid. The series was forever changing faces in fits of pique over contractual, creative and financial rows. It was billed as a Gene  Roddenberry space opera although Mr Star Trek  been dead for six years and had left onlty a premise scribbled on a serviette and notes on bits of paper  including the back of receipts.
  4. James Woods, Hercules, 1997.    The directors had no idea who should voice Hades.  “Why don’t you ask Jack?”suggested their Philoctetes, Danny Vito. Jack was keen. For his nomal fee – between $10m and $15m. Disney offered… $500,000.  Hence talks began with David Bowie, James Coburn, Willem Dafoe, Phil Hartman, Michael Ironside, Michael Keaton, Martin Landau, Broadway’s Terrence Mann, Ron Silver, Kevin Spacey, and Rod Steiger. Then, John Lithgow got the gig and recorded it all. Next thing he knew, Jimmy Woods was adlibbing Hades to glory with Robin Williams/Aladdinbravura.  And made it a growth industry with the TV series and  various video games. 

  5. Michael Massee, Rizzoli & Isles, TV, 2010-2013.     Main villain of this latest take on Cagney & Lacey was jailed serial killer, Charles Hoyt, planning  to kill his nemesis, Boston PD  Detective Jane  Rizzoli before he dies of cancer… Hoyt was aimed at the usualoddballs: Brad Dourif, Robert Englund (aka Freddie Krueger), Michael Ironside,  John Lithgow. Plus a few surprises like Mark Hamill (helluva switch from Luke Skywalker!), old RoboCopper Peter Weller and, somewhat stupidly, Paul Ruebens  – Pee-Wee Herman as a vengeful kille! That would have his dumbest move since  going  to the XXX South Trail Cinema, in his Sarasota  home town in Florida, on July 26, 1991.


 Birth year: Death year: Other name: Casting Calls:  5