Michael Keaton


  1. Dennis Quaid, Caveman, 1981.    One of the songs that Quaid wrote with co-star Ringo Starr during the Mexican locations summed it all up. Deranged in Durango.  
  2. Tom Hanks, Splash, 1983.    Hanks always claimed he was director Ron Howard’s 11th choice for Allen Bauer in his breakthrough (mermaid) movie. Sorry, Tom – 15th!  And here they be: Keaton, Jeff Bridges, Chevy Chase, Richard Gere, Steve Guttenberg (Howard chose him for Cocoon a year later), John Heard, Robert Klein, Kevin Kline, Dudley Moore, David Morse, Bill Murray (PJ Soles was to be his mermaid), Burt Reynolds, John Travolta (his agent turned him off it!), Robin Williams. Plus Michael Keaton who also rejected…
  3. John Candy, Splash, 1983.    …Alan’s brother Freddie. Also aimed at stand-up Tim Allen who didn’t make his film debut until Tropical Snow, 1988,  before his 90s’ series, film and toon voicing fameKent went one to  make  Howard’s Gung Ho, 1986, and The Paper, 1994.
  4. Bill Murray, Ghost Busters, 1983.     Who ya gonna call?  Well, not Keaton…  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 Breakersand 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. When Chevy Chase, Steve Giuttenberg, Tom Hanks, Michael Keaton, Robin Williams refused Dr Peter Venkman. “Billy” took over – as long as Columbia backed his Razor‘s Edge re-tread. It did. And it flopped.
  5. Harold RamisGhost Busters, 1984.    Keaton also passed on Dr Egon Spengler, in common with Jeff Goldblum, John Lithgow, Christopher Lloyd and Christopher Walken. Ramis (the  chief re-writer) decided he’d best do it his way – without ever smiling!  Frank Price, who famously turned down ET at Columba, OKed the film after asking Ivan  Reitman: How much? The director  weighed  the script in his hand. “Feels like a $25m movie to me.”  OK!  He rushed shooting for a summer  release  without every clearing the rights of the title! That belonged to Universal – and  guess who was the new boss there, agreeing to the title being used. None other than Frank Price! (He’d been sacked by Columbia in mid-shoot and literally picked up by Universal… to thank him  for passing on ET?)

  6. Jeff Daniels, Purple Rose of Cairo, 1984. 

      Jeff Daniels and Mia Farrow  

    © Orion Pictures, 1985


    “This character is vanilla, he’s neutral, he’s dangerously bland,” warned Keaton’s  manager Harry Colomby.  “You’re like the house goy.”   But, like everyone, Keaton wanted to work with Woody Allen. Didn’t last long.  Less than a week.  “I’m not sure what he wants, he keeps saying: Less.”  After two days, Keaton asked Woody if he wanted to forget it.  
    “No, no, no  – 80% of what you’re doing is great. There’s maybe 20% I’m not really happy with.” Two days later, Allen agreed that he was 100% was off.  “This isn’t working. You’re too contemporary” – for the 30s double role of screen hero Tom Baxter and the actor who plays him when thrust into the real world knowing nothing about anything, Particularly, women… Such as his greatest fan, Mia Farrow.

  7. Steve Guttenberg, Police Academy, 1984.      Difficult to understand but Keaton, Tom Hanks, Judge Reinhold and Bruce Willis were all turned down for baby cop Corey Mahoney. They were upset… until seeing how each of the next six of these Carry On Cops were lousier than the one before. Guttenberg threw away his badge after three more. Maybe to appease his father – an NYPD officer. Keaton became exactly that in One Good Cop, 1990.
  8. Jeff Goldblum, The Fly, 1986.    “Be afraid, be very afraid!” Keaton and Richard Dreyfuss passed on Seth Brundle. The promise of five hours (and 5 lbs) of prosthetic make-up as the Brundlefly didn’t delight them.   Mel Gibson fled for Lethal Weapon. John Lithgow auditioned.
  9. 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, Pierce Brosnan, Kevin Costner, Kevin Kline, Stephen Lang, Michael Nouri (he 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.
  10. Kevin Costner, No Way Out, 1986.  For his excellent thriller – labyrinthine and ingenious, said Roger Ebert – the under-praised Aussie director Roger Donaldson caught Costner on the cusp of susperstardom (between The Untouchables and Field of Dreams) after seeing if the hero’s US Navy uniform would suit… Alec Baldwin, Michael Biehn, Jeff Bridges, Tom Cruise, Mel Gibson, Harrison Ford, Richard Gere, William Hurt, Tommy Lee Jones, Michael Keaton, Michael Nouri, Bill Paxton,  Sean Penn, Dennis Quaid, Kurt Russell, Patrick Swayze, Bruce Willis. Even the French Christophe(r) Lambert  or…  Robin Williams?

  11. Kevin Costner, Bull Durham, 1987.
    Ron Shelton had one helluva job trying to win backing for his directing debut. “Baseball? Get outa here. Ball movies don’t sell.”  But his producer Thom Mount was part-owner of the real Durham Bulls squad and recognised what Roger Ebert would call “a sports movie that knows what it is talking about – because it knows so much about baseball and so little about love.” Orion stumped up $9m, eight weeks, creative freedom – the cast cut their costs because of the script. For the minor-league veteran, Crash Davis, Shelton  looked at: Alec Baldwin, Tom Berenger, Jeff Bridges, Harrison Ford, Richard Gere, Don Johnson, Tommy Lee Jones (he was baseball icon Ty Cobb in Shelton’s Cobb, 1994), Michael Keaton, Stephen Lang, Nick Nolte (more into football), Bill Paxton, Ron Perlman, Dennis Quaid, Kurt Russell (who worked on the script with Shelton), Sylvester Stallone, Bruce Willis – and even three foreigners to the game: Aussie Mel Gibson, French Christophe(r) Lambert and Austrian Arnold Schwarzenegger. Result: more sports from Shelton (basketball, golf, boxing) and more baseball movies from Hollywood: A League of Their Own, Eight Men Out (with Sheen), Field of Dream (Costner), Major League (Berenger and Sheen).  

  12. 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, apparently, the film.  Lousy! Which is probably why 18 other big guns, said nadato being Nada: Keaton, Alec Baldwin, Michael Biehn, Jeff Bridges, Tom Cruise, Harrison Ford, Mel Gibson, Tommy Lee Jones, Christophe(r) Lambert, Dolph Lundgren, Bill Paxton, Ron Perlman, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone, Patrick Swayze, Jean-Claude Van Damme, 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.”
  13. Robert De Niro, Midnight Run, 1987.   There were 23 possibilites for the lean, mean skip-tracer (tracing felons who skipped bail) – on the run from the  FBI and the Mob after capturing Vegas embezzler Charles Grodin.  Who knew De Niro could be more subtle at comedy than… Keaton, Jeff Bridges, Charles Bronson, Michael Douglas, Clint Eastwood, Harrison Ford, Richard Gere, Mel Gibson, Gene Hackman, Dustin Hoffman, Don Johnson, Tommy Lee Jones, Jack Nicholson, Ryan O’Neal (!), Al Pacino, Burt Reynolds, Mickey Rourke, Kurt Russell, John Travolta, Jon Voight and even the musclebound Arnie and Sly – Schwarzenegger and Stallone. Director Martin Brest, that’s who.
  14. Emilio Estevez, Stakeout, 1988.     Too tired after The Squeeze, his fourth successive flop.  “I’ve taken movies for the money in order not to have to take movies for the money.”
  15. Mark Harmon, The Presido, 1988.   The usual old cop-young cop routine but set to a dull military beat in San Francisco’s Presidio Army Base. Due for Lee Marvin-Jeff Bridges, but Lee fell ill and died.  Gene Hackman-Bridges were not as hot as Sean Connery-Don Johnson – except Don was hog-tied to Miami Vice.  OK, Sean-Kevin Costner – he quit so no Untouchables reunion as the pair finally became Sean-Mark Harmon.  Also up  for the young upstart were 15 others:  Alec Baldwin Michael Biehn, Harrison Ford, Richard Gere, Mel Gibson, Michael Keaton, Bill Pullman, Dennis Quaid, Kurt Russell, Sylvester Stallone, Patrick Swayze, Bruce Willis, even Europeans Dolph Lundgren, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jean-Claude Van Damme None could have saved what what Chicago critic Roger Ebert called “a clone, of a film assembled out of spare parts from… the cinematic junkyard.”
  16. Billy Crystal, When Harry Met Sally…, 1989.    Rob Reiner considered Keaton and his eternal shadow, Hanks,before banking on his closest pal.
  17. Richard Gere, Internal Affairs, 1989.     ’Tis the season to be cops…. via two offers… UK director Mike Figgis said Paramount wanted Mel Gibson or Kurt Russell (big hits in ’88’s Tequila Sunrise) as the badass cop-cum-hit man. “If we’d hired a movie star to play Peck,” noted producer Frank Mancuso Jr, “we might not have been able to so successfully explore the darkness of the character.” Some 19 other stars – Keaton, Alec Baldwin, Tom Berenger, Jeff Bridges, Pierce Brosnan, Kevin Costner, Robert De Niro, Michael Douglas, Harrison Ford, Ed Harris, William Hurt, Don Johnson, Tommy Lee Jones, Nick Nolte, Al Pacino, Christopher Reeve, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone, John Travolta… and four outsiders Richard Dean Anderson, Willem Dafoe, Jeff Goldblum, Ron Silver – all passed Peck to Gere for a double whammy comeback with Pretty Woman. “I’ve never been away,” snapped Gere. Oh, but he had. Almost to Palookaville.
  18. Kurt Russell, Tango & Cash, 1989.   Sylvester Stallone was Raymond Tango – without question. But who would he accept as his equally frame cop pardner, Gabriel Cash? After Patrick Swayze ran (to solo billing in Road House), the list was long… Keaton, Michael Biehn, Pierce Brosnan, Kevin Costner,  Richard Gere, Mel Gibson, Don Johnson, Ray Liotta, Liam Neeson, Michael Nouri, Gary Oldman, Robert Patrick, Bill Paxton, Ron Perlman, Dennis Quaid, Gary Sinis. Plus three future Sly co-stars: Harrison Ford,    Bruce Willis and James Woods. They  all lost out on the debatable pleasure of four directors! From the Russian Andrei Konchalovsky to, secretly, Stallone.  
  19. Adam Baldwin, Next of Kin, 1989.  Keaton, Alec Baldwin (no kin to Adam), Robert De Niro, Ray Liotta, John Malkovich, Jack Nicholson, Sean Penn, Ron Perlman, Tim Robbins were seen for mobster Joey Rossellini in the hillbillies v the Mafia re-run of the same UK director John Irvin’s tons better Raw Deal, 1985.
  20. Scott Glenn, The Silence of the Lambs, 1989.

  21. Jim Belushi, Curly Sue, 1990.    “What I thought would be this cute, sweet little movie experience ended up going on for something like five months,” reported Kelly Lynch. “So much money was spent. It was insane! It was going to be me, Alec Baldwin and Kevin Spacey –  a whole different situation.  [They left for stage dates].  Those were two guys I knew really well, but I’d never met Jimmy [Belushi] before, and then he and [director John Hughes making his final film] didn’t get along. I kinda felt like a mom dealing with two 12-year-old boyss.“  Also in the Bill Dancer mix were Jeff Bridges, Richard Dreyfuss, Mel Gibson, Jeff Goldblum, Steve Guttenberg, Ray Liotta, Bill Murray (off shooting What About Bob?), Kurt Russell, Tom Selleck, Sylvester Stallone, John Travolta, Bruce Willis. [Quotes va IMDb; no other source credited].
  22. Kevin Costner, JFK, 1991.
  23. Stuart Wilson, Lethal Weapon 3, 1991.  Not only a Brit (like the best villains) but born in   the finestg UK county of Surrey, Wilson stole the villain, crooked ex-cop Jack Travis from some powerful A-Listers: Robert De Niro, Gene Hackman Jack Nicholson,  Plus four candidates for Mel Gibson’s titular cop in the first of the franchise quartet: Keaton, Alec Baldwin, Al Pacino,  John Travolta.
  24. Dennis Hopper,Super Mario Brothers, 1992. Wiser than some, Keaton, Kevin Costner  and Arnold Schwarzenegger fled from being King Koopa… in Disney’s flop of the year. Shooting was a bitch. Hopper blew his top about the forever changing script and reportedly raged for almost three hours against the, directors, who shall remain nameless.  Hopper’s  six-year-old son asked why he made the movie.’Well Henry, I did that so you could have shoes.” Henry said:  “Dad, I don’t need shoes that badly.”
  25. Val Kilmer, Thunderheart, 1991.  UK director Michael Apted’s first  thriller was inspired by 57 unsolved murders on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in the 1970s as The Traditionals fought Tribal government goons…  making Pine Ridge (pop: 1100) the Murder Capitol of the Nation. The only cliche in sight is the usual pairing of old cop-young cop (or FBI agents here), the rest was the usual Apted brilliance.  He shuffled 13 choices for the younger agent, Ray Levoi: Tom Cruise, Harrison Ford, Richard Gere, Mel, Gibson, Tommy Lee Jons, Michael Keaton, Dennis Quaid, Kurt Russell, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvster Stallone, Patrick Swayze, Bruce Willis Levoi was 1/4th Sioux. Kilmer (“the most unsung leading man of his generation,” for Chicago critic  Roger Ebert) is 1/8th Cherokee.
  26. Bill Murray, Groundhog Day, 1992.   For the acerbic TV weatherman suddenly reliving February 2 over and over again until he gets it right,  director Harold Ramis had several ideas, Except  they were “far too nice” compared to Murray… in his finest work. “Before he makes the film wonderful,” said Chiago critic Rogert Ebert, “he does a more difficult thing, which is to make it bearable. I can imagine a long list of actors, whose names I will charitably suppress, who could… render it simpering, or inane.” They would have included the nice Chevy Chase, Tom Hanks, John Travolta.  Plus Keaton who just might have pulled it off. Ramis chose him for Multiplicity,1995, where it is not days being repeated, but Keatons.
  27. Steve Martin, Leap of Faith, 1992.    All set as the travelling evangelical con-man until schedules (and money?) clashed, allowing Martin to dabble in drama anew.  Cue: instant prat-fall.
  28. Michael Douglas, Falling Down, 1992.  “I lost my job. Well, actually I didn’t lose it, it lost me. I am over-educated, under-skilled. Maybe it’s the other way around, I forget. But I’m obsolete. I’m not economically viable.” The guy known only by his car number-plate, D-FENS, is suffering from society and melting down. Dangerously. Perfect, therefore, for Alec Baldwin, Jeff Bridges, Robert De Niro, Harrison Ford, Mel Gibson, Ed Harris, Dustin Hoffman, Michael Keaton, Jack Nicholson, Nick Nolte, Al Pacino, Robin Williams – and, indeed, director Joel Schumacher’s choice of his pal, Douglas, in a Spartacus buzz-cut, glasses and, finally, his very own Cuckoo’s Nest. 
  29. Richard Gere, Mr Jones, 1993.        When Martin Ritt was in charge.
  30. Dana Carvey, Clean Slate, 1993.   Preferring the sob-opera, My Life, he left the tale of an amnesiac private eye (“every day is literally the first day of the rest of his life”) to Garth from Wayne’s World.

  31. Tom Hanks, Philadelphia, 1993.    By now, it was Keaton in Hanks’ shadow…   Jonathan Demme’s brave film was about a lawyer suing for loss of job because he had AIDS.  When Daniel skipped to make The Name of the Father and Michael Keaton preferred dying (of cancer) in My Life, Demme called on William Baldwin, Andy Garcia, Tim Robbins – even gay porn star Jerry Kelly – before Hanks lost 26lbs to be the dying Andrew Beckett… and win the first of his  consecutive Best Actor Oscars. 

  32. John Travolta, Pulp Fiction, 1993.
  33. Harvey Keitel, Pulp Fiction, 1993.
  34. Eric Stoltz, Pulp Fiction, 1993.

  35. Keanu Reeves, Speed, 1993. There were  30 stars queuing for Die Hard On A Bus. From A Listers Jeff Bridges, Kevin Costner, Tom Cruise, Michael Douglas, Harrison Ford, Richard Gere, Mel Gibson, Tom Hanks, Kurt Russell, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone, Patrick Swayze, even Mr  Die Hard, himself, Bruce Willis… to the B group: Kevin Bacon,three Baldwin brothers (Alec, Stephen and William),Michael Biehn, Bruce Campbell, George Clooney, Johnny Depp, Richard Dreyfuss, Michael Keaton, Christophe(r) Lambert, Viggo Mortensen, Dennis Quaid, Mickey Rourke, Tom Selleck… and two also-rans  Bruce  Campbell and Chuck Norris.  All crushed by a whippersnapper!  
  36. Harrison Ford, The Fugitive, 1993.   Paging Dr Kimble…   There was a queue answering the call for the film of David Janssen’s 1963-1967 series. Alec Baldwin, Jeff Bridges, Kevin Costner (directing as well), Michael Douglas, Andy Garcia,  Richard Gere, Mel Gibson (also up for the relentless cop, Gerard), Michael Keaton, Nick Nolte (director Walter Hill’s choice, but Andrew Davis made the movie – the fourth in his home town, Chicago), Al Pacino, Christopher Reeve,Arnold Schwarzengger. “The minute Harrison Ford shows up, they drop everything and sign up Harrison Ford,” Baldwiin complained. (It’s called being a star, Alec). Mel Gibson was up for either Kimble or his Javert-like hunter, Lieutenant Gerard – an Oscared gig for Tommy Lee Jones.
  37. Tim Allen, The Santa Clause, 1994.  The guy who accidentally kills Santa (it was shooting him, but Disney wasn’t having that) and take over his duties was penned for for Bill Murray. “Not my kind of humour,” he retorted.  Next in line: Allen, Rowan Atkinson, Jim Carrey, Richard Gere, Steve Guttenberg, Tom Hanks, Robin Williams. Plus eight  Batman candidates: Alec Baldwin, Jeff Bridges, Pierce Brosnan, Michael J Fox, Mel Gibson, Kurt Russell, Patrick Swayze and the winning Keaton.
  38. Kevin Bacon, The Air Up There, 1994.     Obscure college basketball coach tries to find potential glory in Africa. You could not get more obscure thanKeaton at this juncture.
  39. Alec Baldwin,The Getaway, 1993.  Director Walter Hill always wanted to direct his script and not what Sam Peckinpah made of it in 1972. When Keaton refused Doc McCoy, Hill’s wife, Hildy Gottlieb, was running Alec Baldwin’s Meadowbrook Productions and the boss had an extra… His wife – Kim Basinger.  Perfect for Doc and Carol.
  40. Tom Hanks, Forest Gump, 1995.    Received a script before any director had signed. Wavered, then waved it goodbye.

  41. Matthew Modine, Cutthroat Island, 1995.   All the A List guys (Keaton, Jeff Bridges, Ralph Fiennes, Liam Neeson, Keanu Reeves, Charlie Sheen) avoided the voyage because Renny Harlin would obviously favour his leading lady wife, Geena Davis. Particularly in the close-ups. And in the clinches.
  42. John Travolta, Get Shorty, 1995.   The A List would not touch it until QuentinTarantino (once tapped to direct) talked Travolta into… the best adaptation of an Elmore Leonard book until Justified came along on TV in 2010.
  43. Jack Nicholson,  Mars Attacks! 1995.  Tim Burton’s first two choices, Warren  Beatty and  Paul Newman,  fled. So did  Tim’s  Burton’s Batman, so The Joker took overtook over the US President  – and showing off with a second role of a Vegas casino boss.   Didn’t help. Too many stars. Not enough satire. 
  44. Woody Harrelson, Kingpin, 1996.     “If movie-making is like childbirth,” said Peter Farrelly of this even more Dumb and Dumber tale (about bowling), “then Keaton was one of our big contractions.”
  45. Kevin Costner, The Postman, 1997.     Tom Hanks also ran fromit… Keaton was born Michael Douglas but said there were already two other Michael Douglases. “One of whom I hear is doing quite well for himself, the other is making cheap porn movies.” Pause. “Like Basic Instinct.”  Keaton went further, having an affair with porn queen Serina Robinson, star of Honey Buns.
  46. Kesley Grammer, The Real Howard Spitz, 1997.    First Robin Williams, then Keaton was keen on Jürgen Wolff’s Writer’s Block script of a thriller writer deciding more money is made by children’s books.
  47. 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/Aladdin bravura.  And made it a growth industry with the TV series and  various video games.
  48. Antonio Banderas, The 13th Warrior,  1998.   For the Arab ambassador,  US director John McTiernan wanted Keaton – “because of his sense of humour.” The Disney suits didn’t find  that  funny and hired the Spanish star.  “I don’t remember whose idea that was, ” said McTiernan. “But it wasn’t mine!”
  49. Tom Hanks, The Green Mile, 1998.    Hanks had to pass on Frank Darabont’s excellent take on Stephen King’s The Shawshank Redemption in  1993 – he was Forrest Gamp at the time. He sure made sure his decks were cleared to beat the opposition (Michaels Douglas and Keaton) to the auteur’s next King tale – King’s favourite of all the adaptations of his books.
  50. Kurt Russell, Vanilla Sky, 2001.      Way out of Keaton’s league. “It’s great to make your own choices,” hehas said, “but there’s a price to pay.  I could’ve made more money or been more famous.  I could be the current groovy guy. You don’t want to lose your status, but I was never willing to preserve it by doing things I didn’t want to do.  Hey, it’s a business. The studiosknow I make X-amount of money when I play a certain guy, so they want me to play that guy, whoever he is. But my take is: I’ve done that, and if I do it again I’ll end up blowing my brains out. I always thought that was smart. I never wanted to play the short game.”

  51. Kevin Bacon. Mystic River, 2002.   You don’t, apparently, wrangle with Clint Eastwood.  Keaton had been selected for the Boston homicide cop Sean Devine, started script readings and then with a month to go, director and actor had an almighty dust-up. Keaton went and Clint brought home the Bacon.
  52. Johnny Depp, Pirates of the Caribbean – Curse of the Black Pearl,  2003..  The first one…  Disney never really knew what to do with the suggested movie based on the Disneyland ride. A tele-film or a proper movie? Over the years ten actors were approached about being Captain Jack Sparrow: Jim Carrey, Robert De Niro (!), Cary Elwes, Michael Keaton, Matthew McConaufghey, Steve Martin, Rik Mayall, Bill Murray, Christopher Walken, Robin Williams Whether any ofd them would also have had mascara, gold teeth and a Keith Richards’ rock ‘n’ roll shufle, we’ll never know
  53. Johnny Depp, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, 2004.  Tim Burton pondered about his favourites – Betelgeuse Keaton, Johnny Depp, Christopher. Walken – for chocolatier Willy Wonka. No contest. He  became Depp and Burton’s fifth partnership in 15 years. After dropping… Rowan Atkinson, Nicolas Cage, Jim Carrey, Robert De Niro, Dustin Hoffman, Dwayne Johnson, Steve Martin, Bill Murray, Mike Myers, Leslie Nielsen, Brad Pitt, Adam Sandler, Will Smith, Patrick Stewart, Ben Stiller, Christopher Walken, Robin Williams.  And the surviving Monty Python crew (also up for the 1970 version): John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, Michael Palin. Among the five exec producers, author Roald Dahl’s widow, Liccy, wanted her husband’s favourite Willy – Dustin Hoffman.   If not possible she voted for  UK comics, Eddie Izzard or David Walliams. She was quite happy with Depp… who  found Willy’s voice while riffing on a stoned George W Bush!
  54. Matthew Fox, Lost, TV, 2004-2010.   Minus any hit film for six years, Keaton still refused TV, even though his doctor hero would die in the pilot. Co-creator JJ Abrams – and Fox – kept him alive for several seasons… never knowing what to do with him and the otherair crash survivors on a desert isle.
  55. Chris Cooper, Jarhead, 2004.  Sam Mendes saw Keaton, Gary Oldman, Kurt Russell and remained faithful to his American Beauty star as the perfect Lieut-Colonel Kranski: “I think I just felt  my dick move.”
  56. Denzel Washington, Man on Fire, 2004. 
    Tony Scott backed out of directing the first version in 1986, but helped  Denzel Washington retrieve his lost taste for acting in this re-make.  Sergio Leone chose  Robert De Niro  and Marlon Brando nearly played A J Quinnell’s ex-CIA hero turned mercenary (certainly helped re-write  him) but Scott Glenn won the  role. Tony Scott  had wanted Robert Duvall. The new scriptwriter, Brian Helgeland,  recalled going  into the LA Video Archives store  in the 80s and asking the clerk: “What’s good?” The clerk said:  Man on Fire. The clerk was Quentin Tarantino.  In both films Creasy  is trying to rescue a kidnapped girl, almost a daughter to him, that  he’s bodyguarding.  Yeah, rather like a matrix for Liam Neeson’s Takens. So no surprise to find Liam among some 25 actors up for Creasy. Alec Baldwin, Sean Bean (a nearly 007),  Kevin Costner, Russell Crowe, Tom Cruise, Harrison Ford, Andy Garcia, Mel Gibson, Ed Harris, Michael Keaton, Val Kilmer, Viggo Mortensen,  Gary Oldman, Dennis Quaid, Keanu Reeves, Alan Rickman, Kurt Russell,  Arnold Schwarzenegger, Will Smith, Sylvester Stallone, Bruce Willis… even our dear old  Bob Hoskins.  Creasy was later Bollywooded by the inimitable  Amitabh Bachchan (at age  63!). There were three songs, of course!

  57. Sam Rockwell, The Hitch-Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, 2005.   
  58. Steve Carrel, Horton Hears A Who, 2007.   Keaton and Austin Pendelton were also up for Mayor Ned McDodd – among the many refuting Horton’s  claim about finding a microscopic world… in a speck of dust. Jim Carrey voiced the elephant, his first toon gig. “A 15-minute picture locked in an 85-minute narrative,”complained The Guardian critic Philip French.
  59. George Clooney, Leatherheads, 2008.    Moving, across 17 years, fromSteven Soderberg, Jonathan Mostow, Mel Gibson, Alec Baldwin to George Clooney (also directing), the gridiron comedy was written by Rick Reilly and Duncan Brantley – when he was caretaking Steven Spielberg’s home in the Hamptons.  Brantley refused Reilly’s plea to leave the script on Spielberg’s toilet seat. “I felt that I needed to respect his privacy.”
  60. Joe Mantegna, Criminal Minds, TV, 2009-2016.     When Mandy Patinkin quit over “’creative differences,” Keaton (and Harvey Keitel) were seen about taking over as head honcho of the FBI profilers hunting serial killers among other depraved members of society.

  61. Kurt Russell, Undying, US-Denmark, 2011.    Or Reaper, when Keaton was going to be the private eye out of his depth in aa surreal underworld.
  62. Hugh Jackman, Rise of the Guardians, 2011.   Possible voices for the Easter Bunny ranged from those of Ed O’Neill, at 65, to Eddie Redmayne at 29..!  Bill Hader, Michael Keaton and Daniel Stern were also heard before Jackman won his second DreamWorks toon… this time retaining his strine.  Other guardians included Easter Bunny, Jack Frost, Tooth Fairy  and a Santa Claus complete with tatts and a Russian accent!
  63. Will Arnett, The Lego Movie, 2013.    Auteurs Phil Lord and Christopher Miller toyed with the idea of having their lego-Batman voiced by The Real Thing – Keaton, Christian Bale, George Clooney or Val Kilmer. (In his voicing debut, Channing Tatum was Superman). 
  64. James Cromwell, Big Hero 6, 2014.    Six super heroes. So they naturally require one super-nemesis. Who better than (the masked) Robert Callaghan, head of a robotics at San Fransokyo Institute of Technology. The voicing gig for Disney’s first Marvel subject –  after The Big Buy-Out but before Kevin Feige created the  Marvelverse, and  winning the best animation Oscar – was aimed at Jason Alexander, Alec Baldwin, Jeff Bridges, Jim Carrey, Danny De Vito, John Goodman, Dustin Hoffman, Bob Hoskins, Michael Keaton, John Malkovich, Eddie Murphy, Jack  Nicholson, Gary Oldman, Joe Pesci, JK Simmons, Jeffrey Tambor….plus the great Gilbert Gottfried, putting the rest ol shame by scoring 179 screen roles in 41 years!   They all made way for Cromwell. Ten years earlier, he had created the I, Robot called Sonny, played by Alan Tudyk… here playing Cromwell’s arch rival, Alistair Krei.
  65. John C Reilly, Kong: Skull Island,   2016.    Schedules intefered and Reilly substituted Keaton in the seventh variation on the 83-year-old King Kong klassic.
  66. Mark Rylance, Ready Player One, 2016. Keaton and such regular Spielbergians as Toms Cruise and Hanks were tossed around for JD Halliday/Anorak once the director changed his mind about using a cast of unknowns. This became a third encounter of the Spielbergkind for the British stage star Rylance after Bridges of Spies  For Steven Spielberg’s flawed return  to science fantasy, Keaton had been a candidate for Anorak/JD Halliday, the dead co-creator of the OASIS, who left a surprise quest for his fans. This was Sir Mark’s third Spielberg film in a row. 
  67. Djimon Hounsou, Shazam!  2018.  A month after Brie Larson’s Captain Marvelopened in 2019, Zachary Levi arrived as… Captain Marvel. Re-named by DC as Shazam! in  2011. You may not know him, but he sold more comics tham Superman in the 40s. He’s really a kid of 14, given superpowers (and body) by an old called, er, Shazam. Think Superboy in Superbloke’s body.  FMA, Alan Alda, Michael Keaton (the 1988 Batman) and Tony Shaloub were seen for this wizard. Ron Ceophas (from the opposition, Marvel’s Luke Cage) got the gig. But his TV schedule got in the way and Hounsou took over. Direct from the set of…  Brie Larson’s winner!
  68. Ben Affleck, Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom, 2022. Havng had, said The Ankler blogger Richard Rushfield, the dark philosophical Batman, Ice Capades Batman and Lego Batman – Val Kilmer, George Clooney,  Ben Affleck…”makes one realise any coherent Batman ‘narrative’ disappeared long ago.”  And now comes the misplaced Batman, popping up in the universes of not only The Flash but Aquaman.  Keaton was in the Batsuit opposite flashy Ezra Miller and had reportedly filmed a scene with Aquadude. But  Jason Momoa said no, that it was Affleck  on the bus from Gotham City.










 Birth year: Death year: Other name: Casting Calls:  68