Patrick Swayze


  1. John Travolta, Grease, 1978.    Like other contenders, Swayze (son of choregographer Patsy Swayze) had been in the Broadwayshow. He made his film debut the following year in Skatetown, USA.
  2. John Laughlin, Crimes of Passion, 1984.  Swayze’s Dirty Dancing was clean compared to this noxious slice of Ken Russellmania.  Alec Baldwin, and  Jeff Bridges were also seen for  the square Bobby Grady getting love and sex lessons from Kathleen Turner’s part-time hooker in Ken Russell’s most outlandish film – although the reason could be the mass of cuts made to  get an R and not an X rating.  Roger Ebert said that. And this: “You know you’re in trouble in a sex movie when you spend more time thinking about the parts they left out than the parts they put in.”
  3. Tom Cruise, Top Gun, 1985.    “Buddy”, as his intimates called him, refused the US Navy pilot ace called Maverick So did: Kevin Bacon, Scott Baio,  Jim Carrey, John Cusack,  Robert Downey Jr, Emilio Estevex, Michael J Fox, Tom Hanks, Rob Lowe, Matthew Modine (refused due to the  script’s Cold War politics),  Eric  Stolz – and brothers Charlie Sheen and Emilio Estevez.  (Sheen was too young but old enoughh to spoof the film in Hot Shots! 1990).
  4. Christophe(r) Lambert, HIghlander, 1985.   Once Sean Connery refused the lead (for the splashier role of the 2,000-year-old Ramirez), finding the titular and immortal Connor MacLeod was not easy.  Kurt Russell actually won the role but his lover, Goldie Hawn, insisted he stay home; he dealt with Big Trouble in Little China, instead.  So you can imagine the anguish of the six producers when, after also being turned down by Kevin Costner, Michael Douglas, Mel Gibson, Scott Glenn, Ed Harris, Hulk Hogan, William Hurt, David Keith, Mickey Rourke, Sam Shepard, Marc Singer (the too busy top choice), Sting (also asked for a song), Patrick Swayze and Peter Weller… when they discovered that Australian director Russell Mulcahy’s  choice of the new – French! – Tarzan,
  5. 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 inThe 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.
  6. 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. Or even the French Christophe(r) Lambert  or Robin Williams?!
  7. Arnold Schwarzenegger, The Running Man,1986.    Don Johnson, Dolph Lundgren, Christopher Reeve and Patrick Swayze were swept aside by the  mighty Schwarzi for for Ben Richards  in the 23rd of Stephen King’s staggering 313 screen credits. . Four other helmers were dropped and Arnie did not rate director Paul Michael Glaser. ”He shot it  like a TV show, losing all of the script’s deeper themes.”  PMG was David Starsky in TV’s Starsky and Hutch, so…  surprise, surprise! 
  8. 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 nada to being Nada: Swayze, Alec Baldwin, Michael Biehn, Jeff Bridges, Tom Cruise, Harrison Ford, Mel Gibson, Tommy Lee Jones, Michael Keaton, Christophe(r) Lambert, Dolph Lundgren, Bill Paxton, Ron Perlman, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone, 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.”
  9. Mark Harmon, The Presidio, 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 Chicago critic Roger Ebert called “a clone, of a film assembled out of spare parts from… the cinematic junkyard.”
  10. Michael Keaton, Batman, 1988.
  11. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Total Recall, 1989.    All signed and sealed forshooting in Australia under Bruce Beresford, when producer Dino De Laurentiis went bust. And Schwarzi swooped.

  12. Don Johnson, The Hot Spot, 1989
    Robert Mitchum was the matrix for drifter Harry Madox – and first choice in 1962. Nearly 30 years later, it was to be Mickey Rourke and Debra Winger. Or Swayze, Kevin Costner, Harrison Ford, Richard Gere, Dennis Quaid, Tom Selleck, Sam Shepard opposite Anne Archer, Jodie Foster, Melanie Griffith, Theresa Russell,  Uma Thurman and ultimately, Virginia Madsen.   Just not necessarily for this movie…   Replacing UK director Mike Figgis,  Dennis Hopper totally changed the entire gig!   In a 2014 AV Club interview, Johnson explained how three days before shooting began Dennis “called a meeting. ‘OK, we’re not making that script. We’re making this one.’And he passed a script around the table that had been written for Robert Mitchum in the ’60s… based on a book called Hell Hath No Fury. Wow! The Figgis script was really slick and cool, and it was a heist movie. But this was real noir. The guy was an amoral drifter, and it was all about how women were going to take him down… And that was the movie that we ended up making. Hopper’s Last Tango In Texas was hailed by Chicago critic Roger Ebert as a superior work in an old tradition.” He wuz right!

  13. 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 Swayze ran (to solo billing in Road House), the list was long… Michael Biehn, Pierce Brosnan, Kevin Costner, Richard Gere, Mel Gibson, Don Johnson, Michael Keaton, Ray Liotta, Liam Neeson, Michael Nouri, Gary Oldman, Robert Patrick, Bill Paxton, Ron Perlman,  Dennis Quaid, Gary Sinise. Plus three future Sly co-stars:  Harrison Ford, Bruce Willis and James Woods.  Oh, and  Steven Seagal insisted  & Cash  became  a martial arts-loving CIA shrink!  They  all lost out on the dubiouse pleasure of fourdirectors! From the Russian Andrei Konchalovsky to, secretly, Stallone..!

  14. Danny Glover, Predator 2, 1990.  Producer Joel Silver wanted an Arnie sequel. Arnie warned him off it. The movie would take a major dive, the director and script were all wrong… “The story was in Los Angeles. Nobody wants to see predators running around downtown LA. We already have predators. Gang warfare is killing people all the time. You don’t need extraterrestrials to make the town dangerous.”   He was right, The sequel was one of the biggest 1990 bombs, while his Terminator sequel went through global roofs. Schwarzi never worked with Silver again. Swayze was first asked to replace him. (He had first been due for Total Recall – in Australia – before Arnold made it in Mexico). However, Swayze was injured during Road House.

  15. Richard White, Beauty and the Beast, 1990.     Swayze, Rupert Everett and Donny Osmond were just not arrogant enough for Gaston in Disney’s 30th toon feature. And the Tennesseean White was. Osmond, however, went royal, by joining the Broadway production in 2006.

  16. Keanu Reeves, Point Break, 1990. The search for Johnny Utah, a young FBI agent  infiltrating a gonzo surfer gang of bank robbers in ex-President masks  – and  falling under the spell of their guru-ish leader – covered  Matthew Broderick, Willem Dafoe, Johnny Depp, Val Kilmer,  Charlie Sheen and Patrick Swayze.   But director Bigelow  said Reeves had to be Utah or she wouldn’t  make the movie. And then chose Swayze as the guru, Bodhi, named after the tree that Buddhists call the seat of enlightenment.

  17. Michael Douglas, Basic Instinct, 1991.

  18. Tom Berenger, At Play  in  the Fields of the  Lord, 1991. MGM snapped up Peter Matthiessen’s novel for Brando. John Huston and Milos Forman wanted to direct; David Lean and Arthur Penn did not. Paul Newman was keen on subbing  Brando as the sky jockey  hero, Lewis Moon, helped by his writer pal Stewart Stern and  director Richard Brooks.  Next, old schoolers Kirk Douglas, Gregory Peck and newer guys Richard Gere, Dennis Quaid, Patrick Swayze tried to Moon it. Hector Babenco preferred Berenger  for what Washington Post critic Desson Howe called artistic zilch: “three  hours of lush jungle cinematography, picturesque natives and crackpot missionaries losing their minds.”
  19. 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.

  20. Jason Patric, Geronimo: An American Legend, 1993.     Alec Baldwin also lost the US Cavalry rank of 1st Lieutenant.

  21. 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!

  22. Steve Martin, Leap of Faith, 1993.   Made three years after writer Janus Cercone first delivered it. With the absolute wrong star.

  23. Tim Allen, The Santa Clause, 1994.   The guy who accidentally kills Santa (it wasshootinghim, 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: Swayze, Alec Baldwin, Jeff Bridges, Pierce Brosnan, Michael J Fox, Mel Gibson, Kurt Russell and the winning Michael  Keaton.

  24. Dennis Quaid, Dragonheart, 1995. Harrison Ford, Mel Gibson, Liam Neeson and Robin Williams were also on the short-list for Bowen… and to be pally with a dragon with Sean Connery’s voice. That’s Hollywood!
  25. Sean Patrick Flanery, The Boondock Saints, 1999. Having read the script, critically trashed as “clichéd, inelegant, and slow-witted,” Swayze passed on the  gay, opera-loving FBI agent  hunting – and envying –  a pair of Boston Irish twins knocking off the Mafia, Russian and local. The film was writer-directed by Troy Duffy, mistakenly touted by propducer Harvey Weinstein as the new Tarantino – well, the F Word was used 246 times (versus 272 in Reservoir Dogs,  265 in Pulp Fiction).
  26. Willem Dafoe, The Boondock Saints, 1999.    Having read the script, critically trashed as “clichéd, inelegant, and slow-witted,” Swayze passed on thegay, opera-loving FBI agent hunting – and envying -a pair of Boston Irish twins knocking off the Mafia, Russian and local. The film was writer-directed by Troy Duffy, mistakenly touted by propducer Harvey Weinstein as the new Tarantino – well, the F Word was used 246 times (versus 272 in Reservoir Dogs,265 in Pulp Fiction).
  27. Mark Wahlberg, Planet of the Apes, 2000.  Dial-a-hero time at Fox as Ben Affleck, Kevin Costner, Matt Damon, Leonardo DiCaprio, Harrison Ford, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Patrick Swayze were contacted for the Charlton Heston substitute, Captain Leo Davidson, in the unnecessary Tim Burton  re-hash or “re-imagining” of the Pierre Boulle book – or, at least, the 1967 Fox film version when Charlton Heston’s hero was called George Taylor. A surprise choice at the helm, Burton said he’d rather jump out a window than make any sequel. “It is what it is,” said a disappointed Wahlberg. “They didn’t have the script right. Fox had a release date before Tim Burton   had shot a foot of film. They were pushing him and pushing him in the wrong direction. You have to let Tim do his thing.”
  28. Will Patton, Road House 2: Last Call, 2006.    His Road House  poster tag was: “The dancing’s over. Now it gets dirty.”  But not any dirtier as Swayze did not approve  the sequel – or the money. And so, his Jack Dolton  became Nate Tanner.
  29. John Michael Higgins, Fired Up, 2008.    Waiting for a series…  The reason Swayze quit a role of a gay coach at acheerleader camp waspurely “artistic’ said his agent – in no way connected with the chemotherapy treatment for the actor’s pancreatic cancer. He was, in fact, waiting to hear if the A&E network was picking up a series option onhis veteran FBI agent character in a pilot called The Beast.  It did.
  30. Robert Hatch, Zombieland, 2009.    When his plan was several celebrity zombies, director Ruben Fleischer offered one to Patrick before his cancer was diagnosed. His scene would have mocked his Dirty Dancing and Ghost hits.
  31. Robert De Niro, Killing Season, 2012. Or, Shrapnel  when Swayze was up for either of the two  leads in this  (dumb) tribute to the victims of the 1992 Serbia attack on Bosnia…  
  32. John Travolta, Killing Season, 2012. …and just think De Niro and Travolta wound up being  helmed by Mark Steven Johnson, creator of  the Grumpy Old Men flicks! 









 Birth year: 1952Death year: 2009Other name: Casting Calls:  32