Rick Moranis


  1. John Kapelos, The Breakfast Club, 1984.       During his second movie, teenage angst maestro John Hughes was fine with Moranis giving the school janitor a heavy beard and a thicker Russian accent. Producer Ned Tanen was not – and replaced Moranis with Kapelos from Hughes’ 1983 debut, Sixteen Candles… and Weird Science to come.  
  2. Martin Short, Innerspace,1986.  The pitch?  “Imagine if Dean Martin is miniaturised and injected into Jerry Lewis’  butt…  Some 21 actresses  were seen for Dennis Quaid’s girl (he wed one of them, Meg Ryan), but just four guys for poor Jack Putter into whose posteriore Quaid is syringed: Short, Mel Gibson, Robin Williams… and Rick Moranis, who two years later, would scream:Honey, I Shrunk the Kids
  3. Steve Martin, Planes, Trains and Automobiles, 1986. Auteur John Hughes dreamed of Moraais (or Tom Hanks)) and John Travolta  as The Odd Couple  travellers based on Hughes taking five days to get home when his New York-Chicago flight wound up in Wichita, Kansas.  Their plane was the one in  Airplane! Film is one of Chicago critic Roger Ebert’s “great movies.”
  4. Michael Douglas, Fatal Attraction, 1987.
  5. 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.
  6. Michael Madsen, Thelma & Louise, 1990.
  7. Daniel Stern, City Slickers, 1991.    Facing 40, three Manhattan dudes book into a dude ranch and join a cattle drive and… a perfect comedy!  Dan Aykroyd, Albert Brooks, Danny DeVito, Robert Hays, Steve Martin were up for  for Phil Berquist.  And, not yet the big TV star, Garry Shandling – a standup: “I was going to see Last Tango in Paris – but I don’t like musicals.” Boom-boom.  Robin Williams was offered his choice of  the trio but was Hook-ed by Steven Spielberg. Rick was all set to be Phil  when Mrs Moranis – Ann Belsky – fell terminally ill with breast cancer. She died in 1991 and Rick retired to look after their two children. Plus, it must be said, due also to his increasing disenchantment with Hollywood
  8. Jim Carrey, Ace Ventura, Pet Detective, 1993.     Jim ran with it and has never stopped running since… Also in the Ace frame: Whoopi Goldberg, Judd Nelson, even the UK’s Alan Rickman.
  9. Whoopi Goldberg, Eddie, 1996.        First, Billy Crystal said no to the basketball comedy, then Moranis – and so Whoopi picked up her third role first intended for a guy.
  10. Chris Farley, Beverly Hills Ninja, 1996.       Over a dull decade, the script passed through whoever was hot at the moment – Rick Moranis, Steven Seagal, even Macaulay Culkin.  

  11. Joe Pesci, Gone Fishin’, 1996.    Moranis and John Candy 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” (Desson Howe, Washington Post) led to the tragic death of a stuntwoman in a boat gag that also  injured  her husband and father, stunters both.
  12. Eric Roberts, Doctor Who (The Movie), TV, 1996. 
  13. Dan Aykroyd, Evolution, 2000.    Telling his three writers to spin their sf drama into a comedy allowed director Ivan Reitman to riff on his Ghost Busters as a cadet fireman, two college profs and a sexy government scientist battle an alien organism. Rick was asked to play Governor Lewis, but he remained retired… He came back to voice the moose, Rut, with old Toronto  SCTV comedy partner, Dave Thomas, as moose Tuke in Disney’s Brother Bear films, series and video-games. Plus revivals of their beer-loving brothers, Bob and Doug McKenzie
  14. Eddie Murphy, The Haunted Mansion, 2003.      Phantoms were in and Disney was ready to go-go! With this this spectre special… as long as one of the 1983 Ghostbusters agreed to be Jim Evers… None did. Not Aykroyd, Bill Murray, Rock Moranis or Harold Ramis. Twenty years later, Murphy headed the tale named rather than based on the Disneyland attraction.





 Birth year: Death year: Other name: Casting Calls:  13