Rik Mayall


  1. Nathan Lane, The Lion King, 1993      .Lyricist Tim Rice asked Mayall to audition for the voice of the meerkat Timon because his TV comedy series, Bottom, was the the inspiration for Rice’s Oscar-nominated song, Hakuna Matata.
  2. Cheech Marin, The Lion King, 1993.       Mayall also tested for the hyenea, Banzai….
  3. Rowan Atkinson, The Lion King, 1993.       … and the cornbill, Zazu.
  4. Paul McGann, Doctor Who (The Movie), TV, 1996.
  5. Robert Carlyle, The Full Monty, 1996.    Two Hughs – Bonneville, and Grant – were way off-target suggestions for unemployed Sheffield steelworkers turning into Chippendale strippers to bring home some bacon.Bonneville was the future Lord Crawley of Downton Abbey, 2010-2015, for heaven’s sake… and Grant was far too posh! Nicholas Lyndhurst, Nigel Planer were better ideas, while Lee Evans and Rik Mayall were usually over the top.  First choice Lyndhurst said “too cold at that time of year to take your clothes off.”Finally, Trainspotter Carlyle made a superb leader as Gaz in the best Ken Loach film not directed by Ken Loach.
  6. Alan Davies, Jonathan Creek, TV, 1997-2004.      Two of The Young Ones, Mayall and Nigel Planer,were offered thetitular magic maker (dreaming up tricks for magicians) who solved baffling murder mysteries on the side.They took guest shots, instead. The stand-up comic won simply by arriving for his test in straggly hair and an old duffle coat – “the closest match yet to Creek as we’d always seen him,” said creator David Renwick.
  7. Johnny Depp, Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl, 2002.  The first one…  Well, the second…   Back in the 90s, Steven Spielberg got his hands on the first script (by Ted Elliott and Terry Rosso) and was dickering between Steve Martin, Bill Murray and Robin Williams for Captain Jack Sparrow. (Why not Tom Hanks?) Spielberg couldn’t have been more wrong, or totally old-fashioned.   Obviously  his Jack would npt have had mascara, gold teeth and a Keith Richards’ rock ‘n’ roll shuffle. Because, believe it or not, Disney refused the very idea of a film based one of their Disneyland rides.  Until, that is, the studio hired Stuart Beattie and Jay Wolport to beef up the original screenplay. Over the years, seven other actors in were approached about Sparrow: Jim Carrey, Robert De Niro, Cary Elwes, Michael Keaton, Matthew McConnaughey, Rik Mayall and Christopher Walken.
  8. Johnny Depp, Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, 2004.        Director Tim Burton’s 32 fancies for chocolatier Willy Wonka were his ole Betelgeuse, Michael Keaton. Plus Mayall, Rowan Atkinson, Dan Aykroyd, Nicolas Cage, Jim Carrey, Chevy Chaze, Warwick Davis, Robert De Niro, James Gandolfini, Dwayne Johnson, Ian McKellen, Marilyn Manson, Steve Martin, Bill Murray, Mike Myers, John Neville, Leslie Nielsen, Brad Pitt, Peter Sallis, Adam Sandler, Jerry Seinfeld, 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!


 Birth year: 1958Death year: 2014Other name: Casting Calls:  8