Tim Allen

  1. Tom Arnold, The Stupids, 1965.    Who’d want to be Stanley Stupid ? With John Landis directing! Allen and Jack Nicholson fled what the  San Francisco Chronicle voted “the most moronic, easy-to-trash movie we’ll see all year.”  Sole interest was watching Landis’ director chums making asses of themselves: Gurinder Chadha, David Cronenberg, Atom Egoyan, Mick Garris, Norman Jewison, Robert Wise and two great political film-makers: Costa-Gavras and Gillo Pontecorvo.
  2. John Candy, Splash, 1983.   Up for Tom Hanks’ brother (alongside John Goodman, Michael Keaton)  in  the mermaid movie. Allen was a stand-up at the time.  He didn’t make his film debut until 1988 – as Baggage Handler in Tropical Snow – long before his 90s’ series fame. Allen and Hanks later voiced Buzz Lightyear and cowboy Woody in the glorious  Toy Story toons.
  3. James Caan, Misery  1990.
    “Leading men hate to be passive; hate to be eunuchised by their female co-stars.”  Top Scenarist William Goldman on why 22 actors avoided the prospect  of being beaten up and beaten to an Oscar by  Kathy Bates as the mad fan of writer Paul Sheldon. Warren Beatty prevaricated but never actually said no (nor yes).  Richard Dreyfuss regretted disappointing director Rob  Reiner again after refusingWhen Harry Met Sally, 1988 (they had earlier  made a classic of   King’s novella, The Body, as Stand By Me, 1985).   William Hurt  refused – twice. Jack Nicholson didn’t want another King guy so soon after The Shining.  While Dustin Hoffman and Al Pacino being up  for the same role was nothing new –  but Robert Redford and  Morgan Freeman was!  Also fleeing the  32nd of Stephen King’s staggering 313 screen credits were Tim Allen, Jeff Daniels, Robert De Niro, Michael Douglas, Harrison Ford, Mel Gibson, close pals Gene Hackman and Dustin Hoffman, Ed Harris, John Heard, Robert Klein, Bill Murray, Ed O’Neill, John Ritter, Denzel Washington, Robin Williams and Bruce Willis… who went on to be Sheldon in Goldman’s  2015 Broadway version.

  4. Dan Aykroyd, My Girl, 1991.   Allen, Chevy Chase, Steve Martin and Bill Murray were in the mix for young Anna Chlumsky’s undertaker father in this little gem. Allen and Chase were siphoned off for not being known for drama. Aykroyd has just tried that route for Driving Miss Daisy – and won an Oscar nod!  
  5. Tom Cruise, Jerry Maguire, 1996.   Super-Tom One, Hanks, was into his helming debut, The Thing That You Do, 1996. Super-Tom Two, Cruise, said: “I may not be right for this but let me just read for you.” And Super-Tom-One added: “It couldn’t have been anyone but Cruise.” Except auteur Cameron Crowe had also considered Allen (briefly, thankfully), Alec Baldwin, Edward Burns (who reccommended his latest co-star, Connie Britton, for Dorothy; they both came second), Johnny Depp, Sean Penn (from Crowe’s first script, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, 1981), John Travolta and Bruce Willis.
  6. John Goodman, The Borrowers, 1996.    The delicious villain, Ocious P Potter,  was not in the 1952 Marty Norton  book that Peter Sellers tried to film in 1964.  So he would have been Pod, the four-inch-high patriarch  of the tiny Clock family living  beneath the floorboards of a house owned by ”human beans”.  Three versions had already been hits  when this Anglo–American version was launched. The battle for Ocious was, therefore, UK v US…   Martin Clunes, Bob Hoskins, Griff Rhys Jones, Alan Rickman v Tim Allen, Chevy Chase, Danny DeVito, Jeff Goldblum, Christopher Lloyd, Steve Martin, Bill Murray,  Ed O’Neill, Robin Williams.  The fact that Pesci was also suggested signaled a ton of Home Alone physical attacks on poor Goodman, which out off both Steven Spielberg and his apprentice, Robert Zemeckis, from directing.  They weren’t required!  Nor were Rowan Atkinson and comic-turned-director Mel Smith – off busily making their own Bean movie for the same UK/US companies.
  7. Robin Williams, Flubber, 1997.     Disney’s re-make of the 1961 Fred MacMurray film was among the offers to keep Buzz Lightyear in the fold. 
  8. Michael Keaton Jack Frost, 1998. A jazz musician dies and comes back  – as Frosty The Snowman – to help out his  sad son.   Allen passed – due to the final season of his ABC Home Improvement series, 1991-1999.  George Clooney, Kevin Costner, Mel Gibson, Dennis Quaid, Kurt Russell   and Billy Bob Thornton (the 2002 Bad Santa) had simpler excuses. They’d seen the Jim Henson/ILM designs for the snow-er-creature. “The most repulsive single creature in the history of special effects,” said Chicago critic Roger Ebert, “and I am not forgetting the Chucky doll or the desert intestine from Star Wars.”
  9. Robin Williams, Bicentennial Man, 1999.   Suddenly two buses arrived at the same time.  Which one to grab?  The schmaltzy Bicentennial or sharp-as-a-nail Star Trek send-up,  Galaxy Quest?  Allen chose the outer space TV star… and director Harold Ramis quit in fury.  Dean Parisot directed the cult classic and Ramis later agreed Allen was great.
  10. Bruce Willis, The Kid, 2000.  Thinking it would be fun make a Disney frolic for his young daughters, Willis leapt aboard when Allen (Disney’s Buzz Lightyyear) was delayed  on Galaxy Quest.  Willis  also had the experience as this was the second of three films where he met his younger self.  The others were 12 Monkeys, 1994, and Looper, 2012. Galaxy Quest was more fun than any of them. 

  11.  Steve Martin, Looney Tunes: Back in Action, 2002.  “A pretty grim experience all around –  longest year and a half of my life.”  Director Joe Dante refusing to say anymore about how his planned tribute to his late friend, toon ikon Chuck Jones, ended up a mess. Then again, when the suits approve Martin over Allen, William Fichtner, James Gandolfini, David Koechner, Seth MacFarlane, Alan Rickman and Robin Williams for Mr Chairman, you know you’re in trouble.
  12. Mike Myers, The Cat in  the Hat, 2003.     Allen was already stuck in the make-up of Santa Clause 2. Hence, Myers was nominated for Worst Actor at the 2004 Razzie awards.
  13. Adam Godley, Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, 2004.     Among 20 TV dads up for Mr Teavee. Allen was Tim Taylor in Home Improvement, 1991-1999. Also in the mix: James Belushi, Dan Castellaneta, Ed O’Neill, Ray Romano, Bob Saget and Kurtwood Smith. Godley was a huge 1998 hit as Kenneth Williams in London’s behind-the-Carry-On-scenes play, Cleo, Camping, Emmanuelle and Dick.
  14. Jason Lee, Alvin and the Chipmunks, 2006.    For some reason all the A List – Allen, Jim Carrey, Chevy Chase, Bill Murray, Ben Stiller, John Travolta – edged away from being Dave Seville – the chipmunks’ adoptive father, songwriter and supplier of the iconic yell: Allvviinn!!
  15. Dwayne Johnson, Jungle Cruise, 2020.  Long before Johnson became the star – and producer – dressed himself rather like Humphrey Bogart in The African Queen,  the tugboat skipper had been  suggested for  Toy Story’s Buzz Lightyear  or Woody Pride –  Allen and Tom Hanks. Johnson’s (and Emily Blunt’s) fourth Disney piece was the third movie based on a Disneyland after Pirates of the Caribbean and The Haunted Mansion.

 Birth year: Death year: Other name: Casting Calls:  15