William Petersen


  1. Tom Berenger, Platoon, 1985.     “I enjoy watching great movies like Platoon but I don’t have to be in them,” said the future CSI TV star. He was never in love with movies, much less sitting in a ditch in the Philippines for eight weeks for no money. “Instead, I did an HBO baseball movie, Long Gone, for more money and more fun -and I got to play ball!” 
  2. 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.
  3. Kevin Eshelman, Platoon, 1986
  4. Michael Douglas, Wall Street, 1989.   “Greed is good!”  Warren Beatty topped director Oliver Stone’s list for Gordon Gekko.  Next: Richard Gere, William Petersen or James Woods.  None wanted  to be a bad guy. Douglas won an Oscar. Gere immediately changed his tune to rescue his fast-fading career as the badass cop in  Internal Affairs.  Woods  had also preferred playing a… Cop. ”Could have been a mistake! But I have no regrets.” Stone said his film was about sharks. During 2006-2008, Jimmy was a hot-shot lawyer in a series…  called Shark.
  5. Christopher Walken, Pulp Fiction, 1993.
  6. Tom Sizemore, Heat, 1995. Petersen, auteur Michael Mann’s star of To Live and Die in LA ten years earlier, passed Michael Cheritto on to Jean-Claude Van Damme (!).  Then, Michael Madsen  was selected and  suddenly dropped without (public) explanation.   Sjzemore had been first reserve in case either Robert De Niro or Al Pacinio (or their possible replacements, Nick Nolte, Jeff Bridges) dropped out. Never happened so Mann obviously fe

 Birth year: Death year: Other name: Casting Calls:  6