casting decisions

I’m sure you’ve thought about how casting decisions can make or break a movie or film. You may have seen how British critics panned Naomi Watts in Diana. David Edwards in the Daily Mirror had the most quotable line, saying, “Wesley Snipes in a blonde wig would be more convincing.”

What I find interesting is the number of second choice successes. As I wrote, the producers of the Mary Tyler Moore Show first wanted Shelly Berman for Lou Grant. Their second choice was Jack Klugman. In fact, Gavin MacLeod read for that role before reading for Murray. Looking back we all know that Ed Asner was the perfect Lou Grant and that Gavin MacLeod leant exactly the right demeanor to Murray.

I’ve seen it stated that the producers of Casablanca wanted Ronald Regan for the role of Rick. Ronald Reagan? How could Rick possibly be anyone other than Humphrey Bogart?

Geneviève Bujold was hired as Captain Janeway for Star Trek: Voyager. She spent half a day on the set before she realized the rigors of filming an hour-long TV drama series were nothing like doing a film. She walked off after that half day, and the role went to Kate Mulgrew, who nailed Janeway. And the role revived her then-flagging career.

I love those stories and the casting decisions that work out.

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