- 6Role: Detective John KimbleBUY @ amazon
As the story goes, the director of 1990's Kindergarten Cop, Ivan Reitman, offered the part of John Kimble to Bill Murray before taking it to Arnold Schwazzenegger. Reitman and Murray had worked together previously on several other projects, including Meatballs (1979), Stripes (1981), Ghostbusters (1984), and Ghostbusters 2 (1989). But the reunion was not meant to be, and Murray turned down the role.
Honestly, the success of Kindergarten Cop is such a mystery to me, I'm not sure whether it would have worked if Bill Murray had signed on. So much of the magic in that film (if you choose to call it that) comes from Schwarzennegger's awkward, thickly-accented delivery. I don't know -- Would lines such as "It's not a tumor!", "I'm a cop you idiot!," and "Who is your daddy, and what does he do?" have been as funny coming out of anyone else's mouth?
Why don't you mull that over while listening to this Kindergarten Cop soundboard...
Who won the role:
- 7Role: Willie StokesBUY @ amazon
In early 2002, Bill Murray was going through final negotiations to star in Terry Zwigoff's dark comedy Bad Santa, but he had to drop out at the last minute because of scheduling conflicts with another project he was working on - Sophia Coppola's Lost in Translation. Personally I think Murray would have been terrific in Bad Santa, but I understand his choice to branch out and try his hand at a more dramatic role. His decision ultimately turned out to be the right move though, as he won a Golden Globe, a BAFTA, an Independent Spirit award, and was nominated for an Oscar (Sean Penn won) for his portrayal of Bob Harris in Lost in Translation.
Who got the part:
Billy Bob Thornton
- 8Role: Buzz LightyearBUY @ amazon
Wait, let me get this straight... Bill Murray passed on the opportunity to play Buzz Lightyear in Toy Story, but then thought it would be a good idea to instead play GARFIELD??? Oh man. It really makes me wonder... does he decide his roles based solely on the amount of lasagna he'll be allowed to consume? Because if that's the case this decision makes an awful lot of sense. If it's not the case, this was just simply an awful decision.
The good news is, if Bill Murray HAD signed on to voice Buzz, we probably wouldn't have gotten a Toy Story 2 or Toy Story 3 (both of which are even better than the first film in my opinion). Murray is notoriously opposed to making sequels, as evidenced by his gumming up the works on Ghostbusters 3.
Who got the part:
- 9Role: Willy WonkaBUY @ amazon
Here's another character I'd be really curious to see Bill Murray's take on. If anyone could follow in Gene Wilder's footsteps to capture that dark, disdainful and sarcastic tone from the original 1971 film, it would definitely be him. But clearly director Tim Burton had a different vision for his 2005 remake. Instead of casting Murray to play the magically bittersweet confectioner as he was originally considering, Burton chose to use his long-time collaborator and go-to odd-ball, Johnny Depp.
Who got the part:
Johnny Depp. Interesting bit of trivia... Depp claims that he found inspiration for his portrayal NOT in Michael Jackson as one might expect, but instead he envisioned Wonka as a "very stoned George Bush."
- 10Role: RaymondBUY @ amazon
Contrary to popular belief, Bill Murray was originally up for the part of Raymond "Rain Man" Babbitt, not Charlie Babbitt, according to an account by screenwriter Barry Morrow. And while Murray was being considered for Raymond, Dustin Hoffman was circling the Charlie role. Murray and Hoffman had worked together previously in Sydney Pollack's 1982 film, Tootsie, and Hoffman was apparently very keen on the idea of the two of them playing brothers. But Hoffman ultimately won the Raymond role (converting his affliction from mental retardation to an autistic savant), and Tom Cruise stepped in as Charlie.
Personally, I think Bill Murray would have made a great Charlie. But as for Raymond...
Definitely not Rain Man. Definitely definitely not.
Who won the part:
Dustin Hoffman. Jack Nicholson and Robert DeNiro were also offered the role but turned it down.
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