8 Strange Reasons Why Actors Were Cast In Movies

By  · Published on August 1st, 2013

by David Christopher Bell

There are a million and a half uninteresting reasons why actors did and did not get certain parts. Usually the casting process is fickle – hell-bent on height and age, sometimes people are rejected just because they don’t seem right for the part. An agent gives someone a script, they like it, contracts are signed.

It’s all pretty anticlimactic, which is what makes the following casting stories far more fun.

8. Charlie Day Was In Pacific Rim Because Of His Rat-Hunting Abilities

Everyone’s really into Pacific Rim for being original and having a strong female character and featuring non-stereotypical depictions of race despite none of those things actually being true. However if the film had one thing going for it, it was Charlie Day playing one of the only two scientists amongst a giant military operation for some reason.

Story goes that it was an episode of none other than It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia where Charlie fought against a particularly difficult rat that won this actor the part in this $190M film. Will he return for the sequel? Ask China.

7. Carl Gottlieb Was Cast In Jaws To Punch Up The Script, and Re-Wrote The Entire Thing

Carl Gottlieb isn’t a household name, and yet any Jaws fan would recognize him in an instant as that weird mustache guy named Meadows who follows the mayor around. Apparently Gottlieb was an old friend of Spielberg, and having written comedy for television, was asked to play a small part on the film in order to punch up some of the humor. One thing led to another and now Carl Gottlieb is credited right next to Peter Benchley as a co-writer.

Apparently the two biggies taken out were 1) a subplot involving Hooper and Brody’s wife (read the book) and 2) another involving the mayor and the mafia. It’s said that by eliminating the latter plot, Gottlieb actually ended up cutting most of his own character’s role for the film.

6. Brad Pitt Was Cast As The Boxer In Snatch Because He Asked For A Role

As elaborated on the DVD special features – the story goes that Brad Pitt, having been a fan of Guy Richie’s previous Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels, approached the director for a role in his newest movie – which at the time was Snatch.

Having just been handed one of the biggest actors in the world, Guy Richie actually had no idea what to do with him at first – and the idea sprung up to cast him as what was once described as a “big, fat, sort of Greek-looking” bare-knuckle boxer. From there they developed the idea that Mickey have a thick accent, and as the idea got funnier the accent became less and less discernible – resulting in the weird pikey we all know and love.

5. Shane Black Got A Role In Predator To Re-Write The Script, Only Re-Wrote A Single Line

Shane Black is that guy we all have a hard-on for way after the fact – all thanks to Iron Man 3. Before that film, Black had a humble career writing every action film that matters – including Lethal Weapon and the ever-amazing The Last Boy Scout. He was also that guy in Predator who won’t shut up about his wife’s vagina. You know, that glasses guy. That’s Shane Black.

It turns out that he was hired on the film because they expected re-writes along the way, which is funny because the only line he ended up writing was the second pussy joke in the film. Other than that, the studio apparently wanted him because they needed someone to keep John McTiernan in line, the director being relatively new to the industry at the time. Turns out it all worked out – at least until that whole jail thing.

4. Samuel L. Jackson Became Nick Fury Before There Was Even An Iron Man Movie

There are certain actors who were apparently born to play specific comic book character roles. That said, rarely is a comic book character born to be played by an actor. However, this was the case with Nick Fury – who back in 2002 was redesigned specifically to look like Samuel L. Jackson.

It was so blatant that the character acknowledges this in the comic, saying there was “no discussion” that he would be played by the actor in a hypothetical movie about him.

And once the real life actor got wind to all this, his reaction was to sit down with Marvel and make damn sure that this imaginary character got his wish.

3. Ryan Gosling Was Cast In The Notebook Because He Was “Not Handsome”

Ladies love Ryan Gosling because he has brooding eyes that reflect some kind of wounded spirituality that they’d apparently like to have humping them. Their boyfriends like Ryan Gosling because he allows them to watch movies where guys get their heads kicked in without their girlfriends complaining.

It’s pretty win-win, but apparently this handsome devil wasn’t always considered so – at least not by Notebook director Nick Cassavetes, who cast Gosling because he was “not handsome” and “not cool” – but rather a regular guy who “looks a bit nuts.” It’s a pretty awesome reason to hire someone that only applies to casting. You’ll never see Target specifically going for the quiet dudes with crazy eyes to help with the seasonal rush.

2. Mel Gibson Landed Mad Max Because He Got In A Drunken Brawl

Man – what are the odds that Mel Gibson would get drunk and do something violent? That just doesn’t sound like him. Even so, the story goes that when the actor went into casting for Mad Max he was actually just escorting a friend. However since he had recently had his face totally shit hammered at a drunken evening brawl, the casting director asked him to come back and audition himself – saying to him, “we need freaks.”

A few weeks later when Gibson returned, his now healed manly looks landed him the main part. That said, the casting agent probably had it right the first time around.

1. Lee Ving Was Added to Clue: The Movie Because They Liked His Name

Lee Ving has a pretty piss poor catalog when it comes to an acting career – but what he lacks in acting he makes up double in being a punk rock legend, which we all know pays just as well as acting. He’s the lead singer of the band Fear, one of the few bands to ever get kicked off of Saturday Night Live.

In Clue, he played Mr. Boddy – the initial bad guy whose death sparks the entire plot. Now just how in the hell did this guy land the pivotal role? Well according to all accounts, it was because his name sounded like the word “leaving,” as in the Tim Curry line: “Mr. Boddy will be leaving soon.”

That makes the movie Clue have a cast consisting of a group of amazing actors and performers – plus one guy whose name was kind of funny. With that kind of pun-based casting I’m surprised Tim Curry didn’t get pelted with some kind of spicy Indian dish at some point during the film.

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Correction: We originally confused Mad Max with The Road Warrior. We blame a loss of blood due to getting our ankle handcuffed to a vehicle that’s about to explode. Sorry about that.

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