Friday Question from ChicagoJohn (who wondered if we had ever passed on an actor who later became a big star and did we have any regrets?), a few more names have come to mind.
And one rather unusual incident. Especially in light of my post on how difficult it is to land a part in a TV series.
Like I had said, when you pass on good actors it’s generally because they’re just not right for the particular roles.
We passed on Lisa Edelstein (but hired her for something else). We passed on one actress but made a note that she’s really funny and we should definitely keep her in mind for something else. That was Jane Lynch. Whatever happened to her?
And then there are the actors we wanted to hire but didn’t get approved by the network. I won’t mention their names because I don’t want to embarrass any of them. Although examples of network gross misjudgment is legendary. At one time Tom Cruise, Madonna, and Tim Robbins were all not approved for projects. And George Clooney was not approved numerous times.
One actor we wanted to hire backed out when he found out it wasn’t a pilot but a series. He was just looking to make a big pay day on a failed pilot and then move on. When he learned this was a series and an actual commitment he ran for the hills.
Again, no names, but in one case we wrote a character with a specific actor in mind. We were thrilled that the actor agreed to meet with us. And he read it just the way we pictured it. But once we heard it we thought we could do better.
But the strangest incident was this: We were casting AfterMASH. Martin Short came in to read and was wonderful. Too wonderful.
We took him aside and said, “Look, if you want the part, it’s yours. But honestly, this role might be too restrictive for you. You’re too talented and funny for this part. We’re not sure you’d really be happy. Again, if you want it, it’s yours. We’d love to have you. And it is a regular on a (then) prestigious network series. But you might be better served elsewhere.”
He passed. We wound up eliminating the character.
Actors always talk about regretting the parts they declined. I bet there are quite a few examples of actors regretting the parts they did accept. You’re welcome, Martin.