Created By: turingfan on November 23, 2012 Last Edited By: turingfan on December 26, 2012

Written For Another Actor

A script is written for one star who turns it down, but the film is made anyway.

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Gregory Peck said that every romantic comedy script he ever got sent had the fingerprints of Cary Grant on it. The producers had tried for Grant first, and when he turned them down had gone for the next actor down the food chain. This happened for example on "Roman Holiday", which won an academy award for best writing, though not necessarily for best re-writing for recast lead.

It's obviously not necessary that the fingerprints of the star are literally on the script! But ideally the star should have really turned down the script, and the film as made should not have made any major adjustments to the recasting.

This is not about Development Hell where a lead actor may change several times. The script should have been written with the star in mind, who for whatever reason was not available.

This is Trivia, not a trope, except for in-universe examples. Related to What Could Have Been.


Examples:

  • "Roman Holiday" was written for Cary Grant, but eventually made with Gregory Peck, leading to his sardonic comment quoted above.

  • A classic example is "The Ladykillers", which was originally written for Alastair Sim, but finally made with Alec Guinness. He played the part almost as an impression of Alastair Sim, so much so that Sim's daughter said that many people thought her father had played the part.

  • In Skyfall, Bond is revealed to have a badass Scottish gamekeeper on his ancestral estate who acted as a Parental Substitute when he was younger. Popular opinion is that the role was written for Sean Connery, but Albert Finney was ultimately cast.

  • Sister Act was originally written by Paul Rudnick with Bette Midler in mind.

  • In Pulp Fiction the role of Vincent Vega was written for Michael Madsen as a reprise of his Vic Vega role in Reservoir Dogs. Madsen turned it down because he couldn't get out of rehearsals for Wyatt Earp and John Travolta was cast. The two characters are brothers.

In-Universe Examples:

  • The Speedo sketch in "That Mitchell and Webb Look" features very lazy writers who refuse to rewrite their work about a lawyer when the original actor dies ("We were on a cruise.") The recast black actor has many lines emphasising his whiteness.
Community Feedback Replies: 18
  • November 23, 2012
    turingfan
    I like the name so haven't labelled it as need better name ... but that odd appears which I didn't type. If that would appear in the real thing then obviously another name would be necessary.
  • November 23, 2012
    Jordan
    • In Skyfall, Bond is revealed to have a badass Scottish gamekeeper on his ancestral estate who acted as a Parental Substitute when he was younger. Popular opinion is that the role was written for Sean Connery, but Albert Finney was ultimately cast.
  • November 23, 2012
    WeAreAllKosh
  • November 23, 2012
    Ryusui
  • November 24, 2012
    turingfan
    Ok I changed the title. I liked Cary Grant's Fingerprints but nobody else did!
  • November 24, 2012
    Duncan
    • Sister Act was originally written by Paul Rudnick with Bette Midler in mind.
  • November 24, 2012
    TrollBrutal
    Related to What Could Have Been. Trivia

    • In Pulp Fiction the role of Vincent Vega was written for Michael Madsen as a reprise of his Vic Vega role in Reservoir Dogs. Madsen turned it down because he couldn't get out of rehearsals for Wyatt Earp and John Travolta was cast. The two characters are brothers.
  • November 24, 2012
    turingfan
    Yes I can see it's trivia, unless there are in-universe examples.
  • November 24, 2012
    Arivne
    Is this going to be limited to examples where there's Word Of God that it occurred, or will any example where someone thinks it may have occurred be allowed, which would make it YMMV?
  • November 24, 2012
    SeptimusHeap
    This is Trivia. I don't think it would become YMMV even without Word Of God requirement.
  • November 24, 2012
    turingfan
    Hard to say but my hunch is that Word of God requirement is too strong.
  • December 24, 2012
    randomsurfer

    In Universe, in Mr Saturday Night when Buddy is an old man he is offered a film's major supporting role which was based on him when they wrote it, but he has to audition. Then at the audition he's told that, since they had thought he was dead, they offered the part to Walter Matthau before they found out Buddy was alive & available. They just heard from Matthau accepting the role. They offer Buddy a smaller part in the film, but Buddy declines.
  • December 25, 2012
    Prfnoff
    I'm worried that many of the examples will be unattested or debunked rumors. It's also common for leading parts to be completely rewritten after they get cast.
  • December 25, 2012
    bulmabriefs144
    Personal Taste is obviously written for Yoon Eun-hye of The First Shop Of Coffee Prince. Word Of God even verifies this. She shows up for one episode as an ex-gf, and the actress standing in for her repeatedly references back to this meeting.
  • December 25, 2012
    justanotherrandomlurker
    I kind of proposed some thing like this for a YKTTW, however, other people said it wasn't tropeworthy, and rather, belonged to the individual actors' YMMV pages.
  • December 25, 2012
    morenohijazo
    The first Die Hard film was written with Frank Sinatra on mind, instead of Bruce Willis.
  • December 25, 2012
    CaveCat
    • When Ghostbusters was in production, John Belushi and Eddie Murphy were originally slated for the roles of Peter Venkman and Winston Zeddemore, respectively. However, Belushi died before production actually started so Bill Murray was hired instead, and Eddie Murphy was too busy filming Beverly Hills Cop so Ernie Hudson signed on in his place.
  • December 26, 2012
    Arivne
    ^^^^^ This is why I asked above if Word Of God backup should be required for an example.

Three days must pass before this YKTTW is Launchworthy or Discardable

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