You’ve stumbled upon Circle of Jerks, our sporadically published, weekly feature in which we ask the questions that really matter to our writers and readers. It’s a time to take a break from our busy lives and revel in the one thing that we all share: a deep, passionate love of movies. If you have a question you’d like answered by the FSR readers and staff, send us an email at email@example.com.
Who’s career would you change? There are so many actors who had great potential that made too many wrong choices or just fell into a rut. With a time machine, who would you save and advise to take that role they passed on? Like, C. Thomas Howell–so great in The Outsiders & That Night, but maaaaybe Soul Man wasn’t the best choice. – Sara F.
I really dig Tom Selleck as an actor and not just as a carbon-based mustache frame. Basically this guy made one really big mistake early on and ended up having a career defined by the late 80s instead of being a superstar. What was that role? Oh just a rugged archeology professor with a penchant for adventure. I understand that I have the benefit of hindsight, but really Tom? You had a choice between Raiders of the Lost Ark with two established filmmakers and Magnum P.I. and you thought Magnum P.I. was the better career move?
But hey, Harrison Ford only got a classic film franchise out of the deal whereas you got the honor of working with Sir Ted Danson and Academy Award…watcher Steve Guttenberg in Three Men and a Baby.
I’ve always had a thing for Dina Meyer, all the way back to the late 1990s when she was showing off her boobies in Starship Troopers. But her choices for movie roles pre-date even that guilty pleasure of mine. She began her film career with the bomb Johnny Mnemonic in 1995 and then continued with the disappointing Dragonheart in 1996. Following the fun but underperforming Starship Troopers in 1997, she wasn’t in a bona fide hit until the first Saw came out in 2004. And by that time, roles in movies like Bats and D-Tox poisoned her career, leaving no chance of recovery. Even her television choices were terrible, from the Batgirl Begins attempt known as Birds of Prey to most recently Scoundrels.
Dina Meyer is a beautiful woman, and she’s got a great screen presence, but it seems she’s cursed like King Tut’s tomb. If I were to change anything, I would go back in time and urge her to take pretty much anything else she was offered. Maybe if she would have taken different risks earlier on, she wouldn’t have squandered her younger years in bad movies.
I’d also point out that she shouldn’t believe the Hollywood formula. Because I’m sure a starring role alongside Keanu Reeves, a sci-fi action digital effects piece based on a popular Heinlein book and lead in a film with a dragon voiced by Sean Connery looked good on paper.
Mel Gibson has gotten it wrong so many times. Not only did he turn down James Bond TWICE (C’mon!) and Jim Garrison in JFK, but he also said no to Robin Hood in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (y’know, the not terrible one?).
The movie I’d focus on, however, would be Gladiator. Mel turned down the leading role in the Roman epic, which eventually yielded a best actor oscar for Russell Crowe. Personally, I really dislike the movie, but I have a feeling that Gibson could have made it a heck of a lot more enjoyable. Seriously, What Women Want may have been a fun movie to make, but for Oscar gold, I’d have put it on hold for a bit.
As an unabashed fan of Mr. Kevin Costner (Yes, still. Even after The Postman), I always put stock into any performance he accepts. So it pained me to learn he was offered and turn down the role of Bill in Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill films. The role was turned down in favor of the Western lover opting to direct 2003’s Open Range, an incredible film in its own right.
Nonetheless, Open Range‘s merits aside, Kevin Costner would have been an amazing choice to play the diabolical and villainous Bill. As a well established leading man, he would have brought a sincerity to Bill’s necessary charm. If for nothing else, the two films would reteam Costner and Michael Madsen as brothers, something they previously did in 1994’s Wyatt Earp.
David Carradine was great as Bill. There’s no getting around that, and Tarantino is well known for reengaging certain actors’ careers by placing them in prominent roles. Carradine didn’t exactly turn over the same, post-Tarantino success someone like John Travolta pulled in, though. It would have been nice to see a Kevin Costner resurgance based on what he would have brought to the Kill Bill table.