This weekend Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg co-star as a DEA agent and an undercover Naval Intelligence officer who are investigating one another in 2 Guns. Each think the other is on the take from the mob, but eventually must work together to get to the truth.
This action-comedy was directed by Contraband helmer Baltasar Kormakur the movie promises more action than comedy, putting it at odds with the original plan for the film.
Conceived as a vehicle for Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn after the success of Wedding Crashers, the movie was originally meant to take advantage of the comedic chemistry between the two, but slowly morphed into something else as it made its way to Wahlberg and Washington.
It joins a long list of movies to change tone as they swap casts.
We think of Beverly Hills Cop as the hilarious Eddie Murphy movie about a streetwise Detroit cop displaced to hoity-toity Los Angeles. Initially however, the movie was meant to star Sylvester Stallone, who, aside from Oscar or Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot, is better known for breaking jaws than busting guts. Comedy not being his thing, Stallone tried to rewrite the script to emphasize the action, which raised the budget and he was replaced.
Stallone also turned down the part of Jack Colton in the romantic action-adventure Romancing the Stone and was replaced by Michael Douglas
Unlike Stallone, Bill Murray can flit back-and-forth between drama and comedy with ease, still it would have seemed odd to see him as Dr. Wren in Alien: Resurrection. The part was written for him, but when he passed it went to J.E. Freeman.
Stranger still was the casting for the crime comedy Legal Eagles. In the version we know Debra Winger plays defense lawyer Laura Kelly who becomes romantically involved with District Attorney Tom Logan, played by Robert Redford. Originally Winger’s character was written for Murray, who dropped out and forced massive rewrites.
Taxi Driver made Cybill Shepherd a star, but the part almost went to Farah Fawcett Majors because, producer Julia Phillips claims, director Martin Scorsese preferred Majors’ “shapely bottom.”
Finally, Daniel Day Lewis is an acting legend with five Oscar nominations and three wins to his credit, but imagine if he hadn’t turned down the roles of Zod in the recent Superman epic Man of Steel or Shakespeare in Love’s love interest, a part that went to Joseph Fiennes.
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