Imagine, if you will, that you’re walking into a video store. But this is not your ordinary video store.
This is a video store where a poster on the wall for “Titanic” doesn’t have the boyish eternal-youth features of Leonardo DiCaprio, but the wry smile of Johnny Depp. Where “The Matrix” starred Will Smith and Sean Connery.
Where the Justice League had just been released as the capstone to DC Studios’ unprecedented tidal wave of success with films like “Wonder Woman,” “The Flash” and “Green Lantern,” while Marvel is still struggling to make films based on their own comic book characters.
Where the Classics section of the shop contains the 20-plus legendary movies that James Dean made during his long and illustrious career. This is a video store where rumored possibilities and the various “What ifs” of Hollywood lore had come to pass.
This video store is in a world where certain actors had taken on iconic roles instead of others, where some people had stayed alive instead of having died, where that one artsy guy you knew a while back had actually finished his screenplay to a now-famous blockbuster instead of a half-finished script sitting in the bottom drawer in the house of the manager of your local Arby’s.
This is the Alternate Reality Video Store. Come with me as we look at the films that could have been, where the various fun (and possibly true) rumors that have come out of the movie industry over the years were actually fact.
Back in the late 1980s, director Tim Burton chose Michael Keaton for the lead role in the eventual 1989 Batman film.
However, the studio reportedly had a few other actors in mind, amongst dozen of rumored others: Harrison Ford, Mel Gibson, Patrick Swayze and Bill Murray.
Yes, that Bill Murray.
He of the genius comedic timing, a score of well beloved films, and the odd ultra confident there’s-just-something-about-him charisma. The mind reels over the possibility of Murray as the beloved character as opposed to Keaton.
Keaton, like Murray, was mainly a comedic actor at the time, but eventually won over audiences and most of the comic fans who were all sorts of outraged over the casting. Yet you can’t help but wonder if Murray would have done a similar Keaton-like performance where all of the emotions are under the surface, if he would’ve been funny, or if we would have gotten an earlier glimpse at the later more dramatic, “Lost in Translation” and “Broken Flowers”-era Murray, with the sad defeated eyes that could cause more tears than a thousand puppies could hope to match.
The casting seems so odd, yet strangely interesting that the alternate reality 1989 Bill-Murray-as-Batman movie would just have to be watched.
The last possibility we’ll be looking at today involves “Forrest Gump.”
According to Tupac Shakur’s widow, Shakur auditioned for the role of Bubba, Forrest’s shrimp-obsessed Vietnam buddy. Did anyone else’s brain just explode? I mean, how awesome and/or completely insane would that have been had he gotten the part?
Shakur was actually well received as an actor, with a few films such as “Juice,” “Poetic Justice,” and “Above the Rim.” But would have he brought his intensity to Bubba? And one can’t help but wonder if Tupac would still be alive if he and Tom Hanks would have bonded on set?
After all, nobody’s’ going to mess with you when you’re rolling with Tommy H. The alternatives are endless.