Once a character becomes iconic, it can be difficult to imagine any other actor in the role. Just imagine what the world would be like if ‘Modern Family‘s’ Ed O’Neill had been cast as Sam the bartender in ‘Cheers.’ He almost was–as the original script was written for a retired football player, and not the baseball player Ted Danson eventually went on to play.
If you ask ‘Game of Thrones‘ fans, they’ll tell you no one but Kit Harrington could have ever played TV know-nothing Jon Snow. But Iwan Rhoen was also up for the role. He didn’t get it, and went on to play Ramsay Bolton. But just imagine switching those roles?!?
HBO generally has their pic of actors when they’re casting any new show. Fan fave ‘True Blood’ nearly cast Benedict Cumberbatch and Jessica Chastain as on-again off-again lovers Bill and Sookie.
HBO had other crazy casting ideas. The role of Tony Soprano (ultimately made iconic by the late James Gandolfini) almost went to John Travolta. Meanwhile, Rob Lowe almost became the McDreamiest guy in America by nearly being cast as Derek Shepherd on ‘Grey’s Anatomy.’ Luckily for him, he avoided McDreamy’s terrible fate.
Cranston gave Walter White an enduring gravitas that fans will never forget. The show has a high-level of rewatchability too, which means ‘Breaking Bad‘ isn’t leaving the zeitgeist any time soon.
Would that be so if one of the other performers in the running had been cast?
One name being considered to portray the man known as Heisenburg is 80s nerdboy, John Cusack. Can you even imagine Walter White standing outside Skylar’s window holding up a boom box instead of say, throwing a pizza on the roof?
Apparently, Cusack turned the role down. Why be in a show about drugs when you can be in a movie about Poe? Wait…
This writer cannot imagine Matthew Broderick playing a badass like Walter White. Has he ever even played any sort of badass?
In ‘Max Dugan Returns’ Broderick played a kid who smoked, and in ‘Wargames’ he played a teenage hacker. But always fairly soft-spoken and a little smarmy. Walter White is not smarmy. He’s a force.
Even factoring in that actors know how to act, it’s difficult to imagine someone like Matthew Broderick turning out to be The One Who Knocks. We can all be glad that this never came to pass.
Interestingly, Matthew Broderick and Michael J Fox have also been up for several of the same roles. Fox was almost the star of ‘Wargames’ while Broderick was in the running to play Alex P Keaton on TV’s ‘Family Ties.’
‘Family Ties’ help launch a few careers, including Fox, Tom Hanks, and even helped Scott Valentine (who played Mallory’s boyfriend Nick) land a role in a silly teen movie in the 80s. This writer actually thinks Michael J Fox would have been a better choice than Broderick to play Walter White–but only if it had to be someone other than Cranston.
can we really talk about range without our king, Bryan Cranston pic.twitter.com/js4UH3Z6Sp
— Jefferson Steelflex (@dillon_murphy21) February 22, 2020