November 15 – The Soprano

Turn Down Service

For some actors, taking a TV role when you’re considered a movie star is a step down. That just provides an opportunity for another talent to step in, knock the performance out of the park and end up doing better in the long run than the one who originally turned his nose up at the project. Here are some examples of folks who passed up on TV glory (for whatever reason):

Ray Liotta as Tony Soprano (The Sopranos)

Ray Liotta, star of movies like Goodfellas, turned down the landmark role because he wanted to focus on movies. In the time he could have been playing the mobster, Liotta made numerous films, but nothing particularly memorable. Of course James Gandolfini took the role and ran with it… straight to three Emmy’s, which launched his own chance to enter the movie world before his untimely death earlier this year.

liotta-soprano

Tom Selleck as Mitch Buchannon (Baywatch)

Tom Selleck turned down the head lifeguard role, as he didn’t want to be a sex symbol… to which I’ve always said, “too late, Mr. Magnum!” Selleck’s role refusal did give David Hasselhoff and his German minions another chance to rejoice and without it, Hasselhoff’s infamous downward spiral might have gone unnoticed. Seriously, though, who hasn’t tried to eat a floor cheeseburger in a drunken stupor!?

Michael Richards as Adrian Monk (Monk)

Fresh off his stint as crazy neighbor Cosmo Kramer on Seinfeld, Michael Richards was offered the role of obsessive compulsive disorder suffering detective Adrian Monk, but he wasn’t interested in the role. ABC let the show slip away to the USA Network, which cast Tony Shalhoub , who played the intricately troubled ex-cop perfectly. Richards instead went on a racial slur-laced rant at a comedy club and would probably pay for work now.

Craig T. Nelson as Jay Pritchett (Modern Family)

Craig T. Nelson hasn’t evaded the question of why he turned down a role on the wildly popular Modern Family. He is quoted as saying the money just wasn’t good enough. The former Coach star did go on to snag up the next patriarchal role to come his way on Parenthood, leaving the living legend, Al Bundy himself, Ed O’Neill to step in a lead the 21st century family… as well as cuddle up to Sofia Vergara!

nelson-pritchett

Dana Delaney as Carrie Bradshaw (Sex and the City)

Ms. Delaney passed on the iconic role because she didn’t want to be in a show about sex… then why audition for a show called SEX and the City!? And really, what show doesn’t have some element of sex in it. Hell, even Sesame Street has toyed with the idea of Bert and Ernie being romantically involved! Sarah Jessica Parker took the part and became a cosmopolitan swigging female hero. Honestly, I don’t even know who Delaney is…

Thomas Jane as Don Draper (Mad Men)

I’ve already professed my hatred for Mad Men and apparently Thomas Jane, The Punisher, agrees with me! He didn’t think an intellectual show on a channel (AMC) known for movie reruns would work. You win some, you lose some. Jon Hamm stepped in and gets to drink tons of whiskey, while being lauded for an incredibly awful show. Some guys have all the luck.

Michael Keaton as Jack Shepard (Lost)

I’ve never watched Lost, but Ma and Pa Sip were die-hard fans. Apparently the character of Jack was supposed to not live past the pilot episode. When writers changed their plans, the former Batman backed out, thus avoiding the most confusing plot in television history and likely countless headaches from trying to get an understanding of what was going on!

Drink #319: The Soprano

The Soprano Drink Recipe

  • 1.5 oz Bourbon
  • 1.5 oz Amaretto (I used Disaronno)
  • 0.5 oz Southern Comfort
  • Splash of Lemon Juice
  • Dash of Simple Syrup
  • Garnish with an Orange Wheel

Well, that wraps up our look at those that have turned down TV roles. I myself have turned down a couple characters in my childhood acting days: Bud Bundy on Married with Children; Zack Morris on Saved by the Bell, and Alf on, well Alf. Think of the money I’ve missed out on…

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3.5 Sips out of 5):
Early this year, I made The Godfather cocktail. This is the Americanized version of said drink, with the use of Bourbon and Southern Comfort. I liked the recipe, but those who aren’t fans of strong, liquor-heavy beverages might want to avoid it. It wasn’t overly heavy, but it was pretty potent.

November 14 – Breaking Bad

Regretful Decisions

Recently, I did a series of articles about actors that probably regretted movie roles they had turned down. Today, I embark on a similar series, but change the medium. We’re looking at TV characters that have been passed up on… usually for the better!

Paul Giamatti as Michael Scott (The Office)

The iconic role that made Steve Carell a household name and launched his movie career could have gone to someone else. Paul Giamatti turned down the U.S.-version of David Brent and focused on his movie career. A few others were reportedly considered for the role, including Hank Azaria, Martin Short, Bob Odenkirk, and even Rainn Wilson, who ended up as the best possible Dwight Schrute imaginable.

giamatti-scott

Pamela Anderson as Dana Scully (X-Files)

The show would have been much less sci-fi and a little more parody had this poor choice actually happened. I’m not a fan, but the X-Files staff made a great move by going in another direction. You can also bet that if Anderson had taken the roll, there would have been more slow-motion running scenes and the skimpiest outfits possible for a paranormal investigator!

John Cusack/Matthew Broderick as Walter White (Breaking Bad)

I’m a huge Bryan Cranston fan, long before he became a meth-making, cancer-surviving maniac. I even heard one joke that Walter White is Cranston’s character on Malcolm in the Middle after he goes into hiding! Getting back on track, apparently both Cusack and Broderick turned down the role, leaving the door wide open for Cranston. I can kind of see Cusack doing an okay job, but Broderick would have been a long shot to make this work.

Katie Holmes as Buffy Summers (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)

Good lord I hate this show with a vehement passion. The story goes that Holmes passed on Buffy in order to finish high school (a commendable action), before she joined the cast of Dawson’s Creek the next year (an uncommendable action). Sarah Michelle Gellar had originally auditioned for the role on Cordelia, but thankfully the domino effect introduced the world to Charisma Carpenter, who later posed for Playboy and that’s all that really matters!

holmes-buffy

Ryan Reynolds and Xander Harris (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)

Speaking of that which shall not be named, my alma mater homey (The Green Lantern and I attended the same college) saw the writing on the wall and passed on this nerd-captivating show. He has since gone on to become a Hollywood heartthrob, while Nicholas Brendon has gone on to do a variety of work, but nothing near the level of his Xander Harris (the one character I didn’t mind on the show) fame.

John Hawkes as The Governor (The Walking Dead)

I’m not familiar with who John Hawkes actually is (he actually played a few roles you know, you jackass), but I find his reasoning to be sound. He refused the role of The Governor, as he thought someone else could do the character better. Enter David Morrissey, who has provided the character a hauntingly authoritative aura in his battles with Rick Grimes and the other survivors.

Paul Shaffer as George Costanza (Seinfeld)

I can’t imagine anyone other than Jason Alexander portraying Costanza: Lord of the Idiots. Shaffer, best known as David Letterman’s band leader, was left a message from Jerry Seinfled, offering him the role if he wanted it, but due to his other commitments, Shaffer never even returned the call. I just don’t think the show would have been very good without Alexander in the role of Jerry’s best friend.

Drink #318: Breaking Bad

Breaking Bad Drink Recipe

  • Rim glass with Blue Salt/Rock Candy
  • 2 oz Tequila (I used Hornitos)
  • Top with Lemonade
  • Garnish with Lemon Wedges

What will tomorrow’s sequel list hold? Wouldn’t you like to know? And for a small fee, I’ll tell you. Hey, gotta support this project somehow!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3 Sips out of 5):
I don’t have any major complaints about this cocktail, but it didn’t measure up to many of the drinks I’ve been making recently. I’m glad the Blue Candy Powder rim worked out as it helped with the Breaking Bad crystal meth theme. Tequila and Lemonade are a good combo, so give it a chance sometime.