The comedic phone that was Chris Farley
The comedic legend that was Chris Farley was taken far before his time, dying a tragic death at the age of just 33 in 1997. Besides losing a hilarious and generally great human, the world was also robbed of some epic performances. In fact, Farley missed out on a few roles throughout his career that could have made things turn out a lot differently, for better or worse. Here are some parts that Chris Farley came close to but ultimately went unrealized.
Sony Pictures Releasing The Cable Guy (1996) – The Cable GuyThe role that ultimately went to Jim Carrey – who was the biggest comedian on the planet at this point – was originally written for Farley but he had to decline due to scheduling conflicts.
Coming off “Tommy Boy” he was still under contract to a different studio for another film, who rushed to get “Black Sheep” in production, in hopes of duplicating their success from “Tommy Boy”. The producers for “The Cable Guy” then hired Carrey, Ben Stiller and Judd Apatow, and the film morphed into the dark comedy we know today.
MGM Kingpin (1996) – IshmaelChris Farley’s agent, Doug Robinson, recounted that Farley was considered for the part that went to Randy Quaid but was again stymied by his “Black Sheep” deal.
NBC The Superfans movie (unfilmed) – Todd O’ConnorAfter the success of “Wayne’s World”, SNL movies were a hot commodity and Robert Smigel – creator of Triumph the Insult Comic Dog – left his job as Conan O’Brien’s head writer to script a movie version of the “Bill Swerski’s Superfans” sketch, which featured Farley alongside the likes of Mike Myers, Smigel and George Wendt as Chicago sports die hards and made “Da Bears” part of the pop culture vocabulary beyond the greater Chicago area.
Smigel even got Bob Odenkirk to be his co-writer on a story about the Supermans coming into conflict with a businessman with no appreciation for sports. However, some scathing reviews of SNL in 1995 made Hollywood cool down on sketch-inspired movies, and Farley went on to make “Tommy Boy” not long after.
Universal BASEketball (1998) – Joe CooperFarley turned down the lead role in David Zucker’s comedy. Zucker went on to hire Trey Parker and Matt Stone, who were red hot with “South Park” at the time, and the script was rewritten with the pair heavily involved.
Chris Farley was nothing short of a comedic icon and lejund who sported an amazing talent that brought serious laughs to people around the world – and he still continues to deliver. Who would have thought so many years later we’d still be talking about living in a VAN DOWN BY THE RIVER!Celebrate his legendary status and take a look at our ‘Chris Farley’ tee collection RIGHT HERE!
Atuk (unfilmed) – Atuk“Atuk” is a cursed movie based on a book about an Eskimo warrior struggling to adapt to life in New York. Let’s run down the list of people that were supposed to play this part: John Belushi, Sam Kinison, John Candy and, of course, Chris Farley. Notice a pattern?
Ghostbusters III: Hellbent (unfilmed) Dan Akroyd wrote the script for a third “Ghostbusters” movie in the mid-90s about the titular team being transported to a version Hell that resembled Manhattan. It never got made but some elements were later used in a video game. But the film version was going to feature a passing of the torch to a new generation of Busters, with Farley, Ben Stiller and Chris Rock in mind, according to Harold Ramis. We were seriously robbed on this one, folks.
A Confederacy of Dunces (unfilmed) – Ignatius J. ReillyThis is another cursed movie that’s been close to getting made several times over, having been in development since the early 80s and also set to feature many of the aforementioned comics that died young: Belushi, Candy and Farley. The film was almost made in 2005 with Will Ferrell and David Gordon Green directing but again was shelved. Zach Galifianakis was recently attached to it but don’t get your hopes up.
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Shrek (2001) – ShrekFarley was hired to voice the iconic ogre and essentially inspired his creation in the first place. Said writer Terry Rossio: “For me, Chris’s comedic person was key to the creation of the Shrek character – a guy who rejected the world because the world rejected him.”
The early version was much different from the “Shrek” that was voiced by Farley’s good friend Mike Myers, and Farley had even recorded 80-90% of his dialogue at the time of his death. But they couldn’t finish it without him, and Myers was brought in. And it wasn’t until after massive rewrites and Myers recording the majority of his own dialogue that he decided he wanted to use a Scottish accent, costing even more delays and about $5 million to re-animate Shrek’s lip sync.
Wikimedia A Fatty Arbuckle biopic (unfilmed) – Fatty ArbuckleFarley was planning his first dramatic film in 1997, a biopic about Fatty Arbuckle, the silent film star – and heavyset actor – who was falsely accused of manslaughter and rape in a highly publicized trial, who would die young from a heart attack. David Mamet – writer of “Glengarry Glen Ross”, among others – had signed on to write the film.
Farley’s brother Tom said:
“As soon as he heard little bits and pieces about Arbuckle’s life, he said, ‘This is me.’ It was the whole idea that nobody understands the real person underneath. ‘I’m going to tell them about the real Fatty Arbuckle, and maybe they’ll understand the real Chris Farley.’”
Rest in peace, gentle giant. H/t
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