David Cronenberg's sci-fi horror classic could've had a rather different leading man.
Cronenberg's 1986 remake of The Fly is a defining career milestone both for him and for the film's star, Jeff Goldblum, whose take on the slowly transforming scientist Seth Brundle remains one of his most loved and most revisited performances. Cronenberg might've always been destined to make a landmark film with The Fly, but it turns out Goldblum wasn't his first choice for the Brundle role.
In a new interview with IN Magazine, Oscar-nominated and Emmy, Golden Globe, and Tony Award-winning actor John Lithgow (3rd Rock From the Sun, Harry and the Hendersons, The World According to Garp, Dexter and many, many other roles) revealed that he was offered the part before Goldblum.
"I’ve never told anybody this out of respect for my good friend Jeff Goldblum. But I was asked to play The Fly and I turned it down," Lithgow said.
Taking the role in Cronenberg's now-classic film might've sent Lithgow's career off on an entirely different trajectory than the one it actually took, and apparently his agent was very keen on the idea of him playing Brundle. So why didn't he take the part? Apparently he thought the movie was just too gross.
"My agent wanted me to do The Fly and I didn’t want to do it. I just finished another project and I was exhausted, and I found it such an icky story," Lithgow said. "I told my agent I just didn’t want to play something so grotesque."
So Lithgow moved on, Goldblum got The Fly, and both men went on to have very distinguished, diverse and successful careers in the decades that followed. Lithgow certainly doesn't sound like he regrets the choice, but we have to wonder if there's a cut of the film in an alternate universe somewhere in which it's Lithgow, not Goldblum, who's vomiting on donuts and slurping them up.
(Via The Playlist)