Sinister Cinema: Footnotes to R.I.P.D.

Footnote One:

In some odd way, Jeff Bridges with his line delivery as Old West lawman Roy Pulsipher in R.I.P.D. reminded me of Dennis McMillan. Not the same voice, exactly, though something very much like The Taw.

More the sense of utter existential outrage that his corpse (he’s a ghost cop, remember) had been dragged off into a cave and eaten by coyotes. “A freakin’ cave, hoss!”

When his favorite hat blew away, for a moment Pulsipher looked just like Dennis!

So much injustice in the world. . . .

Footnote Two:

As soon as I saw the trailer with Bridges dressed like his gig in Wild Bill plus James Hong in a comedic role, I was sold. But I guess it wouldn’t have taken much of a change-up to have knocked out my interest.

The Wiki page for R.I.P.D. notes that Zach Galifianakis was originally cast as Pulsipher but dropped out to shoot something else. Thank god. If he’d stayed onboard I wouldn’t have been tempted to pop the tenspot (and not to say that, maybe, the box office mojo might have been stronger — you never can tell). Call it a matter of taste, but I find ZG mildly amusing, at best — and even if he had the hat and a beard and some kind of accent, I can’t believe that a short fat guy would have been better than Jeff Bridges in the role. ZG doesn’t remind me of Dennis McMillan, at all.

Any time I notice an article on the web about who was wanted originally for some role, I check it out: Shirley Temple instead of Judy Garland for The Wizard of Oz, George Raft instead of Bogie for The Maltese Falcon (and Casablanca), Stallone instead of Eddie Murphy for Beverly Hills Copthe list seems endless.

If the finished movie is any good, then it’s hard to imagine anyone else in the role (though after I sat through Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom back in the day, I really wished it was possible to do a side series with Michael Biehn as Indy, directed by James Cameron — that would have been great, if the rights could have been juggled).

Footnote Three:

I realize that it is possible that lots of people have the same reaction to Ryan Reynolds that I have to, oh, Seth Rogan — and if so, then I don’t blame them for hating R.I.P.D.

Rogan seems like an amiable enough pothead, but I don’t want to see him in a movie — to this day I have avoided the Green Hornet reboot, and few people like the Green Hornet more than I do. The only thing he’s in that I have gone out to a theatre to see is Paul, and that’s only because I enjoy Simon Pegg and Nick Frost more than I don’t want to see Rogan. (And there he’s only doing voice work.)

Envisioning scenarios where I might have gone to see R.I.P.D. with some of these casting wrenches tossed into the works, I suppose if they had had Seth Rogan and Galifianakis replace James Hong and Marisa Miller as the avatars, okay, that might have worked for me. You have Ryan Reynolds and Jeff Bridges charging along, shooting it out with dead people — then POV flash to Rogan and ZG talking pointlessly on cell phones or something.

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