Garth Brooks Almost Starred in 'Twister' and 'Saving Private Ryan'?!
In films like Last Action Hero and Jurassic Park: The Lost World, we've been given alternate realities of movies including Sylvester Stallone in Terminator 2: Judgment Day and King Lear starring Arnold Schwarzenegger. But some of these faux realities may not be as ridiculous as initially thought. One such case is country musician Garth Brooks almost starring in Twister and Saving Private Ryan. Why are we just now hearing about this? Well, Lisa Sanderson, who’s worked with both Brooks and Merv Griffin, has filed a lawsuit against Brooks, saying that she lost out on money and opportunities because the famed singer is a “paranoid, angry, deceitful, and vindictive man who will turn against those closest to him on a dime.”
Brooks' efforts stretch as far back as 1994 when he started his own production company called Red Strokes, and they initially had a development deal with Disney that never went anywhere because of the singer's lack of experience in the film industry. That's understandable. But how about turning down a key role in Saving Private Ryan? After Sanderson introduced Brooks to Frank Darabont, doing a rewrite on the film at the time, he wrote the role of Private Jackson (the sniper played by Barry Pepper) for the singer, but he refused to take it because he didn't think anyone wanted to see a war movie starring Tom Hanks.
But Steven Spielberg is a nice enough guy, so he asked Brooks what role he did want to play in the film that went on to get nominated for Best Picture. Brooks said he just wanted to play a "bad guy." But since all of the bad guys aren't really prominent (with the exception of one recurring Nazi), that opportunity went out the window. But that Spielberg apparently likes to give people second chances, so with his Amblin Entertainment arm, he sent the script for Twister to Brooks. But the singer also turned down that role, because, as he keenly observed, the tornado was the star. That's a fair point, but it didn't hurt Bill Paxton or Helen Hunt's career.
In addition, Brooks' ego supposedly cost Sanderson and Red Strokes several unnamed deals for collaborating, presumably with music, on several Disney animated movies and their deal eventually expired. That took them over to Fox 2000 where a deal fell apart for a film called The Lamb that would tell the story of a rock star who was worth more dead than alive. Brooks' music would help serve to enhance the story and drama, and to prove that point, Brooks' explained in a pitch that the music was an extension of how he felt when his father died. So what's the problem? Sanderson was sitting in on this pitch meeting and knew that his father was alive and well in Oklahoma. When confronted about the lie, Brooks just laughed and said, "but don't you think it made the pitch so much better?" The deal fell apart over other music rights sharing disagreements.
But one of the biggest and most recent blunders involved Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland. Sanderson started a dialogue with screenwriter Linda Woolverton and had him share some ideas on the story for the film. Though Woolverton heard him out, she insisted that she worked alone, but offered to let Brooks and Sanderson work as producers and the singer could also contribute a song to the soundtrack. But when it came time to strike a deal, Brooks demanded that Woolverton let him co-write the script with her or the deal was off. Despite begging Brooks to reconsider that move, he made the demand and they missed out on an international hit that was even nominated for Academy Awards.
So there you have it. There's probably plenty of other stories like this of strange talents almost landing pivotal career-making movies that only fell apart for one reason or another, but they don't get brought to light very often. This one is particularly interesting because of the high profile of most of these projects, and it's hard to imagine Brooks being a serious actor nowadays. I'm even more interested as to what kind of song Brooks would have contributed to fit in the style of Alice in Wonderland. Anyway, it sounds like we don't have to worry about an acting deal for Brooks anytime soon. He might have friends in low places, but it doesn't sound like he has any in Hollywood now. Thanks to the AV Club for this amazing gem.