Published On: Tue, Apr 4th, 2023

Patrick Swayze threatened to quit iconic movie over actress casting debacle | Films | Entertainment

Patrick Swayze was one of the most iconic American actors working in throughout the 1980s and 1990s. Although he was best known for playing Johnny Castle, another of his movies is arguably just as popular as Dirty Dancing: Ghost. But this film almost missed out on a key actress joining the movie when its director was “so afraid” of hiring her. But Swayze defended her at every turn, because he knew the movie would be a hit.

Director Jerry Zucker hired Swayze for the role of Sam Wheat in the 1990 movie Ghost very early on in the casting process.

But, shortly after that, he was struggling to find the right actor to play Oda Mae Brown, the psychic who helps the deceased Sam save his partner, Molly Jensen.

In a new interview with Variety, revealed “practically every Black woman in Hollywood” was considered for the role of the mystical character.

As well as Goldberg herself, Tina Turner and Patti LaBelle were apparently looked at to join Ghost.

But things changed for Swayze when he worked on the audition with Goldberg.

Goldberg said: “[Swayze] and I just took to each other.”

Zucker loved Goldberg, as well. “Particularly with the comic lines,” he also told the publication. “She hit it out of the park.”

He later described casting the movie as an “agonising” experience. He went on: “I was so afraid of a comic in this role, or someone identified with comedy, that it took me a while to come to that decision.”

While Zucker struggled to come to terms with the idea of bringing Goldberg into the movie, Swayze wouldn’t relent. He fought for the comedic actress to be hired opposite him, because he knew the chemistry between them was fantastic.

Swayze even threatened to leave the movie if Zucker didn’t hire Goldberg. He reportedly said: “I’m not making this movie unless you put Whoopi Goldberg in there.”

Eventually, Zucker relented. “In the end,” Zucker recalled. “Whoopi’s ability to be hysterically funny without ever leaving her character is what makes the film work.”

The American star got to work as soon as she was hired. When she did the table read with Swayze and the rest of the cast, she was rewriting her character’s lines and jokes on the fly.

Some of these lines – such as “Molly, you in danger, girl” – were eventually written into the final movie, as well. So her impact on Ghost has been immortalised.

She and Swayze, again, became extremely close during this filming process – but they did question the film’s material at times.

Goldberg remembered joking with Swayze that Ghost was “the dopiest thing we’ve ever done” during filming.

The actress later earned the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her role in Ghost.

Years later, she told The View: “When I won my Academy Award, the only person I really thanked was Patrick.”

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