Midnight Run is a nugget from the 80s worn by Robert De Niro and Charles Grodin, but the cast of this buddy movie could have been quite different!
MidnightRun is one of the most iconic films in the “buddy movie” subgenre, carried by Robert DeNiro and Charles Grodin. The story is simple: Jack (De Niro) is a bounty hunter who is asked to recover Jonathan “the Duke” Mardukas (Grodin). An easy mission, if the latter was not both wanted by the FBI and the mafia!
Initially, the director Martin Brest, crowned with the successes of who has just shot The Beverly Hills Cop and funny spies wish to have Harrison Ford (who just starred in Witness and Mosquito Coast) and Chevy-Chase, which he has just shot in Funny Spies. The project falls through, and Brest is looking for new actors.
And precisely, after playing the role of the ruthless Al Capone in The Incorruptibles, Robert De Niro would like to play in a comedy. Being rejected from Big for the benefit of Tom HanksDe Niro consoles himself with the buddy movie imagined by Martin Brestwhich has just turned The Beverly Hills Cop and funny spieswhich have been very successful.
It remains to find who will play the second main character, facing him. Except De Niro, with his demanding career choices, wasn’t known for being a box office champ. The Paramount studio, which owns the rights to the film, is therefore thinking of opposing a popular star to it.
The scenario calls for this second character to be called John Mardukas. Except that the studio wants the gender to be changed in order to allow Expensive to act in the film. Although she had tried her luck at the cinema since 1967, it was in 1987 that the singer’s career was successful with three films: Dangerous suspect, The Witches of Eastwick and moonlightwhich won her the Oscar for Best Actress.
The idea would also have been to add sexual tension between the two characters, but Martin Brest strongly opposes the idea.
Paramount does not disassemble and offers him other actors, male this time. Other names then circulated, including those of Bruce Willis (pre Die Hard) orAlbert Brooks, but it’s a third that catches the eye. Like Cher, he too has just shot a great success, Good Morning, Vietnamfor which he was nominated for an Oscar.
It is obviously about Robin Williams, who has read the script and finds it to his liking. He agrees to be received for an audition. Except that in the meantime, Martin Brest received another actor, Charles Grodin. He is not known, but his chemistry with De Niro pleased the director, who does not wish to meet Williams, who will never have a chance on this feature film. The following year, he will play in The Circle of Dead Poets, which again earned him an Oscar nomination.
Meanwhile, Paramount, who does not want this duo, resells the film rights to Universal, including the De Niro-Brest-Grodin package. The new studio will trust Brest and validate its casting choices. Midnight Run will be a huge success, to the point of being dubbed by RollingStone30 years after its release, the “Casablanca du buddy movie”.
To note that Charles Grodin and Robert De Niro will meet for the purposes of The Comedian, in which the second embodies an aging stand-up comedian, and the first one of his fellow comedians. The Comedian also gives a role to Lois Smithwhich also appeared in the credits of Midnight Run.
Three sequels to Midnight Run will see the light of day, but none with the original cast.
De Niro’s next project has a massive cast: