Michael J. Fox says he regrets turning down lead role in this huge movie: "It’ll never work"

Michael J. Fox says he regrets turning down lead role in this huge movie: “It’ll never work”

Michael J. Fox may have retired from acting, but he left behind quite a legacy as an actor: he starred in two hit TV shows and many films, including the classic Back to the Future trilogy.

But there is one classic film that Fox almost starred — and recently, he revealed he has regrets turning it down.

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Fox recently appeared on The View, and was asked by co-host Whoopi Goldberg if he had any regrets about roles he turned down in the past.

“There was a chance to work with you that I missed,” Fox told Goldberg. He then shocked the hosts by revealing he was approached to star in one of the biggest films of the 1990s: the romantic fantasy drama Ghost.

Ghost, which went on to star Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore with Whoopi Goldberg, is about a murdered banker who comes back as a ghost to protect his girlfriend. Fox, at the time, had his doubts about the premise.

“They talked to me about Ghost early on. I said, ‘It’ll never work,’” Fox said on The View. “I said, ‘Whoopi is great but it’ll never work.’”

American actors Patrick Swayze, Demi Moore and Whoopi Goldberg on the set of ‘Ghost’, directed by Jerry Zucker. (Photo by Paramount Pictures/Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images)

Ghost went on to be a massive success, becoming the biggest film of 1990 and the third-highest-grossing film of all time upon its release. It was nominated for five Academy Awards including Best Picture, and Whoopi Goldberg won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress.

“And then it was great, and huge and I’m a f***ing idiot,” Fox said.

Fox is in good company: several famous actors turned down the lead role in Ghost. Oscar-winning screenwriter Bruce Joel Rubin told Vanity Fair that Harrison Ford and Paul Hogan were also among the actors who said no.

“Harrison Ford said, ‘I read this thing three times and I still don’t get it,’” Rubin said. “When Patrick [Swayze] said yes, he basically saved the movie.”

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Bruce Willis also had regrets turning down the role, which would have given him a chance to star opposite his real-life wife Demi Moore.

“I just didn’t get it,” Willis told the New York Times in 1996. “I said, ‘Hey, the guy’s dead. How are you gonna have a romance?’ Famous last words.” (Willis later played a dead man in the hit The Sixth Sense, apparently having learned his lesson.)

Would Ghost have been as successful with anyone else but Patrick Swayze, with his unique ability to make pottery sexy? We’ll never know. But speaking to The View, Fox says his regret is not getting to work with Whoopi.

“Well, you know what? There’s still time,” Whoopi Goldberg reassured him. “So, yeah, we’ll find something to do now.”

Fox, who officially retired from acting in 2021 due to his declining health from Parkinson’s, is probably best known for the iconic role of Marty McFly which he played in all three Back to the Future films. His other films include Teen Wolf, The Secret of My Success and Doc Hollywood.

Fox was also known for his TV work: he won four Emmys for playing Alex P. Keaton on Family Ties. He later returned to TV in Spin City, for which he won three Golden Globes.

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He also won an Emmy for a guest starring role on The Good Wife and in 2013 had a short-lived sitcom The Michael J. Fox Show, which reflected his real-life battle with Parkinson’s.

A documentary about Fox, titled Still: A Michael J. Fox Movie, premiered earlier this month. While he’s finished with Hollywood, he’s still keeping busy with his Michael J. Fox Foundation, which raises money for Parkinson’s research.

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It’s interesting to think that Michael J. Fox was almost in Ghost! While he has some regrets about turning down the hit film, he’s still a true movie icon!

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