Saturday, May 25, 2024
Chase could've been Indy, Gump, and Santa.

Chase could’ve been Indy, Gump, and Santa.

Chevy Chase’s Missed Opportunities in Comedy

Looking back on Chevy Chase’s career, it is tempting to claim that he didn’t make any huge missteps until the late ’80s and ’90s. However, Chase’s history of missing out on huge roles began fairly early on.

The Opportunity That Got Away: “National Lampoon’s Animal House”

As detailed in an article by Bradford Evans, one of Chase’s notable missed opportunities was the chance to lead the ensemble cast of the massively successful and influential comedy “National Lampoon’s Animal House.” Surprisingly, the part he was up for — Eric “Otter” Stratton — was even written specifically for him. The “Lampoon” writers had planned to capitalize on SNL’s success by casting Chase, along with Bill Murray and Dan Aykroyd, in the leading roles. Unfortunately, director John Landis had a different vision for the movie and convinced Chase not to take the part.

The Impact and What Could Have Been

While Chase’s film career wasn’t severely affected by this decision, there is no denying that starring in “Animal House” would have likely given him a tremendous boost. The role of Otter would have been a natural fit for Chase’s suave-meets-goofy persona. However, casting directors had other ideas. Some believed that Chase could explore a more dramatic space, but in hindsight, this notion seems to have been a fallacy. Whenever Chase has attempted more serious roles, such as in William Friedkin’s “Deal of the Century” or John Carpenter’s “Memoirs of an Invisible Man,” his offbeat goofiness inevitably shines through. This is perhaps why it is ultimately for the best that Chase did not come close to landing iconic roles like Indiana Jones in “Raiders of the Lost Ark” or the title character in “Forrest Gump,” as both require a level of earnestness that Chase either lacks or struggles to portray convincingly.

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