Everyone knows “Face/Off” isn’t about hockey. What a new oral history presupposes is…what if it had been? ShortList recently took a deep dive into the beloved, bonkers action flick starring Nicolas Cage and John Travolta (or is it the other way around?), which was almost a very different movie with a very different star. “Demolition Man” director Marco Brambilla was briefly attached to the project, and Johnny Depp was considering starring — until he realized it wasn’t about hockey.
According to co-writer Michael Colleary, the studio was only interested in casting Cage if they could also cast Depp. Just one problem: “After finally reading the script, however, Depp refused to take part. Having read the title he thought the film would be about hockey. He was disappointed when he discovered that it was not about hockey. He was out — and with him so was Brambilla.”
He was replaced by John Woo, of course, whose one-of-a-kind sensibilities are largely responsible for the out-there movie we all know and love. Of all the “what if?” scenarios in Hollywood, this is surely one of them. (The AV Club)