Airheads may have been an '80s video store classic, but the film almost looked much different. According to a new interview, filmmaker Michael Lehmann was not into Brendan Fraser for the role of Chazz. Seeing the actor only through the lens of the then-recent Encino Man and not realizing that Fraser was capable of much more. At the same time, Encino Man star Pauly Shore was apparently so concerned about the possibility of doing a sequel to the caveman comedy, that he urged Adam Sandler to leave Fraser out of the movie too, meaning that the Saturday Night Live icon had to go to bat for Fraser more than once.
Speaking about the film with Variety, Sandler told the magazine about Lehmann's misgivings...and Fraser had no idea.
"The director, Michael Lehmann, was very against you," Sandler said. "He was like, 'I don't get it. I don't see the caveman being in the movie.' And I just said, 'He can do other sh*t, man.'"
Apparently, the strategy for getting Fraser the part was simple.
"I eventually went to his house at like 4 in the morning, woke him up, and I said, 'Just know Adam Sandler ain't going to be in Airheads unless old Fraser is in it,'" Sandler said. "So he changed his little tune."
Besides his concerns about the possibility of an Encino Man 2, Shore apparently tried to get himself a part in the movie, but it didn't happen. Instead, the role the Bio-Dome star was lobbying for ended up going to David Arquette.
Yeah, that's a lot, huh?
If you've never seen it (and if that's the case, you likely didn't watch a lot of Comedy Central in the early 2000s), Airheads centers on a trio of aspiring rockers -- Chazz (Brendan Fraser), Pip (Adam Sandler) and Rex (Steve Buscemi) -- who become so desperate to get their band's demo tape played on the radio that they sneak into a Los Angeles radio station. Things don't go smoothly, though, and the station manager Milo (Michael McKean) ends up their hostage, with the band sticking him up with realistic-looking water pistols. From there, things get wilder.
The film was released in 1994, and also starred Chris Farley, Judd Nelson, and Ernie Hudson.
You can see Fraser next in Darren Aronofsky's The Whale, which is in theaters on Friday.