“Nightmare on Elm Street Originally Starred Charlie Sheen – Why He Quit”
Before Johnny Depp landed his first film role as A Nightmare on Elm Street‘s Glen, Charlie Sheen had originally been cast, and here’s why he quit. Written and directed by Wes Craven, 1984’s A Nightmare on Elm Street was a true game changer for the horror genre, especially for the slasher form that was quickly growing stagnant due to overuse. The way the film played with the dream world was creatively revolutionary, and it was apparent from the first moment he stepped onscreen that Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund) would become iconic.
While it wasn’t quite as clear by his performance as Nancy Thompson’s boyfriend Glen that Johnny Depp would eventually become one of the biggest movie stars in the world, it was obvious he had a future, possessing as he did a natural charisma and likeability, as well as matinee idol good looks. However, one wonders if Depp would’ve ever gone on to be a star had he not landed that first role in A Nightmare on Elm Street.
It turns out that Depp almost came very close to not kicking off what would become his grand career as an actor. Charlie Sheen was originally lined up to play Glen, and if he had his way, would’ve done so.
It was online legend for years that Charlie Sheen had been in the running for the role of Glen in A Nightmare on Elm Street, and that he had almost landed it. A few years ago though, former New Line Cinema head and Nightmare franchise producer Robert Shaye outright confirmed that Sheen was indeed up for Glen, and what’s more the actor was actually cast in the part. Unfortunately, at least for those curious to see what Sheen might’ve done with the role, he and producers then hit an impasse.
As usual in Hollywood, the disagreement came down to money. Sheen wanted a salary of $3,000 a week – in 1984 money, which would be like earning over $7,400 a week today – and Shaye just wasn’t willing to agree to that, as the film’s budget was already less than $2 million. So Sheen walked, Depp got cast as Glen, and the rest is history. It’s not entirely clear why Sheen thought he could command such a large paycheck at that point, as despite being the son of legendary actor Martin Sheen, Charlie had only appeared in one major film, Red Dawn, before A Nightmare on Elm Street, which hadn’t even released yet when casting was taking place.
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