Caddyshack Came Close To Casting Mickey Rourke In A Major Role

Given the sordid twists and turns of Rourke’s career, it might be difficult for younger moviegoers to understand just how special he was at the outset. He was precious cargo. But work is work, and when you’re scrambling for those first significant gigs, you can’t be choosy. So of course Rourke’s agent put him up for working-class caddy Danny Noonan, and of course, there was interest from the filmmakers.

In Chris Nashawaty’s hugely entertaining “Caddyshack: The Making of a Hollywood Cinderella Story,” Nicita acknowledges Rourke was attractive for a variety of reasons, but primarily because he was Irish. Ramis was equally enamored. There was, however, competition, and as the director told Nashawaty, the decision ultimately came down to studio favoritism. And, not for nothing, golfing ability.

“[Rourke] was great! He was young, he was cool, a very natural actor — not Hollywood at all. He seemed like a real person. Maybe too real for the movie. Michael O’Keefe seemed like a really good boy. Plus, he was a scratch golfer. Mickey Rourke was much more complicated.”

Michael O’Keefe wasn’t just a capable golfer of Irish descent. He’d also held his own against Robert Duvall in Lewis John Carlino’s adaptation of Pat Conroy’s “The Great Santini” — well, at least he’d maintained his dignity while a belligerent Duvall blasted him in the face with a basketball. “You gonna cry?”

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