The Sifto Salt Mine in Goderich, Ontario, Canada is one of the largest salt mines in the world and yet it would struggle to haul the almighty pinch of salt needed for the news that Michael Jackson was apparently considered for the lead role in a proposed Doctor Who movie during the eighties, a new book has claimed.
Charles Norton’s Now On The Big Screen: The Unofficial And Unauthorised Guide To Doctor Who At The Cinema alleges that Paramount Pictures was interested in taking the Doctor to the big screen – with the King of Pop their number one choice.
But don’t worry, if they couldn’t land their first choice the studio had a great number two lined up to take his place – Bill Cosby – because if you can’t have Michael Jackson, it’s Cosby all the way. I mean if I’d tickets to see Michael Jackson and he cancelled but the promoter announced: “Don’t worry, we’ve got Bill Cosby!” that would be totally fine.
It also works in the opposite direction too. The Cosby Show was a monster hit during its eight series run, which had an estimated audience of over thirty million households in the US during 1986-87. But you know what it didn’t have?
Sure it had that episode where Sondra and Elvin went to a Michael Jackson gig and the man himself appeared on The Bill Cosby Show but imagine what the ratings would have been like if he had the title role!
“Can we get Michael Jackson?” must have been the default casting suggestion uttered by every movie executive in the eighties for every movie during the height of his popularity.
On paper at least the two suggestions make sense for an admittedly dicey proposition for a movie studio in the 80’s; both of them were riding on the crest of a wave in terms of critical and commercial success.
However Michael’s previous acting experience was limited to say the least; with only a role as the Scarecrow in The Wiz and the music video anthology movie Moonwalker to his name –as well as the never- realised, bizarre-sounding fantasy movie called MidKnight, to be written by Edward Scissorhands scribe Caroline Thompson and directed by Batman designer Anton Furst.
As well as unearthing unlikely casting suggestions the book weaves a narrative from the colourful world of the Peter Cushing movies – Dr Who and the Daleks and Daleks – Invasion Earth: 2150AD – through the unending torment of ‘Development Hell’, right up to the present day with new interviews with those involved.
The book also contains never before published paperwork from the British Board of Film Censors, telling the difficult story of Doctor Who’s tumultuous relationship with the silver screen.
Charles Norton’s Now On The Big Screen: The Unofficial And Unauthorised Guide To Doctor Who At The Cinema is available now from Telos for £15.99 for the paperback and £30.00 for the hardback edition, and we’ll have a review for you soon!