In 1995, when the original Bad Boys debuted, it was only Will Smith’s second major film role, after Six Degrees of Separation. At the time, Smith was mostly known as a successful musician and television star because of Fresh Prince of Bel Air. In fact, producer Jerry Bruckheimer couldn’t even get the film made with Will Smith attached until he managed to snag the bigger star at the time, Martin Lawrence, although they first went after an even bigger star in the early ’90s than Lawrence: Arsenio Hall. Hall, however, passed, and Lawrence and his box-office clout finally got the film made.
However, before Will Smith and Martin Lawrence came along and signed onto the film with Sony, the project had been rattling around at Disney with a completely different pairing, one so bizarre that it’s almost impossible to imagine today: SNL stars Jon Lovitz and Dana Carvey. Lovitz had mentioned on Rob Lowe’s podcast that he had originally been attached the role in last week’s episode while also talking about that bizarre story involving Brad Pitt, Courteney Cox, and a dead cat. Lovitz’s most famous SNL role, however, is of a pathological liar, so I didn’t believe it until this week’s episode of the same podcast with guest Jerry Bruckheimer, who confirmed it.
Far from a passing fancy, this iteration got as far as a screen test with Michael Bay himself before, according to Bruckheimer, it fell apart because Dana Carvey dropped out. “There are varying stories about what happened,” Bruckheimer stated. “There’s Jon’s version, and other people’s version. But the movie never got made with Jon and somebody else.”
Bruckheimer, however, never gave up, and kept pushing with — again, at the time — a new feature film director in Michael Bay, who had only made commercials up to that point. Because of Bay’s background working with advertising clients, “he understood how to deal with the studio, and how to make them feel like they were getting what they wanted, and he ended up doing an excellent job.”
That’s an understatement, as Bad Boys would earn a fortune at the box office and spawn two sequels, including Bad Boys for Life, which will end up being the highest-grossing film of 2020. Meanwhile, in the alternate universe where Lovitz and Carvey’s Bad Boys gets made, I suspect it would have been a commercial flop and Michael Bay’s career may never have gotten off the ground. After all, the year before Bad Boys was released, Carvey and Lovitz joined forces for Trapped in Paradise with Nic Cage, which earned a miserable $6 million at the box office and essentially ended Carvey’s feature film career as far as leading roles were concerned.
Source: Literally! with Rob Lowe