Crazy moments in movies have a way of drawing out some of the most interesting actors in Hollywood. And when I say interesting I tend to mean those that are capable of becoming entirely unhinged, a quality that both Nicolas Cage and Will Ferrell have in spades. In fact, it’s been revealed that had Will Ferrell not been able to make it to the set for the part of Chaz in the comedy Wedding Crashers that Cage would have been the next in line to take the role. Just imagine that for a moment, with Ferrell pulling his customary, top of his voice yell for “Meatloaf!”. And now imagine Cage doing the same thing, and try to think that it would be just as funny, but probably a little darker since obviously Cage and Ferrell have a very different style when it comes to comedy. I don’t know about other people, but one of the most manic moments in Cage’s career came during Matchstick Men when he asked a man in a pretty heated voice if he knew what it felt like to be dragged out and beaten until he pissed blood. Look for the scene and you’ll see what I’m referring to since it’s funny in its own way, but it’s just one of Cage’s onscreen explosions that would have likely unnerved a lot of people. With Ferrell, the explosive scenes are usually little more than funny since when he’s around the right crew and has the right part he can be hilarious and deliver a line unlike anyone else.
The part of Chaz wasn’t a big one obviously since he was the friend that taught Vince Vaughan and Owen Wilson’s characters how to perform the wedding con and was essentially a big kid that had never had to grow up. He only made a couple more appearances after that, once at a funeral and the other at the final wedding scene where it almost looked like he might be lining up to get his comeuppance for being such a creep. But Will played it off great since he became the ultimate jerk that knew how to run a scam and had no shame in doing it. But could Nicolas Cage have pulled it off in the same manner? We almost got to find out since it sounds as though the crew was having a hard time confirming that Ferrell would even show up for the part. But thinking about it now there’s a good chance that Cage’s role would have been a lot darker and a little more psychotic than Ferrell’s. Let’s put it this way, Will is a funny man, he makes a living being a funny actor, but Nicolas Cage has gone from comedy to drama to action and back and forth again and has a different level of crazy than Will, so it’s likely that we might have gotten something more akin to his character in Moonstruck or in Raising Arizona than anything else. To be honest that wouldn’t have been a bad thing.
It might have upset the whole tone of the movie though, or it could have enhanced it in some strange way. Wedding Crashers was an insanely funny movie, but it was designed to have a lot of heart as well. The moment that Chaz came into the picture it was to show that even if he was kind of a sick genius since his schtick did work after all. But he was still pretty pathetic since he lived with his mother and appeared to be essentially useless as a human being. That kind of a role feels like it would have gotten quite a bit darker with Cage standing in as Chaz, if only because he’s not strictly a comedian and he puts a lot more crazy into his roles than Will does, since the comedian feels more light and airy in his act, despite his need for constant volume. Cage feels more like the guy you’d want to observe from a distance when he goes nuts since otherwise, it might feel that his bug-eyed look could lead to something a bit disturbing or even dangerous. Both men are great actors and it would have been able to work in either way, but it does feel as though Will was the guy since his lighter humor meshed with the movie as it was and didn’t force it down a path that might have made the movie feel a bit disjointed at that moment. I like Cage, but he can get dark in a hurry, even when he’s trying to be funny.
There’s actually a rumor of a sequel on the way, but the hope is that it never comes to light since the first movie ended on such a good note that it would be a shame to spoil it.