There has been much debate over Michael Mann’s films over the past decade-and-a-half, though one that seems to be universally liked is 2004’s “Collateral”.
At one time though, it turns out neither Tom Cruise or Jamie Foxx were slated to star. Instead, it was going to be a vehicle for Adam Sandler and Russell Crowe. Talking about his upcoming cyber warfare thriller “Blackhat,” Mann tells THR:
“Nothing’s wrong with Adam Sandler, but it kinda envisioned a – it took place in New York, the Jamie Foxx character was a badly written Jewish cab driver, with the kind of stereotypes that can only come from someone writing that kind of a character who’s foreign, who’s not American, that doesn’t live in New York.”
Mann was referring to the film’s Australian screen writer Stuart Beattie and the script which was originally entitled “The Lost Domino” and developed with Crowe and Sandler in mind. Mann goes on about the script:
“It was [essentially] Woody Allen playing the guy. And I didn’t like the screenplay, I didn’t like the dialogue, I didn’t like writing, but if you took the screenplay, and put it under an MRI, or an X-ray machine, and took a look at it, you realize this thing has beautiful, beautiful bones. It’s one of the most beautifully constructed stories I’d had ever run into. And it was gemlike, and it all took place in one night, and the roles each guy played in the other’s realization of himself, and it was just a beautiful piece of writing by [Stuart] Beattie. But I loved the story structure of it, so I rewrote it.”
Following that rewrite, the original stars were out. Tom Cruise came onboard in the role of the cab driver and Mann almost cast a woman as the assassin. Ultimately Cruise took the assassin role and Mann’s “Ali” colleague Jamie Foxx came onboard as the cabbie.
The extensive interview also covers the topic of “The Insider” and how Mike Wallace was NOT a fan of his portrayal in the film. Click here for the full interview.