November 07, 2017
Colombian-American actor and comedian John Leguizamo has always been an unfiltered riot in his standup sets, most notably the classics "Freak" and "Sexaholix." He's got an aggressively funny personality and a unique view on the Latino experience in the United States.
One thing Leguizamo doesn't have, but totally could have supported, is an Academy Award.
Yes, Leguizamo was so intent on becoming live-action Luigi in "Super Mario Bros." that he turned down the chance to be Tom Hanks' lover in "Philadelphia."
That's what the actor explained during an appearance this week on "Late Night with Seth Meyers," where he acknowledged it may have been a career-shifting mistake. The thing is, he just wasn't feeling a strong enough attraction to Hanks, and so Antonio Banderas ended up getting the part.
"I wanted, like, Kevin Costner, Denzel Washington, and so I turned it down for 'Super Mario Bros.'," Leguizamo said.
"Philadelphia," one of Hollywood's first mainstream dramas depicting HIV/AIDs and homophobia, went on to win Hanks an Oscar for Best Actor, as well as a Grammy for Bruce Springsteen's "Streets of Philadelphia."
What's perhaps more interesting is that "Philadelphia" screenwriter Ron Nyswaner actually preferred Daniel Day Lewis over Tom Hanks for the role of Andrew Beckett, the film's protagonist, and "Super Mario Bros." director Rocky Morton wanted Danny DeVito to play Mario instead of the late Bob Hoskins.
Who knows what kind of Luigi Leguizamo would have been next to DeVito? But we can all agree it's for the best that DeVito wasn't invited onto the set of "Philadelphia."