Dirty Rotten Scoundrels Could've Starred Mick Jagger And David Bowie

The 1964 comedy "Bedtime Story" starring Marlon Brando, David Niven, and Shirley Jones is about two conmen with clashing styles that find themselves competing to scam the same wealthy heiress. In 1988 Orion Pictures remade the film as "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels" with Steve Martin and Michael Caine. The movie would be made again in 2019 as "The Hustle" starring Anne Hathaway and Rebel Wilson, with the gender roles flipped.

Of the three versions, it is perhaps an unrealized vision for the film that might have led to the most memorable of them all. The 1988 pairing of Martin and Caine was brilliant, with Caine's verbal humor and Martin's physical comedy providing a plethora of on-screen levity. However, the film might have looked much different had the original casting choices come together. The initial plan for the 1988 remake was to unite two of the most ostentatious, iconic musicians of the era.

They missed out because of bad timing

David Bowie and Mick Jagger lived somewhat parallel lives. Both are iconic English musicians who began their careers 1960s. Both branched out from music to the film world. Despite never being a leading man, Jagger would land a few prominent roles through the years and would form his own production company, Jagged Films, in 1995. Bowie found greater success as a leading man in several films including 1976's "The Man Who Fell to Earth" and 1986's "Labyrinth."

According to Film Stories, we almost got a film starring the two pop culture icons. After the success of his film "Ruthless People," screenwriter Dale Launer was approached by Bowie's camp about a project for the musicians to star in together. Launer's suggestion for the pair was a remake of "Bedtime Story." The three met with United Artists to greenlight the project, but Universal Pictures, who owned the original film, was reluctant to sell the rights.

By the time Launer was able to strike a deal for the rights to the film that would become "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels," Bowie and Jagger had moved on to another project. According to the author of "David Bowie: The Last Interview and Other Conversations," the project was an adaptation of the William Neal Harrison novel "Mountains of the Moon." Of missing out on the movie, Bowie said:

"He and I were interested in doing a film together, though. There was one written for us, but it never got to us and became that Michael Caine-Steve Martin movie 'Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.' How 'bout them apples! Mick and I were a bit tweezed that we lost out on a script that could have been reasonably good."

The "Mountains of the Moon" project never came to fruition, and the only Bowie-Jagger collaboration we ever got was famous for all the wrong reasons.

When Bowie and Jagger danced in the street

It's hard to believe that any type of musical collaboration with Mick Jagger and David Bowie wouldn't be an instant success, but in 1985 the opposite happened. At the time both Jagger and Bowie were at points of re-invention, answering the siren call of 1980s pop music. When the pair was asked to contribute to the Live Aid concert in the summer of 1985, the duo was happy to oblige and the idea for a "Dancing in the Street" remake was conceived.

According to RadioX, the initial plan was to have the duo perform the song synchronously at different legs of the Live Aid concert, one in London and the other in Philadelphia. That was scrapped because of timing delays, and the decision was made to record a video to show at Live Aid concerts. The result was the now-infamous music video.

The entire production was done in about 13 hours. The video is cringe-worthy on multiple levels, from the ridiculously baggy clothes worn by both men to the unscripted dance moves with both men hamming it up for the camera. Everything about the idea was a disaster to the point that "Family Guy" parodied the video, showing it in full as a cut-in with Peter Griffin saying, "That happened, and we all let it happen."

It's a shame that two of the most creative artists of our time never had the chance to collaborate on something more. It seemed like a natural fit, and Jagger agreed. After Bowie died in 2016, he told Express, "We had a lot in common in wanting to do big things onstage, using interesting designs, narratives, personalities." Besides the "Dancing in the Street" video, it will always be a case of "What if?" and the close call we had with "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels."