LOCARNO, SWITZERLAND - AUGUST 13: John Landis is seen on stage with the Pardo of Honor Manor during the Awards Winner Ceremony of the 74th Locarno Film Festival on August 13, 2021 in Locarno, Switzerland. (Photo by Rosdiana Ciaravolo/Getty Images)
Movies - TV
John Landis Was Desperate To Get Chevy Chase Out Of The Cast Of Animal House
Despite his reputation for being difficult to work with, Chevy Chase is still a comedic legend, who was perhaps the biggest star of the genre in 1978, right when director John Landis was getting set to helm the classic “Animal House.” According to Vanity Fair, Chase was in such demand by Universal that “Landis was issued an edict from on high: hire Chase, or else.”
Landis didn’t respond well to this demand, leading the director to exploit Chase’s well-known ego to avoid casting the actor. Chase had left “SNL” after one season to become a movie star, a fact that Landis was able to capitalize on during a meeting with some of the film’s producers and the actor, who was deciding between making “Animal House” or “Foul Play.”
The director shared, “I said, ‘Listen, Chevy, our picture is an ensemble, a collaborative group effort like “Saturday Night Live.” You’d fit right in, whereas in “Foul Play,” that’s like being Cary Grant or Paul Newman, a real movie-star part. Don’t you think you’d be better off surrounded by really gifted comedians?’” Landis’ plan had worked as Chase decided to pass on “Animal House.”