Norman Reedus Was Offered A Role In Heartbreakers, Assumed It Involved Rape Or Murder

Typecasting can become the bane of an actor's existence. When a star proves that they can do something very well, Hollywood has a habit of exploiting this particular talent until audiences are entirely sick of it and move on to something else. It's this exact trap that Norman Reedus fell into back in the early '00s, when he found himself constantly playing murderers and criminals. It got so bad, in fact, that he eventually started thinking that it was all the industry had to offer him. As a result, when offered the the male lead in the 2001 romantic con-artist comedy Heartbreakers he was actually convinced that the part would require him to rape and kill Jennifer Love Hewitt.

This strange little tidbit comes to us from an interview that the Walking Dead star recently did with GQ, part of which was dedicated to discussing the early years of Reedus' career. Discussing the fact that he's never been seen as a guy who could star alongside Jennifer Love Hewitt in a romantic comedy, the actor revealed that he actually once almost had the chance, but would up completely confused about the part due that all of the violent roles that he had been playing around that time (in movies like The Boondock Saints and Six Ways To Sunday). Said Reedus,

"When that came around at the time, my agents at the time were, 'They like you for this part, and it's a Jennifer Love Hewitt movie.' And I'm like, 'Well, what do I do?' And they're, 'You're her boyfriend,' And I go, 'Well, do I rape her? Do I kill her? What do I do?' And they go, 'You're her sweet boyfriend.' And I was like, 'No! Absolutely not!' But yeah, I just assumed I had to rape and kill her."

Reedus was then asked if he now looks back at that situation and realizes how crazy it was, and while he does now understand it on that level now, he added that he was truly convinced of it back in 2000/2001:

"I look back now and I guess it's kind of funny, but it was true. I actually thought, 'They must want me to kill someone.' [shrugs] Tie her up? I just figured that's what they wanted."

Those of you who have seen Heartbreakers have probably already figured out that the role Reedus was offered was the one that eventually went to Jason Lee - and in retrospect it's probably a part that he doesn't have too much regret. Upon release, the film got a rather middling response from critics, and it never really took off at the box office either. Made for a reasonable reported $35 million, it only managed to bring in $57.7 million worldwide.

While Reedus hasn't really moved on from playing violent characters, now he has found some extreme success while doing it, most notably starring as the fan-beloved Daryl on The Walking Dead. Still, what if that one role could have changed everything for his career and put him on a completely different path. Perhaps today he would be healing people on Grey's Anatomy instead of slaughtering zombies.

Eric Eisenberg
Assistant Managing Editor

Eric Eisenberg is the Assistant Managing Editor at CinemaBlend. After graduating Boston University and earning a bachelor’s degree in journalism, he took a part-time job as a staff writer for CinemaBlend, and after six months was offered the opportunity to move to Los Angeles and take on a newly created West Coast Editor position. Over a decade later, he's continuing to advance his interests and expertise. In addition to conducting filmmaker interviews and contributing to the news and feature content of the site, Eric also oversees the Movie Reviews section, writes the the weekend box office report (published Sundays), and is the site's resident Stephen King expert. He has two King-related columns.