Show business has almost always revolved around the eternal conflict between creative individuals and businesspeople. A filmmaker may have a given vision, but it often doesn't align with the vision that a studio wants to bring to life. This phenomenon occurs all the time, and it was recently revealed that Warner Bros. almost even stepped in to have silver screen icon John Travolta replace Prince on the legendary film, Purple Rain. The film's director explained:
Warner Bros. executives didn't like the script. They said it was the most sexist, misogynist script they'd ever read, especially the dumpster scene. So they asked 'What are you going to do [to change it]?' I said nothing. Then a suggestion was made that John Travolta play Prince. I said Prince has to play Prince. That's what will make the film authentic.
Albert Magnoli revealed this awesome bit of Purple Rain trivia during Purple Rain: Celebration (via Yahoo Movies) -- a celebratory panel conducted by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to honor the legacy of the 1984 film, as well as Prince himself. He explained that Warner Bros. did not initially like the script for Purple Rain, and as such they wanted to bring in a bankable star like John Travolta to sell the movie to audiences. Magnoli wouldn't budge on his desire to have Prince take on a starring role in the film, and -- as you've probably already guessed -- the rest is history. The late, great rock star eventually played himself in Purple Rain and made his purple mark on cinematic history, one that few musicians have managed to emulate in the last three decades.
We definitely don't fault Warner Bros. for wanting to bring in someone like John Travolta; the Saturday Night Fever star had become a phenomenon by the early 1980s, and casting him in Purple Rain would most definitely serve to dull the movie's less palatable edge. However, having seen the movie, we ultimately have to side with the director on this issue. After all, Purple Rain is Prince's life story; can you imagine someone like Channing Tatum or Ryan Phillippe replacing Eminem in 8 Mile back in 2002? Looking back, such a potential decision seems blasphemous.
There may be differing opinions on this matter, but one look at the film's trailer will instantly tell you that the right decision was made:
In the end, Warner Bros. made the right decision and acquiesced to the wishes of Albert Magnoli. Prince starred in Purple Rain, and the movie has become an iconic piece of pop culture history. The high priest of pop may be gone, but his work in the realms of film and music will live on forever. Rest in peace, Prince. You've earned it.