During the early days of writing the script for the 1983 movie WarGames, John Lennon was considered for the role of Stephen Falken.
This unique casting choice was discussed in a 2008 retrospective piece from Wired that has recently resurfaced. Lawrence Lasker and Walter F. Parkes, who were the film’s screenplay writers, said they initially thought of casting Stephen Hawking. However, that idea was nixed by a superior because they “didn’t like the idea of a man in a wheelchair in a war room, because it was too much like ‘Dr. Strangelove.'”
Parkes noted, “We always pictured John Lennon, because he was kind of a spiritual cousin to Stephen Hawking.”
Lasker said, “We had communicated with Hawking — not directly. And through David Geffen, we’d communicated with John Lennon, and he was interested in the role.” He added, “I was writing the first scene where we meet Hawking — Falken — in the movie. He was an astrophysicist in our second draft. I was staring at the cover of the November ’80 issue of ‘Esquire,’ with Lennon on the cover, and describing his face, when a friend of mine — a bit of a jerk — called and said, ‘You’re gonna have to find a new Falken.'”
The role of Falken, of course, eventually went to John Wood, who also voiced NORAD supercomputer WOPR.
WarGames is one of many classic films celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. Keep scrolling to see which other film are turning 40 in 2023.