Like many actors, Vince Vaughn’s collection of work includes comedy, horror, and action thrillers. The Minneapolis native rose to fame with his role in the 1996 independent film Swingers, written by his friend Jon Favreau. Vaughn’s success in Swingers ultimately led to Steven Spielberg casting him in the sequel to The Lost World: Jurassic Park.
Although Vaughn has appeared in more serious films like Dragged Across Concrete, he is still well-known for his roles in comedy horror films like Freaky. It’s pretty funny now because, back then, the studio worried about Vaughn starring in Old School.
DreamWorks Pictures didn’t think Vince Vaughn could do comedy
Vaughn’s career received a good boost thanks to the 2003 hit comedy Old School, directed by Todd Phillips. However, he might not have been selected for his role in Old School if DreamWorks Pictures had its way.
According to comments made by Vaughn to GQ, Phillips had to persuade the people in charge to retain him on Old School. “Todd’s a terrific writer and great with comedy. The part that was really interesting was the studio didn’t know if I could do comedy,” said Vaughn.
Vaughn said that after doing Swingers and The Lost World, he found himself drawn to stories with stronger characters like Return to Paradise and Clay Pigeons. He had been doing a lot of smaller indie films, but hadn’t accomplished much in the way of mainstream comedy. According to the Old School star, Phillips had to show the studio an interview Vaughn did on a talk show to help them understand that he could do comedy.
Vaughn’s prominence at the time was mainly due to his roles in horror films like the remake of Psycho and The Cell and the critically acclaimed The Lost World. The studio was likely only assessing him based on his most recent projects. Fortunately, Phillips had better judgment.
Although Vaughn put his improv abilities to the test in Old School, he was still not an easy sell for a comedy. Ben Stiller discovered this when he tried to cast Vaughn as his co-lead in Dodgeball.
Vince Vaughn’s part in ‘Old School’ was specifically written for him
In the movie, Vaughn plays Bernard, one of three guys in their thirties who try to replicate their college days by founding a fraternity that’s substantially different from the others.
Bernard and his two companions reach a fork in the road in their lives, and they must decide whether to travel along the responsible but monotonous road or the bumpy but exhilarating path of recklessness. They decided to take the risky route, which led to some hilarious outcomes.
Having enjoyed Vaughn’s comedic turns in films like Swingers and Made, Phillips wrote the role of Bernard with him in mind. Talking to Playboy, Phillips said, “We cast around Vince the whole time. Vince was initially a hard sell for DreamWorks. He was more of a dramatic actor than a comedic one, so he had appeared in many films that wouldn’t be classified as comedies. But I insisted that Vince be the one chosen.”
‘Old School’ set the comedy course for Vaughn
With Old School’s success, Vaughn began a great career as a comedic actor. After that, he featured in comedies like Wedding Crashers, Dodgeball, and Starsky & Hutch. He even reunited with Jon Favreau for Couples’ Retreat.
In addition to comedy, Vaughn has gone on to star in and direct dramatic features and series. Through his production company Wild West Picture Show Productions, Vaughn is set to produce a sequel to the 1983 film A Christmas Story titled A Christmas Story Christmas. The film will be released in November 2022.
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