10 Movie Roles Obviously Designed For Other Actors
9. Ruby Rhod, The Fifth Element (1997) - Prince
Remember DJ Ruby Rhod in Luc Besson’s gonzo sci-fi? High camp, high-pitched voice, dressed like he was, well, high? The part was written specifically for the late Prince, and he’d agreed to play the role. Costumes and props had been designed with him in mind, even down to the mole on Rhod’s cheek.
Of course, Rhod was actually played by comedian Chris Tucker. The official version is that Prince’s touring schedule prevented him from shooting the movie, but costumier Jean-Paul Gaultier has a different perspective. During the singer’s Paris tour dates, Besson asked the outrageous designer to meet Prince and show him some sketches:
“In broken English, and with my strong French accent, I tried my best to make conversation… I showed him my drawings, but he didn’t say a word. I had had an idea for a really funny costume with netting which quite long body hair would pass through, and I had done front and back versions of it. So then I explained to Prince: ‘Eet eel fake ‘air, you know… ze back is made of zat, and on ze back were eez ze faux cul, you know, a very big faux cul,’ and I slapped my buttocks to show him how the back of the costume would be designed.”
Prince gave him an odd look and left without a word. Gaultier would find out later from Besson that Prince had pulled out of the movie, stating that the costumes were “a bit too effeminate” and that he wasn’t best pleased with Gaultier’s lack of respect. Where Gaultier had said “faux cul” (meaning ‘fake ass’), Prince had heard “f*ck you”…