By Laura Harman
Whoopi Goldberg has revealed that Ghost would have been a completely different film if Patrick Swayze hadn’t made this very important decision.
In an interview with Variety, Whoopi Goldberg revealed that it was the late Patrick Swayze who fought for her to get her iconic role as Oda Mae Brown in Ghost. It was this performance that won Whoopi an Academy Award for the best-supporting actress in 1991.
Whoopi revealed in an interview that the role as Oda Mae Brown was highly coveted in Hollywood in the nineties and practically every Black actress, including Tina Turner and Patti LaBelle, were considered for this role. However, Patrick Swayze fought for Whoopi to have the role and flew with the director, Jerry Zucker, to Alabama so that he could read lines with Whoopi.
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Whoopi revealed that she was in Alabama filming ‘The Long Walk Home’ when she and Patrick managed to convince Ghost’s director, Jerry Zucker, that she was the right actress for the role. Whoopi revealed about her relationship with Patrick, “He and I just took to each other.”
Jerry Zucker revealed that he was hesitant to cast Whoopi because of her comedy background. “I was so afraid of a comic in this role, or someone identified with comedy, that it took me a while to come to that decision. But in the end, Whoopi’s ability to be hysterically funny without ever leaving her character is what makes the film work,” he said.
The director also revealed that it was Whoopi that improvised some of the film's most hilarious lines such as, “Molly, you in danger, girl!” He said, “Oda Mae, at some point, stopped being how I had imagined it, and it became Whoopi.”
Whoopi revealed to Variety that despite the film's huge success, she and Patrick Swayze would often wonder if the film would be a complete flop. Whoopi said, “We weren’t sure what the hell we were shooting.” On the set of Ghost, she and Patrick joked that the movie might be, “the dopiest thing we’ve ever done.”
She continued to say, “I don’t think any of us thought it would have this sort of impact.” She added, “And then the box office numbers started coming in, and everybody was like, ‘Do we have back end on this movie? Because I’d like some.’”
The film was released over 30 years ago and was the highest-grossing film of 1999, earning $217 million domestically and over $500 million worldwide.
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