The other night I caught an episode of My Name Is Earl that I hadn't seen before. Burt Reynolds guest starred as the mean owner of the strip club. His character had just died, and everyone had gathered for the funeral when a limo arrived. When the person got out, at first I thought it was Reynolds having played a trick, but this character turned out to be his son. And he was played by Norm MacDonald.
To the people in charge of casting for this show, I have only three words to say to you:
YOU. ARE. BRILLIANT.
Since the show is absurd humor, this type of casting totally worked. But it got me thinking...has this ever happened before? Has someone's impression of a particular actor later lead to their working together or playing relatives?
The only other project that comes to mind is one that might never come to fruition. Ben Stiller and Tom Cruise have talked about making a Hardy Boys film. Stiller played Tom Cruise once (again, on SNL's Celebrity Jeopardy) and Tom Crooze once (on a fake "behind-the-scenes" look at Mission: Impossible II).
I'd love to see them together in a comedy. They play well off each other, and Cruise is one of the few major stars who hasn't appeared in a lighthearted comedy. (Cocktail has a suicide and Risky Business deals with sex too realistically to be considered lighthearted.)
This project is more a result of Cruise and Stiller's friendship than anything else, and it's also that friendship that led to the impressions in the first place. So the Reynolds/MacDonald casting is more interesting because they weren't friends before MacDonald impersonated him. (Not to say that they are friends now, but Reynolds at least agreed to work with him.)
Can anyone else think of any other times when great impressions have lead to unique casting?