While R.I.P.D. did not fare very well at the box office, the movie’s original casting plan might have saved the film. R.I.P.D. was one of those films that, considering similar titles like Men In Black and Ghostbusters, could only have gone one of two ways, either being just campy enough to be great or too campy to be enjoyable. Despite two strong lead actors in Ryan Reynolds and Jeff Bridges, the film was not a success, but it is interesting to consider how the movie would have changed if its original casting had played out as intended.


R.I.P.D. tells the story of a recently deceased Boston Police detective Nick (Ryan Reynolds) and his partner, an Old West lawman named Roycephus “Roy” Pulsipher (Jeff Bridges). Together, the two men track down souls who have escaped judgment, trying to keep order in the afterlife while Nick processes his death. While the action film has its issues, Bridges and Reynolds have shown they can carry movies on their own, including other comic-book-based films. Unfortunately, R.I.P.D. was not one of them, with the film only grossing $12.7 million on its opening weekend and generally receiving negative reviews on Rotten Tomatoes.

Related: Why Ryan Reynolds Isn’t In RIPD 2

Zach Galifianakis’ Was Originally Supposed To Be In R.I.P.D

Jeff Bridges in R.I.P.D

Despite Jeff Bridges’ celebrated career, he was not Universal’s first choice to play Roy in R.I.P.D. Originally, the studio wanted to cast Zach Galifianakis as the movie’s co-star alongside Reynolds, but the actor had some scheduling conflicts with Southern Rivals and Bored to Death which made his participation impossible (per Deadline).

It was reported that Galifianakis was interested in the role and would have partaken in the film if not for these scheduling problems, which lead to his being replaced by Bridges. Whether Galifianakis could have saved the project is debatable, but it certainly would have elicited a very different audience response to the movie and help the project understand what it needed to succeed.

How Zach Galifianakis Would Have Changed R.I.P.D


For some critics, Bridges’ portrayal of Nick’s cowboy partner was the highlight of R.I.P.D., and there’s no doubt that he played the part well. But with Galifianakis alongside Reynolds, perhaps the two would have been able to riff off of each other to make the film even more comedic, elevating the pace of R.I.P.D. overall. Additionally, it’s possible that the studio would have edited the script with his casting to best play to Galifianakis’ strengths and comedic style, once again steering the movie in another direction.

Finally, if Reynolds and Zach Galifianakis had been cast together as planned it is possible that the two actors could have added some fast-paced dialogue to enhance R.I.P.D. It’s not unheard of that some of the most iconic lines from films are those that are improvised, and between Reynolds and Galifianakis, it’s likely they could have brought additional wit and repartee to the relationship between Nick and Roy. If this shift in dynamic had occurred, it may not have been able to fix the movie’s plot problems, but it could have made audiences more tolerable of it.

More: Can R.I.P.D. 2 Fix Ryan Reynolds’ Comic Book Embarrassment?

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