Christopher Nolan is a brilliant filmmaker and there’s no second thought about it. From the very early years of his career, the man showed how talented he is. The maverick filmmaker managed to deliver a masterpiece with his very second film, Memento.
Described as “culturally, historically or aesthetically significant” by the US Library of Congress, Memento proved to be a big turning point in Nolan’s career. Not just critically, but the neo-noir thriller was a big commercial success back in 2000. But to make such a gem of cinema, the filmmaker opted for some risky and bold decisions.
Those who all have watched Memento became instant fans of Guy Pearce for his outstanding performance. But what if we say, he wasn’t the first choice for the role of Leonard Shelby. In fact, not even a second choice. Shocking, isn’t it?
Before finalising Guy Pearce, Christopher Nolan had several different actors in his mind. For those unversed, Alec Baldwin was the first choice to play Leonard. But due to some reasons, it didn’t happen. Post Baldwin, he even considered Aaron Eckhart, Brad Pitt, Charlie Sheen, and Thomas Jane for the lead role.
Interestingly, Brad Pitt was very much interested in the project but he wasn’t able to sign the film due to other commitments. Then at one point, Christopher Nolan realised that it would be great if he casts a talented yet lesser-known face. The main agenda was to keep Memento a tightly budgeted film.
And there’s how Guy Pearce came on the board to nail the role of Leonard Shelby!