Comedy, Drama, Musicals

Tom Wopat in: High Fidelity

as: Barry

This was a tough one to figure out. We imagined that Tom Wopat would be a wonderful addition to the cast of 2000’s High Fidelity, but struggled with which role would be best for his talents. Initially, we had him taking over for John Cusack as Rob Gordon, the film’s protagonist, but ultimately decided that he’d be better in a smaller, but no less memorable role: Barry, originally portrayed by Jack Black.

Arranged autobiographically.

Arranged autobiographically.

Key Changes

In High Fidelity, Barry is a snarky music snob working at the Championship Vinyl record store owned and operated by Cusack’s character. Black turns in a brilliant, breakout performance, but we feel that Tom Wopat could’ve had the same effect. His Barry would be older, and ostensibly wiser, but no less of a jackass to any customer he feels in unworthy of spending time at the shop.

Wopat is about 15 years older than Cusack (18 years older than Black), so his Barry would be more attuned to the classics and oldies than Rob. He’d still be a know-it-all about every style, genre, and era of music, but would pepper his Top Five lists (a recurring preoccupation for Championship’s employees) with older references, both as legitimate choices and for comedic effect.

Barry Wopat’s age would be the butt of some good-natured ribbing from his co-workers, as well. In the original version of the film, Barry is shown to have a fondness for vintage clothes. With the older Wopat in the role, the clothes could remain the same, but they wouldn’t be “vintage” so much as “still wearing them from the first time around.” Upon receiving a compliment from a customer on his sweet “retro” threads, he would be deflated by an “Everything old is new again, right, Barry?” from Rob. Another customer, searching for an obscure “original recording” by Lead Belly (or some other long-dead artist), would be sent in Barry’s direction: “He’s just the guy to help you out. Barry and Lead Belly went to high school together.”

One aspect of the character that wouldn’t need to be changed is his spectacular singing voice. At the end of the film, Barry performs Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get It On” with Barry Jive and the Uptown Five, his newly-renamed band (formerly Sonic Death Monkey). Rob, and everyone else at the show, expect Barry to be terrible. Instead, he blows doors down, with Jack Black providing his own vocals in the film. Tom Wopat is no stranger to singing and musical performance, and would be more than able to tackle the classic Motown track.

Photo credit: jaztuck3000 via StoolsFair / CC BY

Comedy, Musicals

Tom Wopat in: Empire Records

as: Joe Reaves

Way back in Nineteen-Hundred and Ninety-Five, a little flick called Empire Records was released to almost zero fanfare and minimal box office receipts. The coming-of-age comedy, set in and around an independent record store in Delaware, went over like a lead balloon in theaters. It wasn’t long, however, before it found success on home video and grew into a minor cult classic.

In reading the recently-compiled oral history of the film, it becomes apparent that Empire Records was severely mishandled by the studio behind it, which severely hampered the film’s chances for success . If there was somehow a mulligan on the making of Empire Records, we have one suggestion that would have all but guaranteed blockbuster status: put Tom Wopat in it.

Why Not Wopat?

In Empire Records, Joe Reaves is the titular record store’s manager, and a reluctant but loveable father figure for the younger members of the staff, who are mostly in their late teens or early twenties. Joe’s a gruff but genuinely cooler older dude, sporting a motorcycle jacket and an earring that, somehow, does not look ridiculous on a guy in his early forties.

Joe is nothing if not a working man.

Joe is nothing if not a working man.

Joe is portrayed by Anthony LaPaglia, and while LaPaglia does a great job, Wopat would have been even better. Little to nothing about the film would actually have to be changed with Wopat in the role, so this will be a fairly easy Wopatization to write up, although likely boring to read. (Sorry.) The two actors are roughly the same age, and actually look quite a bit alike. Not even the cinematography would have to be altered.

Key Scenes

Key Scene #1

Midway through the film, Joe, fed up with the day’s unfortunate shenanigans, stalks through the store and back to his office. There, to blow off some steam, he sits down at a drum kit and pounds the skins along with AC/DC’s “If You Want Blood (You’ve Got It)”. Tom Wopat is a noted musician, but his axe of choice is the ol’ six string. Ergo, Joe’s stress relieving jam session would see him shredding on the guitar, matching Angus Young note for note. Maybe throw in a little bit of duck walk.

Key Scene #2

Later, the belligerent shoplifter known only as “Warren Beatty” fulfills his promise from earlier in the film: “I’ll be back, and you’ll be sorry!” Warren shows up with a gun—loaded with blanks, unbeknownst to Empire Records’ employees—and starts wreaking havoc. In the original film, Warren is “talked down” by Lucas, the wayward employee who set the events of the film in motion, and ultimately offered a job at the store by Joe.

In the Wopatized version, things go a little differently. Lucas distracts Warren with essentially the same speech he uses in the original, while Joe Wopat sneaks up on the duo, concealing himself behind the store’s copious retail display cases. As Lucas concludes his monologue, Joe Wopat bursts from his hiding place and delivers a Luke Duke-esque flying kick that knocks the pistol from Warren’s hand and sends the young punk tumbling to the floor. Joe, Lucas, and the rest of the Empire Records crew then proceed to kick the stuffing out of Warren, only stopping when the police arrive to haul the juvenile delinquent away.

Photo credit: Howdy, I’m H. Michael Karshis via Foter.com / CC BY

Classics, Comedy

Tom Wopat in: Super Troopers

as: Captain John O’Hagen

Though the flick was not a huge success at the box office, Super Troopers went on to slowly but steadily become a breakout hit on DVD, ultimately securing its place in the cult classic hall of fame. Thanks to a recent, highly successful Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign, the writers and actors of the Broken Lizard gang are currently working on a sequel far too long in the making.

Speaking of Broken Lizard: those five guys are all absolutely, 100 percent irreplaceable in this movie. Though Brian Cox gives a great performance as Capt. O’Hagen, we have to shoehorn Tom Wopat in here somewhere, and there aren’t any other major characters, so Cox will have to go. Sorry.

Broken Lizard

L-R: Paul Broken Lizard, Erik Broken Lizard, Steve Broken Lizard, Jay Broken Lizard, Kevin Broken Lizard

Key Changes

I know we mention the ages of and/or age difference between the actor in question and Wopat a lot in these write-ups, but stay with me on this one. Though he seems much older, and did even when Super Troopers was first released 14 years ago, Brian Cox is only five years older than Tom Wopat. Wopat would’ve been 48-49 when the movie was made, so the O’Hagen character could’ve been rewritten to play a bit younger.

Instead of the gruff, father figure-type that the character was originally, we envision Wopat’s Capt. O’Hagen as more of an older brother to the state troopers under his command. Not necessarily a “cool” older brother; maybe more like a “thinks he’s cool” older brother.

Instead of bemoaning the troopers’ shenanigans, Wopat O’Hagen would join in every chance he got, though he would more often than not offer unintentionally-terrible contributions.

Representative Scene

In a movie full memorable scenes, one of the more memorable is the “maple syrup chugging scene.” The troopers are at a diner enjoying breakfast when, for whatever reason, a challenge breaks out to see who can down an entire bottle of syrup—an entire bottle!—the fastest. Originally, the Captain was not present at the syrup chugging contest. In our version, Wopat O’Hagen initiates it.

“Come on, boys,” O’Hagen says, distributing full syrup bottles to his charges. “Winner gets Monday off.”

After a quick “ready set go,” the six Vermont State Troopers upend their bottles and start chugging the sticky, viscous goo. O’Hagen pulls ahead to an early lead. He raises a fist in pre-triumph, then immediately starts to choke on the syrup. He struggles through a few more pulls, but ultimately loses it and has to drop his bottle. Sputtering and coughing violently, he sprays the other troopers with regurgitated syrup.

Only two of his comrades are able to continue, the others being too grossed out to carry on. “What the hell, Cap?” Farva (Kevin Heffernan) bellows, wiping syrup out of his eyes. “I had that one.”

“Yeah right, Farva,” O’Hagen replies with a laugh, flicking syrup off his fingertips in Farva’s direction. “Ramathorn always wins. Come on, man!”

As in the original version, and as Wopat O’Hagen predicted, Ramathorn (Jay Chandrasekhar) does win.

Photo credit: eytonz via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-SA

Classics, Comedy, Musicals

Tom Wopat in: Wayne’s World (the Movie)

In the first installment of the Wayne’s World trilogy, Benjamin Kane is the closest thing to a villain that Wayne (Mike Myers) and Garth (Dana Carvey) encounter. He attempts to cash in on the success of the “Wayne’s World” show-within-the-movie and turn it into a forum for cheap sponsorship for his advertising clients. In the end, “Bunjamin” gets his comeuppance, Wayne gets the girl, and “Wayne’s World” is restored to its original, low budget but well-loved format.

Originally, the would-be TV producer and all around jerk is played with a nigh perfect balance of sleaze and charm by Rob Lowe. But we propose that with Tom Wopat as Kane, an even better, truly perfect balance would have been struck, and Wayne’s World would’ve been all the better for it.

mirth mobile

“To the Mirth Mobile!”

Key Changes

One thing to note is that Tom Wopat is about a dozen years older than Rob Lowe. However, when the film was released in 1992, Wopat was only 41, so it’s not really an issue. It’s never really specified how old Kane is supposed to be, and Hollywood plays young all the time (every movie or TV series set in high school features at least one actor in his or her 30s playing a teenager, it seems).

Over the course of Wayne’s World, it is made rather obvious that Benjamin Kane owes a good portion of his success to his good looks. And, there’s no doubt that Lowe is a handsome fellow. But put him and Tom Wopat side by side, and they look like they could be brothers—Wopat being the better looking one. If anything, with Wopat in the role, there would’ve been even more room for “skating by on his looks” gags.

With Wopat’s real-life guitar playing experience, the writers could’ve added a scene where Benjamin and Wayne square off in a friendly “guitar duel.” Wayne, the would-be metalhead and guitar hero, would bust out a monster solo, contorting his face into all manner of goofy “solo faces” and finishing with the “out of breath” physical comedy bit that Myers does so well. Kane/Wopat would then pick up Wayne’s guitar and, casually and easily, knock out a killer guitar line that puts Wayne’s playing to shame, all with Wopat’s face and hands in frame the whole time. Kane doesn’t break a sweat, and Wayne is completely befuddled.

And finally, with Wopat’s Dukes of Hazzard past and Wayne’s World’s fondness for spoofing pop culture, one of the movie’s “fake endings” could’ve included a chase scene in which Wayne and Garth, in their AMC Pacer (the “Mirth Mobile”), escape Kane and his suspiciously familiar orange 1969 Dodge Charger. Turning the Dukes’ convention on its ear, the Mirth Mobile would’ve been the car to make the climactic, slow-motion jump to safety, while the General Lee careens off the road and into the river.

Photo credit: GmanViz via RemodelHackers / CC BY-NC-ND

Comedy, Science Fiction and/or Fantasy

Tom Wopat in: Galaxy Quest

as: Jason Nesmith

Galaxy Quest is a hugely underappreciated film, a pitch perfect parody of the original Star Trek series, its devoted fans, and the show’s stars (or at least the public perception of them). In Galaxy Quest’s show-within-a-movie, also called “Galaxy Quest,” Jason Nesmith was the William Shatner analog—a brash, bold actor of limited range whose ego was stoked by his role as Captain and whose career never escaped the shadow of his signature role.

In Galaxy Quest, Nesmith is portrayed by Tim Allen, who delivered a splendid, and splendidly Shatner-esque performance. However, we feel that a certain other actor, who himself has been pigeonholed by his most famous work, would have done an even better job. We are, of course, referring to Thomas Steven Wopat.

Galaxy Quest

Why Wopat?

We previously speculated that Wopat would’ve been an ideal choice to play Captain Kirk on Star Trek, so why not cast him in a role that spoofs that character and show?

As mentioned, Tom Wopat will likely never be remembered for anything as much as his role as Luke Duke on The Dukes of Hazzard. This gives him the perfect amount of real-life insight to portray a character like Jason Nesmith, who is in essentially the same situation, career-wise. While Tim Allen is also very well known for one particular role (Tim Taylor on Home Improvement), he has also had a fairly successful movie career, starring in both the Santa Clause and Toy Story series, among other films.

In Galaxy Quest, Nesmith removes his shirt multiple times and with little to no provocation or actual need to do so, mirroring Shatner’s frequent shirtlessness. Though these scenes are played for laughs, it wouldn’t have hurt if the guy removing his shirt was a bit more fit and trim. Though he’s a few years older than Allen, Wopat is still in far better shape. A shirtless Wopat probably have been far better received by the film’s female viewers.

Nesmith is involved in a few fight scenes in the film, the choreography of which is intentionally clumsy and unimpressive, mirroring Kirk’s fight scenes on Star Trek. However, we feel it would’ve been even funnier to have the character be revealed to be an excellent fighter, kicking alien butt much to the surprise of his former co-stars. He would go on to explain that his fight scenes in the “Galaxy Quest” meta-show were crappy and poorly done only because of the limitations of the show’s director and budget. Someone like Wopat, who had a good deal of stage combat experience as a rough and tumble Duke boy, would’ve been perfect in such scenes.

Parenthetically

Wopat guest starred in a Season 7 episode of Home Improvement. He played a somewhat shady manufacturer’s rep trying to strike a deal with Binford for sales of a new line of Teflon machining equipment. He also hit on Jill, which—not cool bro. Not cool.

Photo credit: RJ Bailey via Foter.com / CC BY

Classics, Comedy, Musicals, Science Fiction and/or Fantasy

Tom Wopat in: Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure

as: Rufus

1988’s Bill & Ted Excellent Adventure is one hell of a weird movie: two high school metalheads are given a time-traveling phone booth to help them pass a history test—if they fail, the future of civilization will be in serious jeopardy. If that sounds like a pretty dumb premise, that’s because it is. It’s also hilarious and brilliantly executed and acted (with Keanu Reeves basically playing what is now the public’s perception of his IRL persona). It also features an ingenious—and paradox free!—time-travel workaround by the heroes that ultimately saves the day.

The San Francisco Giants know what's up.

The San Francisco Giants know what’s up.

In the film, the late, great George Carlin plays Rufus, a somewhat mysterious mentor from the future who was sent back in time to set Bill S. Preston, Esquire, and Ted “Theodore” Logan off on their excellent adventure. Reportedly, the producers were originally considering “serious” actors for the role, such as Sean Connery, until someone jokingly suggested Carlin. The legendary comedian was offered the part, accepted, and the rest is history.

But what if Carlin had turned them down? What if, instead, they chose Tom Wopat, the greatest actor of this or any time period?

Key Changes

Though Tom Wopat has worked on sitcoms—The Dukes of Hazzard was a pretty funny show sometimes, too—he can’t compete with George Carlin in the humor department. As such, the Rufus character would likely have leaned more toward the serious tone the writers originally intended. Wopat’s got dramatic chops for days. (Though, in a movie where Napoleon Bonaparte goes to a modern SoCal waterslide park, how “serious” could it have been?)

Another potential change could’ve made the film’s emphasis on the importance of music in the future more pronounced. In Excellent Adventure’s denouement, Rufus presents Bill and Ted with shiny new guitars. Before handing them over, though, he shreds a blistering solo on one of the guitars. In the film, the guitar solo-ing hands are not Carlin’s, but rather those of Stevie Salas, an accomplished studio musician and film score composer (who, not coincidentally, wrote the score for this movie). Wopat can sling a mean ax in his own right, and therefore could likely have performed the solo himself in a single shot. The added authenticity would’ve gone a long way, in our opinion, and added to the mystique of the future seen briefly in the film. Why is Rufus, ostensibly just a messenger, so good on guitar? Is everyone in the future an excellent musician? Just how does one “be excellent” to another?

Our third picked nit is strictly aesthetic. In Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, George Carlin appears essentially as he always did in the late 1980s (except for the costumes). He wears his same usual beard and keeps his long hair in a ponytail. There’s nothing wrong with this look, of course, and it certainly served Carlin well for a number of years. However, in that briefly-glimpsed future mentioned above, all the other actors are sporting futuristic, yet distinctly ‘80s, hairdos (or are they distinctly ‘80s, yet futuristic, hairdos?) along with their sparkly costumes. Tom Wopat, with his glorious flowing mane, could’ve been given one of the greatest future-’80s/’80s-future hairstyles in motion picture history. And so, great opportunity was lost…

Photo credit: E Steuer via StoolsFair / CC BY

Classics, Comedy, Science Fiction and/or Fantasy

Tom Wopat in: Ghostbusters

as: Louis Tully

It was difficult deciding which character in Ghostbusters would benefit the most from Wopatization. Bill Murray’s Peter Venkman is one of the most beloved and quotable comedy characters of all time, so we wouldn’t dare mess with that. Dan Aykroyd, the film’s Ray Stantz, can up with the idea and co-wrote the film, so he should definitely stay in the picture. The late, great Harold Ramis portrayed Egon Spengler, and as the movie’s other co-writer, he, too, must remain in the cast. Ernie Hudson is his uniformly excellent self as Winston Zeddemore, so we wouldn’t want leave him out, either.

It's no General Lee, but it'll do in a pinch.

It’s no General Lee, but it’ll do in a pinch.

The only logical choice, then, is to put Tom Wopat in the Louis Tully role. The part was originally intended for John Candy, and the character was first written as an uptight, suit-and-tie wearing business man. Candy ultimately passed on the film, and Rick Moranis stepped in, making the character more of a geeky nerd. (Or was he a nerdy geek?) Moranis does a fine job, but he’s no match for Tom Wopat.

Key Changes

With Tom Wopat as Louis Tully, the character would have to be changed yet again. Wopat’s too laid back to play an uptight suit, and too darned good looking to play a nerdy geek/geeky nerd. Instead, the Wopat Tully character would be more of a hippie Zen-master type. He’d still be an accountant, but instead being of all nebbishy and stereotypically “accountant-y”, he’d a chilled out guy who “finds peace” in calculating numbers.

Because Ghostbusters was released in 1984, when The Dukes of Hazzard was at its peak, the filmmakers would likely want to give Wopat a slightly bigger, more active role. Instead of just being a side character who kinda-sorta tags along on the Ghostbusters’ adventures, he’d use his mathematical skills to help them construct their equipment. We’re not sure how that would work, exactly, but the design stages of most complicated electromechanical equipment require a lot of math, so there you go. Someone else can work out the specifics. (We’re not professional screenwriters over here.)

Also, as Wopat is clearly a more athletic person in general than Moranis, we’d extend the chase scene during which Tully is hunted down by those big demon-dog-monster things. Instead of just a brief sprint through a park before getting run down, Wopat Tully would lead the beasts on a long, comical chase through the neighborhood. A hot dog cart would be exploded; a horse would get startled and bolt off into the night, dragging its hansom cab passengers with it; a busy restaurant kitchen would be barreled through; several windows would get shattered. All in all, it would be much funnier and more exciting.

Wopat would, of course, have reprise the role in Ghostbusters II. He clearly would not have made the cut for the recent remake, however, as he is a dude.

Photo credit: greenboxhouse via Remodel Blog / CC BY-NC-ND

Comedy, Sports

Tom Wopat in: Kingpin

as: Roy Munson

It’s safe to say that Kingpin, from Nineteen-Hundred and Ninety-Six, is the greatest comedy bowling movie of all time. For this writer’s money, it’s better and funnier than the Farrelly Brothers other, more successful hits There’s Something About Mary and Dumb & Dumber. In fact, I can think of only one way to make the film better: add Tom Wopat.

Because no one could possibly surpass Bill Murray’s performance as Ernie “Big Ern” McCracken, and no one would buy a dashing actor like Wopat as the goofy, wide-eyed Ishmael Boorg, played by Randy Quaid, that leaves Woody Harrelson, the original Roy Munson, as the odd man out.

bowling

Why Not Wopat?

When we first see Roy Munson in Kingpin, he’s winning the 1979 Iowa state amateur bowling championship, and is a strapping young lad at the top of his game. He’s handsome, charismatic, and, of course, a stupendous bowler. Woody Harrelson was enyoungened for these first scenes, sporting a not at all convincing (probably intentionally so) wig and some sharp ‘70s threads.

Right off the bat, casting Tom Wopat as Roy Munson saves money in hair and makeup costs. Unlike Harrelson, Wopat still has a glorious mane of flowing hair, which, as seen in The Dukes of Hazzard, looks like ten million dollars with a ‘70s style job. Dukes showed, too, just how swell Wopat looks in the era’s fashion. He probably has clothes in his closet that are better and nicer than the costume Harrelson sports in this part of the flick. And they’re some really, really good costumes.

Later, after losing his bowling hand in a ball-return chute “accident” orchestrated by Big Ern (they really should put self-closing safety gates on those things), Munson is a bloated, balding shell of his former self. Wopat would’ve had to shave his head, which would have looked weird, but also more realistic than Harrelson’s earlier wig. Harrelson, being bald in real life, looks much more convincing here. I suspect, however, that the cost of shaving Tom Wopat’s head multiple times would’ve been less than that of the wig.

If you’re one of those disgusting ageists, you may argue against Wopat Munson on the grounds that Tom Wopat is a decade older than Woody Harrelson. While that is an accurate statement, I have a counterargument: so is Randy Quaid. In the film, Munson is “mentor” to Quaid’s Ishmael, and is, ostensibly, considerably older. However, Quaid is actually older than Harrelson by nine years, and Wopat by nearly a full year.

Quaid is, in fact, just ten days younger than Bill Murray, who plays his mentor’s mentor in the film and who would be, one would assume, potentially as much as decades older.

Nothing against Harrelson, but Wopat is a far, far more attractive fellow. For better or worse, this would make Munson more likeable, which would, in turn, make the character more sympathetic. Munson’s awful luck and deteriorated physical appearance are part of his sad sack charm—which he needs plenty of, as he’s a huge jerk for much of the film.

Photo credit: josephdevon via Scandinavian / CC BY-NC-SA

Classics, Comedy, Television

Tom Wopat in: Cheers

as: Sam Malone

Cheers is one of the most beloved television programs of all time, and Ted Danson’s portrayal of Sam Malone was undeniably a huge part of the show’s success. Danson won two Emmys and two Golden Globes for his performance.

Though it’s now quite hard to imagine anyone else in the role, several other actors auditioned for the part first, including Ed O’Neill (who later played Al Bundy in Married…with Children and Jay Pritchett on Modern Family), William Devane (now famous for his role on Knots Landing, among other things), and former NFL player Fred Dryer. John Lithgow missed his scheduled audition due to illness (what a different show that would have been).

What if Tom Wopat had jumped ship from The Dukes of Hazzard after its second season and won the role of “Mayday” Malone?

Wopat the World is blogged in front of a live studio audience.

Key Changes

To be honest, the Sam Malone part wouldn’t have needed many changes with Wopat instead of Danson. Wopat is a few years younger than Danson, but that likely wouldn’t’ve made any difference for the character. Wopat certainly had the right build to portray a former major league baseball player.

One thing that would have been different is the hair. Now, it cannot be denied that Sam Malone sported a glorious, manly mane throughout Cheers’ run. But, in reality, Ted Danson wore a hairpiece for much of that time; Sam ultimately revealed his baldness to Carla in the 1993 episode “It’s Lonely on the Top”. Tom Wopat has no such follicular impairment—in the ‘80s, the guy had hair for days. He still does, of course, it’s just considerably more tame at present.

Another, considerably larger change to the show: Diane never would have left. Tom Wopat’s Sam Malone just would’ve been too derned good looking and suave for it believable that any woman would want to leave him behind. Unfortunately, this would’ve made Cheers a far lesser show, as I feel that it was far better with Kirstie Alley in the cast. (Or, more accurately, without Shelley Long in the cast.)

Photo credit: Mario Sixtus via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-SA

Classics, Comedy

Tom Wopat in: The Big Lebowski

as: “The Dude”

This one’s a tough sell, no doubt about it. Jeff Bridges is brilliant in The Big Lebowski because he more or less is The Dude in real life. (If you’ve seen him on The Tonight Show or any other late night talk show, you know exactly what I mean). But, because he pretty much is The Dude anyway, is Bridges’ performance actually that great?

Yeah. It is.

But! What if, instead of casting an actor who more or less played himself, the Coen brothers instead chose an actor who had to stretch a little more? We are, of course, referring to Tom Wopat.

lebowski

Key Changes

At one point in the film, the character of Jeffrey “The Dude” Lebowski is described as being “maybe […] the laziest man on the planet.” And, indeed, The Dude sets a new standard for laid-back heroes. It’s hard to imagine that any actor other than Jeff Bridges could’ve brought that championship-caliber laziness to the role, no matter how hard said actor tried. (Trying hard to be lazy is your oxymoron of the week, folks.) So, with Tom Wopat in the role, we imagine His Dudeness as at least a bit more energetic.

As is, the story of The Big Lebowski kind of just unfolds around him, and none of his actions necessarily have any effect on the eventual resolution of the plot. In The Big Wopatowski, the slightly-invigorated Dude would be a bit more pro-active. Instead of just following along on Walter’s (John Goodman) crazy scheme to confront Larry about the stolen million dollars, El Duderino himself hatches the plan. The over-the-top conclusion of the scene, in which Walter finds a stranger in the Alps, would remain the same.

Similarly, near the end of the film, when The Dude, Walter, and Donny (Steve Buscemi) are ambushed and (rather pathetically) assaulted by the bizarre trio of Nihilists, Wopat’s The Dude would not stand idly by while Walter does all the fighting. Instead, some of Wopat’s stunt training from The Dukes of Hazzard would come into play, and Duder would trounce all three villains on his own.

This last point would add an extra layer of depth to the character, in a very Zen, Kane from Kung Fu kind of way. He’s lazy, and a self-described pacifist, but when the chips are down, he can completely kick @$$. Ultimately, we discover, that’s why he’s such a laid-back guy—he could knock the snot out of almost anyone, but instead, The Dude abides.

Photo credit: Profound Whatever via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-SA