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Writing Was Only Part Of Harold Ramis’ Animal House Ambitions


The biggest of Ramis’ “Animal House” ambitions was to direct — which, coincidentally was producer Ivan Reitman’s ambition as nicely. Retiman’s résumé wasn’t blow-your-doors-off spectacular, however at the least he’d directed the low-budget horror movie “Cannibal Girls” (starring then-unknown Eugene Levy and Andrea Martin) and produced David Cronenberg’s “Shivers.” 

Aside from his Lampoon credit and involvement within the just-launched “SCTV” sketch comedy present, Ramis could not compete with Reitman’s expertise. Then once more, Reitman could not contact the business connections that Ramis had been amassing since working as a gofer on “Kelly’s Heroes.” But neither might contact the ultra-savvy John Landis’ bona fides, who had simply come off directing “The Kentucky Fried Movie.” Neither Ramis nor Reitman wound up with the gig.

Ramis shortly shifted his aspirations to performing within the film he’d co-created. As he defined to “Fresh Air” host Terry Gross in 2005, “I auditioned for [Boone], the half that was performed by Peter Riegert, and he was nice within the movie. I’ve no drawback with Peter Riegert, however I did not get the half, and having already been an expert actor for a number of years, I did not wish to be an additional within the movie I’d written.” 

Dispirited that he did not get the function, Ramis lit off for Greece. “I wasn’t even certain that the film had began capturing until I received a letter from Chris Miller saying that the film was being shot and was going very nicely. Then I returned to the States to see one of many early edits of the movie, and I believed John had truly achieved a really efficient job on it.”

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