John Travolta auditioned to play The Doors’ Jim Morrison on the big screen

While Val Kilmer seemed like perfect casting to play The Doors frontman Jim Morrison in Oliver Stone’s 1991 film The Doors, he was far from the first choice for the role. In a new interview, recording artist and writer Bebe Buell, mother of actress Liv Tyler, reveals John Travolta was once in the running and had a really good shot at getting it.

During an appearance on the Totally 80s podcast, Buell says her former manager, the late Danny Sugerman, who also managed The Doors and co-wrote the Morrison biography No One Here Gets Out Alive, really wanted Travolta in the role. 

“He was really, really, really gung ho on getting that Doors movie made,” Buell says. “But believe it or not, his first choice for Jim was not Val Kilmer. It was John Travolta.”

In fact, Buell says about 10 years before the film was actually made she witnessed Travolta’s unofficial audition for the role, and she was impressed.

“I actually saw him come over to Danny’s house, kind of Jim Morrison-y, and he stood up on Danny’s table. And when he sang, it was mind-blowing,” she says. “He channeled him. I guess that’s what a great actor can do. He channeled him like nothing I’d ever seen. It wasn’t as wacky as it sounds.”

In a follow-up email, Buell told Yahoo Entertainment that Travolta “nailed it,” adding, “Danny was raving to me later that night. JT blew his mind!”

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