A writer for The Simpsons has revealed that Nicolas Cage was originally wanted to play the role of Homer’s neurotic nemesis, Frank Grimes.
Grimes (or “Grimey”, as he liked to be called) featured in the season eight episode “Homer’s Enemy”, and remains one of the series’ best-known one-off characters.
A self-made man who arrives at the Springfield nuclear power plant only to be driven mad by Homer Simpson’s fail-upward incompetence, Grimes ends up electrocuting himself to death at the close of the episode.
In the finished episode, it was not Cage who voiced him, of course, but Simpsons regular Hank Azaria.
Josh Weinstein, who served as showrunner on The Simpsons alongside Bill Oakley throughout seasons seven and eight, made the revelation on Twitter when reacting to a tweet which asked: “Is Nicolas Cage a good actor, bad actor, or a good-bad actor?”
Weinstein responded with a piece of “little known Simpsons trivia”: “Nicolas Cage is one of the only other actors we considered asking to play Frank Grimes, before we realized @HankAzaria would be the ultimate Grimey.”
He added: “[Azaria’s] performance was one of the best in the show's history.”
“Homer’s Enemy” was a controversial episode among Simpsons fans when it aired, with many objecting to the depiction of Homer as an inadvertent villain, as well as his foe’s grisly end.
However, many now rate it among the show’s very best episodes.