10 facts you might not know about Ghost starring Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore

25 June 2021, 14:28

Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore in 1990's Ghost
Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore in 1990's Ghost. Picture: Getty/Paramount

By Tom Eames

1990's Ghost was an instant box office smash and cemented Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore as romcom icons.

From its infamous pottery scene, to making the Righteous Brothers cool again, to Whoopi Goldberg's scene-stealing performance, Ghost remains a fan favourite over 30 years later.

Here are some ghostly facts about the supernatural-romance film that you may not have known before:

  1. Patrick Swayze fought for Whoopi Goldberg to star in Ghost (and it could have been Tina Turner)

    On the set of Ghost
    On the set of Ghost. Picture: Getty

    Speaking to Variety, Whoopi Goldberg revealed that her late co-star Patrick Swayze advocated for her to land the part of Oda Mae, a fake psychic who actually manages to see Sam (Swayze) and helps him connect with girlfriend Molly (Moore).

    Whoopi was part of a longlist of stars fighting it out for the role including Patti LaBelle and Tina Turner.

    She said Patrick and the film’s director Jerry Zucker flew to Alabama so that she and Patrick could read lines together.

    Whoopi Goldberg winning Best Supporting Actress | 63rd Oscars (1991)

    Whoopi explained that she instantly felt a connection with Swayze, saying: “He and I just took to each other."

    Read more: Why Patrick Swayze hated 'Nobody puts Baby in the corner' line from Dirty Dancing

    The producers weren't sure about casting her, but Patrick told them he wasn’t doing the film unless Whoopi did it.

    “And I won an Oscar because of Patrick Swayze,” she said. In her 1991 Oscar speech, she thanked Patrick, calling him “a stand-up guy.”

  2. Patrick Swayze was the 10th choice to play Sam

    Wonder how Patrick Swayze was able to secure the role of a lifetime in Ghost? Take a behind-the-scenes look at this clip from the bonus content, available for the first time on DIGITAL HD July 7!

    Posted by Ghost on Tuesday, June 30, 2015

    It's hard to imagine anyone else play Sam in Ghost, but he was most definitely not the first choice.

    On the Ghost DVD, screenwriter Bruce Joel Rubin revealed how Zucker was against casting Patrick as Sam.

    “Jerry wanted to see him on film, so went out and saw the movie Roadhouse, and we walked out of that movie and Jerry said to me, ‘Over my dead body,’” said Rubin.

    Read more: Vintage footage of Patrick Swayze 'dirty dancing' with his wife Lisa Niemi is sensational

    Patrick really wanted to get the role, and Zucker allowed him to audition. After Swayze read the end of the script out loud, Zucker changed his mind.

    “We all had tears in our eyes, right there in the office—and we knew how it ends,” Zucker told People in 1990. “I saw a side of Patrick that I never knew existed.”

  3. 'Unchained Melody' became the best-selling single of 1990

    Righteous Brothers | Unchained Melody [From the Movie Ghost]

    Thanks to its use in the iconic pottery scene, the Righteous Brothers' classic version of 'Unchained Melody' was re-released in 1990.

    Not only did it reach number four in the States, but it topped the UK charts and ended up being that year's best-selling single, outselling the likes of Madonna, Elton John and Sinead O'Connor. Not bad for a song from 1965!

    Read more: The Story of... 'Unchained Melody'

    “So I didn’t know what it was going to do to the song, but, boy, when it came out in that movie, that song became a monster,” singer Bill Medley told Songfacts.

    “I mean, a monster. I didn’t see that coming, that’s for sure."

    Medley had previously scored a huge hit with '(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life' from another Patrick Swayze movie, Dirty Dancing.

  4. It was re-made in Japan

    Ghost: In Your Arms Again (2010) Trailer - English Subs

    Ghost was a decent hit in Japan, and 20 years it received its own remake.

    The 2010 film was titled Ghost: Mouichido Dakishimetai, which roughly translates to 'Ghost: In Your Arms Again'.

  5. Tony Goldwyn's wife landed him the part of Carl

    Tony Goldwyn in Ghost
    Tony Goldwyn in Ghost. Picture: Getty

    At the time, Tony Goldwyn - grandson of Samuel Goldwyn - was a struggling actor and film director.

    However, it was his wife who helped land him one of his most famous roles.

    “I fought my way into an audition on Ghost,” Goldwyn told The AV Club. “My wife was the production designer on that movie.

    Read more: Pretty Woman: The cute story of how Julia Roberts convinced Richard Gere to take the role

    "At that time, she was much more successful than me and was doing all these big movies, and she kept saying, ‘They haven’t cast that part! You should bug your agents!’

    "And I kept harassing my agent, who would never return my phone calls, and I managed to get an audition. And, by a fluke, they stumbled on my audition tape and said, ‘That guy was really good.’”

    Jerry Zucker also told Entertainment Weekly in 1990 that he wasn't sure of Tony: “We saw his tape and were immediately struck by how good he was, but I wasn’t sure he was right for the part. He seemed too nice.”

  6. It spawned a stage musical, and almost a TV show

    The film inspired a musical stage version, Ghost: The Musical. The show premiered Manchester in March 2011, before transferring to London. It has since been staged in various tours around the world.

    Meanwhile, in 2013, Paramount TV had hired writer-producer Akiva Goldsman and showrunner Jeff Pinkner to write a pilot based on the movie.

    Sadly, the TV show appears to have vanished into thin air, but surely it's only a matter of time?

  7. Patrick Swayze had flashbacks of his father's death while filming Ghost

    Ghost (2/10) Movie CLIP - After the End (1990) HD

    Speaking to People in 1990, Patrick said that filming with the plaster dummy representing his character’s body reminded him of his father’s funeral, when he almost passed out from the shock of touching his father’s body.

    “I had pushed that memory out of my life until that moment on location when it all came back, big time,” he said.

    “There were a few scenes where something happened to me that was very scary.”

  8. Bruce Willis turned down the chance to star opposite his wife

    Bruce And Demi in 1990
    Bruce And Demi in 1990. Picture: Getty

    Bruce Willis called himself a “knucklehead” for saying no to the role of Sam.

    He told the New York Times in 1996 that he didn’t think Ghost would work as an idea.

    “I just didn’t get it. I said, ‘Hey, the guy’s dead. How are you gonna have a romance?’ Famous last words.”

  9. Demi Moore thought Ghost would flop

    Speaking at a 2013 AFI Night at the Movies screening of Ghost, Moore revealed that she had reservations about the film.

    “It’s a love story, and it’s a guy—a dead guy—trying to save his wife, and there is a comedy part, but really, really it’s a love story,” Moore said.

    “And I thought, ‘Wow, this is really a recipe for disaster.’ It’s either going to be something really special, really amazing, or really an absolute bust.”

  10. The actor who played Willie Lopez was a stand-up comedian who died five years after Ghost

    Rick Aviles in Ghost
    Rick Aviles in Ghost. Picture: Getty

    Rick Aviles was an American stand-up comic, best known for playing the villainous Willie Lopez in Ghost.

    He was reported to have died of heart failure on March 17, 1995, aged 42.

    11 years later, a 2006 article in Entertainment Weekly listed him among the celebrities who had contracted HIV and died from complications of AIDS.

    Aviles also had roles in Waterworld, The Godfather Part III, and Carlito's Way.