Fact: For a fleeting moment, James L. Brooks, producer of As Good as it Gets movie, considered Jim Carrey for the male lead. But, somehow he knew Jack Nicholson was the only actor to play the quirky, odious, Melvin Udall.
In his I’m-feeling-inadequate voice, Nicholson volunteered to let Brooks find someone to take his place after taking a look at the as good as it gets script. Brooks refused the offer. “It was one of the toughest movies he and I will ever do,” Nicholson recollected later.
Through an innovative twist of casting, Greg Kinnear, whose brand was romantic leading man, played Udall’s nemesis Simon, the gay neighbor.
Others considered for the role of Simon: Woody Harrelson (said he “went to femme on it”). John Cusack (conflicted with project Grosse Point Blank). The director thought Paul Gross too “fine-featured”.