It is easy to look at Escape Plan and assume costars Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger could have played either lead role. But it's not true. One of the characters is definitely the Sly part and the other is clearly the Arnie part. These two guys were the big action heroes of the 1980s, and they might have been considered for the same parts over the years, but it's actually pretty difficult to imagine one starring in the others' movies.
And not just the iconic parts. Try to picture Schwarzenegger as Rocky Balboa. Never mind our visual of the character or the fact that he was originally written by Stallone for himself. Schwarzenegger just isn't the boxer type. The Rambo movies, however, might have worked with the Austrian import in the lead, though more so as the franchise got along and the character became just a muscled action figure rather than a realistically troubled Vietnam veteran.
In the 1990s, Stallone's roles tended to be more generic. Excluding Oscar, in which the Italian-American Stallone plays a mobster, most of the actor's gigs in this decade could have worked just as well if not better with Schwarzenegger in the lead. Especially Demolition Man and Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot, because Schwarzenegger was always more suited to both sci-fi and comedy than his counterpart.
Since the start of the new century, the actors have separated in distinction again, with Stallone appearing able to play more sensitive roles and Schwarzenegger more stately (maybe because he actually became a state governor). Yet maybe the former Mr. Universe could have hammed his way through Spy Kids 3D: Game Over as the villain Toymaker.
Of all the Stallone movies in more than four decades, though, there's one more than the rest that would have been much better with Schwarznegger headlining: the arm wrestling truck-driver movie Over the Top.
Do you agree? Or is there another Sylvester Stallone vehicle you could picture being driven by Arnold Schwarzenegger?