Why Tim Curry Refused To Star In The Scooby-Doo Movie

Tim Curry chose not to appear in Scooby-Doo for a reason that many hardcore fans of the original cartoon instinctively understood. Despite his absence, the James Gunn scripted live-action movie was a financial success that has since gained a cult following. Its box office gross of $275.7 million worldwide in 2002 was strong enough to spawn the sequel Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed, althoughplans for a third movie were shelved due to the poor critical reception and diminished box office of the follow-up movie.


Before suffering a stroke in 2012, Tim Curry had an outstanding movie and TV career with iconic roles like Dr. Frank-N-Furter in The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Wadsworth in Clue, the Devil in Legend, Long John Silver in Muppet Treasure Island, and Pennywise in 1990’s It. As a longtime fan of the animated TV show, Scooby-Doo, it made sense that he would be interested in playing a character in the movie. Being offered the role of the mysterious Emile Mondavarious should have been a dream come true for Curry but instead, he turned the role down and was replaced by Rowan Atkinson.

Tim Curry’s love and fondness for the animated Scooby-Doo show was, ultimately, the reason he refused to be in the Scooby-Doo movie. In short, he had always hated the character Scrappy-Doo, who played a major part in the movie’s story. Despite the fact that Scrappy-Doo was the villain and the butt of many of the movie’s jokes, it just wasn’t enough to sway him. For Tim Curry, the presence of Scrappy-Doo in a live-action Scooby-Doo movie was wrong in principle and that was why he stepped away from the project.

Why Scrappy-Doo Is So Disliked

Tim Curry’s feelings towards Scrappy-Doo were not uncommon amongst Scooby-Doo fans and were rooted in more than just the character being irritating. Ironically, Scrappy-Doo was introduced to the cartoon series in 1979 to save the Scooby-Doo franchise from becoming irrelevant. To a certain extent, this worked, at least initially, with younger viewers responding quite well to the character.

However, the shift in focus from Hanna-Barbera’s Scooby-Doo, Where Are You? continued, with much-loved characters like Fred, Daphne, and Velma leaving, meaning that Scrappy-Doo took up more and more screentime. As a result, his grating voice, annoying catchphrase, and obnoxious personality became more difficult to ignore. This was exacerbated by the format of the show, which did not lend itself to character development resulting in Scrappy-Doo being permanently stuck with unpleasant traits that were impossible to overlook given his increased profile on the show.

As such, the way Scrappy-Doo was presented in Scooby-Doo was not entirely surprising. There was a sense of it reflecting the feelings that fans had towards the character even before Cartoon Network took over the Scooby-Doo franchise in the mid-1990s. There could be little doubt that these were the feelings that Scooby-Doo’s writer James Gunn had about the character, and he has been extremely vocal over the years about his outright hatred for Scrappy-Doo. All of this makes Tim Curry’s refusal to be involved in making Scooby-Doo somewhat ironic. Nevertheless, it could be said that his choice simply reflected the depth of feeling and abiding love that he, like so many others, had for the Scooby-Doo TV show even if this love didn’t extend to all of its characters.

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