20 years later, ‘Can’t Hardly Wait’ actor still cashing royalty checks
Twenty years after the movie was first released, Charlie Korsmo, known for playing the leading nerd in “Can’t Hardly Wait,” reveals he wasn’t the first choice for the role.
Korsmo, 39, was a sophomore at MIT when he decided to send in an audition tape for the iconic 90s teen film.
“I had called my old agent and said you know I’m willing to start doing auditions again. ‘Can’t Hardly Wait’ was one of several audition tapes I just filmed with a college friend in my dorm room, sent it off and never heard anything. Then a few months later, they had already started filming and they called me and said, ‘Can you be out here next week?’ They had never met me when they cast me in the thing,” Korsmo, who is now a law professor at Case Western Reserve University in Ohio, told Page Six over the phone.
He continued, revealing, “I don’t know if this is something that’s publicly known, but there was someone else that was cast in this part first and they actually started filming. Apparently, it wasn’t working out and so then they started desperately going through audition tapes. It was probably the first time they ever saw mine and they hired me just off the tape.”
According to Korsmo, Adam Hann-Byrd, another child actor from movies like “Little Man Tate,” “Jumanji” and “The Ice Storm,” was the original actor meant to play William Lichter.
He added, “I guess they got a couple weeks into filming, something wasn’t clicking … I think he’s actually still in some shots in the background of the movie.”
Despite starring in films like “Hook” alongside Robin Williams and “Dick Tracy” with Warren Beatty, Korsmo never fully moved into the Hollywood scene and was always back and forth between Los Angeles and Minneapolis. He “quit” acting in 1991 when he was 12 years old and didn’t appear in another movie until “Can’t Hardly Wait” in 1998.
Because of that, he said he felt a little like an outsider while working on the movie. He and Lauren Ambrose, who played Denise Fleming, were the only ones staying at a hotel.
“It was stressful coming in as a late replacement when I hadn’t been in that kind of atmosphere in years,” Korsmo told us. “I could tell on my first day of shooting, which was the scene in the basement where I’m plotting my revenge [against Mike Dexter], and they were clearly extremely nervous I was going to f–k it up and this wasn’t going to work out as we’d had no time to prepare or anything else.”
He added, “I probably screwed it up a dozen times before we started getting the takes. I could feel the room getting nervous as it happened. It ended up being a great experience.”
The entire movie was filmed in less than two months and Korsmo was flying back and forth for classes at MIT, so he didn’t get to hang out with the cast as much as he would have liked.
“I wish it had been longer because we all had a good time. It was a good group of people,” he told us.
Despite only grossing $8 million on its opening weekend, “Can’t Hardly Wait” has become one of the classic high school movies of the 90s.
“It didn’t make that big of a splash when it came out,” Korsmo said. “I think everyone was hoping it would be like ‘American Pie’ and it just didn’t happen. Frankly, I think part of it was that they edited the hell out of it to get a PG-13 rating, which seems stupid in hindsight. I think it would have been better if it was a little bit raunchier … Although the side effect of that is it’s a movie that can be on TV more, so I think it may have helped with its shelf life, but I think it hurt it in its initial release.”
To this day, Korsmo still gets four to five $122 checks coming every three months in royalties.
After graduating college, Korsmo was offered a job in D.C. and never looked back. He’s now married and living in Cleveland, Ohio with two children ages 8 and 5.
And while people still recognize him from time to time, Korsmo says the younger his students get, the less they know about former actor life.
“I got out while the getting was good,” he told us.
The cast of ‘Can’t Hardly Wait’ 20 years later:
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