A Nightmare on Elm Street is a legendary horror movie and notable for many reasons, one of which was setting up Johnny Depp's career in Hollywood, but a lot of people don't know that Charlie Sheen was originally going to play the part of Nancy's boyfriend, Glen, in the seminal movie. A Nightmare on Elm Street was Depp's first Hollywood role and was chosen after director Wes Craven's daughters saw the actor's headshot in a stack of pictures of other hopefuls. Jackie Earle Haley (Little Children) also auditioned for the part that ultimately went to Depp. Haley eventually did get a role in the series, when he went on to play Freddy in the Platinum Dunes remake of A Nightmare on Elm Street.
In 1984, Charlie Sheen had a few acting roles under his belt, but only one substantial role in Grizzly II: The Predator Concert and still hadn't done Red Dawn, but apparently, he already had a big head. Sheen was in negotiations to star in the movie, which seems strange for somebody who was basically an extra at the time. In an interview with Vulture, New Line's Bob Shaye confirmed the rumor. Apparently Sheen wanted too much money. Shaye explains.
"Charlie Sheen was initially cast as Heather's boyfriend, and he wanted $3,000 a week, which we couldn't afford."
$3,000 a week was a pretty substantial amount of money back in 1984, so Depp got the part instead of Sheen and obviously worked for cheaper then $3,000 dollars. The movie gave the world its first look at Johnny Depp and he became a household name after 1987's hit television show 21 Jump Street and has gone on to become one of the biggest stars in the world, starring in art house movies as well as summer blockbusters. It seems that Depp got the better deal at the end of the day.
Charlie Sheen ended up doing quite well for himself as well, but not quite in the Johnny Depp category. Sheen starred in Platoon, Young Guns, and Wall Street among many others and later made $1.8 million per episode on the hit show Two and a Half Men. It seems that Sheen's personal life has been outshining his work lately, but the actor definitely left his stamp in Hollywood.
Thinking of Charlie Sheen in A Nightmare on Elm Street is interesting now, but Depp did a great job in his first real acting gig. I mean, the guy gets sucked into the bed and puréed into a nice juicy pulp in one of the Nightmare on Elm Street series most iconic deaths. As a young actor, who wouldn't want the chance at playing such a memorable moment?
Wes Craven filmed A Nightmare on Elm Street on an estimated budget of $1.8 million, a sum the film earned back during its first week. The movie went on to gross over $25 million at the United States box office and was met with rave critical reviews while going on to make significant impact on the horror genre, spawning a franchise consisting of a line of sequels, a television series, a crossover with Friday the 13th. Craven and co could've ended up paying Sheen's price after all.