Revealing that she "got that job because of Patrick Swayze," Whoopi Goldberg recalled how she was cast in the hit movie Ghost after she was initially rejected. In the classic movie, Goldberg memorably plays Oda Mae Brown, a psychic who must help a dead man save his living wife. It's clear to anyone who's seen the movie that Goldberg was perfect for the part, but while speaking with Naomi Campbell on her No Filter YouTube series, Goldberg opened up about how she almost didn't get the part.
At the time when production was just getting started on the movie, Goldberg recalls a friend telling her about the Ghost auditions. According to her friend, "every Black woman and her mother" had auditioned for the role of Oda Mae, and yet Goldberg never got the call. As she regales to Campbell on No Filter, Goldberg called her agent to ask why she didn't even know about the project, only to be informed that the producers apparently weren't interested.
"He said, 'They don't want you. They think that your persona, that Whoopi, is too big and will take people out of the movie.'"
Goldberg admits that her feelings were hurt when she was excluded from the Ghost auditions, but she moved on and started to focus on other projects. The story then takes a turn when Swayze is cast in the lead role, as the Dirty Dancing star was perplexed why Goldberg wasn't auditioned. In fact, according to Goldberg, Swayze was unwilling to move forward until she was given a fair shot at the part.
"I get a call from Ron Myer, and he says, 'You remember that movie that they didn't want you for? Well, the director and the actor want to come to wherever you are and see if there's any way they can do this with you. They hired Patrick Swayze, and Patrick wanted to know why they hadn't come to you. They told him that they thought it would take people out of the movie.'"
That's when Whoopi Goldberg says Swayze put his foot down.
"Patrick said, 'I'm not saying yes to this piece until we know that she's not the right person, because this is ridiculous. She's perfect.' I had never met him, but he was a fan. You never know who's watching, you never know who remembers something about you, and that was another great lesson."
Along with Goldberg as Oda Mae Brown and Swayze as Sam Wheat, Ghost also starred Demi Moore as Molly, Sam's widow. The movie follows the ghost of Sam working with Oda Mae from beyond the grave to keep his wife safe while getting payback against the people who killed him. Though Goldberg didn't know Swayze, she did go into the production knowing Moore, as she had been friends with her then-husband Bruce Willis for many years.
Also in the interview, Goldberg opens up about what it was like working with Swayze and director Jerry Zucker. She also touches on her other projects, her stand-up comedy, and her memories of Robin Williams. You can watch the entire interview below, courtesy of No Filter with Naomi Campell on YouTube.