HomeEntertainmentTom Selleck: How One ‘Lousy’ Movie Changed the Hollywood Icon’s Career

Tom Selleck: How One ‘Lousy’ Movie Changed the Hollywood Icon’s Career

by Clayton Edwards
(Photo by Donaldson Collection/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

Sometimes all you need to get your life on track is a little perspective. Tom Selleck found himself in dire need of just that in the early nineties. He was working almost nonstop. So, he hardly had any time for the important things in life. However, all it took was one bad film coupled with a horrible on-set experience to make the veteran actor stop and take a look at his life.

By the time the early nineties rolled around, Tom Selleck was a bona fide leading man. He had several television, movie, and made-for-TV movie roles under his belt. He had starred in Quigley Down Under, Magnum, P.I., and several other projects that put him in front of millions of viewers. Selleck was a star as well as a sex symbol. People loved him. On the other hand, his work-life balance was nonexistent.

Recently, Tom Selleck appeared on The Drew Barrymore Show to talk about his life and long career in front of the camera. During that appearance, he talked about how one movie changed the way he approached his work.

How One Bad Movie Changed Tom Selleck’s Career Forever

Tom Selleck told Drew Barrymore that the change came right after he finished filming Mr. Baseball, according to PopCulture. He had been in Japan for months making the movie. When he returned to the States, he almost immediately got an offer to do a movie with Marlon Brando. He couldn’t turn down the offer. After all, Brando was “the man,” in Selleck’s generation. Selleck looked up the actor and didn’t want to pass on working with him.

However, right after Tom Selleck got the offer, his daughter came down with viral pneumonia. That illness landed her in the hospital. So, Selleck stayed home for as long as he could before traveling to Spain to shoot his next project. His daughter was out of the hospital by the time he left. The whole thing weighed heavy on his mind while he was on-set, though. But, he was off to work with one of the greatest actors in American cinema history.

However, the film they were working on, Christopher Columbus: The Discovery, wasn’t very good. In fact, Tom Selleck told Barrymore that it wasn’t worth doing. The film wasn’t good. On top of that, working with Brando turned out to be a disappointment. Selleck said that Brando was just there for the paycheck. By this time, the veteran actor was known for being difficult to work with and phoning in performances. His antics on the 1979 classic Apocalypse Now are legendary. So, it’s no surprise that he didn’t bring his A-game to the project.

The whole experience didn’t sit well with Tom Selleck. So, he decided to take a year off from filming. That year turned into three years. From that point forward, Selleck knew he needed to find a balance between work and life. As a result, he worked on fewer projects and spent more time with the people who truly mattered.