Michael J Fox shocks Whoopi Goldberg with revelation he turned down Ghost role: ‘I said, “It’ll never work”’

Michael J Fox shocked Whoopi Goldberg as he revealed that he turned down the chance to appear alongside her in Ghost.

The Back to the Future star was a guest on The View on Thursday (18 May), to discuss his new documentary Still about living with Parkinson’s disease.

During the interview, Fox, 61, and Goldberg, 67, talked about their long-lasting friendship, with Goldberg asking Fox if there were any parts in his career he “regretted” turning down.

“There was a chance to work with you that I missed,” Fox replied, with the Sister Act star looking surprised.

“They talked to me about Ghost early on. I said, ‘It’ll never work.’ I said, ‘Whoopi’s great, but it’ll never work.’ And then it was great and huge, and I’m a f***ing idiot!”

Goldberg starred opposite Demi Moore and Patrick Swayze in the 1990 romantic drama. Fox didn’t clarify whether he was in the running for Swayze’s role or another part.

Ghost was the highest-grossing film of 1990 and, at the time of its release, the third highest-grossing film of all time.

Fox was diagnosed with Parkinson’s, a neurological condition in which the brain becomes progressively damaged over many years, in 1991 aged 29. He announced that he had been diagnosed in 1998 and, in 2020, entered a “second retirement”.

Fox spoke about being in early talks for the film ‘Ghost' (Getty Images for SXSW)
Fox spoke about being in early talks for the film ‘Ghost' (Getty Images for SXSW)

In a recent interview, Fox said that living with the condition – symptoms of which include involuntary shaking of body parts, slowness of movement and speech and other mobility issues – was getting harder as the disease progresses.

“It’s banging on the door,” he said. “ I mean, I’m not gonna lie, it’s getting harder. It’s getting tougher. Every day it gets tougher, but that’s the way it is.”

However, the founder of The Michael J Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research also said in another interview that he feels a cure is “closer than it’s ever been”.

“I think we’ve found this biomarker which is huge, identifying the disease and therefore being able to treat it earlier.

“It was a gigantic breakthrough, we didn’t expect to make it this soon. We were working on it for a long time, 10 years ago we talked about it.”