Three Amigos Martin Short John Belushi
Martin Short as Ned Nederlander in Three Amgios (1986), Orion Pictures

Before Martin Short came to play Ned Nederlander, one of the three titular amigos opposite Steve Martin and Chevy Chase in the 1986 comedy Three Amigos, his role was actually offered to someone else.

That person was the late Blues Brothers star John Belushi.

Martin and Short told the story during their appearance on Monday’s episode of the SmartLess podcast hosted by Jason Bateman, Will Arnett and Sean Hayes.

The two legendary comedians and actors, who have been touring together since 2015, are traversing the U.S. with their comedy show this year, calling the current iteration of their ever-evolving show The Dukes of Funnytown. They also star together alongside Selena Gomez in Hulu’s Only Murders in the Building series.

They originally met in 1984 back stage at The New Show executive produced by SNL creator Lorne Michaels, and ended up making Three Amigos two years later, directed by John Landis (Blues Brothers, Animal House).

Looking back on the origins of their friendship, they recalled how the movie came to be — and that not just Belushi, but another famous name was also in consideration for the part of the third amigo before Short came on board.

“It was going to be Steve and Chevy,” Short said on SmartLess.

“Me and Chevy were definitely in,” Martin confirmed

Someone Else Was Offered a Three Amigos Role Before Martin Short

Trying to recall the other people in consideration for his part, Short wondered aloud, “I think the original, wasn’t it John Candy?”

But Martin corrected him, saying that the part was first offered to Animal House star John Belushi before he died in 1982. When Belushi couldn’t do it, the part was then offered to Planes, Trains and Automobiles and Cool Runnings star John Candy.

“John Belushi. I think it was John Belushi, and then it went to John Candy. I think you got to know what we were going for there,” Martin said. “But anyway, both were unavailable. And then the name Martin Short came up, and after there was a pause,” Martin said jokingly.

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Martin couldn’t resist giving Short one more jab, throwing in another joke at Short’s expense.

“Here’s exactly what I thought. I gave Marty the script and said, ‘Now look, when you read this script and you come across Rick Moranis’ name, just cross it out and write yours in,'” he joked.

But Short played right along.

“I was definitely the cheap amigo,” he said. “I was the, you know, Carrot Top said ‘let me think about it.'”

Three Amigos followed Steve Martin as Lucky Day, Chevy Chase as Dusty Bottoms, and Short as Ned Nederlander — three stars of the silent movie era who are fired from their latest gig when one of their films turns out to be a flop. Offered an exciting opportunity in a small Mexican village, the three travel there expecting to put on a show. But they soon realize that the woman who hired them thinks they are actual heroes who can save her village from the bandit El Guapo.

You can stream Three Amigos for free now on Tubi.

Main Image: Martin Short as Ned Nederlander in Three Amgios (1986), Orion Pictures