Mid-1983 through 1985 are considered Iggy Pop’s “quiet years,” but he was still active and looking for ways to challenge himself. Acting was one such endeavor, with Pop taking classes and auditioning for various roles. This included a 1984 tryout for a part on a new NBC program, Miami Vice. During a 1986 newspaper interview, casting director Bonnie Timmermann talked about Iggy’s audition for the show.
He came in with his big eyes and black hair and sat and stared at me. Despite his reputation as a wild man, he was gentle. I immediately liked him. Iggy came in for a biker role, but we ended up giving him another part.
The Ig was slated to play opposite fellow Michigander Glenn Frey in a February 1st, 1985 episode named after Frey’s song, “Smuggler’s Blues.” But Pop didn’t turn up on set, and his absence was widely reported in the press. “He was supposed to be in the show. We announced it,” said an NBC spokesperson in January 1985. “But when it came time to make the arrangements, we couldn’t find him.” It seemed Iggy had simply flaked.
But that wasn’t the case. When Iggy saw a February 1985 article in the San Francisco Examiner about his “no show,” he was stunned. He never knew he had been given the part.
Miami Vice must have accepted this explanation, as Iggy was cast in another season one episode, entitled “Evan.” Pop’s part was that of a police informant named Thumper, a proprietor of a S&M-themed club. A scene was shot in the club’s setting, and Iggy’s guest role was noted in newspapers, but when the episode aired on May 3rd, 1985, the Ig was nowhere to be seen.
A publicity photo of Iggy Pop and ‘Miami Vice’ star, Don Johnson.
So, what happened with Iggy and the show this time?
This scene was cut by NBC Censors (Broadcast Standards Division) due to its S&M content. Camille Sands, an actress who had the small part of a dominatrix called Velvet, remembered later that the scene contained a customer of the S&M studio being molested on a torture rack while Don Johnson talked to Iggy Pop. The urge of NBC to cut this out led to the first serious argument with the Miami Vice producers, who refused to alter the episode. Subsequently, NBC used its contractual right of final cut, and cut the whole scene. (from the Unofficial ‘Miami Vice’ Episode Guide)
What would have been Iggy Pop’s dramatic television debut remains unseen to this day. All we have are a handful of publicity photos and snapshots taken on set.
Despite the Miami Vice debacles, Iggy stuck with acting, and has appeared in a number of films and TV shows.
Iggy Pop and the cast of ‘Cry-Baby’ (1990).
Iggy’s first album in four years, Blah-Blah-Blah, was released in the fall of 1986. During that era, he made a number of promotional appearances, including one for the British TV program, The Tube. In the interview portion of the segment—which was taped in a gym, of all places—Iggy talks about auditioning for acting roles.
Previously on Dangerous Minds:
A merry Iggy Pop talks drugs, blood, and Bowie in obscure 1980s TV profile
‘Hiya Dogface!’: Wasted Iggy Pop goes totally off-the-rails on Australian TV, 1979
Iggy Pop’s racy 1979 appearance on obscure PBS program ‘Wyld Ryce’