Iconic anaHollywood Characters That Could Have Gone to Different Actors
The moviemaking industry is one chaotic yet organized mess. Actors come and go depending on the need of the production team—but what would you feel if Legally Blonde did not have Reese Witherspoon as Elle Woods? Many believe she was perfect for the role, but she almost didn’t make it because some thought of her as rather too assertive. Others have also declined movie roles out of their own volition for various reasons. Of course, there are legitimate reasons, such as scheduling conflicts, but you will be surprised that those are considered simply outrageous.
For example, one well-known actor declined to play a role because he could not understand the screenplay, no matter what degree of effort he exerted. This is acceptable to some extent because it is tough to play a character you do not understand. However, in other instances, actors were rejected because they no longer looked like the character they were supposed to play. This one is highly controversial because Hollywood has that notorious reputation of casting celebrities for roles that are not in sync with their age. Read on to learn more!
Zendaya Coleman | Aaliyah – Aaliyah: The Princess Of R&B
Beginning her career as a child, Zendaya has enjoyed a long runway as an actress, producer, and singer. She became a contestant in the competition series Dancing with the Stars and also produced and starred as the titular character in K.C. Undercover. Apart from the main roles, she also played supporting characters in movies like The Greatest Showman and Spider-Man: Far from Home.
The actress and singer have proven herself capable of doing more complex roles. That’s why it didn’t come as a surprise when she was selected to play the role of Aaliyah in the biopic Aaliyah: The Princess Of R&B. Unfortunately, netizens were quick to criticize and claimed she could not give justice to the role. She eventually dropped out of the part, with the credit finally given to Alexandra Shipp. The official reason given was that there were some issues with production and music rights, including difficulty reaching out to Aaliyah’s family.
Willow Smith | Annie – Annie
As the daughter of Will Smith and Jada Pinkett-Smith, Willow has some powerful acting genes in her. That means she could take on any role and be excellent at it. Willow made her debut movie on I Am Legend alongside her father. The actress is also a renowned singer, having released various singles and albums, so Roc Nation signed her up and became the youngest artist to sign up for the label. Of course, her lawyers reviewed the terms carefully.
Willow admits she is very intuitive, and when she was set to star in Annie, a film that would have showcased her singing and acting skills, the actress said she decided to quit. Her part was eventually given to Quvenzhané Wallis, a ten-year-old actress who later became the youngest to be nominated for the Best Actress category of the Academy Awards. Unlike her brother, Willow focused on her musical career, so her decision to decline the chance made sense.
Will Smith | Neo – The Matrix
With four Grammy Awards to Will Smith’s name, this Fresh Prince of Bel-Air actor has proven himself capable of being on the big screen as well as on TV. In addition, his films have earned significantly, with 11 of them grossing over $150 million internationally. This speaks volumes of the crowd he could draw to his side. Considering this, Smith is a sought-after actor.
One movie he was supposed to star in was The Matrix, where he would play the character Neo. The role, of course, was eventually given to Keanu Reeves, who has received the highest credit for his portrayal. However, it would have been interesting to see how a Black man could make the movie different. Smith rejected the role because of details he deemed unrealistic—and he admitted to regretting that later on. Nonetheless, both The Matrix and Smith did well, so no love nor money lost there.
Will Smith | Django – Django Unchained
As it appears, Will Smith has a record of turning down roles. After he turned down the role of Neo in The Matrix, the actor-musician also rejected Quentin Tarantino’s call for him to play Django in Django Unchained. Instead, Jamie Foxx stepped up and eventually took the role, and he was well-praised for his performance.
Smith’s decision to forego the part was because he felt that he was not being given the primary role in the film. The movie has other powerful actors in it like Samuel L. Jackson, Kerry Washington, and Leonardo Di Caprio, so his hesitation was understandable. It would have been great to see him as Django as it might have given the movie a fresh perspective. On the one hand, being able to say “no” to a job means that Smith has financial stability, which would definitely meet the approval of his financial advisor.
Warren Beatty | Bill – Kill Bill 1 and 2
This very talented actor and director holds the record for being nominated twice for writing, directing, and producing the same film two times—first with Heaven Can Wait and again with Reds. Many of his movies are Academy Awards nominees, with several critics describing Warren Beatty as the perfect producer.
Directing and producing are not the only skills he has in his arsenal, as he is also an excellent actor. When Quentin Tarantino was just exploring the area of martial arts films, he thought of Beatty playing the role of Bill in the Kill Bill movies. As Tarantino was finalizing the script, he realized that if Beatty were to play Bill, it could turn into a James Bond-like movie, which he didn’t like. David Carradine eventually landed the role and did beautifully with it to a great degree. Now, fans of both Tarantino and Beatty are still waiting on that collaboration between the two.
Tom Hanks | Jerry Maguire – Jerry Maguire
Big and Splash, no pun intended, were the breakthrough movies of Tom Hanks back in 1988 and 1984, respectively. A few years after these two films, Hanks won Best Actor category awards for Philadelphia, where he played a lawyer, and Forrest Gump, which became a mass favorite. In 1996, he was supposed to star on Jerry Maguire instead of Tom Cruise—but what happened?
Apparently, writer-director Cameron Crowe wrote the character of Jerry for Hanks. As it took him four years to finish the whole script, the leading candidate didn’t look anywhere near the 35-year-old role he was supposed to portray. While Harrelson made investments in writing a compelling script, Hanks lost his chance. He was also venturing into directing that time. Admirably, the now-64-year-old actor took it positively and even joked that Tom Cruise owed him $1 million for the role.
Tom Cruise | Ren – Footloose
With $10.1 billion gross for his movies, Tom Cruise is a certified blockbuster king. Like The Color of Money, War of the Worlds, and The Mummy, many of his projects have fetched money that eventually made Cruise richer. Recently, however, the actor has come to the limelight not for his acting skills but also for advancing Scientology. He is given credit for being a passionate advocate of the belief system.
At one point, Cruise was busy making movies, and that was one reason why he declined the role for Footloose. Kevin Bacon eventually played Ren McCormack, but Cruise’s excellent dance moves in Risky Business attracted producers to consider him for the part. Bacon did a good job, so we really cannot complain, plus Cruise got to appear on All The Right Moves, which was the movie he was filming during the production of Footloose.
Tiffany Haddish | Georgina – Get Out
There is no doubt that The Last O.G. actress Tiffany Haddish is on a major rise to stardom right after her breakthrough movie, Girls Trip, in 2017. Prior to this, she has appeared in other films like Boosters, Patterns of Attraction, and Meet the Spartans. As a famous actress, she was asked to host the pre-telecast of the 2021 Grammy Awards but displayed money management skills when she turned it down. The reason? She was to pay her own way—which was not acceptable.
This is not the only gig Haddish declined. She also refused to play the lead character of Get Out because horror was not her thing. This is totally understandable because actors and actresses typically have their strengths and preferences. If her heart were not into it, she probably would not do great. She also preferred not to appear in movies with demons or similar entities in them, though the producers said it did not have that element. The role of Georgina eventually went to Betty Gabriel.
Thomas Jane | Don Draper – Mad Men
The Mist actor Thomas Jane is someone who has tried both acting and directing, excelling in both. He has appeared in movies like Deep Blue Sea, The Predator, and The Mist. Jane has also displayed business savvy by founding RAW Studios, perhaps without a need for business loans. When he forayed into directing, he worked on Dark Country in 2009. The movie starred Lauren German and Ron Perlman.
In the case of Mad Men, AMC wanted to cast Jane as Don Draper, according to Jon Hamm, who eventually played the role. Jane, however, said he was not into television and declined the role. Years later, he starred on HBO’s Hung—which points to a change of heart about TV acting. Did Jane regret not taking the part? It is not clear if that were the case, but he would have consciously decided, so we could assume he is not into the habit of double-backing.
Selena Gomez | Mitchie Torres – Camp Rock
The children show Barney and Friends served as Selena Gomez’s stepping stone to stardom. When she was in her teens, she eventually appeared in increasingly more mature roles, starting with Wizards of Waverly Place, Ramona and Beezus, and Spring Breakers. As a singer, Gomez released three albums when she was still with her former band and another three as a solo artist.
While she was okay with exploring various aspects of her craft, it appeared that when Gomez was considered for the role of Mitchie Torres in Camp Rock, which was released in 2008, she wasn’t ready to explore that musical aspect just yet. It was revealed that the budding actress wanted to solidify her acting prowess first. A true professional, she did not just turn it down but also recommended Demi Lovato, her friend, to take the role. Alongside the Jonas Brothers, Lovato was given credit for playing the role perfectly.
Sean Connery | Gandalf – The Lord Of The Rings
The late Sean Connery was the very first actor to portray the fictional secret agent James Bond and starred in seven such movies from 1962 to 1983. Before being given this major role, the actor appeared in minor roles in theater and TV. Connery did not like the attention given to him as James Bond, but he did cherish the work he did with movie magnates, like Sidney Lurnet and Alfred Hitchcock, who offered him projects.
Connery always seriously considered all the offers that come along his way. His lawyers also were very meticulous in reviewing the deal terms, but there was one movie that he had to decline, although the role was perfect and the cinematography extraordinary. It was the role of Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings. The actor revealed that he did not really understand the script. Turning down the part meant Ian McKellen took over, in which the latter did well.
Sarah Michelle Gellar | Amber – Clueless
The name Sarah Michelle Gellar is only associated with one other name, Buffy. Her role in the supernatural series Buffy, the Vampire Slayer led her to more projects, including I Know What You Did Last Summer, The Grudge, and Scream 2. Apart from acting, Gellar is also an entrepreneur and is the founder of an e-commerce startup that sells baking kits. Building on this, she also released her own cookbook in 2017.
The vampire slayer was initially offered the part of Amber, the main star, in Clueless. However, this coming-of-age movie was on a tight schedule and was eventually filmed over a 40-day period. The timeline forced Gellar, who was then the star of All My Children, as Kendall Hart, to say no to the role. The role of Amber was eventually given to Elisa Donovan, who received credit for an excellent performance.
Sarah Jessica Parker | Lydia – Beetlejuice
Prior to Sarah Jessica Parker starring in the Broadway musical Annie, she first made her debut in Broadway at the age of 11 with The Innocents, a revival of the 1976 version. She launched a career in film, which included appearances in The Family Stone, Did You Hear About the Morgan? and Hocus Pocus. Her most prolific career was as one of the stars in a TV romantic-comedy.
Parker reportedly turned down a dark role in the movie Beetlejuice. It made sense because all her previous characters were of the more funny, perky type, and Beetlejuice did not fit with the kind of movies she was on during this period. Other actresses were also considered, including Brooke Shields and Alyssa Milano. Winona Ryder eventually got the role. To a degree, portraying Lydia in the film helped launch Ryder’s typecast as a sci-fi actress.
Sandra Bullock | Maggie Fitzgerald – Million Dollar Baby
In 2010, Time magazine named Sandra Bullock one of the world’s most influential people, and it could never be more right. The actress received early attention in the early 1990s when she starred in Demolition Man, and her career soared after that. She then appeared in several high-budgeted movies like Miss Congeniality 2, All About Steve, and Two Weeks Notice. Trying out working behind the camera, Bullock also produced George Lopez from 2002 to 2007.
Some fans are unaware that Bullock was supposed to portray Maggie Fitzgerald in Million Dollar Baby. Rumors had it that she turned down the role, but the actress quickly dispelled the incorrect information and clarified she tried to do it. She made the needed investments but could not do the role. Eventually, the part was given to Hilary Swank, and Bullock moved on to filming Miss Congeniality 2.
Julia Roberts | Viola – Shakespeare In Love
A lot of surprises can happen throughout a movie’s production. One such example worth noting would be the 1998 period drama film Shakespeare in Love, which underwent its fair share of changes in crew and even cast members.
With the first draft of the movie’s script realized around the late 1980s, Marc Norman wrote the movie’s script while Ed Zwick took on the directorial job. Julia Roberts was supposed to play the role of Viola de Lesseps, along with Daniel Day-Lewis as her titular counterpart. Sure, the Pretty Woman star was more than willing to do the project, but after learning Day-Lewis declined to do the role, she left it, too. The film then experienced an overhaul, with John Madden becoming the new director and Gwyneth Paltrow and Joseph Fiennes playing the titular roles. Despite the changes, the movie still won several awards, including an Academy Award for Best Picture.
Michelle Pfeiffer | Catherine Tramell – Basic Instinct
In one way or another, choosing what roles to play in any entertainment project can be an investment in its own right. Well, the same can also be said for selecting what projects not to take.
Michelle Pfeiffer is best known for her versatile performances throughout her career, taking on roles for movies of just about any genre. As impressive as that may be, it doesn’t mean the Batman Returns actress declined a couple of projects along the way. Besides being a loving mother to her kids, another reason behind turning them down is due to more personal reasons. This is made all the more apparent when Michelle was offered the part of Catherine Tramell in the movie Basic Instinct. Due to the character being too risqué for her, the Wizard of Lies star declined the role, with Sharon Stone ultimately taking on the part.
Leonardo DiCaprio | Alan Turing – The Imitation Game
There are many historical events undoubtedly worth sharing. With that said, one such notable medium to tell them would be through movies.
To this day, Alan Turing takes credit for being the father of artificial intelligence and theoretical science. Plus, he also lived quite a life filled with achievements and hurdles, a life surely worth telling to millions. This eventually led to the creation of the 1983 biography Alan Turing: The Enigma, which was then adapted to the 2014 film The Imitation Game. Although Warner Bros. and Leonardo DiCaprio were initially involved, the project was ultimately produced independently, with Benedict Cumberbatch portraying Turing instead of DiCaprio. Along with garnering widespread acclaim and recognition, this $14 million film also earned plenty of award nominations. It won a People’s Choice Award from the Toronto International Film Festival and an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay.
Julia Roberts | Annie Reed – Sleepless In Seattle
Among her many on-screen performances, it’s safe to say one title that undoubtedly garnered Julia Roberts a skyrocketing degree of praise and recognition would be the 1990 film Pretty Woman. Since then, she’s added more notable roles to her name, though most fans would probably be surprised she turned down this one project.
Along the way, Roberts was offered the chance to star in the 1993 rom-com Sleepless in Seattle. Although the opportunity would’ve made her known for appearing on two hit 1990s romance flicks, the Wonder actress declined the part, which was eventually given to Meg Ryan. Like other lines of work, there’s undoubtedly some level of competition among celebrities, but not for Robers. Way before the movie even premiered in theaters, she was already a big fan of Sleeping in Seattle’s on-screen couple, portrayed by Ryan and Tom Hanks.
Reese Witherspoon | Sidney Prescott – Scream
In the world of horror movies, the first Scream movie undoubtedly ranks among the genre’s most iconic entries. A slasher feature mixed with some satire, poking jabs at the horror genre’s tropes and clichés, the film has Neve Campbell and Skeet Ulrich starring as its lead couple, Sidney Prescott and Billy Loomis, respectively.
Before they got the part, though, the crew had other choices to give the acting credit to. For Sidney, they had another star in mind: Reese Witherspoon. Witherspoon sadly declined the offer since she was already committed to another project, which just so happened to be another horror flick, titled Fear – it was also released the same year as Scream. Meanwhile, for Sidney’s boyfriend Billy, Joaquin Phoenix was initially set to play the part, though he also declined. Well, at least the two had the chance to finally portray a couple in 2005’s highly-acclaimed Johnny Cash biopic, Walk the Line.
Mark Wahlberg | Lead Role – Brokeback Mountain
At this point, Mark Wahlberg is known for many things. During the earlier years of his career, he was a rapper who went by the name Marky Mark. After his stint with the rap group Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch, he shifted his focus to acting.
He may have starred in a variety of films already, including Ted, The Italian Job, and two Transformers movies, but Wahlberg has also had times where he thought it was better if he stepped away from the gas. One such moment was when filmmaker Ang Lee showed him the script for his at-the-time upcoming film Brokeback Mountain. It turned out, after reading a few pages, the Daddy’s Home actor believed he wasn’t fit for the part. Whether it was for Ennis Del Mar or Jack Twist, the lead roles were ultimately given to Jake Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger.
Michael B. Jordan | Dr. Dre – Straight Outta Compton
In more recent years, Michael B. Jordan has been making quite a name for himself under the spotlight. Beginning his career as a child model, he eventually found his way into the acting business with roles in Hardball, All My Children, and The Wire.
Along the way, however, the actor was stuck between a metaphorical rock and a hard place. After talking with rapper Dr. Dre and even receiving his approval, Jordan was initially set to portray the rapper in the 2015 biopic Straight Outta Compton. As great of an opportunity it could’ve been, the actor had to drop the project due to his involvement in the superhero flick Fantastic Four – also released in 2015. Corey Hawkins eventually took credit for portraying Dr. Dre. On the bright side, though, Jordan has since garnered widespread acclaim for his portrayal of Erik Killmonger in Marvel’s Black Panther and, of course, his performance as the titular lead in the Creed movies.
Rachel McAdams | Andy Sachs – The Devil Wears Prada
It’s no secret that writers, directors, and producers can already think of potential stars for their upcoming projects, even when they’re still creating the script. Despite their actor of choice being a supposed fit for the role, though, there’s still a possibility they’ll turn it down.
Such was the case for 2006’s The Devil Wears Prada, a film adaptation of the novel of the same name. Besides the expensive costumes the characters wore throughout the movie, a significant portion of the investment money surely went to its cast, including Meryl Streep, Emily Blunt, and Stanley Tucci. For the character of Andy Sachs, Streep’s on-screen assistant, producers initially wanted Rachel McAdams for the role. As great of an opportunity it could’ve been, Rachel declined their many offers, which ultimately concluded with at-the-time Disney star Anne Hathaway landing the part.
Lindsay Lohan | Jade – The Hangover
Before creating 2019’s psychological thriller Joker, Todd Phillips got his first shot to fame after directing 2009’s comedy flick The Hangover. As the title suggests, the movie revolves around a group of friends trying to make sense of what happened the night before. Of course, this leads to an encounter with a couple of interesting characters.
With Zach Galifianakis, Ed Helm, Justin Bartha, and Bradley Cooper portraying the story’s leads, the movie has them spend some credit card points for a fun time in Las Vegas. Besides meeting Mike Tyson and his pet tiger, the group became acquainted with Jade, an escort. For her character, Todd initially thought Lindsay Lohan would fit for the part. After a while, though, he agreed the actress was too young to portray Jade, which was later given to Heather Graham. At the time of production, Lindsay was only 20, while Heather was 37.
Kevin Hart | Alpa Chino – Tropic Thunder
Like the previously-mentioned Hangover film, another comedy feature that garnered a high degree of praise from audiences and critics alike is 2008’s Tropic Thunder. Directed, co-written, and starring Ben Stiller, the movie follows a group of actors working on an action flick. After a while, however, they realize the explosions happening around them aren’t staged.
Starring alongside Ben include Jack Black, Jay Baruchel, Tom Cruise, and Robert Downey Jr. Before production began, Kevin Hart was initially offered a part in the film – the energy drink-advertising movie star Alpa Chino. It was great of an opportunity to work with this star-studded cast, though Hart turned down the part. He thought it was a character he couldn’t give his 100% to, so he believed it best to let someone else do it. In the end, Brandon T. Jackson landed the role of Alpa Chino.
Matthew McConaughey | Ego – Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2
Besides preparing the film’s script, another investment producer would often make in a project is concept art. That way, they have a visual reference of the world their story is set in, their characters, and other things such as costumes and items.
Well, the same can be said for the James Gunn-directed Marvel flick, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. Alongside the film’s titular team, portrayed by James Pratt, Dave Bautista, Zoe Saldana, Bradley Cooper, and Vin Diesel, the story introduces Ego, played by Kurt Russell. Although he provided an outstanding performance as Pratt’s on-screen father, Gunn and the team initially had a different actor in mind to bring the character to life. Through a concept art posted by one of the film’s artists, fans discover that Matthew McConaughey was their first choice. Sadly, he declined due to conflicts in schedule with his work on the movie based on the Stephen King novel, The Dark Tower.
Leonardo DiCaprio | Patrick Bateman – American Psycho
Of course, some actors have become near-synonymous with a couple of their on-screen roles. One such example would be Christian Bale, who is often regarded for his performance in The Dark Knight trilogy, The Prestige, The Machinist, and most especially, American Psycho.
Before he landed the acting credit for the now-iconic character Patrick Bateman, Leonardo DiCaprio was initially set to portray the lead. Well, knowing DiCaprio’s impressive range and flexibility, this would’ve made for an interesting performance. The thing was, at that point, the Revenant star was still fresh off the James Cameron-helmed film Titanic. This meant he had fans who undoubtedly expect his next role to be a Jack-like character, not a titular character for a slasher flick. Knowing this, the American Psycho director Mary Harron cast Bale instead, and, of course, the rest remains a significant piece of cinema history.
John Travolta | Forrest Gump – Forrest Gump
Like the previously-mentioned actor Christian Bale, Tom Hanks is another star who has become synonymous with a couple of his roles. With that in mind, it’s safe to say many of us feel some degree of unease whenever we think of another actor portraying one of Hanks’ beloved characters.
One such example would be the 1994 film Forrest Gump. To this day, Hanks’ role as the movie’s titular lead remains one of the industry’s most iconic. Before he took the part, however, John Travolta was initially set to portray the character. For reasons unknown, he declined the offer and opted to work on the Quentin Tarantino-directed film Pulp Fiction, also released in 1994. Despite the missed opportunity, the stars aligned for the two actors. Hanks won an Academy Award for Best Actor, while Travolta’s portrayal of Vincent Vega remains one of his greatest.
Mel Gibson | Maximus – Gladiator
In the entertainment industry, rumors spread like wildfire. Besides a couple of celebrity antics, some of these rumors also tackle film-related topics, like how one actor is reportedly set for a role in an upcoming movie.
To this day, Ridley Scott’s Gladiator takes credit for being one of cinema’s most remarkable entries. Throughout production, though, rumors came that Mel Gibson was the director’s first choice to portray Maximus Decimus Meridius. Well, Scott eventually debunked the story and claimed that Crowe was his only choice since day one. Even so, it would’ve been pretty neat to see the Braveheart actor work on another historical epic. Making the film may have had its challenges, but that didn’t stop Gladiator from becoming a smashing success. Besides garnering widespread acclaim, it also won plenty of accolades, including two Academy Awards: a Best Picture Award and a Best Actor Award for Crowe.
Matt Damon | Jake Sully – Avatar
Besides actors, many filmmakers are also well-known for the amount of fuel they have in their gas tank of creativity. One such name would undoubtedly be James Cameron, a man involved with a few iconic cinematic masterpieces such as Titanic and The Terminator.
Besides the two previously-mentioned titles, Cameron also directed the 2009 sci-fi epic, Avatar, which has since become a staple in the film industry, thanks to its gorgeous visual effects. Although the film has Sam Worthington as its lead actor, Cameron initially reached out to Matt Damon for the part. He even offered the Bourne Identity actor 10% of the film’s gross earnings – that’s around $250 million. Due to a conflicting schedule with his work on Bourne Ultimatum, Damon declined the offer. With Avatar still set to have four more sequels, however, who’s to say Damon no longer has a chance to work with the filmmaker?
Ja Rule |Tej – 2 Fast 2 Furious
Ja Rule played the minor role of Edwin in the 2001’s The Fast and the Furious, and the part two’s director John Singleton offered him a nice paycheck to return. He reportedly turned the role down and a half a million dollars salary, so Singleton called in Ludacris right after. As we all know, he won the part and ended up starring in the massive franchise of five films so far.
Ja Rule’s biggest singles include I’m Real, Ain’t It Funny, and Always on Time. He has worked with Christina Milian, Ashanti, R. Kelly, and Jennifer Lopez. He is also a skilled actor and appeared in other films such as Scary Movie 3 and The Cookout. Ja Rule won a World Music Award, an NAACP Image Award, and a BET Award. He continues to make music investments today and occasionally appears on the screen.
Hugh Jackman | James Bond – Casino Royale
Hugh Jackman told Variety that a call came asking if he would be interested in following Pierce Brosnan’s path as the new James Bond in the movie Casino Royale. He declined because he felt that the scripts were unbelievable and needed to be more natural and grittier. At the same time, he was also worried that he’d never have the time to do many other things between X-Men and the Bond film.
Jackman catapulted into the spotlight after playing Wolverine in the X-Men movie franchise. At the peak of the Wolverine films, he reportedly earned $20 million as a base salary per movie before backend participation. His other notable credits include The Greatest Showman, The Fountain, The Prestige, and Australia. Thanks to his A-list status, he has also been the face of several high-profile brands, such as Montblanc and R.M. Williams.
Emma Watson | Mia – La La Land
A different Emma Watson was initially reported to appear in the Oscar-nominated musical film La La Land. She was, however, unable to take on the lead role due to her prior commitment to Beauty and the Beast. She said she had to do horse training, dancing, three months of singing, and had to be in London to do all those. Schedule-wise, it didn’t work out for her. She had to turn down and pass on the role to another star, Emma Stone.
Watson rose to fame as a child actress who portrayed Hermione Granger in the eight Harry Potter films. During her Harry Potter heydays, she reportedly earned $15–$20 million per year. In 2009, Watson landed the Forbes’ list of Most Valuable Young Stars. Well, it’s safe to say that she learned the basics of money management at such a young age.
Jennifer Connelly | Vivian Ward – Pretty Woman
It was the actress Julia Roberts who Richard Gere brought to the Beverly Wilshire that momentous night in the hit 1990 movie Pretty Woman. Before the decision on the leading lady was made, though, director Garry Marshall looked at many young actresses. Jennifer Connelly was a top choice, but she withdrew from the opportunity because she thought she was too young for the role.
Before her debut performance in Once Upon a Time in America, Connelly appeared in both print and television ads. She remained unknown to the general audience until her incredible performance in Requiem for a Dream in 2000. She earned acclaim in this movie to the degree that The New York Times published about her performance. Her next career-elevating performance was in the 2001 film A Beautiful Mind. Outside acting, she has served as the ambassador of Shiseido Company, Balenciaga fashion brand, and Revlon Cosmetics Company.
Emily Blunt | Black Widow – Iron Man 2
Emily Blunt came close to starring as an Avengers heroine when cast in Iron Man’s sequel for Black Widow’s first appearance. Scheduling problems with the movie Gulliver’s Travels, however, led to her backing out. The actress said it’s a shame she couldn’t work the two of these films, and she just had to pull out for her own sanity more than anything.
Blunt’s breakthrough role happened in 2006 opposite Anne Hathaway and Meryl Streep in the box office film The Devil Wears Prada. The movie was insanely successful and grossed more than $300 million. She was nominated in the 2007 BAFTA and the Golden Globe Awards for the Best Supporting Actress category. Her celebrity profile and credit score began to rise from there, and she went on to be featured in many more films, including The Girl on the Train.
John Lithgow | The Joker – Batman
When the time came for Tim Burton to cast the Batman movie, he didn’t only consider the legendary Jack Nicholson for the part. In 2017, actor John Lithgow told Vulture his audition story for the comic book villain. He said he tried to persuade Burton he was not the right actor for the part, and he succeeded.
Lithgow is well known for his contributions to TV, stage, radio, and film. He has also written and published a number of poetry and children’s books. Born into a theatrical family, his father Arthur worked as a director and producer, and his mother Sarah was an actress. He and his family hired a moving company a couple of times because of his father’s work, and it was in one of his productions, a 6-year-old Lithgow first took the stage. No one knew he would later become a prolific actor.
Jennifer Lawrence |Daisy Domergue – The Hateful Eight
Director Quentin Tarantino shared with Entertainment Weekly that he met with Jennifer Lawrence to discuss starring in his film, The Hateful Eight. Sadly, the young actress refused the role because she had to do all publicity stints on her Hunger Games films. Jennifer Jason Leigh grabbed the part instead and had her first Oscar nod.
While catching her big break in the show business, Lawrence did some modeling work on the side. It’s safe to say, however, that she won’t need to do any more modeling gigs with her current net worth and credit reports. Since starting her acting job, she has successfully made a name for herself and even landed the A-list ranks. As of 2019, the films she has appeared in have grossed over $6 billion worldwide. The 30-year-old star was also the world’s highest-paid actress in 2015 and 2016.
Christina Applegate | Elle Woods – Legally Blonde
Christina Applegate revealed that she received the script for Legally Blonde just after she finished her show Married… With Children. She was, however, worried that the role of attorney Elle Woods was somewhat similar to her former role. She said she was scared of kind of repeating herself, so she refused to play the part.
Nevertheless, she made a name for herself with her performances in shows like Friends and films like Bad Moms. She is also a skilled stage actress who has starred in several Broadway productions. Applegate also launched a career as a voice actress. She followed up with additional roles in high-profile movies. A handful of publications have called Applegate one of the world’s most beautiful people. On February 23, 2013, she tied the knot with musician Martyn LeNoble, and they have one child named Sadie Grace.
Jennifer Hudson | Precious – Precious
The award-winning American Idol alum Jennifer Hudson revealed in her 2012 autobiography that the script of the film Precious moved her. She, however, wanted to portray a role that had nothing to do with her weight. She later backtracked her previous remarks and told the Huffington Post that she felt the character was doing things she did not want to do. The movie’s title role instead went to Gabourey Sidibe, who won an Oscar nomination and became a household name.
In 2005, Hudson kicked off her acting career with the film adaptation of Dreamgirls, portraying the role of Effie White. She starred alongside famous personalities such as Beyoncé, Jamie Foxx, and Eddie Murphy. She reportedly beat out hundreds of professional actresses and singers for the role and received widespread praise for her stellar performance. As Effie White, Hudson received credits and won 29 various awards.
Charlie Hunnam | Christian Grey – Fifty Shades Of Grey
Charlie Hunnam gained a degree of notoriety for pulling out of the famous Fifty Shades adaptation, with the lead role eventually going to actor Jamie Dornan. Scheduling conflicts between the film, his show Sons of Anarchy, and the Crimson Peak movie became too much to handle. The 41-year-old actor reportedly called the Fifty Shades director Sam Taylor-Johnson and told him the bad news. He later revealed that he and Taylor-Johnson both cried their eyes out while on the phone, exchanging some personal and emotional stuff.
Since his film debut in the US in 2002, Hunnam has received several film and television show offers. Perhaps he is best known as Jax Teller on the series Sons of Anarchy. He is also a renowned screenwriter. His other notable leading roles include 2002’s Nicholas Nickleby and 2017’s King Arthur: Legend of the Sword.
Emma Roberts | Brit – Spring Breakers
Scream Queens actress Emma Roberts was set to star in Spring Breakers as one of the main girls alongside Vanessa Hudgens and Selena Gomez. She surprisingly pulled out of the movie, with director Harmony Korine citing “creative differences.” The filmmaker admitted to the New York Post that he makes a specific type of film, which goes hard and is not always for everyone. Pretty Little Liars actress Ashley Benson replaced Roberts in the hit movie.
Roberts began her on-screen work in the 2001 film Blow when she was only nine years old. She primarily appeared in minor roles before landing the character of Addie Singer in Nickelodeon’s Unfabulous. She was nominated for several awards, appearing in 42 episodes of the hit series between 2004 and 2007. Toward the end of the show, Roberts received acting credits in the box office hit Nancy Drew.
Jake Gyllenhaal | Rick Flag – Suicide Squad
After Tom Hardy backed out of Suicide Squad owing to a fully-packed schedule, Warner Bros. reportedly sought Jake Gyllenhaal for the role of Rick Flag. He also declined the part that eventually went to actor Joel Kinnaman. This knock-back happened a year after Gyllenhaal turned down a part in Into the Woods because of a scheduling conflict with his other movie, Nightcrawler.
Although he began his Hollywood career as a child actor, Gyllenhaal quickly transitioned into mature and more central roles. He ultimately became one of the film industry’s most well-known leading men. He is highly acclaimed for his degree of passion and versatility in the craft, as he appeared in both comedic and dramatic movies over the years. Gyllenhaal is also an active and well-versed theater actor outside the movie scene, appearing in various New York stage productions.
Gwyneth Paltrow |Rose Dewitt Bukater – Titanic
After admitting to Howard Stern in 2015 that she turned down a part in Boogie Nights, Gwyneth Paltrow attempted to avoid the discussion of passing on the role of Rose in the iconic film Titanic. The actress said she doesn’t want to talk about turning down movie roles because her mother won’t like it. She also added that she couldn’t change the past.
The first time Paltrow earned praise was for her mature performance in the 1995 film Se7en as a young detective’s wife. Blessed with acute intelligence, fair, patrician looks, and the talent to portray complex emotions, she easily paved her way in the period dramas like Emma. She has kept audiences entertained over the years with occasional comedies. Still, her real legacy is apparent in her business investments in the lifestyle brand, Goop, where she earned most of her fortune.
Emma Stone | Unknown Role – Ghostbusters
When it was announced that filmmaker Paul Feig would be creating an all-female version of Ghostbusters, fans all over the internet were dreaming of the perfect cast. Even the original star Bill Murray shared his picks, a list that included actress Emma Stone. Feig also agreed, but Stone later revealed she turned down the role after starring in the film franchise of The Amazing Spider-Man. The 32-year-old star thought the script was funny, but she just didn’t feel it was the right time since she had prior commitments. Actresses Kristen Wiig, Leslie Jones, Kate McKinnon, and Melissa McCarthy ended up as the film’s leading ladies, instead.
Stone continued her streak of success and further investment planning with the movies La La Land and The Favourite. Today, she is widely known as one of Hollywood’s most successful actresses of her generation.
Chiwetel Ejiofor | C – Spectre
The 12 Years a Slave actor Chiwitel Ejiofor declined a hefty paycheck to portray the villainous role of C in the James Bond entry in 2015, the Spectre movie. Emails from the Sony hack revealed that Sherlock’s Andrew Scott won the part for a million dollars less.
After attending the London Academy, Steven Spielberg cast Ejiofor in the film Amistad to play James Covey. He was just age 19 at the time. He has since gone on to establish a steady career in TV, theater projects, and film and has won awards and credits for his work. He was nominated for three Golden Globes, a SAG Award, and won the Laurence Olivier Award in 2008 for his work in Othello. The British actor was also appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II for his immense contribution to the arts.
Burt Reynolds| James Bond – James Bond
There have been several actors who took on the role of 007 in the James Bond franchise. Think Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan, and Sean Connery, to name a few. One actor turned down the role because he felt that it must be played by an English actor instead. This actor turned out to be Burt Reynolds, who was only starting out his career in Hollywood. It would have been his breakout role if he only said yes, but it was for the best.
Reynolds rose to fame for his role in Deliverance, while James Bond was given to Sean Connery for the sixth time. What’s even more surprising was that Reynolds even turned down the role of Han Solo! Well, the actor certainly knows where his acting chops best fits in. Even though he did not take part in the two films, his career did not suffer from it. He still doesn’t have to worry about personal loans because he has enough funds to take care of himself and his family.
Beyonce | Plumette – Beauty and the Beast
The animated film Beauty and the Beast was one of the most beloved Disney films to date, so it is not surprising when it had a live-action adaptation. Emma Watson was perfect for the lead role, true, and Bill Condor, the movie’s director, had big names in his head for the rest of the characters. However, he failed to bring Queen Bey herself into the project. The reason? Well, for an artist of her caliber, being given a small role may not sit well with her.
Beyonce was offered the role of Plumette, the French-speaking feather duster. It may have all been for the best since she has a lot of projects on her plate. Aside from keeping an eye on her investments, Queen Bey was doing world tours and got pregnant, too. What’s more, she even got more projects done instead of shooting for the live-action, which turned out for the best for both the film and the music icon.
Benicio del Toro| Khan – Star Trek: Into Darkness
We might have seen Benicio Del Toro appeared as Khan in the film Star Trek: Into Darkness if only the actor did not pass up on the opportunity. The price that he and his agents did not fall into place. Instead, the role fell on the lap of Benedict Cumberbatch, who seems to have gained a considerable amount of fans while portraying Smaug and Sherlock Holmes.
Del Toro is best known for his acting chops that leave a lasting impression on his audience regardless of his screen time. His breakout performance was in the film, The Usual Suspects, which was released in 1995. Then there was Snatch, 21 Grams, and Sin City, among others. He had definitely left a mark on his audience when he took on the role of the hitman in Sicario. It seems that his investments in acting have made him a valuable figure in Hollywood.
Sandra Bernhard | Miranda Hobbes – Sex and the City
The hit TV show Sex and the City might have been quite different if Sandra Bernhard accepted the role for Miranda Hobbes. Instead, it went to Cynthia Nixon, whose performance as Miranda Hobbes was noteworthy. Many are wondering why Bernhard turned down the offer. Well, it seems that the actress wasn’t impressed by the script and the salary, too. The actress was never one to mince words stating that if she thought that the writing was any good, she would have reconsidered her decision.
Additionally, Bernhard was disappointed with the low paycheck being offered, which was also why she turned it down. She even turned on the executive producer and lead star, Sarah Jessica Parker. Perhaps it turned out for the best since Bernhard had other projects to her name, even if Sex and the City ran for several seasons. This was not a loss to the actress since she has plenty of investment money to keep her comfortable.
Angela Bassett | Leticia Musgrove – Monster’s Ball
The film Monster’s Ball had become one of the biggest films of all time, not to mention getting its star, Halle Berry, an Academy Award for Best Actress. It was the first for an African-American woman to do so, which is one reason why many are asking, what if Angela Bassett did agree to do the role in the first place? Well, Bassett has a good reason she thought it wasn’t a good fit for her. According to the How Stella Got Her Groove Back star, she didn’t like the role because she didn’t want to become a prostitute in the film, which was often given to women of color at that time.
Bassett did not begrudge Halle Berry the Oscar win, but she emphasized that it was the role, not the actress, that she had a problem with. Even though she hasn’t received much work during that time, Bassett still chose to turn down the role. Perhaps she doesn’t have to worry much about her money if she has a financial adviser to help her keep her finances on the right track.
Molly Ringwald| Vivian Ward – Pretty Woman
Molly Ringwald rose to fame during the 1980s, thanks to her connections to John Hughes. The actress was the star in three of his movies, namely Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club, and Pretty in Pink. Fast forward several years later, and Ringwald came across the script for the film Pretty Woman, but it wasn’t she who turned down the role. According to the actress, the part wasn’t exactly for her to turn down because it wasn’t offered to her.
The role was instead given to Julia Roberts, and it could be said that her performance here sealed her fate as a bona fide actress. Ringwald assured her fans that she didn’t mind not getting the role since Roberts was the perfect fit for it, not to mention the on-screen chemistry between Roberts and leading man, Richard Gere, gave the film that much-needed edge. The actress has other matters to attend to at the time, such as her investments.
Dana Delaney | Carrie Bradshaw – Sex and the City
The mere mention of Carrie Bradshaw and people will automatically associate the character with Sarah Jessica Parker. She breathed life into the role for the hit TV show Sex and the City. Parker did a phenomenal acting job that the series ran for several seasons and the rest of her co-stars. The lead role, however, wasn’t offered to her first but Dana Delaney. Yes, Delaney could have done a great job herself, but there is a reason why she turned it down.
Delaney didn’t want to be typecast into roles for films with sexy themes. This is because she had already done two films with the same topic: Exit to Eden and Live Nude Girls. Did her decision affect her career? The good news is that it didn’t. Delaney took on more projects, with one making her a household name which was in Desperate Housewives. To her credit, Delaney is a versatile actress that projects keep coming her way.
Al Pacino | Han Solo – Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope
Harrison Ford has made a name for himself as he took on the titular role of Han Solo in Star Wars: A New Hope, but what if it was Al Pacino who played the part instead? The Scent of the Woman star was offered the role, true, but he did not jump on it. The reason? Pacino didn’t understand much of the dialogue presented to him, which was not his strongest suit, as George Lucas stated.
Pacino didn’t mind not getting the part, however, as he thought he helped a fellow actor in the process. Ford was working as a carpenter when he was asked to read the lines for Solo. Well, it worked in his favor, too, sealing his fate as a pop culture icon today. Both Pacino and Ford turned out to have great careers themselves with investment money pouring in.
Jack Nicholson | Michael Corleone – The Godfather
The Godfather film franchise was one of the best movies to date, with Al Pacino taking on the role of Michael Corleone, and he couldn’t have done it better. However, Pacino wasn’t really the first to be offered the part. Since the movie was considered risky, the director wanted an established actor to play the lead. Jack Nicholson was one of those established actors, but he turned down the role.
The reason? Nicholson believed that an Italian should play the role, and Al Pacino was the perfect one for it. To his credit, Nicholson has already starred in several hit films at the time, so it wasn’t surprising that he chose to pass on the role. On his part, Pacino did not want to do the film because no one wanted him. Francis Ford Coppola, whoever, stuck to his guns and insisted that Pacino star in his movie. Good thing, too, because it was a huge hit!
Jim Carrey | Edward Scissorhands – Edward Scissorhands
Jim Carrey has already been making waves as a comedian, thanks to his successful stint in the TV show, In Living Color. As a drama actor, however, is another question. Well, he still had to put a lot of investments into honing his craft before he could get a role for one, but did you know that he was initially offered the role for Edward Scissorhands? Just imagine what it would be like if he won the part for this Tim Burton movie!
Since Carrey was still building his career as an actor, the role was given to Johnny Depp instead, giving his character so much depth. It may have been different altogether to see Carrey dressed up as Edward Scissorhands. Fortunately, his decision not to take on the role was for the best because he made quite an earning in taking more comedic roles like The Mask and Ace Ventura: Pet Detective.
Emily Browning | Bella Swan – Twilight
The Twilight film franchise was a success thanks to the efforts of its cast, starting with Kristin Stewart and Robert Pattinson. However, the author, Stephanie Meyer, was thinking of Emily Browning as the lead character while writing the script. Browning, who is known for her role in the film Sucker Punch, didn’t mince words when it comes to the film. The actress thought the relationship between Bella and Edward was emotionally abusive, which didn’t appeal to her.
Browning did state that she was asked to audition for the part, but she didn’t do so because she wasn’t interested at all. What troubled her the most was she found the character of Edward emotionally abusive towards Bella. She did have nice words to say about Stewart, who became Bella instead, though. Browning may not have projects coming her way that often, but she has earned a considerable amount while shooting Sucker Punch and Legend. An investment planning will help her secure her money for future use for sure.
Bette Midler| Delores Van Cartier/ Sister Mary Clarence – Sister Act
Bette Midler’s on-stage persona and her powerful vocals can easily land her any musical films that she wants. The Hocus Pocus star may have worked on high-grossing films already, but there are some instances when her choices were not spot on. Like any Hollywood star, Midler made some poor decisions about particular projects, just like in Sister Act. She was slated to play the role of Delores Van Cartier but turned it down.
According to the actress, she didn’t think that her fans would like to see her as a nun. Well, it turned out that Sister Act became a huge success with Whoopi Goldberg in it. Still, there was no need to be embarrassed about how things turned out. Midler still had several projects under her belt, which helped her earn considerable investment money that would help her live the comfortable life she deserves.
Anne Hathaway | Alison – Knocked Up
Anne Hathaway is one of Hollywood’s A-listers who doesn’t mind taking on various roles. However, she turned down the part of playing Alison on Judd Apatow’s Knocked Up. One reason behind this is that Hathaway didn’t like the graphic birth scene included in the movie. The actress stated that she didn’t know how she would feel on the other side of the screen about birthing. The lead role was given to Katherine Heigl instead, who is best known for her work in Grey’s Anatomy.
Hathaway may have turned down the role, but Heigl did an exceptional performance for the comedy flick, which is one of the reasons why it became a big hit. Regarding the birthing scene, Hathaway has become a mother herself already, so it may help that she is now better prepared when a birthing scene comes up in her future roles. Hathaway remains a much sought-after actress, and because of it, she doesn’t have to worry about mortgage payments since she has the means to pay them off.
Johnny Depp |Ferris Bueller – Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off will forever remain one of the most iconic movies to date, but before Matthew Broderick landed the role, Johnny Depp was being wooed for the part of Ferris Bueller. Depp is already a seasoned actor ever since he first appeared on screen during the 1980s. There was no denying he was a teenage heartthrob back then, especially during 21 Jump Street heyday, but he was ready for more serious roles. Fortunately, he found Tim Burton, and the two had worked on several films to date.
As for Ferris Bueller, John Hughes already imagined that Depp would play the character. However, because of a conflict in his schedule, the controversial actor had to decline the offer. To his credit, Matthew Broderick got into character for the film, and the rest was history. The Corpse Bride star called Broderick “great” in the movie, which was quite true.
Julia Roberts| Leigh Anne Tuohy – The Blind Side
Julia Roberts is one of Hollywood’s veteran actresses to date, thanks to her performance in Pretty Woman, which propelled her to the limelight. As with any other celebrities who were given roles to choose from, she declined the offer to play Leigh Anne Tuohy in The Blind Side. One reason behind this was that she decided to work with Garry Marshall for Valentine’s Day. Marshall was the same director for Pretty Woman, so it is understandable why Roberts will work for him instead. Additionally, Fox wanted to change the lead character into a male since Roberts wasn’t on board. Later on, several Hollywood studios passed on the script for The Blind Side until Alcon picked it up.
Alcon approached Sandra Bullock instead for the role. The Speed actress accepted a lower salary for the movie but cut a deal to get a bigger share at the box office earnings. Well, it turned out to be in Bullock’s favor because the film turned out a huge hit! The investments that the studio put into the movie had a massive return, thanks to the right cast.
Matthew Broderick | Walter White – Breaking Bad
If AMC had stuck to their initial idea and cast someone else to play Walter White, Breaking Bad could have gone out very differently. While Vince Gilligan was still in the initial phases of development for the series, the network executives had different actors in mind for the character of Walter White. Bryan Cranston eventually got the role, and the rest is history. Breaking Bad became one of the most critically praised TV programs of all time.
It isn’t easy to envision anyone other than Cranston as Walt. Walt worked as the driving force behind Breaking Bad’s many highs and lows as the series’ face. AMC had a definite idea in mind for the figurehead of the series. According to reports, the network executives were eyeing Matthew Broderick to play White. Broderick had several film investments, but he had never had a long-term job on TV. He declined the offer, which opened the door to Cranston.
Chevy Chase | Lester Burnham – American Beauty
Although American Beauty was released 20 years ago, its strength, grace, and brilliance still resonate and make it essential viewing. It tells the narrative of Lester and Carolyn Burnham and their daughter Jane and stars Kevin Spacey, Chris Cooper, and Annette Benning. Sam Mendes did offer two other actors, Tom Hanks and Chevy Chase, a part in the film even though Spacey was his first choice.
Chevy has a history of passing up fantastic roles, either by choice or not. His declines range from Forrest Gump to Animal House to Ghostbusters to American Gigolo. Arguably his most significant missed opportunity was the chance to play Lester in American Beauty. If Chevy had equaled Spacey’s outstanding performance, the movie could have been the pinnacle of his otherwise uneventful degree. That movie might even earn him an improbable Oscar nomination. However, who is to say that Chevy would have been as good as Spacey in that role?
Denzel Washington | Michael Clayton – Michael Clayton
Tony Gilroy penned and directed the film Michael Clayton. The movie stars George Clooney as a high-powered lawyer who becomes embroiled in a complicated case involving one of his firm’s primary clients. Even so, can you imagine if Denzel Washington, instead of Clooney, played the titular character in the film?
If Washington could only turn back time, he would change his mind about passing up lucrative parts, which he considers his most significant professional regrets. We can’t help but imagine how drastically that film might have been if Washington had starred in it. While Clayton was Gilroy’s directorial debut, Clooney had the confidence to take the risk that Washington didn’t. The film earned a nomination for seven Academy Awards, including Best Director for Gilroy. Clooney also received a nomination as Best Actor in a Leading Role, showing that Washington did indeed miss out.
Joaquin Phoenix | Jack Twist – Brokeback Mountain
Because of the outstanding performance of its iconic protagonists, Brokeback Mountain was a critical and economic success when the movie was released. It contained some of the best LGBTQ characters to ever appear on the big screen. Not only that, but the flick is one of the best LGBTQ films ever made. Jake Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger portrayed a cowboy and a ranch hand, respectively, whose love defines their lives for the next 20 years.
The movie is one of the great book-to-film adaptations, and at one point, it almost looked completely different. Could you see Joaquin Phoenix in the leading role? Well, it was on the verge of happening! He was a front-runner for a lead role in the film, but that did not materialize. Joaquin has done well for himself over the years, but skipping Brokeback Mountain appears to be an unwise decision on his part. Nevertheless, he carved his degree and frequently results in some of the most exciting and profound performances in modern cinema.
Garrett Hedlund | Christian Gray – 50 Shades of Gray
Although Fifty Shades of Grey swept the box office, adapting E.L.James’ best-selling novel for the big screen wasn’t easy. While Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan starred as Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey, finding the appropriate chemistry between two actors with available schedules proved challenging.
Garrett Hedlund reportedly turned down the role before Dornan secured it. James hand-picked the 28-year-old Tron: Legacy star to play the bondage-loving Grey. However, Hedlund declined because he didn’t want to commit to Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed. In a fan-made mashup video that gained over a million views, fans pushed Ian Somerhalder to play Christian Grey and Alexis Bledel to play Anastasia Steele. However, Johnson and Dornan got the roles that earned them a great degree of popularity. As for Hedlund, he continued to generate the most buzz of his career and cemented a viable leading man rank for years to come.
Angelina Jolie | Alex Munday – Charlie’s Angels
It’s hard to imagine Charlie’s Angels was initially adapted for the big screen 20 years ago. McG directed two feature film adaptations of the successful TV series, which aired for five seasons from 1976 to 1981. Charlie’s Angels, released in 2000, and Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle, released in 2003, both star Drew Barrymore, Cameron Diaz, and Lucy Liu as the titular angels.
As you can expect, earning a coveted degree as one of Charlie’s Angels was a big thing at the time for Hollywood women, but did you know who almost got the roles of Alex, Dylan, and Natalie? We can’t keep track of them all, but Angelina Jolie was amongst them. They offered Alex Munday to Angie, but she turned it down since she wasn’t a fan of the original 1970s series. Lucy eventually got the job, but not before Jada Pinkett Smith and Thandie Newton declined due to scheduling issues.
Gillian Anderson | Lady Cora Crawley – Downton Abbey
Gillian Anderson gained her degree of fame for her role as Agent Dana Scully on The X-Files. She’s most recently been in the news for her contentious portrayal of Margaret Thatcher in Netflix’s The Crown. Anderson has starred in some memorable roles, but could you think she also turned down a few significant opportunities? Aside from Game of Thrones, Gillian could have also been in Downton Abbey.
It’s not that Anderson despises British historical drama; on the contrary, she adores it. She has previously appeared in similar productions such as The Fall and Great Expectations. Her age, however, played a role in her decision to reject Downton Abbey. Michelle Dockery, who played Mary, the eldest daughter, is only 13 years Anderson’s senior. We’d have preferred to see Anderson in the role, but it isn’t easy to envision anyone other than McGovern as Lady Crawley.
Pamela Anderson | Dana Scully – The X Files
Dana Scully on The X-Files might have been drastically different if the Fox Network had its way. Over three decades after its premiere, The X-Files is still one of the most popular science-fiction shows on TV. The show followed two FBI agents assigned to solve the so-called X-Files: believer Fox Mulder and skeptic Dana Scully. Even as they battled other weird beasts, the two spies gathered evidence of a conspiracy between alien invaders and a shadow government throughout the series.
Gillian Anderson gained a certain degree of fame and earned nominations for several accolades for her performance in the show. Fans praised her character for transcending most of the stereotypes associated with women in science-fiction programs. Anderson revealed that Fox sought to entice Pamela Anderson away from her supporting position on Baywatch by offering her the role of Scully. Fortunately for her, executive producer Chris Carter defended the actress, claiming that she was the only star who conveyed the part.
Paul Shaffer | George Costanza – Seinfeld
Throughout Seinfeld’s nine-season run, the show’s popularity catapulted Jerry Seinfeld to an unprecedented degree of celebrity. The show also boosted Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Elaine Benes, Michael Richards as Kramer, and Jason Alexander as George Constanza, who played Seinfeld’s buddies. Because of how successful the program and its depictions were, it’s nearly impossible to picture anyone else in these roles. However, these performers were not the frontrunners for their particular roles during the Seinfeld casting process.
In the case of Jason Alexander, he was not the first option for the role of George. Several other actors were up for the position of Seinfeld’s disgruntled best pal. According to reports, Steve Buscemi and Paul Shaffer were reportedly running for George’s role. After missing out on this potentially career-changing assignment, the other contenders found varying levels of success. Shaffer voiced Hermes in Disney’s Hercules, and Buscemi was featured in Reservoir Dogs and Fargo.
Harrison Ford | Oskar Schindler – Schindler’s List
Steven Spielberg crafted the ultimate cinematic portrayal of the horrors of the Holocaust and one of the greatest movies of all time. He brought Oskar Schindler’s struggle to save 1,200 Jews from Nazi concentration camps to the big screen in Schindler’s List. The film became a cultural milestone because of everything from the screenplay to aesthetically arresting black-and-white photography. Nearly everyone who has seen the movie admits that Spielberg’s work from 1993 is a true masterpiece.
However, Harrison Ford turned down the lead role of Oskar Schindler, so Liam Neeson took the character. Usually, an actor declines a spot because he is uninterested in the picture, yet Ford didn’t want his degree of popularity to detract from the film’s grim message. Ford was right in his decision, and while Neeson was starting to gain a reputation, he made a significant impact on this one.
Daryl Hannah | Vivian Ward – Pretty Woman
Pretty Woman first aired on television in 1990. This one-of-a-kind love story still enchanted a generation and earned Julia Roberts a superstar degree. The film was supposed to end in tragedy at first. When Disney Studios took over the production, however, the script took an entirely different turn. It became the beloved romantic comedy with a chivalrous happy ending that we all know and love.
The title of Pretty Woman changed, but Vivian’s lead character also changed dramatically from the writing to the filming process. According to sources, many actresses, including Darryl Hannah, turned down the lead part. After an extensive casting process, Roberts, a then-young and somewhat unknown actress, was finally cast in the role. After that, the rest is history. We may look back fondly on the now-iconic 1990s rom-com, thanks to Roberts, Garry Marshall, and Richard Gere.
Drew Barrymore | Nomi Malone – Showgirls
Drew Barrymore has led many different lives in real life and on television. Since the 1980s, the actress has been busy as a member of the famed Barrymore performing family. Through the years, her degree of talent has taken her to some dark roles. Even as she was taking more provocative material, Barrymore refused to do one film in particular, a future cult masterpiece.
Barrymore has been candid about her personal experiences in Hollywood as a youngster and a teen. Even so, she refused to participate in filmmaker Paul Verhoeven’s drama Showgirls. They offered the lead role of Nomi to several actors, including Barrymore, Madonna, and Sharon Stone. They all declined, and Elizabeth Berkley of Saved By the Bell starred in the film. According to Drew, she was concerned with the quantity of bareness required. Hailed as a so-bad-it’s-good film by fans, Showgirls would undoubtedly be considerably different with Barrymore in the lead.
Tom Cruise | Ren McCormack – Footloose
It isn’t easy to imagine the first Footloose without Kevin Bacon. When he starred as Ren McCormack in the legendary 1984 dance picture, the Hollywood veteran was at the highest degree of stardom. Footloose is an engaging film that chronicles the narrative of Ren, a vivacious adolescent. He comes to a small town where dancing and rock music are forbidden. The 1984 drama picture had its issue when Ren’s desire to dance influenced his peers.
While we can’t imagine anybody playing Ren, Bacon wasn’t the only big name in Hollywood who auditioned for the role. Tom Cruise almost played this character. Because of his light dance skills in Risky Business, the producers chose Cruise. However, he declined due to a scheduling issue with the 1983 film All the Right Moves. It didn’t work out for Cruise, so the movie producers went with Bacon, who did a fantastic job in the role.
Helen Mirren | Mrs. Weiss – Precious
Based on Sapphire’s famous novel Push, Precious is a moving film directed by Lee Daniels. This movie depicts the numerous ways that loving, caring, and compassionate people can be catalysts for positive transformation in the lives of others. Blu Rain acts as Precious’s surrogate mother, providing her with opportunities she has never had before. Ms. Weiss, played by Mariah Carey, is a welfare caseworker whose professional detachment is affected when she hears of the horrible realities of a degraded girl’s home life.
On paper, the casting appears satirical, as though evoking the days of old Hollywood. Helen Mirren, who played in Daniels’ previous picture Shadowboxer, was initially cast in the character of Ms. Weiss. She refused the part as she was offered a position in a “larger movie,” according to director Daniels. Nevertheless, Carey did a great job adding this opportunity to her career investments.
Paul Giamatti | Michael Scott – The Office
Steve Carell and The Office are a match made in heaven. Nonetheless, the partnership between the actor and the show was actually on the verge of not happening. The mockumentary series premiered on NBC in March 2005 and ran for nine seasons. A group of unfortunate employees at a failing paper supply firm in Scranton, PA, was the focus of the half-hour comedy. Michael Scott, The Office’s clumsy Dunder Mifflin regional manager, was played by Carell, but he wasn’t the only actor considered for the job.
Paul Giamatti was offered the role, but the producers of the show eventually gave the part to the brilliant Carell, and it’s impossible to picture anyone else doing it. Following the popularity of Sideways, Giamatti was the first candidate to play Scott, but he turned it down. Giamatti is a fantastic comic performer, but let’s be honest— The Office wouldn’t have lasted seven years without Carell’s great degree of humor and wit.
Whitney Houston | Sondra Huxtable – The Cosby Show
Whitney Houston, the highly renowned singer, came dangerously close to landing the role of the eldest Huxtable daughter on the popular 1980s comedy. The Grammy and Emmy Award-winning musician was cast as Sondra Huxtable on The Cosby Show, credits to director Jay Sandrich.
Houston auditioned in the early 1980s and was offered the job, but she declined in order to pursue her music career. Sandrich, who helmed the first three seasons of the highly successful sitcom, recalls a young Houston being hesitant to sign her contract because she feared it would jeopardize her budding singing career “I’d like to pursue a career as a singer… I can’t be in every show, but I must be on every tour.'” Sandrich believes that the then-teenager realized she would be a significant singing star right then and there. Sabrina LeBeauf was cast in the role instead.
Katie Holmes | Buffy Summers – Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Just like any other generation, several starlets in the 1990s competed for the top jobs that would boost their renown. Sitcom credit roles, in particular, were prized for their guaranteed job stability. At the time, the Queens of the TV were Brenda Walsh from Beverly Hills, 90210, Rachel Green from Friends, and Buffy Summers from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The stars who played them have become household names, and we can’t fathom their characters being performed by anybody else. However, we are all aware that some of our favorite roles could have been played by various performers.
Katie Holmes, on the other hand, could have become one of these characters. Holmes was on the call sheet for many fantastic TV shows when she broke through in 1997. Sarah Michelle Gellar, who starred in the iconic ’90s series Buffy, originally auditioned for the cheerleading role of Cordelia but was the only cast after Holmes turned it down to finish high school.
Michelle Pfeiffer | Clarice Sterling – The Silence of the Lambs
Michelle Pfeiffer once discussed why she passed up the role of Clarice Starling in The Silence of the Lambs. Pfeiffer, a legendary actress in her own right, rose to prominence in the 1980s with performances in films such as Grease 2 and Scarface. Throughout the years, she’s been in many movies and has gotten a lot of praise for them, including three Oscar nominations to her credit. Pfeiffer is now preparing to reprise her role as Janet van Dyne in the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, which is set to be released in 2022.
Pfeiffer has played various important roles, but one, in particular, stood out: Clarice in The Silence of the Lambs. When author Ted Tally drafted the film’s screenplay, he recommended Jodie Foster, who reportedly lobbied for the part and eventually got it. However, when director Jonathan Demme was hired, he preferred Pfeiffer, who declined because she thought the film was too violent.
Tom Selleck | Indiana Jones – Indiana Jones
Can you picture anyone else playing Dr. Henry Jones Jr. in the Indiana Jones franchise aside from Harrison Ford? Can you imagine anyone else playing Thomas Magnum in Magnum, P.I. other than Tom Selleck? Of course, we didn’t know it at the time, but Selleck was almost cast in the lead role of Raiders of the Lost Ark in 1981. He could have played Indiana Jones if it hadn’t been for a contract he had signed for Magnum, P.I., the hit detective series that ended up being his career-defining role.
Credits to WhatCulture, the producers of Magnum P.I. refused to allow him to reprise his role as the adventure-seeking archeologist, which would have given him an even bigger break. Selleck was reportedly torn between the two options, but he chose to stay with the show. Of course, we all know Harrison Ford was cast in the iconic role.
Jodie Foster | Chris Parker – Adventures in Babysitting
If you’re looking for a fantastic teen adventure film, the 1980s are the decade to consider. Adventures in Babysitting is an incredible film that everyone should see. However, in reality, Jodie Foster came close to portraying the great Chris Parker.
Foster is an actress, director, and producer from the United States. She has received countless awards, including two Academy Awards, three British Academy Film Awards, and the honorary Cecil B. DeMille Award. Unfortunately, Foster, Valerie Bertinelli, Michelle Pfeiffer, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, and Justine Bateman denied the lead role of a harried teenage babysitter in one of the most popular films 1980s. Instead, Elisabeth Shue was cast in the role. Foster also starred in Sleepless in Seattle and was set to play Debbie in Knocked Up, so she stepped out at the last minute. Even then, she already had an impressive credit score.
Melanie Griffith | Thelma – Thelma and Louise
It’s been more than 25 years since Thelma and Louise took their first road trip in their 1966 Thunderbird. The legendary film starring Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis, directed by Ridley Scott, was released in theaters in May 1991, and has since been regarded as a feminist landmark. In addition, Callie Khouri won an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay to her credit.
Thelma & Louise belongs to the American road movie’s vast, visionary heritage. It celebrates the legend of two carefree souls cramming into a 1956 T-Bird and going out of town to have a good time and cause havoc. We know the route better than that, and we know the cost— these characters will have gone through a rite of passage and will have discovered themselves before the voyage is finished. Griffith reportedly turned down one of the lead roles in the mega-hit from 1991, which starred Geena Davis and Susan Sarandon.