Find Out Which Celebrities Turned Down These Iconic Blockbuster Roles
As the adage goes “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure,” this has been valid at any time in our lives. We should always think it through before saying no to an opportunity. In this article, you’ll learn about the numerous celebrities and the screen roles they declined, which turned out to be an iconic character for the one who was able to do it. For example, Scarlett Johansson is beyond perfect to portray Black Widow, however, she was not really the one who’s set to play the original chick of the Avengers.
Remember Neo from The Matrix franchise, who was made known by Keanu Reeves? One famous actor was courted to wear the black suit and shades. Unfortunately, he refused, and fans are more than happy that he did. Come to think of it, what if the original actress had the credit of Johansson? What if another actor gave life to Neo, and not Reeves. How do you think would it turn out? How would you feel about it?
Al Pacino | Han Solo – Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope
It was head-scratching for Al Pacino as the role of Han Solo, made popular by Harrison Ford, was originally pitched to him, but he rejected the offer because he didn’t understand the script. At that time, he made an investment in The Godfather, which was a film trilogy based on the best-selling novel with the same title. Pacino recognized that saying “no” to Star Wars was “another missed opportunity.” However, the trilogy won numerous Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay.
Al was not the only one who got an invitation to play the known character as Robert De Niro and Jack Nicholson were also shortlisted. As most probably know, A New Hope was released on May 25, 1977, and the fourth episode of the movie franchise was a huge hit, garnering over $460 million in the US alone, while its worldwide box office was $775 million. If this value were to adjust for inflation, that would be $1.5 billion.
Angela Bassett | Leticia Musgrove – Monster’s Ball
American producer, director, and producer Angela Evelyn Bassett is known for her performance in the film What’s Love Got to Do with It as Tina Turner. With this film, she received a nomination for an Academy Awards for Best Actress, but she earned the corresponding recognition at the Golden Globes. In 2000, Bassett declined the offer from the filmmakers of the movie Monster’s Ball. She seemed unapologetic of what she did as she believed that the character is “…a stereotype about black women and sexuality.”
If you didn’t know, Angela has been vocal about the rights of every African-American in the US, and that she even included it in her Icon Award acceptance speech at the 2019 BET Awards. Anyway, Halle Berry got the rejected lead credit and turned it into an Academy Award-winning role. She became the first and only actress to win Best Actress as a person of color.
Anne Hathaway | Alison Scott – Knocked Up
Anne has a long list of unforgettable characters she portrayed in her filmography, including her Academy-winning credit role in Les Miserables and the classic The Devil Wears Prada. On June 1, 2007, the hit film Knocked Up was released, and Hathaway almost got the role of Alison Scott by Katherine Heigl, but she eventually gave it a thumbs down. According to The List, Anne read the script, and she even pointed out the giving birth scene, stating that she didn’t know what to feel about it, as she hadn’t entered motherhood that time. However, she expressed regret and even mentioned, “…I really should have done that movie.”
According to Rotten Tomatoes, Knocked Up got 89% in the Tomatometer and an Audience Score of 83%, with over 250,000 ratings, while its worldwide gross was $219 million. Although she missed one, Hathaway still had numerous projects later on and accumulated a net worth of $60 million.
Benicio Del Toro | Khan – Star Trek: Into Darkness
Benicio is an Academy award-winning actor who was best known for his credit in the movie Traffic, which was released back in 2000. He learned a lesson the hardest way — to think it thoroughly before turning down an opportunity. Before we knew of Benedict Cumberbatch as Khan in Star Trek: Into Darkness, which was directed by J.J Adams and was released by Bad Robot Productions. The role was initially offered to Benicio, but he gave it a pass due to disagreements on his salary.
What did Benicio miss? Into Darkness became the highest-grossing movie in the Star Trek franchise, earning over $467 million in worldwide gross. It’s also safe to say that this film also helped Cumberbatch in landing other roles, including Doctor Strange. If you haven’t watched this blockbuster hit, Rotten Tomatoes suggests that you can watch it on several subscription-based streaming platforms, including VUDU and Prime Video.
Beyoncé | Plumette – Beauty And The Beast
Aside from turning down the now diamond single All About The Bass, Queen B also declined the offer to give voice to Plumette in the live-action Disney film Beauty and the Beast. Director Bill Condon mentioned that he wanted Beyonce to be part of the cast and stated that “She would have been a good feather duster.” She declined for an unknown reason, but we should also point out that her album Lemonade and her athleisure brand Ivy Park were both launched in 2016.
Maybe she had a lot on her plate that she couldn’t entertain another commitment? That is just our take. However, Gugu Mbatha-raw stepped in for the character, and she undoubtedly took us to another degree of voice acting. The film led by Emma Watson as Belle and Dan Stevens as Beast was released on March 17, 2017, and it scored a whopping worldwide gross of over $1.25 billion.
Burt Reynolds | James Bond – James Bond
The One That Got Away by Katy Perry could be a song for Burt Reynolds considering the fact that he was the choice to replace Sean Connery to play the iconic James Bond role, but he refused since he believed that the mass might not accept an American 007. However, he later acknowledged the mistake he made by saying, “I could’ve done it and … done it well.”
This is not the only time he turned down a lead credit, he also said no to Han Solo of Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope and Edward Lewis of Pretty Woman, opposite Julia Roberts, both characters now became one of the career highlights of Harrison Ford and Richard Gere. If he did both films, his net worth might be higher than what it is currently — $3 million. He obviously learned his lessons, so maybe in another life?
Charlie Hunnam | Christian Grey – Fifty Shades Of Grey
It’s very difficult to think how Fifty Shades might look like if Jamie Dornan is not Christian Grey. The role was originally given to Charlie Hunnam, but he stated that he has too much going on, including his TV show Son of Anarchy and Crimson Peak by Guillermo del Toro. He also emphasized that he has “a lot of personal stuff” during the time.
If you’re out of the loop, Fifty Shades is a trilogy based on E. L. James’ novel of a similar name. The first film was directed by Sam Taylor-Johnson, then she was replaced by James Foley for the remaining two. The film is certainly the biggest break for Dornan, not to mention that he was able to purchase a magnificent estate in Hollywood Hills, most probably without mortgage loans involved. On the other hand, Dakota Johnson, who portrayed the role of Anastasia Steele, also helped the film series to earn an accumulated gross of $1.5 billion worldwide.
Chiwetel Ejiofor C | Spectre
Spectre is a James Bond movie that was released back in 2015, starring Daniel Craig, Lea Seydoux, and Christoph Waltz. In this film, Academy-nominated actor Chiwetel Ejiofor was courted to play the role of C, but Andrew Scott took over. Cosmopolitan used the phrase “appeared to decline” to describe what really transpired to the casting. However, no sources stated that the 12 Years A Slave actor outspokenly refused the offer.
Variety, on the other hand, suggests that MGM Studios wanted to cut the budget of the film from “mid-$300Ms” to a mere $250 million. Scott allegedly got his paycheck $1 million less than what Chiwetel might have gotten. Anyway, the film performed beyond spectacular after it garnered a worldwide gross of over $879 million. If you haven’t watched Spectre, Rotten Tomatoes hints that it could be bought or rented on Prime Video and Apple TV, and you might not need personal loans to stream it.
Christina Applegate | Elle Woods – Legally Blonde
Before you say that Reese Witherspoon gave justice to the role, which she definitely did, why not imagine Christina Applegate portraying Elle Woods first? Okay, stop, I know it’s difficult. After her hit show Married… With Children, Christina revealed that she was given the script of the Legally Blonde, but she mentioned that she got scared because the character was kinda similar to what she just did. During her interview with Entertainment Tonight, she expressed quite the regret of not portraying the aspiring blonde lawyer. She even mentioned, “What a stupid move that was, right?”
Anyway, Legally Blonde was a huge hit, thanks to Reese. After its release on July 13, 2001, the movie garnered a worldwide box-office amounting to almost $142 million, against its $18 million production budget. A sequel was then released in 2003, Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde, which also scored a nine-digit gross. In 2022, Witherspoon is set to reprise her role for the second sequel.
Emily Blunt | Black Widow – Iron Man 2
On Pinterest, you’d find an edited picture of Emily Blunt, and you might agree to why they would originally cast her as Black Widow. Yes, before Scarlett Johansson played the iconic and profitable role, Blunt was set to play it, but according to her interview with MTV News, her schedule with Gulliver’s Travels “couldn’t work together.” So she dropped out. The MCU character Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow initially appeared in Iron Man 2. Since then, Scarlett has appeared in numerous MCU films, including the top-grossing Avengers: End Game and Avengers: Infinity War.
Well, MCU fans might still thank Blunt for rejecting the role as Johansson performed really well in the franchise. In fact, she is now set to have her self-titled movie Black Widow, which has a released date of July 9, 2021. Emily, on the other hand, has had multiple box-office hits, including Mary Poppins Returns and A Quiet Place, which gave her a net worth of $80 million. With that fortune, she certainly lives in an estate with the latest home security system.
Emma Roberts | Ashley Benson – Spring Breakers
If you’re having problems with your roofing, call someone to have it repaired. If an actress turned down an acting project, have someone else do it, right? This is similar to what happened to Emma Roberts. After she passed up on the opportunity to play Brit on the hit film Spring Breakers, Ashley Benson stepped in for the role.
The film was released on March 15, 2013, starring James Franco, Selena Gomez, and Vanessa Hudgens. It accumulated a gross of more than $31 million — 6.2 times the production budget. Roberts opted not to be part of it because of a specific scene where she would have to make an intimate scene with Franco and Hudgens in the pool. This may not be as huge as the other films these stars have done, but their major takeaway is the experience of portraying roles that are out of their comfort zone. If you watched it, you’d be surprised at how much profanity Hudgens spit.
Emma Stone | Unknown Role – Ghostbusters
After the announcement that Paul Feig would be directing the Ghostbusters, which is an all-female version, original cast Bill Murray suggested his choices of actresses to play the roles, and one of them was Emma Stone. Feig nodded over this and immediately sought Stone to be part of the team. However, she didn’t feel the same and eventually turned it down.
It’s uncertain to which from the credit of Melissa McCarthy, Leslie Jones, Kate McKinnon, and Kristen Wiig she was asked to portray, but she explained that she just starred in The Amazing Spider-Man films, “The script was really funny,” but she felt that it wasn’t time for her to be part of a franchise again. Ghostbusters was released on July 15, 2016, and it scored a worldwide box-office gross of $229 million. In 2021, another one of these films will be put out, but with different casts.
Emma Watson | Mia – La La Land
This might be confusing for some since two Emmas were involved. Again, Watson was the one who portrayed Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter franchise, while Stone was the leading lady of Andrew Garfield in The Amazing Spider-Man films. In search of the actress who will bring the role of Mia to life, the filmmakers sought Watson to do it, but she mentioned in an interview that she was doing a lot for Beauty and The Beast, so she had to pass. Fortunately, Stone was free, and she got the lead credit.
Everything seemed to work for both of them. Stone had a landslide win from numerous award-giving bodies, including the BAFTA and Academy Awards, while the movie itself received a nomination for Best Picture at the latter awards show. On the other hand, Watson’s ‘Beauty’ grossed more than $1.2 billion worldwide.
Gwyneth Paltrow | Rose Dewitt Bukater – Titanic
This could be the biggest mistake of Gwyneth Paltrow, but not really. While casting for the James Cameron-directed film Titanic, she was one of the best choices for the role of Rose DeWitt Bukater, but she gave it a solid no. Luckily, Kate Winslet got the role, and she was even nominated for Best Actress at the Academy Awards.
As we all probably know, Winslet’s Titanic role is one of only five films in history to gross more than $2 billion worldwide. However, Paltrow was part of two of them: Avengers: End Game and Avengers: Infinity War. According to The Numbers, Gwyneth has accumulated a total worldwide gross of $11.8 billion across all her film acting credits. She is considered one of the highest-grossing actresses of all time. In conclusion, she might have missed one opportunity, but she’s destined to be part of something bigger.
Hugh Jackman | James Bond – Casino Royale
It is not shocking that some stars bail on performing iconic characters as there is this thing called artistic indifferences. Yes, in fact, artistic indifference can play an integral part in the success of a movie as the actor needs to connect to the script or believe in the character that they play so they can genuinely play the part. The same reason Hugh Jackman declined the James Bond role.
Hugh Jackman was among the actors who received a call for the part when the search is on for the next James Bond. During that time, he was about to film the second installment of X-Men and portray Wolverine. The actor stated that he said no to portraying James Bond as he finds the script a bit unrealistic and too much. Likewise, Jackman also wanted to explore other characters outside action films and would not like to be typecast. As such, he managed to do different kinds of films to his credit, including The Greatest Showman, Les Miserables, and The Prestige.
Ja Rule | Tej -2 Fast 2 Furious
Sometimes, people tend to pass on the biggest opportunities in their lives as it seems cloak and disguised on dirt. The same thing happened to Ja Rule, the famous rapper from early 2000 when he let go of the character of Tej in the Fast and Furious franchise. Ja Rule was in the first film of the franchise playing the character Tej who raced against Brian Connor (Paul Walker) and Dom Toretto (Vin Diesel). He was about to reprise the role in the second installment, but Ja Rule got disengaged with the film.
Apparently, the rapper thought that the part would not do good for his career. Likewise, Ja Rule was asking for higher pay credits, which the production cannot afford. As a result, John Singleton, the director of 2 Fast 2 Furious, phoned another rapper named Ludacris, who was more enthusiastic about doing the project. As the 2 Fast 2 Furious hit the box office and bagging popularity and gross sales, Ludacris reaped the success and became a regular character in the following installment.
Jake Gyllenhaal | Rick Flag – Suicide Squad
Suicide Squad was the movie about forming a group of supervillains to play superheroes and play the day. It was released back in 2016 at cinemas, featuring the powerhouse cast members, including Margot Robbie, Cara Delevigne, Jared Leto, Viola Davis, and Will Smith. Supposedly, the British actor, Tom Hardy, was supposed to be part of the ensemble and play Rick Flag, but he had to put down the script due to a scheduling conflict. Instead, the director of the film, David Ayer, hand-picked Jake Gyllenhaal to play Rick Flag.
For some reason, Jake made a hard pass despite his seeming availability and open schedule. Fortunately, he made a good decision as Flag seems to play the background role since his screen exposure was reduced to let other characters have their spotlight. Additionally, Jake’s film credits are already impressive, and it might not be a good move if he accepts minor roles as such. Likewise, the film gathered somewhat poor reviews from the viewers despite its good plot and storyline.
Jennifer Connelly | Vivian Ward -Pretty Woman
Pretty Woman is a romantic-comedy film in 1990 that gathered much success and popularity despite its low production investment. The movie is about a businessman who hired a prostitute for a weekend and eventually fell in love with her. It starred Richard Gere and Julia Roberts and was directed by the late Gary Marshall. Initially, the original script and concept of the film had a darker storyline. Accordingly, there are supposed to be nudities and had to end on a sad ending – Vivian got thrown out of the car for thinking she can end up with the businessman. It was later reimagined upon the final casting was done, and Disney took over the production of the film.
Reportedly, Roberts was not the first choice for the role of Vivian. Several candidates were on the list to play Vivian, including Jennifer Connelly, who was favored over Roberts. Apparently, Connelly dropped out of the casting as she was too young to play the character, not knowing that it would be revised. Anyway, it seems like fate was the one at fault for Connelly’s supposed missed achievement.
Jennifer Hudson | Precious -Precious
The 2009 movie Precious was a breakthrough award-winning indie film that gathered much acclaim and credits. It won Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Supporting Actress in the Academy Awards, while the lead character, Gabourey Sidibe, was nominated for the best actress award. As the movie achieved great success, many thought that Jennifer Hudson must have made a wrong decision in turning down the offer to play the role of Precious.
Hudson has no regrets about her decisions and was happy for Sibide’s success. She also said that she already had her moment in 2006 at the Oscars for her role in Dreamgirls. Hudson believes in fate and its ways to make things happen as it is supposed to be. As such, she believes that role was meant for Sibide. The actress also explained that her weight had nothing to do with her declining the project, but instead, she felt that it is not the type of role or character she is willing to portray.
Jennifer Lawrence | Daisy Domergue -The Hateful Eight
Jennifer Lawrence is another actor who passed on a good role. In the 2015 movie The Hateful Eight, Lawrence was the first choice to play Daisy Domergue, one of the eight lead characters of the movie. Apparently, she declined the offer, which was then later awarded and portrayed by Jennifer Jason Leigh.
Quentin Tarantino, the director of the movie, explained that he picked Lawrence to play the part as he believes in her acting skills, but due to the demands of her initial engagements, Lawrence could not afford to accept the role. Tarantino further explained that during that time, Lawrence was filming Joy and was doing promotional events for her breakthrough film, The Hunger Games. Although Lawrence missed the opportunity to star in the renowned director’s film, she has made many good films to her credit, and missing one is not much of a loss.
John Lithgow |The Joker – Batman
The Joker is one of the most iconic roles that Jack Nicholson has ever portrayed. In fact, he has set the bar so high for aspiring actors who wished to play the role of Joker. If one thought that playing the Prince of Crime was an easy thing, no, it isn’t. They say, to effectively personify Joker, one must understand and embody the character of Joker – diverse, dynamic, and insane. As John Lithgow confessed his regrets for declining the Joker, many thought about what it could have been if John played Joker and not Nicholson. It could be different, but he surely would have given justice to the character as he is a brilliant actor.
Accordingly, John said no to Tim Burton when he was asked to do Joker as he thought it would not make a big impact on his resume, but seeing its success made him regret his decision to this day. Today, many actors have portrayed Joker, including the late Heath Ledger, Joaquin Phoenix, and Jared Leto. All of whom have given their fine interpretation of Joker, and to a certain degree, had an after-effect on them.
John Travolta | Forrest Gump – Forrest Gump
Another case of missed opportunity was when John Travolta turned his back on playing Forrest Gump. Actually, it wasn’t the first time Travolta said no to a character that went high up on sales and gathered an impressive credit score. American Gigolo was first offered to Travolta, but he was not interested and later landed on the lap of Richard Gere. Then came Forrest Gump, which became a fan favorite and landed Tom Hanks an Oscar.
Travolta claims that he doesn’t feel any regret for his decision. He went on to say that while he turned down those opportunities, he made something equally satisfying. True enough, Travolta turned down Forrest Gump to star in Pulp Fiction. The said movie was a massive hit and gave Travolta the right boost to revive his career. Likewise, it also landed him a nomination for an Oscar.
Julia Roberts | Annie Reed – Sleepless In Seattle
The Annie Reed character of the film Sleepless In Seattle was supposed to be played by Julia Roberts. While wondering what it could have been like if Roberts and Hanks teamed up, it was not less than a success when Meg Ryan stepped in. Sleepless in Seattle fared well on the box office and earned critical acclaim.
When Roberts was asked if she ever regretted her decision, she adamantly said that she didn’t. She elaborated the fact that she did something the same three years ago in Pretty Woman. Likewise, she told the reporters that she was not too ambitious even though she needed it for her home finance. She also believes that the part was meant for Ryan, who did really great on the film. It was not a loss for Roberts as she has starred in the thriller movie Pelican Brief, in the same year Sleepless in Seattle was released.
Julia Roberts | Viola – Shakespeare In Love
The film Shakespeare In Love in 1998 paved the way for Gwyneth Paltrow to win her first Oscars as best actress. It seems that the stars collided for it to land on Paltrow’s feet as the original casting was meant for Julia Roberts to play Viola.
Set to film in 1991, Roberts dropped out of the film when she heard that Daniel Day-Lewis declined the offer to be cast in the film. Due to Roberts’s sudden exit, the production of the film was put on hold for a couple of years until a new ensemble was formed. The cast includes Joseph Fiennes as Shakespeare, Gwyneth Paltrow as Viola de Lesseps, Geoffrey Rush as Philip Henslowe, Colin Firth as Lord Wessex, and Judi Dench as Queen Elizabeth I. Even though it was another miss for Roberts, we are sure that she compensated for it with an equally successful film that increased her credit score.
Kevin Hart | Alpa Chino -Tropic Thunder
The comedian Kevin Hart is no stranger to declining a role not because he thinks he is a big shot actor but because he knows he can’t give his one hundred percent to the character. The same reason the comedian said no to the role of Alpa Chino in the 2008 movie Tropic Thunder. According to him, upon reading the script and learning the stuff that the characters need to do, he knew to himself that he could not do it.
Notably, the Alpa Chino character is a complex role that Hart was not ready to do yet. He further explained that he didn’t mean to throw shade or inflict any disrespect to the community as he pays a degree of respect to them. It is just that he didn’t have the confidence to play the role during the time. Although, Hart is not dismissing the possibilities of him portraying the same role in the future, probably when he has the courage and the skills to do it.
Leonardo DiCaprio | Alan Turing – The Imitation Game
The Imitation Game is a 2014 biopic of Alan Turing, a brilliant mathematician who helped decipher the codes of Nazis and helped the British win the war. The film earned warm regards to the audience and garnered a hefty credit score in the box office. Benedict Cumberbatch played the lead role and starred next to Keira Knightley, Matthew Good, Charles Dance, and Mark Strong.
Initially, Leonardo DiCaprio was instilled to play the role but backed out for some reason. Subsequently, the film was put on the edge as Warner Bros. backed out upon knowing Leo’s disinterest in the movie. It was later picked up and cast Benedict Cumberbatch to play the epic role. Accordingly, critics agree to have Leo taken out of the film as it may not do good for his career. No regrets for the producers of the film as Benedict gave justice to the role, which suited his acting caliber.
Leonardo DiCaprio | Patrick Bateman – American Psycho
When the rumors spread about the real reason for Leonardo DiCaprio’s exit in the 2000 film American Psycho, it threw shades on the people behind it in defense of Leo. Christian Bale has done an impressive work portraying the role of the serial killer Patrick Bateman, which earned him credits and launched his career to great heights. As such, it also sends an impression that it could have advanced Leo’s career earlier than expected.
According to news, it was Gloria Steinem who talked down Leo to bail out of the project. Having done Titanic, Leo earned admiration from young girls all over the world. Jumping to a new role that victimized a lot of women made Steinem believe that it will not be a good move both for Leo and his followers. Similarly, the director of the film, Mary Harron, favored Bale more than Leo. Accordingly, Leo’s enigmatic charm might have swayed and deviated the movie to its original theme, which Harron surely wouldn’t like to happen. In a lighter sense, Leo starred in The Beach, an equally popular film that gathered much acclaim from the viewers.
Lindsay Lohan | Jade -The Hangover
The Hangover was a three-part comedy film about a group of friends who went through trouble after getting intoxicated. The cast ensemble was led by Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis, and Ken Jeong. The film garnered popularity for its hilarious stints and earned a hefty credit score at the box office. As talks about Lindsay Lohan to star in the film surrounded the media, many threw shades on the actress upon the release of the final casting.
Apparently, the director of the movie clarified the rumors that she might have been the perfect actress to play Jade in the film, but she was too young to fit for the character. The role enlists the persona of a stripper and single mom who got married to the character of Stu during their trip to Las Vegas, which does not suit Lohan’s age at the time. Additionally, it was not only her who did not make it to the final casting as there were Mel Gibson and Liam Neeson who were ousted for a certain role also.
Mark Wahlberg | Lead Role -Brokeback Mountain
Brokeback Mountain was the 2005 risky and controversial film about two men who fell in love with one other despite their status in life. Set in a conservative environment, the star-crossed lovers were forced to hide their relationship to avoid hurting their loved ones. It starred the late Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal, who gathered much respect and credit for their remarkable performance.
Likewise, the film attracted high approval ratings from critics. Apparently, the original team-up was supposed to include Mark Wahlberg. Casting Mark did not push through as he felt uncomfortable playing the part upon reading the script. Additionally, Mark explained that he was not ready for that kind of role, although he knows that it will be a good project, considering the famous Ang Lee was involved. In the end, Jake got cast on the film and felt moved upon reading the storyline, and the rest is history.
Matt Damon | Jake Sully – Avatar
Matt Damon is one of the most bankable stars today. He is well-known for his films such as Saving Private Ryan, The Departed, The Martian, and the Bourne franchise. So, it doesn’t come as a surprise that director James Cameron searched for a lead actor for his epic movie Avatar, he approached Damon. According to Damon, Cameron offered him ten percent of the film’s earnings if he accepted the role. Damon turned it down, saying he couldn’t do it. The role eventually went to Sam Worthington. Avatar would eventually become one of the most profitable movies of all time, with a box office earning of $2.84 billion.
Had Damon accepted it, he could have gotten at least $250 million and possibly even more as Cameron will make four more Avatar movies. Despite the turndown, Damon still became highly successful and rich, with a net worth of $170 million, mostly from royalties and investments. His roles in The Martian, Interstellar, and Ford v Ferrari affirmed his status as a bankable and highly talented star.
Matthew McConaughey | Ego – Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
Matthew McConaughey isn’t just highly talented as an actor but also daring in the roles he had taken over the years. His diverse roles in movies such as Ghosts of Girlfriends Past, Dallas Buyers Club, The Wolf of Wall Street, Interstellar, and the Magic Mike franchise made him a highly versatile actor. It was no surprise then that he was approached to play the role of Ego in Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.
McConaughey was approached to play the celestial villain in the blockbuster superhero flick. However, he turned it down because he was more interested in the film adaptation of Stephen Kings’ The Dark Tower and added that he wanted to take roles in new franchises instead of established ones. The role eventually went to Kurt Russell, who was praised for his performance. The movie became highly successful, as well. Nevertheless, McConaughey remains steadfast in his career and has amassed a net worth of $140 million, mostly through investments and royalties.
Mel Gibson | Maximus – Gladiator
May it be in film or other things, Mel Gibson has certainly made a mark in Hollywood, who is probably well-known for his performance in Mad Max, Braveheart, and Gallipoli. Braveheart, in particular, became one of the reasons why he was offered to take the role of Maximus in the movie Gladiator. He was the first actor approached to play the iconic character. However, Gibson declined it, citing that he was too old as the reason why he turned down the job. Instead, it went to Russell Crowe, who was initially reluctant to read the movie’s script. The movie became a hit, and Crowe was propelled to international stardom.
As for Gibson, he instead took the leading role in The Patriot, starring alongside fellow Aussie Heath Ledger. The movie was quite successful, although not as much as Gladiator. Regardless, Gibson moved on from the turndown and became quite successful not just in acting but also in filmmaking. He made serious investments towards his filming career, creating highly successful movies such as Apocalypto, Hacksaw Ridge, and The Passion of Christ.
Michael B. Jordan | Dr. Dre – Straight Outta Compton
Michael B. Jordan is regarded as one of the most promising actors of his generation. He was first widely known for playing Oscar Grant in Fruitvale Station, which opened the doors to his rise to stardom. One such door was the role of Dr. Dre in Straight Outta Compton, a film chronicling the N.W.A. He was specifically selected by Dr. Dre himself, which showed that the producers and N.W.Aware making a serious investment towards him.
However, he turned it down, focusing on playing Johnny Storm a.k.a The Human Torch in Fantastic Four. Straight Outta Compton was eventually released, to critical acclaim and box-office success. While it was indeed a missed opportunity for Jordan, he immediately rebounded when he starred as Donnie Creed in Creed, alongside Sylvester Stallone as Rocky Balboa. His biggest role, to date, was as Erik Killmonger in Black Panther. Today, he has become a highly successful actor and has dabbled into directing, with him directing Creed III.
Michelle Pfeiffer | Catherine Tramell – Basic Instinct
Michelle Pfeiffer is an actress who is considered to be a sex symbol during the 1980s and 1990s. Her films during the 1980s, such as Scarface, Married to the Mob, Dangerous Liaisons, and The Fabulous Baker Boys captivated and wooed many. Thus, it was not a surprise when she was approached by the makers of the neo-noir movie Basic Instinct to play Catherine Tramell. The character’s description as a femme fatale might have been fit for the actress. However, she turned it down as she didn’t want to do any sexual and nudity scenes.
The role was then offered to Sharon Stone instead. The film became a sensation when it was released in 1992. Pfeiffer, meanwhile, moved to greener pastures, eventually landing a role as Selina Kyle, also known as Catwoman, in Batman Returns. She managed to express the femme fatale in Catwoman and made her even more famous. During this time, Pfeiffer dabbled into film production and made an investment in her own production company, Via Rosa Productions.
Rachel McAdams | Andy Sachs – The Devil Wears Prada
During the 2000s, Rachel McAdams was a swiftly rising star. Her two notable films, The Notebook and Mean Girls, made her an A-list actress in Hollywood, and she was hailed as the It girl. This is why, when the makers of The Devil Wears Prada wanted to find a young actress for Andy Sachs, they initially chose McAdams. While the role of Miranda Priestly immediately went to Meryl Streep, the role of Sachs was much more difficult. McAdams was who the makers wanted, but she turned down the role, citing avoidance of mainstream material as the reason. The role went to Anne Hathaway instead. The movie then became highly successful and was a sensation upon release.
As for McAdams, she took fewer mainstream roles, which also became successful. McAdams eventually became successful for the second time in 2009 after a brief pause in her career. Her recent successful films include Game Night, Disobedience, and Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga. Outside of acting, McAdams has been active in environmental causes, making investments towards various organizations such as Foodstock.
Reese Witherspoon | Sidney Prescott – Scream
While Reese Witherspoon is now highly successful as an actress and entrepreneur, she was just a rising star back in the ‘90s. She began her career as a teen in 1991, with her debut in The Man in the Moon. Her initial successes in both film and TV led to her being approached to play Sidney Prescott in a horror movie called Scream. While the actress could have taken the role, she refused to do so, stating that she didn’t want to be cast in a horror movie.
The role then went to Neve Campbell instead. When Scream was released in December 1996, it was an instant sensation and became the spark that led to the revival of the horror genre during the 1990s. As for Witherspoon, she soon found greener pastures when she was cast in Cruel Intentions and Election. Ever since, she garnered numerous accolades throughout her career, including an Oscar for Walk the Line. Outside of acting, Witherspoon became heavily involved in the fashion business and made an investment in 2015 for her clothing brand Draper James.
Sandra Bullock | Maggie Fitzgerald – Million Dollar Baby
Sandra Bullock has been a prominent actress for decades now. Her breakthrough role was in 1994 with the movie Speed, alongside Keanu Reeves. Notable roles after that include Hope Floats, The Net, and Miss Congeniality. Bullock, however, dreamed of having a boxing movie called Million Dollar Baby made. The movie, at the time in the early 2000s, was already stuck in development hell for years. Eventually, Clint Eastwood and Bullock pulled the movie out of development hell and were given the green light for production. However, she was more focused on the sequel to Miss Congeniality, and the role was then given to Hilary Swank. After it was released in 2004, Million Dollar Baby became a box-office hit and earned Swank an Oscar for Best Actress.
Bullock eventually had found massive successes in films such as Premonition, Bird Box, and The Blind Side, which also earned her an Oscar. Outside of acting, Bullock became successful as a production executive and entrepreneur. She had made investments in various areas such as restaurants, bakeries, and floral shops.
Sarah Jessica Parker | Lydia – Beetlejuice
Among the many actresses who rejected the role of Lydia in the cult classic Beetlejuice, Sarah Jessica Parker was one of them. At the time, director Tim Burton was looking for an actress for the character. Aside from Parker, many were approached like Lori Loughlin, Brooke Shields, Molly Ringwald, and Jennifer Connell, and all of them allegedly rejected the role. Eventually, the role was given to the up-and-coming star Winona Ryder. The movie was released in 1988, with great reception from audiences and critics, which also propelled Ryder’s already promising career.
While Parker had a miss in Beetlejuice, she found considerable success in the 1990s when she starred in films such as L.A. Story, Honeymoon in Vegas, and Hocus Pocus. Eventually, Parker landed her iconic role as Carrie Bradshaw in Sex and the City, garnering her multiple Emmys, Golden Globes, and Screen Actors Guild Awards. She also became heavily involved in the fashion industry, making investments towards her fashion line in collaboration with fashion brands such as Gilt and Nordstrom.
Sarah Michelle Gellar | Amber – Clueless
Clueless is a comedy film that starred Alicia Silverstone alongside Paul Rudd, Stacey Dash, Britanny Murphy, and Elisa Donovan, among others. The story revolves around Cher, a wealthy socialite who is studying at Beverly Hills high school, where she is the most popular student. After successfully hooking up two of her teachers, Cher turns her attention to her classmate, Tai, to give her a makeover. Tai then becomes more popular than her.
During the casting period of Clueless, Sarah Michelle Gellar was currently starring in the soap opera All My Children. She was then noticed by Clueless co-producer Adam Schroeder, who recommended her to writer Amy Heckerling. She was set to play as Amber, Cher’s rival. Unfortunately, Sarah was one of the soap opera’s most valued investments and was tied down by her contract. As tempting as the offer may have been, Sarah had no choice but to reject the casting offer.
Sean Connery | Gandalf – The Lord Of The Rings
Those in the know report that Sean Connery was offered the role of Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings franchise. For better or worse, Connery refused the offer, and Sir Ian McKellen instead got the part. The film series spanned three film releases for over three years, starting with The Fellowship of the Ring released in 2001 and The Two Towers and The Return of the King followed in tow. The story is set in Middle Earth, a fantasy realm, and is the brainchild masterpiece of distinguished author J.R.R. Tolkien.
The eternity of the franchise earned a staggering $2.91 billion at the box office. Understandably, Connery had no insurance that a film of the fantasy genre had the potential of this kind of commercial feat. Moreover, the franchise won countless highly notable accolades. Among which was the historical Academy Awards, where The Return of the King won all of its eleven nominations.
Selena Gomez | Mitchie Torres – Camp Rock
As we know, Selena Gomez rose to fame for her role Alex Russo in the Disney TV series Wizards of Waverly Place. The series spanned for over six years and, to her credit, even won a Primetime Emmy for its TV film adaptation. In a special program E! released, the President and Chief Creative Officer of the Disney Channel, Gary Marsh, revealed that they had their eyes set on Selena when they were casting the lead role for the TV musical Camp Rock.
She humbly refused the offer, stating that she wasn’t ready to explore her singing talents just yet and the iconic role then went to Demi Lovato. Though, eventually, Selena would make a crossover to the music scene. In 2009, she released her first studio album with her band, Selena Gomez & the Scene. To this day she continues to make music and has achieved reasonable success.
Thomas Jane | Don Draper – Mad Men
Don Draper is the breakout role of distinguished actor Jon Hamm in the TV series Mad Men. It is one of the most successful TV series of the 2000s, spanning seven seasons from 2007 to 2015. The story revolves around the advertising executives of Madison Avenue during the 1960s. Don was the brilliant Creative Director of the Sterling Cooper ad agency. Hamm was the perfect fit for this character as his good looks combined with the well-written script, which gave him his silver tongue, caught the attention of millions of viewers.
The success of Mad Men earned Hamm the degree of esteem and attention he deserved as an actor. In an interview he did back in 2011, he revealed that Thomas Jane got the offer to play the iconic role of Don before he did. Though the actress declined the offer, saying that he only did movies. Ironically, with the ever-growing success of TV shows in modern times, especially in the late 2000s and early 2010s, Jane did make a move to TV, starring in the show Hung.
Tiffany Haddish | Unknown Role – Get Out
Some of the big names of Hollywood have the luxury of picking which roles to pick, and who can blame them? If you have the connections and the talent, surely you have endless possibilities that come your way. Tiffany Haddish, in an interview she did with Seth Meyers on the Late Night Show, fondly shared the time when writer-director of the movie Get Out, Jordan Peele, approached her for an audition for a role in the movie. She quickly dismissed the idea, quipping to the director that she doesn’t do horror movies and doesn’t let the demonized stuff that goes along with it inside her house.
Hopefully, Tiffany didn’t regret her decision. Get Out isn’t your usual horror movie. It was thought-provoking and at times funny, given that Jordan is one of the comedy geniuses of our time. To his credit, his movie grossed a whopping $255 million at the box office and even earned an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay.
Tom Cruise | Ren – Footloose
Footloose is one of the most iconic coming-of-age movies of the 1980s and one of Kevin Bacon’s best performances of his career. In his drunken stupor, his character, Ren, releases all his pent-up emotions in a fit of old-school dance sequences that portrayed teenage angst at its finest. To Kevin’s credit, he did the scene justice and remained to be one of his memorable performances to this day.
During the casting period of Footloose, Tom Cruise was actually in the mix. At this point, he was highly recognized for his performance in the movie Risky Business, where he also had an iconic dance sequence in his undies. Unfortunately for the rising star, he was somewhat a victim of his success and was a highly contested actor during that time. He was already committed to taking part in the movie All the Right Moves.
Tom Hanks | Jerry Maguire – Jerry Maguire
Some of the most distinguished actors of Hollywood have the talent of playing a role so well that they truly make it their own. That being said, there are times that writers would already have an actor in mind that would effectively portray their character. Such was the case for the character Jerry Maguire. This iconic character is a slick sports agent who was portrayed by Tom Cruise. It became one of Cruise’s most memorable roles.
However, Cameron Crowe, the writer-director of Jerry Maguire, had a different actor in mind during his writing process. He initially wanted Tom Hanks to play the role. Unfortunately for Crowe, Hanks was in the middle of directing his movie, The Thing You Do, during that time. He eventually went with Cruise, and to his credit, it was a wise choice. Cruise gave one of his most memorable performances and also had the commercial success to go along with it. The movie grossed $153.6 million in the US alone.
Warren Beatty | Bill – Kill Bill Vol. 1 And Kill Bill Vol. 2
The Kill Bill film series is the brainchild of distinguished director Quentin Tarantino. It is a revenge-driven saga that follows the story of a former assassin known as The Bride, portrayed by Uma Thurman. She was betrayed by her ex-lover Bill, played by David Carradine, who tried to end her life on her wedding day. Four years later, she awakes from a coma with an insatiable drive to have her revenge against Bill.
The film series is one of Quentin’s most memorable works to date and has developed a degree of cult following – as do most of his films. As the writer of the film series, he knows that for the story to be truly captivating, he would not only need a talented protagonist but would also have to cast a brilliant antagonist. He landed with David Carradine, but was initially gunning for Warren Beatty, an esteemed actor known for movies such as Dick Tracy and Bugsy.
Will Smith | Django – Django Unchained
Some actors try to take part in the creative process in the creation of movie masterpieces. This was the case in Django Unchained. Writer-director Quentin Tarantino had his mind set on casting Will Smith for the role of Django. Sadly, during the process, he eventually came out empty-handed. The two of them had their creative differences. The movie had a simple plot, Django does whatever it takes to save his wife, who was enslaved by Calvin Candie. Knowing how Tarantino films work, Smith wanted to focus more on the love aspect between Django and his wife. Eventually, they agreed to disagree, and the role went to Jamie Foxx.
Foxx would later prove to be one of Tarantino’s profitable investments, as the movie would earn commercial success. It grossed over $162 million at the US box office. Foxx also earned an Academy Award nomination for his performance.
Will Smith | Neo – The Matrix
As we know by now, Will Smith rejected Quentin Tarantino’s offer for the role of Django in The Django Unchained movie due to creative differences. To the actor’s credit, he is self-aware of his characteristic of overly wanting to make a character his own. This was also the case when he turned down the offer for Neo in The Matrix film series. According to him, at the pitch meeting during the casting process, he immediately knew that he would mess the character up and would not do justice to the script.
He willingly turned down the offer, knowing that Keanu Reeves, who eventually landed the role, would be loyal to the script and let the director and movie tell the story as is. The Matrix film franchise is one of the most revolutionary movies when it was released in 1999. It boasts of innovative cinematic action sequences that blended gun-slinging action with martial arts.
Willow Smith | Annie – Annie
2014’s Annie is a musical and family movie. It is also a passion project of the Smith family. Jada and Will Smith co-produced it along with rapper Jay-Z and Jada’s brother, actor Caleeb Pinkett. In one forum that Will attended at the Temple University, he revealed that the role for Annie was originally intended for his daughter Willow Smith. To his frustration, Willow turned down his offer and simply stated that she would rather be an ordinary 12-year-old rather than tirelessly work on a set, singing, and dancing.
Fortunately, Will and the other producers quickly went looking for a replacement and got the talented actress Quvenzhane Wallis to play the role of Annie instead. At that time, Wallis was already a distinguished young actress known for her acting credit in Beasts of the Southern Wild. For her performance in Annie, she earned herself a Golden Globe nomination.
Zendaya | Aaliyah – Aaliyah: The Princess of R&B
With the rise of social media, the marketing for upcoming movies has become a whole new ball game. Studios can get a quick response from their intended audience through sneak peeks or by announcing cast choices. This was the case for the biopic Aaliyah: The Princess of R&B. Unfortunately, the choice to cast Zendaya received heavy backlash from fans. People were concerned that Zendaya would ruin the movie because she wasn’t talented enough and was of a different ethnicity from the R&B Princess.
Eventually, Zendaya turned down the offer for the film, although not for the reasons you might think. To Zendaya’s credit, she stood strong despite all the backlash. However, she found flaws in the movie production. She later shared that there were issues with music rights and that the production wasn’t treating her fairly despite the delicate situation the backlash brought about.
Dana Delany | Carrie Bradshaw – Sex and the City
Carrie Bradshaw is Sarah Jessica Parker’s most iconic acting credit to date. The show was a lucrative success that it would span six seasons from 1998 to 2004. The series would also birth two movies to its name, which would also garner much commercial success. Ladies from across the world endeared Carrie as they followed her story and relationships. That being said, fans, would be surprised to learn that Parker wasn’t actually the first choice to play the role of Carrie.
Darren Star, Sex and the City creator, actually had Dana Delany in mind to play the iconic role of Carrie. However, she graciously turned down the offer, stating that she had already done a similar project. She had previously made Live Nude Girls. Fun fact: the film also stars Kim Cattrall, who plays Samantha on Sex and the City!
Molly Ringwald | Vivian Ward – Pretty Woman
In the movie Pretty Woman, Vivian Ward is a call girl portrayed by Julia Roberts. Apart from Roberts, the movie also starred Richard Gere, who played Vivian’s love interest. The movie is a modern-day Cinderella tale, with the premise revolving around a businessman who hires a call girl for a weekend to accompany him during social events as his date. The two of them fall in love and struggle to reconcile their two different worlds. The film was a huge hit.
During the casting process of Pretty Woman, Molly Ringwald was considered for the role of Vivian. At that time, she just came from a lucrative string of successful movies, namely, Breakfast Club and Pretty in Pink. She eventually turned down the offer for reasons that remain unknown. Roberts must be grateful to her to some degree, as the role is considered her breakthrough performance.
Jack Nicholson | Michael Corleone – The Godfather
Michael Corleone was played by iconic actor Al Pacino. To this day, The Godfather film series remains one of the most iconic movies in history. It is the masterpiece of director Francis Ford Coppola and paved the way for Pacino’s prolific rise to success in Hollywood. His performance as Michael continues to be one of his best acting performances throughout his career.
Nowadays, The Godfather is considered a classic and a must-watch for any movie enthusiast. However, at the time of its conception, the script that Coppola had was considered too controversial and a risky venture for the studio. Initially, the studio execs wanted an established actor to play the role of Michael. They considered Jack Nicholson, Robert Redford, Warren Beatty, Dustin Hoffman, and Ryan O’Neal. All of them declined, and to Pacino’s credit, he proved himself worthy for being chosen to play Michael.
Bette Midler | Delores Van Cartier/Sister Mary Clarence – Sister Act
It might be surprising to you that Bette Midler was initially given Whoopi Goldberg’s role in Sister Act. The producers of the film chose the musical theater veteran, but she turned it down. She refused to portray the role of a nun, fearing that her fans would react badly. The singer, however, wasn’t given the full picture that the character she was to play was not really a nun.
Midler is an overall iconic performer known to her fans as “The Divine Miss M.” She is lauded for her work on screen and on stage, which has earned her many awards, including three Primetime Emmy Awards, two Tony Awards, and three Grammy Awards. She has also released 14 studio albums and has more than 50 acting credits, starring in films such as Beaches, The Rose, Hocus Pocus, and The First Wives Club.
Emily Browning | Bella Swan – Twilight
Australian actress Emily Browning reportedly flat-out declined to audition for the role of Bella Swan in the Twilight film series. The part went to Kristen Stewart, a female star who made her Hollywood breakthrough in this movie. For her starring role, Stewart earned a high credit score and tens of millions of dollars in salary and royalties.
Around this time, Browning starred in The Uninvited, Sucker Punch, and the independent drama Sleeping Beauty. The actress is also notable for her portrayal of Violet Baudelaire in the 2004 film Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events. We’re unsure if Browning refused the Twilight role because she didn’t like it, or maybe she was too busy with her other commitments. Anyway, she continues to be active in the show business today. She stars as Laura Moon in the television series American Gods.
Jim Carrey | Edward Scissorhands – Edward Scissorhands
Imagine if comedian Jim Carrey portrayed Edward Scissorhands. Carrey was considered for the role, but the film producers thought he lacked experience in drama during this period. They thought he could have jeopardized the project since he had the potential to turn the film into a comedic one. Aside from Carrey, Tom Cruise and Robert Downey Jr. were also considered to portray the lead part.
Carrey is a Canadian-American actor who rose to prominence in the late 1990s and 2000s. He was consistently a highly paid entertainer at the time. In case you don’t know, he was also the first actor in history to earn a whopping $20 million for a single movie, a feat he accomplished with The Cable Guy. He has amassed hundreds of millions of dollars from salary and backend bonuses, upping his credit reports throughout his career.
Sandra Bernhard | Miranda Hobbes – Sex and the City
Comedian and actress Sandra Bernhard was asked to portray the cynical lawyer Miranda Hobbes on the hit HBO show, but she revealed to Howard Stern that she passed because of the “terrible” script and low salary. The outspoken star also added that she wasn’t happy at the prospect of working with fellow actress Sarah Jessica Parker. Whatever her reason is, we think it worked out for Cynthia Nixon, who played the part instead.
Bernhard came into the limelight in the ’70s for her stand-up comedy routines. During this period, she was the only woman performing such harsh yet truthful jokes on various topics. In interviews, the comedienne has listed her childhood as her inspiration for her comedic work. Bernhard became a regular guest on the David Letterman Show during her startup years and earned fame in the long-running sitcom Roseanne.
Johnny Depp | Ferris Bueller – Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
It’s hard to picture the handsome A-list actor as scheming slacker Ferris Bueller, but Johnny Depp was reportedly asked to play the lead part in John Hughes’ 1980s classic film. As we all know, the role went to Matthew Broderick, who is widely known for his work on this project.
Anyhow, Depp received other renowned movie roles and went on to become one of Hollywood’s biggest male stars. To date, his successful films have grossed over $3 billion in the U.S. and nearly $9 billion worldwide at the box office. His yearly salary in some years reached $100 million, easily landing him on the list of the world’s highest-paid actors. His financial advisors probably manage a portion of his salaries, backend profits and bonuses, and endorsement deals. It was also reported that his monthly lifestyle at the peak of his career cost a staggering $2 million.
Julia Roberts | Leigh Anne Tuohy – The Blind Side
Julia Roberts was offered the role of feisty mom Leigh Anne Tuohy in the 2009 football flick The Blind Side. She turned it down because she had a prior commitment to star in the ensemble romantic comedy Valentine’s Day, which was directed by Garry Marshall. Marshall is given credit as the man who made the actress a huge star with Pretty Woman. The Blind Side role went to an equally talented actress, Sandra Bullock, instead. Despite her heavy-handed Southern accent, Bullock won an Oscar.
Roberts is a highly-acclaimed actress who established herself as a leading star in Hollywood. Her breakout role was in Pretty Woman, a movie that achieved a high number of ticket sales for a romantic comedy at the time, making over $400 million worldwide. Other notable film projects of hers include My Best Friend’s Wedding, Erin Brockovich, and Notting Hill.
Daryl Hannah | Vivian Ward – Pretty Woman
Like actress Molly Ringwald, Daryl Hannah also said no to star as Vivian Ward in the hit movie Pretty Woman. As we have said, the role went to Julia Roberts. Hannah probably regretted turning down the part as she would probably upscale her Hollywood credit score. Nevertheless, she received other film roles around this time.
The 1980s were the prime of Hannah’s career. She received acclaim for her performances in the movies Blade Runner, Roxanne, and Steel Magnolias. While the ’80s ended well for her, the ’90s marked a quieter decade for the actress as she received fewer projects. The 2000s were still slow for her, but she picked up roles in Kill Bill, A Walk to Remember, and Dancing at the Blue Iguana. She later tried her hand at the theatre and worked on The Seven Year Itch, playing Marilyn Monroe.
Helen Mirren | Mrs. Weiss – Precious
Dame Helen Mirren turned down the role of social worker Mrs. Weiss in the 2009 dark flick Precious. She was replaced by none other than singer-songwriter Mariah Carey. To everyone’s shock, Carey had a compelling performance to such an impressive degree that she garnered major critical praise. Meanwhile, the movie’s director Lee Daniels revealed in 2010 that Mirren called him to say she won’t do it, claiming she could do the role “in her sleep.”
Of course, Mirren is called a veteran for this reason. She has done extensive work on the silver screen, on stage, and on television and won countless acting awards. Over the course of her career, Mirren played three British queens in various films and TV shows. Her most recent notable performance is Queen Elizabeth II in the 2006 movie The Queen, which allowed her to receive several Best Actress awards.
Matthew Broderick | Walter White – Breaking Bad
This piece of news came to us as a shock. Knowing that Matthew Broderick was considered for the part of chemistry teacher Walter White in the record-breaking AMC show, we doubt he could portray the role very well as actor Bryan Cranston did. To us, Broderick will always be the iconic and comedic Ferris Bueller. Interestingly, actor John Cusack turned down the Breaking Bad lead role too. It’s a good thing that these actors did because Cranston deserves his big break on television.
Broderick is clearly known for his film Ferris Bueller’s Day Off even to this day, but he also has a list of other credits to his name. He reached a career peak in the ’80s and ’90s and was a huge star during this time. Outside of film, the 59-year-old actor is also a Tony Award-winning theater star.
Paul Shaffer | George Costanza – Seinfeld
David Letterman’s longtime banter buddy Paul Shaffer wrote in his 2009 memoir that he was given the role of George Costanza by Jerry Seinfeld himself. He revealed that Seinfeld didn’t even want him to audition for the part. Shaffer, however, never called him back and claimed that he was “busy” during this period. The iconic part landed on Jason Alexander, who portrayed the character to perfection.
Shaffer is best known as the sidekick and musical director for talk show host David Letterman since the early ‘80s. In addition to accompanying guests on Letterman’s show, he has also released occasional albums and worked on other projects. Shaffer originally wanted to become a lawyer and join his father’s firm, but he found himself unable to give up music. He branched out into radio work and later wrote special musical material for television shows.
Tom Cruise | Ren McCormack – Footloose
We think it’s hard to picture a young Tom Cruise dancing in the 1984 hit Footloose. While we saw him in the film Risky Business having a dance sequence, Cruise will always be the serious face we see on screen. The Top Gun star passed on the role because he was shooting another movie, so the film producer called Rob Lowe, who also had to decline because of an injury. Lucky for Kevin Bacon, he won the part and cemented his A-list game.
On the other hand, Cruise went on to gas up his film work. Since launching his career, he has been at the top, showing off his handsome looks and his exceptional talent. Over the past three decades, he starred in dozens of blockbuster films. He is now regarded as one of the biggest Hollywood stars of his generation.
Pamela Anderson | Dana Scully – The X Files
We could never imagine someone else portraying FBI Special Agent Dana Scully apart from actress Gillian Anderson, let alone the Baywatch star Pamela Anderson. Yes, The X files producers and casting agents had their eye on the blonde actress to portray the lead role. Gillian shared in an interview that Pamela was more familiar with the audience at the time, so she was probably considered to play the part. The X files role went to Gillian, who then became a household name.
Aside from Baywatch, Pamela Anderson is best known for her modeling work. She appeared on countless magazine covers during the height of her entertainment career. She has also written two novels and four autobiographical books and ventured into reality television. The 53-year-old star has real estate investments as well. Recently, she listed her Malibu property for a cool $14.9 million.
Harrison Ford | Oskar Schindler – Schindler’s List
Harrison Ford was offered to play the part of German industrialist Oskar Schindler in Steven Spielberg’s hit film Schindler’s List. He reportedly turned it down mainly because he thought the viewers would only see him as a “star” and not see the importance of the movie. While he feared to take on the challenge, actor Liam Neeson came to the rescue and did a great job acting the part.
As you probably know, Ford came to international fame after playing Han Solo in the original Star Wars film franchise. He further brought electricity to the big screen when he played the titular character in the Indiana Jones movie series. Ford is widely recognized for his vast contribution to action and dramatic films, including Blade Runner, Witness, and The Fugitive. Three of his movies are included in the list of top box-office hits of all time.
Paul Giamatti | Michael Scott – The Office
Yes, the part of the funniest boss Michael Scott in The Office almost went to Paul Giamatti, who just reached the success of buddy flick Sideways. Giamatti was reportedly the first choice for the lead role, but he declined. A critic said that his characters in film and television tend to be more cerebral, as opposed to the “dumb guy” Michael Scott. The part went to Steve Carell, who nailed the role in a way that Giamatti probably couldn’t.
After earning his MFA degree from Yale, Giamatti went on to pursue a career in Hollywood. While his acting career took off slowly in the ‘90s, he received roles in films and shows consistently. He is best known for his appearances in The Hangover Part II, Big Fat Liar, and Donnie Brasco. He is also a voice actor who has worked on BoJack Horseman.
Garrett Hedlund | Christian Gray – 50 Shades of Gray
It was not revealed at first that Garrett Hedlund signed on to portray the debonair Christian Gray in the big-screen adaptation of E.L. James’ novel. He reportedly dropped out for the reason that he lacked a connection with the lead character. The part went to Sons of Anarchy star Charlie Hunnam. Well, he actually resembles Hedlund, but he pulled out of the film too. Jamie Dornan replaced the two hunk actors instead.
Hedlund used to work as a waiter and saved his tip money to be able to pay his acting coach. At 18, he pursued Hollywood and, a few years later, he had his first film credit in the 2004 film Troy. For his performance, he was nominated for an award by Teen Choice. He also starred in Four Brothers, Eragon, and the remake of Tron: Legacy. Besides acting, Hedlund also plays violin and guitar.
Angelina Jolie | Alex Munday – Charlie’s Angels
Did you know that the 2000 film reboot of the popular Charlie’s Angels show could have been much different? The movie we all saw starred Lucy Liu, Cameron Diaz, and Drew Barrymore as its leads. However, prior to filming, the role of Alex Munday was originally offered to Angelina Jolie! The actress had to decline since she was not really a fan of the original series from the 70s. It might surprise you to learn that before Liu landed the role, it was also offered to other talented actresses such as Thandie Newton and Jada Pinkett Smith.
Considering the success of the reboot and the amazing chemistry between its cast, we’re quite glad that it turned out the way it did! It’s really interesting how casting choices can make such a big difference, right? In this case, Liu was the right investment for the film.
Joaquin Phoenix | Jack Twist – Brokeback Mountain
The film Brokeback Mountain is beloved by many for its emotional portrayal of the struggles between two homosexual men. It received many accolades, and its stars, Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal, were praised for their captivating performance. However, did you know that this classic could have ended up very differently? Back in 2018, it was revealed that actor Joaquin Phoenix was initially attached to the project when it was under the direction of filmmaker Gus Van Sant. The film later changed hands and ended up getting directed by Ang Lee.
Screenwriter Diana Ossana also spoke about the difficulty of finding investment money for the project, considering it isn’t Hollywood’s typical love story. Nonetheless, it proved to be both a critical and box office success. Despite that, we can’t help but wonder what it would have been like if Phoenix did end up with the role of Jack Twist.
Gillian Anderson | Lady Cora Crawley – Downton Abbey
Yes, the rumors are true, actress Gillian Anderson could have been a member of the Crawley family. Over the years, she has been cast in many memorable roles, such as Dana Scully on The X-Files and Margaret Thatcher in The Crown. However, she has turned down parts that could have been huge game-changers, not just for the actress, but also for the shows as well. For example, did you know that she was offered a part in Game of Thrones, but had to decline it? Not the best investment planning, considering it was one of the biggest shows on television in recent years.
It isn’t just GOT that lost out on getting Anderson, however. She also turned down an offer to portray the iconic Cora Crawley on Downton Abbey! Now, one might wonder what led her to this decision. According to reports, it was her age that was a major factor.
Denzel Washington | Michael Clayton – Michael Clayton
Some actors turn down roles because of schedule conflicts or simple disinterest in the material. While most don’t really come to regret their decisions, Denzel Washington seems to harbor a bit of resentment when it comes to his choices over the years. Did you know that the actor turned down lead roles in the films Se7en and Michael Clayton? The parts eventually went to Brad Pitt and George Clooney, respectively. In an interview with GQ, the actor admits that he considers these two as his biggest career regrets.
In particular, Washington regretted turning down the Michael Clayton role as he considers it one of the best materials he had read in quite a while. What stopped him from going for it? The actor wasn’t confident about working with a first-time director and decided to play it safe. There is always a degree of risk involved when choosing roles, but this one was certainly the wrong move.
Drew Barrymore | Nomi Malone – Showgirls
Drew Barrymore is one of the industry’s most versatile talents. She has worked on films in a variety of genres, including rom-coms and darker material. It’s safe to say that Barrymore is a bit of a risk-taker when it comes to choosing projects to work on, but she did draw the line when it came to one film. The actress declined an offer to star in Paul Verhoeven’s film Showgirls. Had she agreed, Barrymore would have been given the role of Nomi Malone. The film turned out to be a cult classic.
Aside from her, the same role was offered to Sharon Stone and Madonna, but both passed up the opportunity. Nomi Malone eventually went to actress Elizabeth Berkley. So, why did Barrymore refuse? She did not like the excessive explicit scenes required by the movie. To her credit, she did eventually star in many other successful films, so it wasn’t a total loss.
Chevy Chase | Lester Burnham – American Beauty
Choosing roles can be a fairly intimidating task for any actor. Select the wrong one and it could easily break their careers. However, there are also those who seem to consistently pass up on some really great opportunities. This is the case for Chevy Chase. While he is already an established talent and creative force in the industry, he could have starred in some of the biggest movies had he simply made the right choice. Did you know that he could have starred in Forrest Gump and Ghostbusters?
Perhaps the most famous missed opportunity for the actor is the role of Lester Burnham in the cult classic American Beauty. While Kevin Spacey delivered an outstanding performance, it could have been a game-changer for Chase’s career. Who knows? Had he gone for the credit, the actor could have even received an Oscar nomination for himself!
Michelle Pfeiffer | Clarice Sterling – The Silence of the Lambs
The Silence of the Lambs is one movie that’s difficult to forget, with due thanks to the performances delivered by its stellar cast. Anthony Hopkins was simply sinister in the role of Hannibal Lecter, while Jodie Foster kept audiences at the edge of their seats with her part as Clarice Starling. While the film seems to have been perfectly cast, did you know that the role of Agent Starling could have gone to Michelle Pfeiffer? Why did she turn down such a career-defining role? According to the actress, the film was simply too “evil” for her taste.
We’re sure many would share the same opinion as her, considering the brutal subject matter of the movie. Despite her choice, Pfeiffer does go on to say that she has some regrets. Fortunately, the actress has done quite well when it comes to the industry investments she’s made over the years. She proves that one missed opportunity doesn’t always spell career doom!
Whitney Houston | Sondra Huxtable – The Cosby Show
It’s interesting how our favorite celebrities could have ended up in a different field had they made a different choice. In 1983, Whitney Houston signed with Arista Records after Clive Davis saw a live performance of hers at an NYC nightclub. Her album took two whole years to create and in the middle of working on it, The Cosby Show was launched. It eventually became one of the biggest programs of the decade and catapulted Raven-Symone and Lisa Bonet to mainstream fame. So, what does this have to do with Houston?
Well, the singer had actually auditioned for the role of Sondra Huxtable and was actually offered the part. However, she chose to not sign with the show, citing that her real goal is to become a singer. Needless to say, Houston knew that greatness was coming for her, just not as an actress. We’re sure her financial advisor was very happy with this decision!
Jodie Foster | Chris Parker – Adventures in Babysitting
The 1987 teen film Adventures in Babysitting is considered a cult favorite by many. It starred Elisabeth Shue, Anthony Rapp, Keith Coogan, and Maia Brewton. The movie also marked Chris Columbus’ directorial debut. Prior to filming, however, the casting for it was quite different. In fact, the lead role of Chris Parker was initially offered to other actresses. Included on the short list were Michelle Pfeiffer and Tatum O’Neal, who turned down the role in favor of Jodie Foster. However, Foster eventually had to exit the project as well.
Fortunately, the role did end up in the right hands. The Karate Kid star Elisabeth Shue gave a memorable performance as Chris Parker, adding to the movie’s electricity and cult status. The final result was certainly great, but doesn’t this make you wonder how Foster would have handled the character? We guess we’ll just have to use our imaginations for this one!
Katie Holmes | Buffy Summers – Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Sarah Michelle Gellar gained fame through her role as Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but she wasn’t exactly the first choice for the role. This might be difficult to imagine for some, considering how well she suits the character. Before Gellar, the role was actually offered to another 90s star. Katie Holmes had already achieved a degree of fame in 1997, which opened many doors for her. This meant that she received opportunities left and right, leaving her with no choice but to turn some projects down.
Buffy Summers was one of the characters she passed up on, but she didn’t do it without good reason, though. Instead, Holmes opted for another iconic TV character, one that would bring her even more fame. The role? Joey Potter in Dawson’s Creek. The show’s entire cast would go on to lead successful individual careers, all thanks to the series’ popularity.
Tom Selleck | Indiana Jones – Indiana Jones Film Franchise
It’s quite difficult to imagine anyone other than Harrison Ford in the role of Indiana Jones, but you might change your mind if we bring up actor Tom Selleck. While he may not have that traditional cowboy look, it’s not too hard to picture him in the role. He even screen-tested for the character and was offered the part, but he eventually had to decline. This is because he was already committed to Magnum P.I.
Following Selleck’s exit, director Steven Spielberg pushed Harrison Ford to get cast for the role. While it may seem like a loss for Selleck’s fans, he did go on to become very successful in his own right. Magnum P.I. was a smash hit that is still beloved by many today. In any case, Spielberg certainly won the investment planning game since the Indiana Jones franchise owes much of its success to having Ford as its lead star.
Melanie Griffith | Thelma – Thelma and Louise
If you’re looking for a great road film that centers on female empowerment, look no further than Callie Khouri and Ridley Scott’s Thelma and Louise. The 1991 film stars Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis in the lead, providing plenty of thrills, spills, and laughs along the way. Both Davis and Sarandon went on to be nominated for the Oscars, but did you know that this movie could have been casted differently? Not many are aware of the fact that Thelma, Davis’ role, was initially offered to Melanie Griffith.
The reason for her declining the role has never been revealed, but she wasn’t the first one to do so. Goldie Hawn and Meryl Streep were offered the lead roles, and both considered it, before choosing to work on Death Becomes Her instead. Can you imagine the degree of difference a simple casting change would have made? It’s really quite amazing.