Entertainment media gets news to fans faster than ever before. News of movies hits the internet long before anyone has even seen a preview or release date. Thanks to the rumour mill, and the increase in popularity of interviewing writers, directors and producers about their films, there is more information available surrounding roles written for specific actors, and information about casting choices.
Sometimes, even when a role is written with someone expressly in mind, they don’t end up appearing in the film. It can be because of scheduling, personal choice, brand, or because of creative differences with the film crew.
A lot of times celebs are happy about the roles they turned down, because something better turned up, or the film totally flopped, then there are those roles that got away. Here are 20 celebs who unfortunately turned down roles that could have made them iconic, and maybe even won them some awards.
The producers weren’t thrilled with Christian Bale during pre-production of American Psycho and wanted more of a household name, so they tossed Bale and hired DiCaprio instead. Unfortunately, Leo quit because he didn’t want his fans to see him portray a murderer and Bale was hired again. Imagine the cold-blooded charm Leo could bring to this role. I have chills, how about you?
Matt Damon was the first choice to play Harvey Dent in The Dark Knight, unfortunately scheduling issues made the role impossible for Damon to commit to. It’s been a long time since Damon’s played a bad guy and everyone would have enjoyed his performance. Damon said of having to say no, "Look, Aaron is a great actor, so the movie didn't suffer for it. Every once in a while, you get [an acting opportunity] and you can't do it."
Tom Cruise could have gone from teen heartthrob to award winner had he had more faith in newbie filmmaker Frank Darabont. While Tim Robbins shone, it would have been interesting to see what Cruise could have brought to the role. He may be kicking himself for this choice as the film received seven Oscar nominations and Robbins himself won some awards for his portrayal of the wrongfully convicted Andy Dufresne.
The first time we met Black Widow in the MCU was in 2010’s Iron Man II. Producers offered the role to Emily Blunt who was unable to step up because she was filming Gulliver’s Travels. Emily says, "I'm never regretful about not doing something; I didn't do it at the time because it wasn't the right time and I was contracted to do something else, but Scarlett has done such a phenomenal job — she's it! Like why even reminisce about what could've been? She's it and she nailed it, and I love 'The Avengers,' I really found it to be really good fun."
We still want to see Emily throw on a cape and some tights and fly into super action, maybe another time.
Although Brad Pitt is excellent in Seven, it would have been legendary to see the grit and depth Denzel Washington could have brought to the role. Washington openly admits that he regrets his choice. He told Entertainment Weekly, “They offered me the Brad Pitt part, but I was like, 'This is so dark and evil. Then, when I saw the movie, I was like, 'Oh, shoot.'"
After seeing what Mark Wahlberg brought to Fear - just take a moment to imagine what he could bring to the cult classic Donnie Darko. Sure, Wahlberg was a little long in the tooth to play Donnie, but the big reason he wasn’t cast in the end was that he wanted to play Darko with a lisp. Maybe Gyllenhaal was the right choice after all.
There is a bit of debate as to which role Sarah Michelle Gellar was offered in Clueless – Cher or her Frenemy Amber. She would have been brilliant in either. Unfortunately, according to co-producer Adam Schroeder, “There became a big negotiation for All My Children to let her out. It was just for a couple of weeks, and they absolutely stuck their feet in [and] wouldn’t let her.”
Olivia Munn was sick of playing just another superhero's girlfriend, so she said no to the role of Vanessa in Deadpool as she was sick of playing ‘eye candy’. Instead she signed u to play Psylocke in an X-Men movie. Unfortunately, the character of Psylocke wasn’t well thought out, wore form fitting clothes, and will be remembered as nothing more than eye candy, while the part of Vanessa was given some depth as the reason Wade Wilson strived to become better and was brought back for Deadpool 2. Oops!
The complexity that Marilyn Monroe would have given to Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, using her own experience as a ‘party girl’ who has deeper troubles would have been art imitating real life. Unfortunately, Monroe said no as she was told by others that it could be bad for her public image.
After seeing Anne Hathaway’s vivid portrayal of desperation in Les Misérables, it would have been interesting to see what she would have brought to the 2012 movie Silver Linings Playbook. While the actor was the first choice for the leading lady role (taken on by Jennifer Lawrence who was also amazing), it didn’t work out.
According to insiders Anne and the director had creative differences about the role that they were unable to work out.
They say there is no such thing as a small part, only small actors. There are two stories as to why Will Smith didn’t take on this role, one was that he felt the part wasn’t big enough for his star power. The other is that Will Smith had wanted the film to be ultimately about love instead of vengeance. Who do you believe?
Christina Applegate turned down the lead role of Elle Woods in Legally Blonde shortly after wrapping her lengthy role as Kelly Bundy on Married With Children because she didn’t want to be typecast. Later the star said, “I got scared of kind of repeating myself. What a stupid move that was, right?”
Many people said that James Cameron wanted Gwyneth to play Rose in Titanic, and with the entitled air Paltrow gives off she would have been perfect. When asked about having turned down a role in a film that won Best Picture at the 1998 Oscars Paltrow has said, "My mother will kill me that I'm talking about turning down movie roles. She says it's not ladylike." That sounds like something Rose herself might have said!
Personally, I believe Matthew McConaughey didn’t like the idea of playing Chris Pratt’s dad, because it made him feel old, and that’s why he said no to the role of Ego in the sequel to Guardians of the Galaxy. It’s a shame, his swagger would work so well with Pratt’s as Star Lord, that you’d just know the two were father and son. Reportedly he took on a role in The Dark Tower instead, so timing didn't work out.
Some say that it was Jodie Foster’s vulnerability that made her so excellent as Clarice Starling. I personally would have loved to have seen Michelle Pfeiffer taking on the role. You know she’d be great at playing a tough, young, female cop who is learning the ropes as a detective. No wonder she was the first choice.
Molly Ringwald fought hard to get Robert Downey Jr. cast as the lovable BFF Ducky in the 1980’s romantic comedy Pretty in Pink. Unfortunately, John Hughes just couldn’t see it and cast John Cryer instead. As a result, because no one could see a romance blooming between Ringwald and Cryer, they needed to reshoot the ending because test audiences just weren’t buying it. With Downey Jr. you know viewers would have been rooting for Ducky!
Julia Roberts was initially cast to play lead Leigh Anne Tuohy in The Blind Side. You need to wonder if Roberts is kicking herself for dropping out, because Sandra Bullock replaced her and won an Oscar for the part. Well, at least she already had an Oscar on her mantle. No regrets!
There is no denying how great Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling are in La La Land, but another pair of actors were considered first. This would have been a moving follow-up to Watson’s brilliant performance in The Perks of Being A Wallflower and see how her chemistry lined up as she swooned over Miles Teller (who was also an early choice for the film). Watson said of things not lining up for the original duo, “It’s one of these frustrating things where names get attached to projects very early on as a way to build anticipation for something that's coming before anything is really actually agreed.”
We’ve seen Sandra Bullock take on action and physical comedy, as well as drama. Seeing her put her body to the athletic test of the lead role in 2004’s Million Dollar Baby. Thankfully for Hilary Swank, scheduling conflicts had Bullock pull out of the Oscar winning role, giving Swank the chance to earn her second Oscar.
Nicolas Cage plays broken so well – think Leaving Las Vegas. When he was offered the lead role in the drama The Wrestler it seemed like a slam dunk, that is until Cage quit. Cage said of his decision, “I resigned from the movie because I didn’t think I had enough time to achieve the look of the wrestler who was on steroids, which I would never do.”
Sources: MSN, Glamour, What Culture, Cosmopolitan, Insider, Hollywood