The history of the movie is messed up with the tales about stars who were an inch away from portraying characters that got established into the hearts and minds of movie-goers. When actors look back, they probably repent for passing up some important roles. If we see the list of 20 actors who turned Down Roles of a lifetime, we will see that some memorable characters were almost played by different actors.
Here Are 20 Actors Who Turned Down Famous Roles
1. Al Pacino
2. Bette Midler
The producers of the Sister Act first cast Bette Midler for the role but she thought that her fans will not accept her acting in the film as a nun. As a result, she refused to play the role. Ultimately, Whoopi Goldberg the actor who turned Down Roles of a lifetime and the film was a big success, generated one sequel and a Broadway musical.
3. Dana Delany
Carrie Bradshaw is considered one of the most famous female TV and movie characters of all time. First, the role was offered to Dana Delany but she refused and Sarah Jessica Parker was cast eventually.
4. Dougray Scott
5. Henry Winkler
Henry Winkler was offered to portray Danny Zunko in the musical film Grease. When he turned down the role, John Travolta played it. Grease earned $694 million at the box office. It was listed #97 in its 100 Years…100 Passions by the American Film Institute.
6. Jack Nicholson
When Jack Nicholson got the proposal to play the role of Michael Corleone, he passed up. He knew that The Godfather would be a fantastic movie but he felt that the role of Corleone should be played by an Italian. Later, Al Pacino, the actor who turned Down Roles of a lifetime and became the 11th most iconic villain in American film history.
7. Jake Gyllenhaal
If Jake Gyllenhaal portrayed the character of Jake Sully in James Cameron’s Avatar, he would now hold the honor of starring the biggest grossing film of all time.
8. Jeremy Irons
Jeremy Irons was first offered the character of Hannibal Lecter in the movie The Silence of the Lambs. But showing excuse of the film’s violent content he turns down the role. Later Anthony Hopkins played the role and it became one of the milestones of the actor’s career.
9. John Travolta
This is a huge mistake of his career as he refused to play the role of Forrest Gump. In 1994 it became the biggest hit in North America. Tom Hanks got an accolade for portraying the role and got an Oscar as best actor.
10. Kate Winslet
11. Kim Basinger
Kim Basinger refused to play the role of Catherine Tramell in Basic Instinct. Later Sharon Stone played the role. The movie earned $352 million at the box office and became one of the biggest hit of 1992. The role is particularly regarded as it gave Sharon Stone her much required a break.
12. Mel Gibson
Mel Gibson was first offered the role of Bruce Wayne/Batman in Tim Burton’s 1989 adaption. He thought that the movie would be a flop and passed up. After releasing the film, Batman was criticized for being too dark but in spite of all these the movies became the biggest hit and earned $411 million.
13. Michelle Pfeiffer
At first, Michelle Pfeiffer was offered the character of Clarice Starling in the movie The Silence of the Lamb. She passed up the character because she considered the movie too violent and disturbing. Jodie Foster the actor who turned Down Roles of a lifetime and it earned her a second Academy Award for Best Actress.
14. Molly Ringwald
Molly Ringwald was one of the most demanded actresses in Hollywood in the 80’s for her superb acting in the movie Pretty in Pink and The Breakfast Club. She was the first cast for the role of Vivian Ward in Pretty Woman but she passed up the role. Julia Roberts took over the role and receive an Oscar nomination for the role.
15. Reese Witherspoon
Reese Witherspoon refused to audition for the character of Sidney Prescott in Scream. She thought that it would be just another B grade horror movie. Later the role was portrayed by Neve Campbell.
16. Sandra Bullock
For unwanted delay, Sandra Bullock Packed her bag and passed up the leading role of Million Dollar Baby. Later Hillary Swank played the role. Unfortunate for Sandra Bullock, the film was not only one of the biggest hits, but it also got the accolade of the critics. It brought Hillary Swank her 2nd Oscar.
17. Sarah Michelle Gellar
Sarah Michelle Gellar was first proposed to portray the leading role in Clueless. The role was later played by Alicia Silverstone. The character, Cher Horowitz, the rich, spoiled, yet sweet girl became so dear to fans that then unknown Alicia Silverstone became a superstar overnight.
18. Sean Connery
Sean Connery refused to play the character of Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings. He cited that he didn’t get fantasy. Eventually, Ian McKellen, famous actor who turned Down Roles of a lifetime which earned him an award of Best Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture. He also got an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor.
19. Tom Selleck
Tom Selleck didn’t exactly pass up the character. He was really interested to portray the character. He was the first choice of both Steven Spielberg and George Lucas. But Universal studio set him in another film. Eventually, Harrison Ford took over the role though George Lucas was first reluctant to cast Harrison Ford.
20. Will Smith
Will Smith was initially proposed to play the role of Neo in the Matrix. He passed up the character because he thought the concept of the movie was too much complicated and it wouldn’t do well in the box office. But he was totally wrong.