The history of film is cluttered with stories
about stars who were an inch away from playing roles that got embedded into the hearts and
minds of movie audiences. When actors look back into some of their career mishaps, the
ones they’ll probably notice the most are the glaring errors they made in passing up
on important roles. Are you curious to see which memorable characters were almost played
by different actors? I’m Mike with List25 and Check out these 25 Actors Who Passed Up
On Iconic Roles. 25. Citing that he â€œdidnâ€™t get fantasy,â€ Sean Connery passed up on playing Gandalf
in Peter Jacksonâ€™s adaptation of The Lord Of The Rings. The role that was eventually
given to Ian McKellen earned the actor an award (Best Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture)
and an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor. 24.
Sex and the City’s Carrie Bradshaw, played by Sarah Jessica Parker, is one of the most
popular female TV and movie characters of all time, at least in the â€œchick flickâ€
genre. The role was originally offered to Dana Delany. She later claimed not to regret
her decision to turn it down. 23.
Molly Ringwald was one of the most sought-after actresses in the 80’s. However, since the
90’s she’s been plagued with obscurity. Things might have been different had she accepted
the role of Vivian Ward in Pretty Woman. The movie earned over $463 million at the box
office and Julia Roberts received an Oscar nomination and became regarded as one of the
biggest movie stars in the world. 22.
Will Smith was initially offered the role of Neo in The Matrix. He turned it down on
account of the concept being too complicated, and he didnâ€™t see the film performing
well at the box office. Well, we all know how the movie fared. 21.
Henry Winkler was approached to play Danny Zunko in Grease. When he turned it down, John
Travolta took on the role. Grease earned $694 million at the box office. 20.
Michelle Pfeiffer was offered the role of Clarice Sterling in The Silence Of The Lambs.
She turned it down because she found the movie to be too violent and disturbing. Jodi Foster
won the role, and it gave her a second Academy Award for Best Actress. 19.
Al Pacino was offered the role of Han Solo in Star Wars. He said he wasnâ€™t interested
in playing the role. Harrison Ford took over, and the movie franchise went on to become
one of the most successful film series in history, establishing Fordâ€™s superstar
Kim Basinger passed up on playing Catherine Tramell in Basic Instinct and it was subsequently
handed to Sharon Stone. The film became one of the highest grossing films of 1992, earning
$352 million at box office. The role is highly regarded as the one responsible for giving
Sharon Stone her much needed break. 17.
Jeremy Irons was initially appraoched to play Hannibal Lecter in The Silence Of The Lambs.
Just like Michelle Pfeiffer, Irons cited the filmâ€™s violent content as his reason
for turning down the role. Anthony Hopkins took over, and it became one of the most defining
moments of his career. 16.
Tom Selleck didnâ€™t exactly turn down the role of Indiana Jones. He was very interested.
Steven Spielberg and George Lucas both picked Selleck, but a deal couldnâ€™t be reached
with Universal Studios, with whom Selleck was set to do another film. As we all know,
the role eventually went to Harrison Ford (whom George Lucas was initially reluctant
to cast). 15.
Although Hugh Jackman is now exclusively associated with Wolverine, the role was intially meant
to be portrayed by Dougray Scott. However, Scott was handpicked by Tom Cruise to play
the villain in Mission Impossible 2, and MI2’s filming overran X-Men’s filming by two months.
Scott was forced to drop out of production, which cost him a major Wolverine franchise. 14.
When Jack Nicholson was approached to play Michael Corleone, he knew that The Godfather
would be a great movie. However, at that time, he felt that â€œIndians should play characters
written for Indians.â€ In the same thread, Nicholson felt that the role of Corleone should
be played by an Italian, so he passed up on playing the iconic role. 13.
John Travolta passed up on playing Forrest Gumpâ€¦huge mistake. In 1994, the film
became the highest grossing movie in North America. Tom Hanks was acclaimed for his portrayal,
giving him an award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role at the Oscars.
Travolta has since admitted to regretting the decision he made. 12.
Sarah Michelle Gellar turned down the opportunity to star in the 1995 sleeper hit, Clueless.
The character, Cher Horowitz, the rich, spoiled, yet sweet girl became so endearing to fans
that it brought the then-unknown Alicia Silverstone worldwide recognition. 11.
The producers of Sister Act agreed that Bette Midler was best suited for the role of “Sister
Mary Clarence”. Later on, Midler declined, expressing concerns about her fans not wanting
her to play the role of a nun. The part was eventually given to Whoopi Goldberg. The film
was widely successful, spawning one sequel and a Broadway musical. 10.
Thinking that it was just another B-Horror movie, Reese Witherspoon refused to audition
for the role of Sidney Prescott in Scream. The role was played by Neve Campbell instead. 9.
Had Jake Gyllenhaal proceeded to play the role of Jake Sully in James Cameronâ€™s
Avatar, he would now be holding the honor of starring in the highest grossing film of
all time. 8.
When the production of Million Dollar Baby was met with delays, Sandra Bullock packed
her bags and left the role of Maggie Fitzgerald behind. Unfortunately for her, the film was
not only a commercial success, it also was universally acclaimed by critics. Its star,
Hilary Swank, earned her second Best Actress award at the Oscars. 7.
Mel Gibson was initially approached to play the role of Batman in Tim Burtonâ€™s
1989 adaptation. Thinking that the movie would be a flop, Gibson passed. In line with Tim
Burton films, Batman was criticized for being â€œtoo darkâ€ but that didnâ€™t
stop the film from being a massive box office success, earning a reported $411 million. 6.
Kate Winslet was offered the role of Viola de Lesseps in 1998’s Shakespeare in Love.
Had she accepted the role, Winslet might have won an Oscar for Best Actress much earlier
in her career rather than having to endure 5 losses before winning her first Academy
Award in 2009. 5.
The Twilight film series brought international attention to its stars Kristen Stewart, Robert
Pattinson, and Taylor Lautner. Stephenie Meyer has stated that Emily Browning was her â€œideal
Bella.â€ However, she refused to even audition. In an interview, Browning said, â€œThe
author at one point stated that I would be her ideal Bella, but I chose not to audition
because I was at a point in my career where I wasnâ€™t sure I wanted to work.â€ 4.
Julia Roberts might have won her 2nd Best Actress award had she accepted the role of
Leigh Anne Tuohy in The Blind Side. Roberts turned down the role to do Valentineâ€™s
Day, a film directed by Garry Marshallâ€“ the man who gave her the career-defining role
of Vivian in Pretty Woman. 3.
When Bruce Willis turned down the role of Sam Wheat inÂ Ghost, he missed the opportunity
to play a part opposite his then real-life spouse, Demi Moore, as well as starring in
the highest grossing film of 1990. Ghost reportedly earned $505 million at the box office. 2.
When Sigourney Weaver turned down the role of Sarah Tobias in the 1988 film The Accused,
Jodi Foster took over the role. It earned her the first of two Oscars for Best Actress. 1.
Jim Carrey turned down the role of Edward Scissorhands, and it was eventually handed
over to Johnny Depp. It turned out to be a groundbreaking roll for him. So, if you could recast your favorite movie,
who would you put in the roles and why? Let us know in the comments below, or tweet your
answer to us @List25. Enjoying our lists? Be sure to click that
subscribe button on the bottom right and the notification bell so you don’t miss out on
new ones every Monday through Friday. Share them with friends and help us consistantly
conciliate curiosity. And if you want even more lists check out these videos here or
just head to our website at list25.com