Will Smith – Django
Will Smith turned down the part of Django because he wasn’t the main character. “I was like, ‘No, Quentin, please, I need to kill the bad guy!’” Smith told news outlets. Quentin Tarantino ended up moving on with Jamie Foxx instead, and Django Unchained went on to receive five Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture.
Tim Roth – Severus Snape
Tim Roth almost played Severus Snape, which would’ve been heartbreaking if it came to fruition. Instead, Roth took a part in the remake of Planet of the Apes and Alan Rickman moved forward with the role. We’re happy it panned out that way.
Gwyneth Paltrow – Rose
Gwyneth was considered for the role of Rose in Titanic, but lost to Kate Winslet. In fact, she was quick to hop onboard after reading a 165-page outline that James Cameron wrote for the movie. We’re sure Gwyneth would’ve been great, but Kate and Leo are such good friends now that we’re okay with it.
Matt Damon – Jake Sully
Matt Damon, already a major star in Hollywood, surprisingly didn’t get the part of Jake Sully in Avatar. James Cameron wanted to go with the lesser-known Australian Sam Worthington. Jake Gyllenhaal was also considered.
Emily Blunt – Black Widow
Emily Blunt was closer to playing Black Widow than most people realize. The only reason she had to pull out was because of scheduling conflicts for Gulliver’s Travels. She would actually be the perfect choice for the role as she’s done a lot of action movies since. Speaking of super heros..
Tom Cruise – Iron Man
Tom Cruise almost became Iron Man, which is blasphemous to think about. Apparently in the late 90’s the momentum behind an Iron Man movie picked up steam with many believing Tom Cruise would produce and star in the film. Quentin Tarantino was tied to the project also, but the studio ended up going in a new direction without either of them.
Jake Gyllenhaal – Batman
Jake Gylenhaal was a relatively unknown actor back in the early 2000’s when word of a new Batman series started trickled through Hollywood. Because The Day After Tomorrow was still a year away from release, Christopher Nolan didn’t get to see the actor’s ability to perform on the big stage, and went with Christian Bale instead.
Jack Nicholson – The Godfather
Now here’s a tough decision! Jack Nicholson almost played Michael Corleone, but didn’t because of a personal decision. “At that time I believed Indians should play roles written for Indians, and Italians should do the same,” he later said. Nicholson was Francis Ford Coppola’s first choice.
Henry Cavill – James Bond
Henry Cavill almost played James Bond but didn’t because the studio wanted someone a tad older. Now that Daniel Craig may be giving up his seat at the Bond table pretty soon here, we’re sure Cavill has re-entered the conversation as he’s a little older and has some pretty major movies (Man of Steel, Batman v. Superman) under his belt.
Tom Selleck – Indiana Jones
Perhaps the most famous Hollywood casting story of them all, Tom Selleck was Steven Spielberg’s first choice to play Indiana Jones. He couldn’t don the fedora and jacket, however, because CBS wouldn’t let him out of his Magnum PI contract. Let’s just say we’re happy Ford got the role.
Julia Roberts – Leigh Anne Touhy
Julia Roberts turned down the main role in The Blind Side and Sandra Bullock was quick to swoop in and take it up. Despite the film’s $35 million budget and the fact that she normally asks for $10 million per picture, Bullock agreed to take a minor pay cut to be in the film.
Britney Spears – Allie Calhoun
The Notebook was pretty much an instant classic, but would you believe that Britney Spears was considered for the lead role? Her along with Jessica Biel and Reese Witherspoon were also rumored, but the studio decided to go with Rachel McAdams instead.
Jennifer Lawrence – Bella Swan
Here’s a crazy story. Jennifer Lawrence auditioned for the part of Bella in the Twilight film series but ended up losing to Kristen Stewart. Yes, the future Academy Award winner lost to Kristen Stewart. Luckily for Lawrence her career has risen to massive heights and she’s quickly become on of Hollywood’s most famous stars.
Freddie Prinze Jr. – Spider-Man
Freddie Prinze Jr. had a hot gig in the short-lived Scooby Doo franchise, and for a while was considered for some major roles, including that of Spider-Man! He ended up losing to Tobey Maguire in the end.
Jim Carrey – Jack Sparrow
Yes, Jim Carrey was Disney’s first choice to play the infamous Captain Jack Sparrow. While it certainly tickles our fancy to wonder just how Jim would’ve portrayed the film icon, we’re happy that Johnny Depp got to make it his own.
Will Smith – Neo
It turns out Will Smith turned down a lot of great roles in Hollywood, including Neo in the Matrix. Even though he lost out on what promised to be a ton of money, Will said “I would have absolutely messed up The Matrix. I wasn’t smart enough as an actor to let the movie be, whereas Keanu was smart enough to just let it be.” Ewan McGregor was also considered.
Al Pacino – Han Solo
Pacino revealed a few years ago that the role of Han Solo was his for the taking. He ultimately turned down the role as he didn’t understand the script, and Harrison Ford ended up picking it up in his stead. Ford went on to create one of the most iconic movie characters of all time, even though he himself didn’t understand some of the dialogue. He famously told George Lucas “You can type this shit, George, but you sure can’t say it.”
Leonardo Dicaprio – American Psycho
Here’s a bit of drama. Leonardo Dicaprio was originally cast as psychotic killer Patrick Bateman, the only problem was the studio already cast Christian Bale. In an effort to bring in the better actor, they decided to oust Bale without warning and give it to Leo. Bale ended up winning the part back after becoming obsessed with the project and lobbying intensely for himself. The beef between these two actors go back a long way, as they both auditioned for roles in What’s Eating Gilbert Grape and Titanic. The beef between these two actors go back a long way, as they both auditioned for roles in What’s Eating Gilbert Grape and Titanic.
Robin Williams – Hagrid
Robin Williams came insanely close to playing Hagrid but J.K. Rowling’s only stipulation was that British actors could only play the characters from the Harry Potter books. Because of that one rule, Williams wasn’t allowed to be part of the film series.
Josh Hartnett – Loki