22 actors who turned down famous film roles

22 Actors Who Turned Down Famous Movie Roles

Would a Jack Sparrow who’s not Johnny Depp, be the same sarcastic pirate that every Pirates of Caribbean fan cherishes.

Or what would Star wars look like with Al Pacino as Han Solo.

It’s hard to imagine right? Well, it could have happened if things have gone in studios way.

While some actors rejected the role cause of scheduling conflicts, Others rejected it cause they didn’t quite like the role.

There are even cases where actors rejected the roles for reasons like not liking the character’s costume, the gruesome nature of the material, not wanting to endure hours of green Gamora makeup.

So we at Factvrse decided to make a list of 22 famous turned down movie roles and the reason why actors turned them down.

So without wasting any time, let’s begin.

From Jack Sparrow to Han Solo, here are some of the most headline-making movie “no thank yous” in Hollywood history.

1. Al Pacino as Han Solo in Star Wars

22 Actors Who Turned Down Famous Movie Roles: . Al Pacino as Han Solo in Star Wars

A failure to grasp the “Star Wars” script stopped Al Pacino from playing Han Solo, a decision he later described as a “missed opportunity.” Harrison Ford ended up in the role, and the rest is history.

Talking to The Independent about all the roles he’d turned down Pacino joked, “There is a museum of mistakes, all the movies I rejected.”

Al Pacino’s museum of mistakes include the roles of Ted Kramer and Edward Lewi in “Kramer vs. Kramer” and “Pretty Woman,” amongst others.

2. Halle Berry as Annie in Speed

Long before starring alongside Keanu Reeves in “John Wick 3,” Berry was offered the role of Annie alongside him in “Speed.” But, she stupidly turned down the role.

She told Entertainment Tonight that “I stupidly said no. But in my defense, when I read the script the bus didn’t leave the parking lot.”

3. Jack Nicholson as Michael Carlone in The God Father

Jack Nicholson as Michael Carlone in The God Father

Would you belive me, If I told you Al Pacino wasn’t the first choice for the role Michael Corleone.

But it’s true. Jack Nicholson and some other big names were considered for the role.

But Jack Nicholson ultimately passed on the role because he thought it should be played by an Italian actor.

He told Movieline in 2004, “Back then I believed Indians should play Indians and Italians should play Italians … There were a lot of actors who could have played Michael, myself included, but Al Pacino was Michael Corleone. I can’t think of a better compliment to pay him.”

Other big names who said no to the role were Robert De Niro, Warren Beatty, Robert Redford and Martin Sheen.

4. Amanda Seyfried as Gamora in Guardians of the Galaxy and the MCU

Marvel had its eye on Amanda Seyfried for Gamora in James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy but the actress, thanks to some advice from X-Men franchise star Jennifer Lawrence, decided she didn’t want to spend hours becoming green in a makeup chair.

5. Jim Carrey as Captain Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean

Scheduling conflicts with the film Bruce Almighty made Jim Carrey lose the role of Jack Sparrow in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise.

The role of Jack Sparrow in the Pirates’ of Caribbean franchise would have been a great test for Jim Carrey’s aversion to sequels. But thanks to Johnny Depp there was no need for studio to take that high risk.

Along with Jim Carrey, Christopher Walken and Michael Keaton were also considered for the part of Jack Sparrow.

These are great actors but hey never forget that Johnny Deep was born to play Jack Sparrow.

6. Michelle Pfeiffer as Clarice Starling in The Silence of the Lambs

The director didn’t like Jodie Foster’s Boston accent, so he offered the role of Clarice to Michelle Pfeiffer. Michelle Pfeiffer was director Demme’s first choice to play Clarice in The Silence of the Lambs, but the actress turned the role down due to the gruesome nature of the material.

Even though, Foster ended up winning an Oscar for Best Actress thanks to this film. A few years later, Jodie Foster herself would turn the role to returning for the sequel, Hannibal, for some of the same reasons.

7. Sean Connery as Morpheus in The Matrix and Gandalf in LOTR

James Bond legend, Sean Connery turned down the role of Morpheus because he didn’t quite understand the script.

But what is unforgivable here is.

Right after rejecting Morpheus he even rejected playing Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings for a similar reason.

These choices led made him to say yes to League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, even though he still didn’t get the story. Clearly, It was a bad choice.

8. Emma Watson as Mia in La La Land

Emma Stone won an Oscar and made it onto the highest-paid actresses list for “La La Land,”

But, it was another Emma who was originally lined up to play Mia in the musical extravaganza.

The director Damien Chazelle revealed that at one point, Emma Watson was hooked to the role. But she turned it down to play the role of Belle in “Beauty and the Beast,”.

Emma Watson wanted to be part of La La Land but rejected the role cause of her scheduling conflicts.

Miles Teller of “Whiplash” was eventually replaced by Ryan Gosling in the role of Sebastian was another casting change in this movie.

9. Will Smith as Django

Along with passing on the lead in the Matrix because of the Wachowskis’ overall inexperience at the time. Will Smith also bailed out the lead role in Quinton Tarantino’s Django Unchained.

Smith spent hours talking about the film with director Quentin Tarantino, but ultimately turned down the role because of their creative differences.

Will Smith wanted love to be the answer for vengeance, not vengeance.

10. Emilia Clark as Anastasia Steele in Fifty Shades of Grey

Emilia Clarke is no stranger being nude on camera. But she had to turn down the role of role of Anastasia Steele in Fifty Shades of Grey cause of the nudity involved in the film. The reason was the actress feared that she would be typecast if she accepted the role in film cause of her nude scenes in Game of Thrones.

In a an interview with Marie Claire, Emilia stated that ‘I really wanted to work with [Fifty Shades director] Sam Taylor-Johnson because she’s fucking amazing. But there is a huge amount of nudity in the film,’ she explains. ‘I’ll never say, “I’m never doing nudity” because I’ve already done it, but I thought I might get stuck in a pigeonhole that I would have struggled to get out of.’

Well, I think Emilia made great decision here. What are your thoughts on her decision. Let me know in the comments.

11. Matt Damon as Jake Sully in Avatar

22 Actors Who Turned Down Famous Movie Roles: Matt Damon as Jake Sully in Avatar

Damon was approached about playing the role of Jake Sully in the cult classic Avatar, but he had reject the offer cause of his other commitments.

The actor admits that he’s still upset about turning down the role, which later went to Sam Worthington.

Damon also passed on the role of Two-Face in The Dark Night but had to turn down the role cause of another commitment at that time.

12. Christine Applegate as Elle Woods in Legally Blonde

Before Reese Witherspoon signed up to play Elle Woods in “Legally Blonde,” various other actresses were considered for the part, including Christina Applegate. Applegate turned down the movie role because she was scared of getting pigeonholed as a scattered blonde after also playing one in “Married with Children.”

“I don’t regret it because Reese Witherspoon did a much better job than I ever could … and she has now way more money than I do and way more success. And so why would I even regret that?” she deadpanned on “Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen.”

13. John Travolta as Forrest Gump

22 Actors Who Turned Down Famous Movie Roles
: john travolta as forrest gump
Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images/Paramount Pictures

Tom Hanks is Forrest Gump. It is as simple as that.

But, John Travolta was the first choice for the role.

Travolta turned it down to make “Pulp Fiction” instead of Forest Gump. But, Travolta doesn’t regret this decision.

In fact, he stated in an 2007 interview with MTV news that “If I didn’t do something Tom Hanks did, then I did something else that was equally interesting or fun,”.

In addition, In a bizarre twist, both movies ended up competing for Best Picture at the 1995 Oscars. While, Hanks and Travolta were both nominated for Best Actor.

But, at the end of the day, Hanks and “Forrest Gump” came out on top. But still, both are one hell of a movies.

14. Tom Cruise as Tony Stark

22 Actors Who Turned Down Famous Movie Roles: Tom Cruise as Tony Stark

Can you imagine anyone playing the role of Tony Stark other than Robert Downey? No way, right?

But if things have gone in Marvel’s way, Tom cruise could have played the role of Iron Man in Marvel Cinematic Universe.

In an interview with Comicbook, Tom Cruise himself stated that “I love Robert Downey Jr. I can’t imagine anyone else in that role, and I think it’s perfect for him.”

15. Hugh Jackman as James Bond

22 Actors Who Turned Down Famous Movie Roles
: Hugh Jackman as James bond
Laura Cavanaugh/Getty Images/MGM, Columbia Pictures

Jackman told Variety that when the search was on for a new James Bond after Pierce Brosnan in Casino Royale, a call came asking if he’d be interested.

But, Hugh Jackman turned down the role cause at the time he thought that the scripts became so unbelievable and crazy. He wanted scripts for bond to become grittier and real.

In addition, he was also worried that between Bond and X-Men, He’d never have time to do different things.

16. Pierce Brosnan as Batman

22 Actors Who Turned Down Famous Movie Roles: Pierce Brosnan in Tim Burton's Batman

When approached to play Bruce Wayne/Batman in Tim Buron’s 1989 Batman, Pierce Brosnan turned down the role cause he thought “any man who wears his underpants outside his pants just cannot be taken seriously.”

17. Jude Law as Superman in Superman Returns

22 Actors Who Turned Down Famous Movie Roles: Jude Law as Superman

Same with happened with Jude Law, when he was approached to play the Man of Steel for 2006’s Superman Returns but declined after seeing the suit.

Jude said in 2016 that “I was always worried about the outfit, I just didn’t fancy it”

18. Denzel Washington as Detective David Mills in Se7en

22 Actors Who Turned Down Famous Movie Roles
: Denzel Washington as David Mills in  seven

Washington could have had Brad Pitt’s role in psychological thriller Se7en. But he turned down the role, deciding to work on detective thriller “Devil in a Blue Dress” instead.

The reason for Denzel to drop the role was at that time he didn’t think anybody was going to see it . Denzel couldn’t be anymore wrong. But still dude got many great roles under his belt that he’ll be proud of.

In a recent  interview with theGrio, The Training Day star confessed that one of his biggest mistakes thus far in his career was turning down the lead role in the 1995 thriller Seven.

19. Leonardo DiCaprio as Eddie Adams in Boogie Nights

22 Actors Who Turned Down Famous Movie Roles
: Leonardo DiCaprio as Eddie Adams in Boogie Nights

After watching Dicaprio in “The Basketball Diaries,” Paul Thomas Anderson wanted him to star in “Boogie Nights.” DiCaprio passed down the role to appear in “Titanic,” but recommended his friend and “Basketball Diaries” costar Mark Wahlberg.

In 2008 interview GQ, DiCaprio told that he regretted turning down the role. He added that Boogie Nights is a movie that he loved and wished he would’ve done.

I understand about the scheduling conflicts these great actor have but why isn’t there any Paul Thomas Anderson movie with Leonardo DiCaprio starring in it.

But, when asked if he would reverse his decision if he could, DiCaprio answered “I think they’re both great and wish I could have done them both.”

20. Burt Reynolds as Garrett Breedlove in Terms of Endearment

22 Actors Who Turned Down Famous Movie Roles
: Burt Reynolds as Garret terms of endearment
Mike Windle/Getty Images for SXSW/Paramount Pictures

Even though the role of Garrett Breedlove in “Terms of Endearment” was written for Burt Reynolds, he turned it down. Jack Nicholson took home the best supporting actor Oscar for the role.

Reynolds told Business Insider that turning down the part of Garrett Breedlove in “Terms of Endearment” is the acting decision he regrets the most.

And his reason for this being the decision he regrets the most is The “real acting part”.

The Deliverance star, Burt Reynolds, was also offered both the Han Solo role in Star Wars and the opportunity to take over as James Bond after Sean Connery. For Bond, Reynolds thought fans would never accept an American 007.

And as for Han Solo he just “didn’t want to play that kind of role at the time.”

21. Brad Pitt as Jason Bourne

22 Actors Who Turned Down Famous Movie Roles: Brad Pit as Jason Bourne

Brad was initially offered the role of Jason Bourne before Matt Damon, but he turned it down to take part in a different movie, ‘Spy Game’.

While the Bourne franchise became a huge success, we can’t imagine that Brad Pitt has had many sleepless nights over the missed opportunity, he’s still one of the biggest movie stars in the world!

22. Harrison Ford as Alan Grant in “Jurassic Park”

Harrison ford rejected the role of Dr. Grant in the  Jurassic park

The visionary Director Steven Spielberg and Harrison Ford had worked together for the “Indiana Jones” films, but when Spielberg offered the role of Dr. Alan Grant in the Jurassic World to Ford, he declined.

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