GREAT ROLES TURNED DOWN
"The name is Bond - Cary Bond."
Film fans, not every detail of main casting is completed just because a film gets green-lit. Plus there are the usual schedule conflicts and last minute temper-related dropouts, etc.
Below is a list (not in any particular chronological order) of almost 50 cases where the star we always associate with certain roles might well have been a very different one, had things gone another way:
Cary Grant - Turned down the Sean Connery role in the "James Bond" spy film series. The soon to be retiring Grant said he declined the role in 1962 because, "I didn’t want to be tied to a film series." But ironically he didn't do much between '62 and '66 when he made his last film (a clinker), anyway. So it would have been a great high note to out on. Huge mistake, Cary.
Molly Ringwald – Turned down the role of Vivian in “Pretty Woman” and the role of Molly in “Ghost,” among others. She was also offered a part in Scream which she turned down because she was in her late 20s and didn’t want a teenage role. Also, she was offered Leah Thompson’s role in “Some Kind of Wonderful,” which she turned down, severing her relationship with John Hughes.
Mel Gibson – Turned down the lead role in Gladiator. A role which landed Russell Crowe the Academy Award. Mel also turned down the part of Robin Hood in “Robin Hood Prince of Thieves.” Instead, that part went to a not very belieaveable Kevin Costner.
Alec Baldwin – Turned down the role of Richard Kimball in “The Fugitive.” It then went to Harrison Ford.
Sigourney Weaver – Turned down the role of Ada in “The Accused,” a part that later went to Kelly McGillis, and the lead role in “A Handmaid’s Tale.”
Keanu Reeves - Turned down Charlie Sheen’s role in “Platoon.” And really, thank goodness for that. The role should definitely go to someone who can act.
Gillian Anderson – Turned down the role of Bethany Sloane in “Dogma.” The former X-Files star said, “No, thanks” and the part went to Linda Fiorentino instead.
Warren Beatty - Turned down the Burt reynolds role of Jack Horner in “Boogie Nights.” Reynolds got an Oscar nomination. Beatty also turned down James Caan’s role in “Misery,” the part of Gordon Gekko in “Wall Street,” and Robert Redford’s role in “The Sting.” Granted, Warren’s had some decent roles and he’s a good actor. But we’re thinking he’s not a very good judge of a decent script. He accepts “Dick Tracy” but turns down “The Sting?” Does anyone else see something wrong with this picture? Ya, he once got a Best Director Oscar (for "Reds") but that still ain't no Best Actor Oscar, baby.
Melanie Griffith – Turned down the role of Thelma in “Thelma and Louise.” Incidentally, Michelle Pfeiffer and Jodie Foster were originally cast as Thelma and Louise, but had to drop out as pre-production dragged on.
Sarah Michelle Gellar – Turned down the role as Cher in “Clueless,” which made a star out of Alicia Silverstone. The reason was scheduling conflicts, so we can't give her 100% blame on that one.
Richard Grieco – Turned down the lead role in “Speed” because he thought the script sucked. The former “21 Jump Street” star must still be turning down scripts, because it’s not like we’ve seen him in anything much else (but the plastic surgeon’s office) since the early '90s. (Unless you count a cameo in "Night At The Roxbury.")
Madonna - Turned down Michelle Pfeiffer’s role in “The Fabulous Baker Boys.” Maybe we should be thankful. (Besides, seeing Madonna with only two guys would seem like "cutting back" for her.)
Denzel Washington – Turned down the role of Curtis in “Dreamgirls,” the lead in “I Robot,” and it’s rumored he also nixed the role of Ray Charles in "Ray," for which Jamie Foxx won an Oscar.
Will Smith – Turned down the role that eventually went to Keanu Reeves in “The Matrix”, and the role of Stu in “Phone Booth.”
Julia Roberts – Turned down Sharon Stone’s leg crossing role in “Basic Instinct,” the role of Mary Corleone in “Godfather III” the role of Annie in “Sleepless in Seattle,” the lead role of “Shakespeare in Love” and the role of Lucy in “While You Were Sleeping.”
Leonardo DiCaprio – Turned down the lead role in “The Matrix," and was offered the part of Dirk Diggler in “Boogie Nights” before it was given to Mark Wahlberg.
Mark Wahlberg – Turned down the role of Linus in “Ocean’s 11.″
Tom Cruise – Before Johnny Depp made the role his own, Tom Cruise signed on to play Donnie in Donnie Brasco. Cruise was also to play the lead role in “Footloose,” but ended up turning that down as well.
Jennifer Jason Leigh – Jennifer Jason Leigh is another of the actresses who landed the role of Vivian in “Pretty Woman” and later turned it down.
Tom Hanks – Turned down the role of Ray Kinsella in “Field of Dreams,” Andy Dufresne in “The Shawshank Redemption” and the lead role in “Jerry Maguire.”
Danny Aiello – Turned down the Brian Doyle-Murray role of Jack Ruby in "JFK."
Muhammed Ali – Offered the starring role of a boxer in “Heaven Can Wait.” What? Like nobody would believe he was a boxer?!
Dan Ackroyd – Turned down the role of D-Day in “Animal House,” saying he wanted to give John Belushi a clear field as Bluto.
Kevin Bacon – Turned down Charlie Sheen’s role in “Being John Malkovich,” and Woody Harrelson’s role in “Indecent Proposal.”
Scott Baio - Turned down the role of Maverick in "Top Gun." Meaning that "Charles In Charge" was a better career move? Not.
Christian Bale – Turned down the role of Will Turner in “Pirates of the Caribbean.”
Jon Bon Jovi – Turned down Kevin Bacon’s role in “Footloose.”
Lorraine Bracco – Turned down the role of Mona Lisa in “My Cousin Vinnie.” Marissa Tomei ended up winning the Academy Award for that same role.
Jimmy Buffet – Turned down the role as a pirate in “Pirates of the Caribbean.” Contract dispute with his parrot, maybe? Or on the way to the studio, he got lost in Margaritaville? (You knew we were going to go there, didn't ya? Yep.)
James Caan – Turned down the lead role in “Kramer vs. Kramer,” the part of Trapper John in the movie “M*A*S*H,” and the role that made Christopher Reeve famous, “Superman.” (We assumed Caan could have been Luthor, but the rumor is that it was Superman.)
Jim Carey – Turned down the Russel Crowe role in “A Beautiful Mind," according to rumor. But it's confirmed that he actually did turn down the Will Ferrell role of Darren in the “Bewitched” movie.
Phoebe Cates – Turned down the role of Annie Banks in “Father of the Bride” after learning she was pregnant.
Chevy Chase – Turned down the role of Lester Burnham in “American Beauty” and the part of “Forrest Gump.”
John Cusack – Turned down the role of Fred Haise in “Apollo 13,” the role of Batman in “Batman Begins,” and the role of Simon Bishop in “As Good as it Gets”.
Ellen DeGeneres – The role of Annie in Speed was written for Ellen DeGeneres.
Ewan McGregor – Turned down the role of Neo in “The Matrix.” (So did everyone else. Thus Keanu Reeves.)
Ally Sheedy – Turned down the role of Charlie in “Top Gun”.
Sylvestor Stallone – Turned down the role of Axel Foley in “Beverly Hills Cop,” Bruce Willis’ role in “Die Hard” and Michael Douglas’ role in “Romancing the Stone.”
Patrick Swayze – It’s rumored he turned down the lead role in “American Gigilo.“
Charlize Theron - Turned down the lead roles in “Chicago,” “Pearl Harbor,” and “Sweet Home Alabama.”
Lindsay Wagner – Turned down the role of Jessica in “Logan’s Run.”
Luke and Owen Wilson – Turned down the roles of the Molloy brothers in “Oceans 11.″
Sean Young - Turned down the role of Sharon Stone roll of Ginger in “Casino.”
John Travolata – Turned down the Tom Hanks role of Forrest Gump in "Forrest Gump." Hanks won an Oscar for it, and Travolta's mantle is still 100% Oscar-free. (Although he was once nominated for "Saturday Night Fever," an event that briefly caused people to fear it would mark the end of civilization had he won.)
John Travolata – Turned down the Tom Hanks role of the main guard in "The Green Mile." Hanks almost got an Oscar for that one, too.
Emily Blunt - Turned down the Scarlet Johanssen role of Black Widow role in "Iron Man 2."
Lindsay Lohan - Turned down the Heather Graham role in "The Hangover." Lohan's prediction for the film: "No potential." And the take of the sequel for "The Hangover 2" (which she also would have played in) made 125 million on its opening weekend alone. No potential? Can you say "Hangover Trilogy"?!
Tom Cruise - Turned down the Angela Jolie role in "Salt." (Well, actually Jolie just kind of wrestled the role away from him during pre-production.)
Angela Jolie - Turned down the Demi Moore role in the "Charlie's Angels" remake.
Michael Madesn - Turned down the John Travolta role in "Pulp Fiction."
Matt Damon - Turned down the Sam Worthington role in "Avatar."
Jake Gyllenhaal - Turned down the Sam Worthington role in "Avatar," as well.
Julia Roberts - Turned down the Sandra Bullock role in "The Blind Side."
Helen Mirren - Turned down the Mariah Carey role in "Precious."
Anne Hathaway - Turned down the role of Alice in "Alice In Wonderland." She ended up playing the white queen instead.
Matt Damon turned down the Donnie Wahlberg role of Dirk Diggler in "Boogie Nights."
Freddie Prinze Jr. - Turned down the Toby Mcguire role of Spider-Man in the first "Spider-Man" film trilogy.
Drew Barrymoore - Turned down the Elizabeth Berkley role of a stripper in "Showgirls." The role won Berkley two Razzie Awards (for bad acting) and sunk her film career. Barrymoore, whose totally nude photos had already appeared in Playboy and other magazines, said she was uncomfortable with the amount of "nudity displayed in the script." Huh?! We'll say she would have been smokin' in that part, with no Razzies in sight. (Just a lot of guys in search of a cold shower.)
Jack Nicholson - Turned down the Al Pacino role in "The Godfather." Nicholson later said, "I knew 'The Godfather' was going to be a great film, but at that time I believed Indians should play roles written for Indians, and Italians should do the same."
Jodie Foster - Turned down the Carrie Fisher role of Princess what's-her-name in "Star Wars." Well, okay, she really didn't turn it down, but she still ended up not playing it. George Lucas was very impressed after seeing Foster in "Taxi Driver," and considered her as his second option in case things didn’t work out with Fisher. (Foster was only 15 years old at the time production started, so she would have ended up as Luke Skywalker's very little sister.)
Robert Redford - Turned down the Dustin Hoffman role in "The Graduate." Although he screen tested for it, Redford admitted that he didn't look innocent enough, so the more awkward and confused-looking Hoffman got the nod.
Tom Selleck - Turned down the Harrison Ford role in the "Indiana Jones" film series. As with "Star Wars," Ford also swooped in to grab this "Raiders Of The Lost Ark" role, which launched the series. (Wow, this guy Ford had a regular cottage industry going, just picking up parts others rejected.) Luckily for Ford, Selleck was held back from the role by scheduling conflicts with his TV series "Magnum P.I."