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Which Stars Turned Down Legendary Roles?

 
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mzmee View Drop Down
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    Posted: Dec 09 2012 at 6:49pm
Will Smith at the Red Cross Red Tie Affair Fundraiser Gala, Fairmount Miramar Hotel, Santa Monica, CA. 04-17-10 Copyright: s_bukley

Will Smith - Neo in 'The Matrix'

Will Smith has starred in some of the biggest moneymaking blockbusters of all time, from 'Independence Day' to the 'Men in Black' franchise, but he had the opportunity to have another legendary franchise at one point in time.

Smith was originally offered the role of Neo in 'The Matrix,' before turning it down to make the notorious flop 'Wild, Wild West' alongside Kevin Kline. The huge success of the franchise hasn't seemed to bother Will all that much. Will has said, “You know, 'The Matrix' is a difficult concept to pitch. In the pitch, I just didn’t see it. I watched Keanu’s performance – and very rarely do I say this – but I would have messed it up."

Matt Damon during the 66th Venice Film Festival on September 7, 2009 in Venice, Italy.Copyright: ChinellatoPhoto

Matt Damon - 'Avatar' and 'The Dark Knight'

With Academy Award acclaim from the outset of his career, thanks to penning and playing the lead in 'Good Will Hunting,' Matt Damon is no stranger to cinematic success, especially when you consider he has starred in the 'Ocean's' franchise, the 'Bourne' trilogy, and 'Saving Private Ryan.'

Damon did, however, pass up on two of the highest-grossing movies of all time. He turned down the lead in James Cameron's 'Avatar' (the highest-grossing film in history) due to a scheduling conflict with 'The Bourne Ultimatum;' and he passed on the role of Harvey Dent in 'The Dark Knight' due to filming conflicts with Clint Eastwood's 'Invictus.'

 
Jack Nicholson smiles while attending the German premiere of the film The Bucket List January 21, 2008 in Berlin. Copyright: 360b

Jack Nicholson - Michael Corleone in 'The Godfather'

One legendary actor had the opportunity to play one of the greatest characters in cinematic history before another legend was handed the role of a lifetime.

Jack Nicholson, not Al Pacino, was the first one offered the role of Michael Corleone in 'The Godfather.' Nicholson turned it down because, as he once 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." Considering Jack appeared in the likes of 'Easy Rider,' 'The Last Detail,' 'Five Easy Pieces,' 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest,' and 'Chinatown' within a handful of years of 'The Godfather,' he obviously survived passing on the role.

 
Johnny Depp at the premiere of WB Pictures Dark Shadows at Graumans Chinese Theater on May 7, 2012 in Los Angeles, California Copyright: Joe Seer

Johnny Depp - Ferris Bueller

This is a hard switch to picture, but it would have definitely changed the face of one of the biggest comedy hits of all time; Johnny Depp was originally offered the lead in 'Ferris Bueller's Day Off' before Matthew Broderick ended up landing his career-defining role. Like Smith, Damon and Nicholson, Johnny Depp seems to have landed on his feet since then.

 
Actor Leonardo DiCaprio attends Shutter Island Premiere during day three of the 60th Berlin Film Festival at the Berlinale Palast on February 13, 2010 in Berlin, Germany Copyright: cinemafestival

Leonardo DiCaprio - Dirk Diggler in 'Boogie Nights'

Leonardo DiCaprio starred in the film that stood as the highest-grossing film for years and the blockbuster that made him a bona fide movie star, 'Titanic;' but, the film he passed on to make it still stands as the biggest regret of his career.

Leo was offered the iconic role of Dirk Diggler in Paul Thomas Anderson's 'Boogie Nights' before Mark Wahlberg dug into the starring role. DiCaprio told GQ, "'Boogie Nights' is a movie I loved and I wish I would’ve done...I’m a huge fan of [director] Paul Thomas Anderson, but the first time I met him for that role I hadn’t really seen much of his previous work. Now I love that movie."

 
Molly Ringwald at the 82nd Annual Academy Awards at the Kodak Theatre, Hollywood. March 7, 2010 Los Angeles, CACopyright: Paul Smith, Featureflash

Molly Ringwald - 'Pretty Woman' and 'Ghost'

Believe it or not, 80s "it girl" Molly Ringwald of 'Pretty in Pink,' 'Sixteen Candles,' and 'The Breakfast Club' fame, was offered the leads in both 'Pretty Woman' and 'Ghost.' Ringwald's decision to pass on both of those roles certainly didn't help her career, but those decisions helped to make Julia Roberts and Demi Moore breakout Hollywood stars.

 
 Kevin Costner at Annette Bening Honored at Santa Barbara Film Festival, Arlington Theatre, Santa Barbara, CA. 01-28-11 Copyright: s_bukley

Kevin Costner - Andy Dufresne in 'The Shawshank Redemption'

Kevin Costner was one of the biggest movie stars on the planet for the majority of the 80s and the early 90s. Sadly, Costner's reign took a devastating blow when he decided to pursue his disastrous passion project of 'Waterworld' (one of the biggest bombs in film history), instead of taking the legendary role of Andy Dufresne in 'The Shawshank Redemption.'

 
LOS ANGELES - JAN 23: Emily Blunt at the premiere of Gnomeo & Juliet on January 23, 2011 in Los Angeles, CaliforniaCopyright: Joe Seer

Emily Blunt - Black Widow in 'Iron Man 2'

Successful, young British actress Emily Blunt of 'The Devil Wears Prada,' 'The Adjustment Bureau,' and 'Looper' fame, missed out on the opportunity to be a part of a massive franchise. Blunt was originally offered the role of Black Widow in 'Iron Man 2,' which ultimately went to Scarlett Johansson, because Blunt already had a scheduling conflict with 'Gulliver's Travels,' a film that would go on to be a box office bomb.

 
SIR SEAN CONNERY at the 34th AFI Life Achievement Awards Gala in Hollywood where he was honored. June 8, 2006 Los Angeles, CACopyright: Paul Smith / Featureflash

Sean Connery - 'The Lord of the Rings' and 'The Matrix'

Screen legend Sir Sean Connery could have had two late-career blockbuster franchises under his belt in addition to his decades of hit movies. Connery was offered both the role of Gandalf in the 'Lord of the Rings' trilogy and Morpheus in 'The Matrix' trilogy. In the years since turning down the roles, Connery has admitted to regretting his decisions.

 
Tom Selleck at the CBS, The CW, Showtime Summer Press Tour Party, Beverly Hilton Hotel, Beverly Hills, CA. 07-28-10 Copyright: s_bukley

Tom Selleck - Indiana Jones

It may be hard to wrap your head around it, but Harrison Ford was not the first actor that Steven Spielberg and George Lucas pursued for the role of Indiana Jones in 'Raiders of the Lost Ark.' 'Magnum P.I.' star Tom Selleck was offered the genuinely iconic role first, but he had to decline due to scheduling conflicts with his hit TV show.

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mzmee View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (5) Thanks(5)   Quote mzmee Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Dec 09 2012 at 6:50pm
I'm glad Will didn't take the role.
 
I know Jack Nicholson and Sean Connery are kicking themselves...
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (7) Thanks(7)   Quote JoliePoufiasse Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Dec 09 2012 at 6:52pm
I'm glad Will turned down the matrix. That movie is perfection just as it is.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (4) Thanks(4)   Quote JoliePoufiasse Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Dec 09 2012 at 6:52pm
Can't figure out why they would want to cast Mollie Ringwald in those roles, though
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (3) Thanks(3)   Quote ImThatDiva Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Dec 09 2012 at 6:57pm
It's always weird to see the potential choices when you're used to seeing other people in the role...Robert Di Niro auditioned for Sonnie in the godfather but ended up playing Young Vito. He would have been a great Sonnie
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ms_wonderland Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Dec 09 2012 at 7:05pm
Leo could've done great in Boogie Nights.  Gwenyth Paltrow was also supposed to play rollergirl but im glad she didn't get that part.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (5) Thanks(5)   Quote EPITOME Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Dec 09 2012 at 7:06pm
hm...not too many black actors turning down roles i see. we don't have that luxury
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (2) Thanks(2)   Quote Bunnyahh Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Dec 10 2012 at 2:36pm
FUNNY  how things play out in the universe
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Chyna_Li Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Dec 10 2012 at 2:39pm
never seen any of these movies
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (3) Thanks(3)   Quote newdiva1 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Dec 10 2012 at 2:40pm
i've always felt that a black man playing Neo would have been more.....profound.  Not to mention the Nuwaubians and Israelites would have cyphered that to death.
 
no shade to Nuwaupu and Israelites....please don't come for me blaquefox.


Edited by newdiva1 - Dec 10 2012 at 2:40pm
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