slideshow: 15 actors who passed up iconic movie roles


slideshow: 15 actors who passed up iconic movie roles

  • Will Smith turned down the part of Neo in The Matrix so he could work on Wild, Wild West. "I watched Keanu's performance - and very rarely do I say this - but I would have messed it up. I would have absolutely messed up The Matrix," recalled Smith in an interview with Wired.

    (Michael Buckner/Getty)
  • Anne Hathaway scored the role of Alison Scott in Knocked Up but dropped out due to problems with the script. "[The movie] was going to show a vagina – not mine, but somebody else's. And I didn't believe that it was actually necessary to the story," said Hathaway to Marie Claire magazine.

    (Ian Gavan/Getty)
  • Fresh off of the cult hit "Buffy The Vampire Slayer," David Boreanaz was offered the role of Bruce Wayne in Christopher Nolan's Batman Begins. Boreanaz turned it down and the part went to Christian Bale.

    (Christopher Polk/Getty)
  • In 2008, Lindsay Lohan missed a chance at a Hollywood comeback when she turned down the role of Jade in The Hangover. Lohan went against her agent's advice and turned down the role because she thought the script "had no potential." The Hangover went on to gross $467,483,912 worldwide.

    (Tullio M. Puglia/Getty)
  • Matt Damon, who almost played Jake Sully in Avatar, says he was "desperate" to work with director James Cameron. Damon says he reluctantly had to pass: "It didn't work out because of scheduling. But it didn't work out too badly for Avatar."

    (Jason Merritt/Getty)
  • James Franco was cast as Arthur in Christopher Nolan's Inception, but was forced to drop out due to scheduling conflicts. Franco was replaced by 500 Days of Summer star Joseph Gordon-Levitt.

    (Gareth Cattermole/Getty)
  • Jennifer Hudson was up for the lead role in Precious. The Oscar-winning actress wrote in her book, I Got This: How I Changed My Ways And Lost What Weighed Me Down, that she turned down the part because she didn't want to gain weight. More recently, Hudson has changed her tune: "I turned it down because I felt it was just too graphic for me at that time."

    (Koki Nagahama/Getty)
  • Emily Browning (Sucker Punch) was Twilight author Stephenie Meyer's first choice to play Bella Swan, but Browning let someone else win the part: "I chose not to audition because I was at a point in my career where I wasn't sure I wanted to work. I definitely didn't want to sign on to a trilogy, so I didn't audition."

    (Pascal Le Segretain/Getty)
  • Russell Crowe was the favorite to play Wolverine in Bryan Singer's X-Men, but Crowe turned down the role after his salary demands were not met.

    (Kevin Winter/Getty)
  • Jennifer Lopez says she reluctantly turned down the role of Dorothy in Jerry Maguire after being told by her agent: "No, no, no, it's not for you." René Zellweger went on to become a household name after the release of Jerry Maguire.

    (Neilson Barnard/Getty)
  • Sean Connery declined the role of Gandalf in the The Lord of the Rings trilogy because he didn't understand the script: "I never understood it. I read the book, I read the script, I saw the movie, and I still don't understand it." Connery, who was offered a cut of the trilogy's worldwide profits, is estimated to have lost out on nearly 400 million dollars.

    (Frazer Harrison/Getty)
  • Gwyneth Paltrow was director James Cameron's first choice to play Rose in the mega-hit Titanic, but Paltrow turned him down because the movie wasn't her "cup of tea."

    (Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty)
  • Mel Gibson allegedly turned down the role of Maximus in Gladiator because he thought he was too old. Gibson, who was 44 at the time, was replaced by then- 36-year-old Russell Crowe.

    (Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty)
  • Tom Cruise was set to play the lead role in Donnie Brasco but dropped out when the movie was put on hold. Goodfellas had just become a hit, so producers halted production because "no one wanted to compete with Martin Scorsese."

    (Ian Gavan/Getty)
  • Han Solo could have been Italian. Al Pacino, who already had The Godfather and The Godfather: Part II under his belt, passed on the role of the lovable smuggler, which made a star out of Harrison Ford.

    (Frazer Harrison/Getty)
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