Actors That Turned Down Iconic Roles For Lackluster Ones

Actors can fall in love with a character or a story, only for the movie to be a complete disaster, in the end, leaving them wishing they had agreed to play another part in a different movie. It’s the harsh reality of the business and a feeling of regret that many actors share. Here are some factors that turned down now-iconic roles for ones that were less-than-impressive.

Emily Blunt – Gulliver’s Travels Over Black Widow

Picture of Emily Blunt
20th Century Fox
20th Century Fox

Scarlet Johansson may have been perfect for playing the character Black Widow in the 2010 Marvel film Iron Man 2, but it was Emily Blunt that the studio was interested in first. Blunt turned down portraying the superhero due to a scheduling issue with Jack Black’s Gulliver’s Travels.

While Iron Man 2 may not have been the most beloved film, there’s no denying that it was significantly better than the disaster that was Gulliver’s Travels. Furthermore, audiences loved Johansson as Black Widow so much they decided to give the character her own movie.

Michael Madsen – Wyatt Earp Over Pulp Fiction

Picture of Michael Madsen
Warner Bros.
Warner Bros.

Quentin Tarantino loves using the same actors in his films with Michael Masen appearing in films such as Reservoir Dogs, and The Hateful Eight, among others. Supposedly, Tarantino even offered him the role of Vincent Vega played by John Travolta in Pulp Fiction, but he passed on it in order to be in Wyatt Earp.

Madsen’s decision created tension between him and Tarantino with the two not speaking for some time. However, they made up and Madsen was featured in Tarantino’s Kill Bill: Volume I.

Brad Pitt – Spy Game Over The Bourne Series

Picture of Brad Pitt
Universal Studios
Universal Studios

To this day, Brad Pitt remains an absolute powerhouse in Hollywood, having his name on some of the biggest films in recent memory. Nevertheless, he is human and makes mistakes, which was the case when he turned down the role of Jason Bourne, a character that would send Matt Damon’s career into the stratosphere.

The role Pitt chose over Bourne turned out to be a CIA agent in Spy Game. Although the movie didn’t fail, the Bourne series still did much better.

Eddie Murphy – Holy Man Over Rush Hour

Picture of Eddie Murphy
Touchstone Pictures
Touchstone Pictures

Chances are, you’ve definitely heard of the Rush Hour films and have no idea what the movie Holy Man is. Unfortunately, that’s something that actor/comedian Eddie Murphy has to live with every day.

Murphy took on the film Holy Man during a point in his career when he was doing borderline terrible films, with Holy Man possibly being the worst. The real shame is that he had an opportunity to dig himself out of this rut when offered the role of James Carter in Rush Hour, yet declined it to do Holy Man.

Matt Damon – Downsizing Over Manchester By The Sea

Picture of Matt Damon
Paramount Pictures
Paramount Pictures

Over the years, Matt Damon has proved that he can do it all with dramas like Goodwill Hunting to crime thrillers such as The Departed. That doesn’t mean that he is incapable of making a movie that flops, which Downsizing certainly did.

For some reason, Matt Damon backed out of both directing and starring in Manchester by the Sea, and the role instead went to Casey Affleck. Casey’s performance in the film would win him an Academy Award for Best Actor, something that was probably bittersweet for Matt.

Tim Roth – Planet Of The Apes Over Harry Potter

Picture of Tim Roth
20th Century Fox
20th Century Fox

Although the late Alan Rickman had an incredible career before taking the role of Severus Snape in the Harry Potter series, it’s arguably the role that he will be best remembered for. Unbelievably, Tim Roth was actually offered the role before Rickman but made the huge error of agreeing to be in Tim Burton’s reboot of Planet of the Apes.

Roth foolishly believed that he would be able to do both, but was proven otherwise, fully devoting himself to Planet of the Apes. While Rickman scored one of the most memorable fantasy characters of all time, Planet of the Apes crashed and burned.

Brooke Sheilds – Sahara Over Scarface

Picture of Brooke Shields
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

When Brook Shields was offered the role of Elvira in Brian de Palma’s legendary mobster film Scarface, her own mother pointed her in the wrong direction. Her mother suggested that she avoid the gangster film in favor of starring in the adventure film Sahara, and we all know how that turned out.

So, the role went to Michele Pfeiffer, which helped turn her into a star. Shields ended up taking home a Razzie for Worst Supporting Actor, making her the first actress to ever do so.

Jean Reno – Godzilla Over The Matrix

Picture of Jean Reno
Sony Pictures
Sony Pictures

Jean Reno is a French actor that has been in several notable films, yet one role that he missed out on was playing Agent Smith in the Wachowskis The Matrix. However, Reno said no, because he didn’t want to move to Australia to film it.

This decision resulted in him playing a French secret agent in 1998’s Godzilla. Unfortunately for Reno, The Matrix was one of the most hailed sci-fi psychological thrillers ever made, and critics shredded Godzilla.

David Schwimmer – The Pallbearer Over Men In Black

Picture of David Schwimmer
Miramax Films
Miramax Films

David Schwimmer became a larger-than-life actor after playing Ross on the revolutionary TV series Friends. After the show ended, he was hoping to advance his career, although he had some bad judgment.

Instead of playing Agent J in Men in Black, which became a hit, he chose to act in the romantic comedy Pallbearer, for which he won a Razzie for Worst New Star. This worked out in Will Smith’s favor as the role of Agent J took his career to new heights.

Will Smith – After Earth Over Django Unchained

Picture of Will Smith
Columbia Pictures
Columbia Pictures

A mistake that any actor and actress can make is turning down a role in a Quentin Tarantino film, which tend to be uber-successful off his name alone. Yet, that’s just what Will Smith did when he was offered the role of Django in Django Unchained.

Instead, he chose to act alongside his son Jaden Smith in the unremarkable After Earth. It is rumored that Smith turned down the movie because Django doesn’t kill the bad guy and that he didn’t want to be in a movie about revenge, but rather love.

Tom Cruise – All The Right Moves Over Footloose

Picture of Tom Cruise
20th Century Fox
20th Century Fox

Tom Cruise is another actor in Hollywood that has impressed audiences for years for his range, seemingly capable to tackle any role thrown at him. However, he has missed out on some too, with one of these being Footloose.

His performance in Risky Business caught the attention of the casting directors of Footloose, who wanted him to portray Ren McCormack, but Cruise preferred to be in the sports film All the Right Moves. This proved to be a mistake with Footloose becoming a symbol of the 1980s.

Will Smith – Wild Wild West Over The Matrix

Will Smith in a hat
Warner Bros.
Warner Bros.

Before 1999, Will Smith made quite the name for himself with multiple box office hits. So, it’s not surprising that the Wachowskis proposed to him that he play Neo in The Matrix.

Smith was unsure about all of the special effects that would be used and backed out, leaving the role for Keanu Reeves. Instead, Smith acted in Wild Wild West, which was an all-around failure and earned smith a Worst Screen Couple Razzie and Worst Original Song. Tough break.

Christina Applegate – Just Visiting Over Legally Blonde

Picture of Christina Applegate
Buena Vista Pictures
Buena Vista Pictures

Most people have heard of the hit comedy Legally Blonde, starring Reese Witherspoon as Ellen Woods, a seemingly ditzy blonde that takes on law school. As it turns out, Christina Applegate was actually first in line to be offered the role of Elle Woods.

Yet, Applegate had her reservations about playing another typical “blonde” role for fear of being typecast, especially after having just finished Married with Children. So, she chose Just Visiting, which was a failed remake of a French film.

Kevin Costner – Waterworld Over Shawshank Redemption

Picture of Kevin Costner
Universal Studios
Universal Studios

If you were unaware, to this day, Waterworld is considered to be one of the greatest blunders in film history. With one of the biggest budgets of all time, both the production of the film and its receptions turned out to be complete disasters.

Star Kevin Costner could have avoided this humiliation if he had taken the role of Andy Dufresne in The Shawshank Redemption like he was offered. But he decided to go big or go home, and he definitely went home in the case of Waterworld. Shawshank is now considered one of the greatest movies of all time.

Leonardo DiCaprio – The Beach Over American Psycho

Picture of Leonardo DiCaprio
20th Century Fox
20th Century Fox

When casting for the psychological horror film American Psycho, it is rumored that Lionsgate offered Leonardo DiCaprio a hefty sum of $20 million to play the deranged serial killer Patrick Bateman. The studio wanted DiCaprio so bad that they were even willing to go against director Mary Harron’s wishes, who was pushing for Christian Bale. In the end, Harron was then replaced by Oliver Stone.

Once Stone was on the project, he and DiCaprio struggled with direction, leaving DiCaprio to walk away and make The Beach. With Bale as Bateman, Harron returned to the director’s chair, and American Psycho is now considered a cult classic, and The Beach remains forgotten.

Julia Roberts – Valentine’s Day Over The Blind Side

Picture of Julia Roberts
New Line Cinema
New Line Cinema

At one point, Julia Roberts was the highest-paid actress in Hollywood, becoming an A-list actor after her performance in 2000’s Erin Brockovich, for which she won Best Actress at the Oscars. Yet, she turned down another potentially Oscar-worthy role when she passed up on playing Leigh Anne Tuohy in the 2009 sports film The Blind Side.

Rather, Roberts decided to go on and make the movie Valentine’s Day, which was abysmal compared to many of the other films that Roberts has starred in throughout her career.

Tom Selleck – Magnum P.I., Over Indiana Jones

Picture of Tom Selleck
CBS
CBS

After seeing Harrison Ford as Han Solo in Star Wars, Steven Spielberg wanted him to play Indiana Jones. However, George Lucas, a producer on Raiders of the Lost Ark, was against having Ford in another one of his movies.

So, it was agreed that Tom Selleck would play Jones until Selleck was forced to drop out due to contract issues regarding the television show Magnum, P.I. While the show was successful in its own right, it’s not even close to the Indiana Jones franchise.

Hugh Jackman – X-Men 2 Over James Bond

Picture of Hugh Jackman
20th Century Fox
20th Century Fox

Recently, Hugh Jackman revealed that he had been approached to play the iconic Agent 007 in the James Bond film Casino Royale. While he was interested in the role, he was forced to turn it down because he had contractual obligations to fulfill for the film X2: X-Men United.

This resulted in Daniel Craig becoming the next James Bond for several films, with Jackman admitting that he would seriously consider the role if he had the opportunity again.

Katie Holmes – Mad Money Over The Dark Knight And The Dark Knight Rises

Picture of Katie Holmes
Overture Films
Overture Films

When Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins was released in 2005, it can be argued that it revolutionized the superhero genre, spawning the following films, The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises.

In Batman Begins, Rachel Dawes, the love interest of Bruce Wayne, is played by Katie Holmes, although Maggie Gyllenhaal plays her in the latter two films. During this time, Holmes was busy making the failure Mad Money, while the other two Batman films established themselves as some of the most successful films of their time.

Marilyn Monroe – The Misfits Over Breakfast At Tiffany’s

Picture of Marilyn Monroe
United Artists
United Artists

When casting for Breakfast at Tiffany’s, the author of the original book, Truman Capote, had his eye on Marilyn Monroe for the part of Holly Golightly. However, Monroe’s agent talked her out of the part because of the type of profession that Golightly’s character was involved in.

So, passing on Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Monroe then starred in The Misfits, written and directed by her husband, Arthur Miller. Production of The Misfits turned out to be a disaster, with the script supposedly leading to the end of the couple’s marriage, and Breakfast at Tiffany’s is considered a classic.

Benicio Del Toro – Thor: The Dark World Over Star Trek: Into Darkness

Benicio Del Toro
Marvel/Thor: The Dark World
Marvel/Thor: The Dark World

It’s hard to imagine turning down a Star Trek role. Actor Benicio Del Toro was a top choice to play Khan in the Star Trek sequel Into Darkness. But he let the role slip by after he wasn’t able to come to an agreement on pay with the production team for the film. Instead, that year he played a minor role as The Collector in Thor: The Dark World.

Actor Benedict Cumberbatch stepped in as Khan. Into Darkness ended up becoming the highest-grossing film in the Star Trek franchise, grossing over $467 million worldwide.

Brad Pitt – Jackass Over The Bourne Identity

brad-pitt
MTV/Jackass
MTV/Jackass

Believe it or not, Brad Pitt turned down the starring role of Jason Bourne in The Bourne Identity to appear in two episodes of MTV’s reality series Jackass. When the producers of the Bourne franchise reached out to Pitt for the role of Jason, his agent replied that his plate was too full at the moment.

Matt Damon ended up taking the role, which became a breakout role for his career. Other than Jackass, Pitt only had a cameo appearance in George Clooney’s Confessions of a Dangerous Mind that year.

Michelle Pfeiffer: Coolio Music Video Over The Silence of the Lambs

dangerous-minds
Via Rosa Productions/Dangerous Minds
Via Rosa Productions/Dangerous Minds

The Silence of the Lambs is a classic film, earning seven nominations at the 1995 Academy Awards. Jodie Foster won the Oscar for Best Actress in a Leading Role for her performance as Clarice Starling. Michelle Pfeiffer had first pick of the role, but she turned it down!

After reading the script, Pfeiffer thought the film was too dark, so she turned down the role. Instead, she played LouAnne Johnson in Dangerous Minds, and made a cameo appearance in Coolio’s “Gangsta’s Paradise” music video.

Jennifer Connelly: Etoile Over Heathers

Jennifer Connelly- Etoile
Etoile
Etoile

Winona Ryder made Heathers a hit film in 1989, playing the starring role as Veronica. However, when screenwriter Daniel Waters wrote the script, he had actress Jennifer Connelly in mind as the protagonist.

At the time, Connelly was mostly known for her role as Sarah in Labyrinth. Heathers could have helped propel her career. But instead, Connelly took on the part of a ballet student in the Italian film Etoile.

Burt Reynolds: 100 Rifles Over On Her Majesty’s Secret Service

Burt Reynolds 100 Rifles
100 Rifles
100 Rifles

We could have watched Burt Reynolds as James Bond– it was close to happening in 1969. Reynolds was a top contendor for the lead role as the suave secret agent in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. He turned down the role because he felt an American couldn’t properly play a Brit!

Instead, he took on a couple of roles in Western films, including 100 Rifles for which he was later quoted as saying, “I spent the entire time refereeing fights between Jim Brown and Raquel Welch.”

John Travolta – Pulp Fiction Over Forrest Gump

Picture of Travolta
Miramax Films
Miramax Films

Forrest Gump is arguably one of the most quoted and well-known films ever made. When it was released, it became the highest-grossing film of 1994, with Tom Hanks winning the Academy Award for Best Actor for his portrayal of Forrest Gump.

Interestingly, the film was initially offered to John Travolta, who turned it down. Instead of playing Forrest Gump, Travolta went on to act in Pulp Fiction instead, which was also good, but not close to the same caliber as Forrest Gump.

Emily Browning – The Uninvited Over Twilight

Picture of Browning
DreamWorks Pictures
DreamWorks Pictures

Best known for her film Sucker Punch, Emily Browning was one of the first considerations for the role of Bella Swan for the Twilight series. However, after reading the script, Browning decided that she wanted no part in the film and Kristen Stewart filled the role.

Browning then ended up taking on the lead role in the horror film The Uninvited, which was a remake of a 2003 South Korean film. Unfortunately, for Browning, the Twilight series would go on to become an international sensation.

Matthew Broderick –The Tale of Despereaux Over Breaking Bad

Picture from the movie
Universal Studios
Universal Studios

Breaking Bad is an AMC television series about a meek high school chemistry teacher that begins making and selling crystal meth to provide for his family after discovering that he has lung cancer.

The show has been hailed as one of the greatest to ever be on television, especially due to Brian Cranston’s performance as Walter White. Yet, the role was first offered to Matthew Broderick, who turned it down. Tragically, Broderick went on to make the animated film The Tale of Despereaux over the television series.

Paul Schaffer – Seinfeld Over Making Music

Picture of Paul Shaffer
Paul Natkin/Getty Images
Paul Natkin/Getty Images

In Paul Schaffer’s 2009 memoir, We’ll Be Here the Rest of Our Lives; he admits that before filming for Seinfeld started, Jerry Seinfeld contacting him regarding the role of George Costanza.

In fact, Jerry went so far as to say that he didn’t even need to audition and that the part was his. Of course, Schaffer turned him down on account of being “too busy” making music. Little did Schaffer know that Seinfeld would be considered one of the greatest reality television shows of all time.

Tom Hanks That Thing You Do Over Jerry McGuire

Picture of Tom Hanks
Christopher Polk/Getty Images for People’s Choice Awards
Christopher Polk/Getty Images for People’s Choice Awards

According to the director of Jerry McGuire, Cameron Crowe, Tom Hanks was the first actor that they approached for the role of Jerry McGuire. However, Hanks was too busy directing That Thing You Do and had to pass on the project, leading it to go to Tom Cruise.

Nevertheless, Hanks would later go on to admit that he could never have done the same job that Cruise did in the film, in fact, that nobody could have.

Ray Liotta – Muppets From Space Over The Sopranos

Picture of Ray Liotta
Columbia Pictures
Columbia Pictures

Ray Liotta established himself as a big name in the gangster genre after starring in Martin Scorsese’s Goodfellas. So, when it came time for casting in HBO’s The Sopranos, Liotta was at the top of the list.

Yet, he turned down the opportunity to play Tony Soprano, with the role going to James Gandolfini. His performance would go on to be regarded as one of the best television performances ever to grace the small screen. Instead, Ray Liotta found himself in noteworthy projects such as Muppets from Space and Forever Mine.

Henry Winkler –

Picture of Winkler
Paramount Pictures
Paramount Pictures

Considered a classic today, Grease’s character of Danny Zuko helped turn John Travolta into a household name. But before landing on Travolta for the role, Zuko’s character was originally offered to Henry Winkler.

However, Winkler declined the role, as he didn’t want to be typecast after having played The Fonz on Happy Days for so many years. So, instead of starring as Danny Zuko, Winkler acted in The One and Only, which is nowhere close to as popular as Grease. He later admitted to regretting turning down the role.

Mel Gibson – What Women Want Over Gladiator

Picture of Mel Gibson
Paramount Pictures
Paramount Pictures

It’s hard to fathom the movie without Russel Crowe being the one to shout orders at his soldiers or fight to the death in the Colosseum, but that’s almost exactly what happened.

Mel Gibson was first approached to act as Maximus but turned it down, claiming that he was getting too old to take on those kinds of action roles. Instead, he joined the project What Women Want, with Crowe going on to win the Academy Award for Best Actor for his performance.

Bruce Willis – The Bonfire of the Vanities Over Ghost

Picture of Bruce Willis
Warner Bros.
Warner Bros.

While Patrick Swayze may be the face of the movie Ghost, it was almost going to be Bruce Willis playing the part of Sam Wheat. On top of being part of a movie that would turn out to be incredibly successful, he also would have had the chance to work alongside his wife, Demi Moore.

Yet, he turned it down and ended up doing the movie The Bonfire of the Vanities instead. Now, he has to watch Patrick Swayze get all hot and heavy with his wife.

Dana Delaney – Rescuers: Stories of Courage: Two Couples Over Sex in The City

Picture of Dana Delaney
Tibrina Hobson/WireImage
Tibrina Hobson/WireImage

For anyone that’s seen HBO’s Sex in The City, Sarah Jessica Parker is Carrie Bradshaw in every way. Nevertheless, the role of the columnist almost went to Dana Delaney, who had already acted in similar roles such as in Live Nude Girls and having already starred alongside Kim Cattrall, who plays Samantha Jones in the series.

Unfortunately for Delaney, she turned down the role in favor of doing failed TV movies such as Rescuers: Stories of Courage: Two Couples.

Molly Ringwald – Betsy’s Wedding Over Pretty Women

Picture of Molly Ringwald
Touchstone Pictures
Touchstone Pictures

Molly Ringwald made quite a name for herself during the 1980s, starring as the “popular girl” in notable films such as The Breakfast Club, Pretty in Pink, Sixteen Candles, among others.

Not long after, she was offered the role of Vivian Ward in Pretty Women but wasn’t interested in the character Molly’s preoccupation and passed on the opportunity, going on to act in Betsy’s Wedding, otherwise. This worked out for Julia Roberts, who received the role and turned her into an A-list actress.

Lindsay Lohan – Labor Pains Over The Hangover

Picture of Lohan
Millennium Films
Millennium Films

Although it seems like The Hangover was made after a bunch of actors got bored and decided to make a movie, it turned out to be a major hit, spawning two sequels! When casting for the stripper that Stu marries in the first film, the role was first offered to Lindsay Lohan.

The actress claimed she was too young, being 20 at the time, and turned it down, acting in Labor Pains instead. This led to the part going to Heather Graham, who was also brought back for the third film. This role could have possibly helped Lohan out during her troubles at the time.

Iwan Rheon Played A Very Different Role In Game Of Thrones

Ramsay-Snow-97321
HBO
HBO

There’s no denying that Iwan Rheon’s portrayal of the sadistic and manipulative Ramsay Bolton in Game of Thrones made him one of the most despised characters in the series. Yet, initially, he wanted to audition for the role of Jon Snow, who is one of the most beloved characters and played by Kit Harrington.

Nonetheless, Rheon made enough of an impression during his audition that he was invited back for the role of Ramsay Bolton. Rheon commented on their decision stating, “I think they made the right choice. It would’ve been a very different Jon Snow if I played him.”

Alexander Ludwig Was Trying To Kill The Character He Wanted To Portray In The Hunger Games

Cato-21808
Lionsgate Entertainment
Lionsgate Entertainment

Alexander Ludwig did a fantastic job playing the role of Cato, a tribute from District 2 that was bred to compete in the Hunger Games. While Ludwig’s physical prowess and bloodthirsty attitude make him a perfect fit for Cato, he actually surprisingly wanted to play Peeta Mellark.

While he had his hopes set on playing Peeta, looking back, Ludwig commented, “It’s fun playing the bad guy once in a while. I got to really experiment with a side of me that I’ve never seen before.”

Eddie Redmayne Almost Wasn’t The Lovable Magizoologist in Fantastic Beasts

Eddie-Redmayne-75633
Warner Bros. Entertainment
Warner Bros. Entertainment

While it’s hard to picture anyone else playing the magizoologist Newt Scamander in the Harry Potter universe, he almost entirely took a different direction. Originally, Redmayne actually auditioned to play the role of the teenage Lord Voldemort as Tom Riddle in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.

In 2016, Redmayne told Empire, “I properly failed and didn’t get a callback,” noting that he also hoped to get a role in the Weasley family. Yet, Redmayne got the last laugh and received a much larger role in the Fantastic Beast series.

James Franco Never Intended To Be A Villain In Spider-Man

James-Franco-15163
Sony Pictures
Sony Pictures

In the Spider-Man trilogy starring Toby McGuire, James Franco plays Harry Osborn, Peter Parker’s best friend, Norman Osborn’s son, and Mary Jane’s boyfriend. However, his character takes a turn for the worse when he takes on his father’s role as the new Green Goblin in Spider-Man 3.

While Franco plays his role well, he actually had his sights set on playing Spider-Man. Supposedly, Franco got far in the audition, although the role went to Tobey McGuire, but director Sam Raimi didn’t overlook his talents and called him in to play Harry.

Tom Hiddleston Wanted To Be The Hero

Tom-Hiddleston-14980
Disney/Marvel
Disney/Marvel

Tom Hiddleston plays a major role in the MCU as Loki, but he didn’t always want to be one of the main villains. In fact, he wanted to be Thor. In an episode of The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, the footage of Hiddleston’s audition for the role was shown, and he was there to react.

Hiddleston commented, “I think we can all agree, they cast the right actor.” On that note, we also think that audiences can also agree that Hiddleston was the right role for the trickster god as well.

Ashley Greene Never Foresaw The Character She Would Play In Twilight

Ashley-Greene-27195
Summit Entertainment
Summit Entertainment

In the Twilight series, Ashley Greene plays Alice Cullen, a likable vampire who can see the future. Throughout the films, Alice always seems to be on the right side of things, with Greene convincingly playing the character.

However, Greene actually auditioned for Bella’s role, although she was called back to audition for Alice. Still, it was a lengthy audition process, with Greene recalling, I came in probably like five times before I actually got the role — and then I went home for Christmas and literally just had to wait and wait.”

Rainne Wilson Applied For The Job Of Regional Manager

Rain-Wilson-70576
NBC
NBC

The Office is one of those shows where every actor plays their role so well that audiences just assume that’s actually who they are. While Rainne Wilson’s character of Dwight Schrute is one of the most beloved characters on the show, he auditioned for Michael Scott!

When discussing his audition tape, Wilson said that he’s embarrassed by it, and that “I just basically did my Ricky Gervais impression because I didn’t really know what to do with the character.” Luckily for us, he felt a calling to Dwight, and he nailed it.

Mean Girls Was Almost Polar Opposite Of What It Turned Out To Be

Mean-Girls-25484
Paramount Pictures
Paramount Pictures

Regina George is the perfect representation of the popular high school girl. She’s attractive, the leader of a clique, and people want to be like her. Although Rachel McAdams pulls off Regina George’s role with seeming ease, director Mark Waters revealed that McAdams originally auditioned for Cady and Lohan for George.

Although Waters claims that both girls fit the part they initially wanted, he felt it was best that they actually switch roles for the film. Clearly, the director knew best in this case.

Norman Reedus Never Intended To Carry A Crossbow In The Walking Dead

Norman-Reedus-11587
AMC
AMC

After reading the pilot script for The Walking Dead in 2010, Norman Reedus had his heart set on being a part of the project. When he auditioned, however, it was for the role of Merle Dixon, and while the role went to Michael Rooker, Reedus was so impressive during his audition that the character of Daryl was created specifically for him.

This meant that Reedus was given a lot of creative control over the character, and it’s safe to say not many people were disappointed.

Lee Pace Has His Eyes On Starlord

Lee-Pace-61210
Disney/Marvel
Disney/Marvel

Back in 2012, Lee Pace admitted that he was auditioning for Star-Lord’s role in Guardians of the Galaxy and that he was very eager about it. However, the part ended up going to Chris Pratt instead, although Pace wasn’t completely booted from the project.

He was offered the part of the villain Ronan the Accuser. This worked out in the end, mostly because Chris Pratt is the best Star-Lord that fans could have hoped for.

Cordelia Chase And Buffy Summers Almost Were Much Different

Charisma-Carpenter-46044
Warner Bros.
Warner Bros.

Charisma Carpenter is known for playing Cordelia Chase on the hit series Buffy the Vampire Slayer. However, in a turn of events, Carpenter actually wanted the role of Buffy while Sarah Michelle Gellar wanted to play Cordelia Chase.

While both of their auditions supposedly went well, creator Josh Whedon felt that Gellar would make a better Buffy. We wonder if the show would have been as much of a hit if they never switched roles.

John Krasinski Almost Wore The Mustard Shirts In The Office

John-Krasinski-45106
NBC
NBC

John Krasinski got his big break playing the lazy and in-love Jim Halpert in The Office, and his career took off afterward. However, when auditioning for the show, his initial interest was in the character Dwight Schrute.

Yet, during the audition process, Krasinksi convinced the casting directors to allow him to read for Jim because he felt natural chemistry with Jenna Fisher. This worked out because we all know how important their relationship is to the show. We don’t think Krasinski would have been able to pull off Dwight’s outfit quite as Rainne Wilson did either.

Could You Imagine Game Of Thrones Without Carice Van Houten As Melisandre?

Houton-40473
HBO
HBO

In the epic series Game of Thrones, Carice Van Houten plays Melisandre, otherwise known as the Red Woman, a priestess that can see visions in flames. Nevertheless, she was actually asked to first audition for Cersei Lannister’s role but was unable to do it due to a timing conflict.

This worked out for Lena Heady, who played Cersei, as her performance is considered the best of her career. Houten would later go on to admit that “Lena couldn’t be a better Cersei.”

Tom Felton Isn’t A Bad Guy At Heart

Tom-Felton-30975
Warner Bros.
Warner Bros.

Tom Felton is best-know for playing the role of the arrogant and sometimes cruel wizard Draco Malfoy in the Harry Potter series. Yet, incredibly, he auditioned for two other major characters before landing his part.

Unbelievably, he tried out for both Harry Potter and Ron Weasley! Draco Malfoy’s arch-nemesis’ while attending Hogwarts. Although he was initially disappointed, he was happy that both roles went to Daniel Radcliff and Rupert Grint because he didn’t think anyone could play them better.

Roles Were Almost Switched In The Dark Knight

Heath-Ledger-45117
Warner Bros.
Warner Bros.

The Dark Knight is considered one of the greatest superhero movies ever made, with many people commending its acting, especially Christian Bale and Heath Ledger. Although it’s been argued that nobody can ever come close to Ledger’s rendition of the Joker, he originally wanted to be Batman!

Although the role went to Bale, Ledger’s performance as Joker is deemed one of the best of all time, and he won a posthumous Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance.

Sebastian Stan Was Almost Captain America But Was His Best Friend Instead

Sebastian-Stan-33747
Paramount Pictures
Paramount Pictures

Sebastian Stan initially wanted the title role of Captain America, yet was beaten out by Chris Evans during the casting process. Instead, he played Bucky Barnes, a sergeant in the United States Army and Captain America’s best friend.

To prepare for the role, Stan claimed that he watched a lot of documentaries and films about World War II, also admitting that he didn’t know much about comic books at the start. He also made sure to try and really capture the relationship between Barnes and Captain America.

Stephanie Beatriz Was Asked To Come Back And Read Another Part For Brooklyn Nine-Nine

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Fox/NBC
Fox/NBC

When auditioning for Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Stephanie Beatriz came in to read the role of Amy Santiago. Yet, by the end of her audition, she was told to come back and read for the character of Rosa instead.

Although she was nervous about coming back and auditioning after she had been turned down, when she got the part of Rosa, she was convinced that the role of Amy was supposed to go to Melissa Fumero anyway.

Amanda Seyfried Auditioned For Regina George In Mean Girls

Amanda-Seyfried-94854
Paramount Pictures
Paramount Pictures

When auditioning for a spot in Mean Girls, Amanda Seyfried had her heart set on playing the infamous Regina George. Of course, we know that the role went to Rachel McAdams, but that doesn’t mean she didn’t come close.

According to director Mark Waters, Seyfried was excellent during her audition and that “She played it in a much more ethereal, but still kind of scary way. She was more frightening, but oddly, less intimidating.” So, she was hired to play Karen Smith instead.

Isaiah Washington Was Almost McDreamy In Grey’s Anatomy

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ABC
ABC

Before the start of the series, Isaiah Washington auditioned for the role of Derek Shepherd. Unfortunately for Washington, he didn’t end up getting the role, as it went to Patrick Dempsey instead.

Nevertheless, Shonda Rhimes claimed that she enjoyed his audition so much that she made sure to cast him as Preston Burke when the original actor dropped out. Unfortunately, he was later written off from the show after having on-set incidents with T.R. Knight and Patrick Dempsey.

Jeremy Strong Was Close To Getting The Part Of Kendall Roy In Succession

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HBO
HBO

Jeremy Strong is a great actor in his own right, so when he auditioned for the role of Roman Roy in Succession, it wasn’t out of the question that he would get it. However, Jesse Armstrong, one of the creators of the show, noted that Strong would have made a great Roman, but Kieren Culkin was just better for the role.

In fact, Armstrong described Culkin as being a “slam dunk” and that he “is the character” of Roman, so Strong was offered to play Kendall Roy.

Colin Donnell Had A Character Written For Him In The Affair

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Showtime
Showtime

When auditioning for The Affair, Colin Donnell was interested in playing Cole Lockhart. Nevertheless, the part went to Joshua Jackson, although Donnell got close. He auditioned for Cole on a few different occasions, yet the series co-creator Sarah Treem admitted that “he wasn’t quite right.”

Luckily for Donnell, Treem liked him enough that she wrote the character of Scotty Lockhart just for him. So, he may not have been able to play Collin, but he did get to play his brother!

Laura Prepon Tried Out For Piper In Orange Is The New Black

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Netflix
Netflix

In Orange Is the New Black, Laura Prepon plays Alex Vause, Piper Chapman’s ex-girlfriend and a woman that has her fair share of problems. While it’s difficult to picture anyone else wearing Alex’s iconic glasses, Prepon ironically auditioned for the role of Piper.

Nevertheless, showrunner Jeni Kohan didn’t think Prepon would best be used playing the innocent Piper. So, Alex’s character was shaped by Prepon’s natural personality, and the unique character of Alex was born.

Sandra Oh Was Almost Miranda Baily On Grey’s Anatomy

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ABC
ABC

There’s no denying that Sandra Oh does an excellent job as the stern doctor Christina Yang in Grey’s Anatomy. Yet, she almost didn’t get that role in the beginning. At first, Oh was invited to read the part for Baily, but Oh made the decision to audition for Christina Yang instead.

Shonda Rhimes, the showrunner, commented on the situation saying, “She brought this energy that felt very fresh. From the beginning, I’ve been shaping Christina around Sandra a little bit.” Chandra Wilson then filled the role of Miranda Bailey.

Hank Azaria Missed Out On Being Joey Tribbiani In Friends

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NBC
NBC

There’s no denying that Matt LeBlanc’s impression of Joey on Friends took both the character and the show to the next level. While audiences couldn’t picture the character being played by anyone else, Hank Azaria was incredibly interested in the role.

After auditioning for the part, he was denied but instead cast as scientist David, who was a love interest for Phoebe. Although Azaria may not have landed a lead part, his character did make several appearances throughout the show.

Switching Brothers On Supernatural

Supernatural-41143
The CW
The CW

Brothers Sam and Dean Winchester have been winning audiences’ hearts and killing monsters on Supernatural since 2005. If you watch the show, you know that Dean is the big brother and sam the younger.

Interestingly, Jensen Eckles, who plays Dean, actually read the script for Sam’s part at first, although he was more interested in the character Dean. So, after Jared Padalecki was cast as Sam Winchester, the producers invited Eckles back to try his hand at Dean, and everything worked out beautifully.

Paul Wesley Had To Accept The Fact That He Was Going To Play Stefan In The Vampire Diaries

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CBS
CBS

The Vampire Diaries is another example of two actors switching their roles as brothers during casting. At first, Paul Wesley auditioned to play Damon, but when Ian Somerhalder received the part over him, Paul Wesley wasn’t ready to give up.

Instead, he re-auditioned for the role of Stefan, and the rest is history. Surprisingly, Wesley was fitter to play Stefan than he thought, and today, nobody could imagine what it would be like if this switch had not happened.

Jon Favreau Took A Stab At Being Chandler In Friends

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NBC
NBC

Chandler is one of the main characters of the sitcom Friends, although the character could have looked much different. A man of many talents, Jon Favreau, auditioned for the part before Matthew Perry, although producers thought that Perry was the better choice.

However, they still wanted to include Favreau in the project. So, they asked him to appear as Pete Becker, one of Monica’s love interests who is involved in the Ultimate Fighting Championship. Fortunately for Favreau, he didn’t need to be Chandler to be successful later in his life.

Ashley Tisdale Didn’t Make The Cut To Be London Tipton In The Suite Life Of Zack And Cody

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Disney Channel
Disney Channel

The Disney Channel series The Suite Life of Zack & Cody was a hit with young audiences and helped rocket the careers of actors such as Cole and Dylan Sprouse, Ashley Tisdale, and Brenda Song into fame.

While Ashley Tisdale made a name for herself as Maddie Fitzpatrick on the show, the character she was initially going for was London Tipton. Brenda Song may have ended up with the role, but Tisdale still got her moment in the spotlight as a drama queen in High School Musical.

Liza Weil Really Wanted To Play Rory In Gilmore Girls

Gilmore-Girls-94033
The CW
The CW

In Gilmore Girls, Liza Weil plays Paris Geller, who starts out as an enemy of Rory Gilmore, only for them to eventually become friends, as expected. However, Weil initially wanted to play Rory, but showrunners felt that Alexis Bledel was already too perfect for the part.

Show creator Amy Sherman-Palladino actually felt bad about turning down Weil, so she wrote the part of Paris Geller for her as part of a three-episode arc. Yet, the character was so well-liked by audiences that Geller’s role was extended.

Chadwick Boseman Had His Eyes Set On A Much Different MCU Character

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Disney/Marvel
Disney/Marvel

Out of all the Marvel heroes, Chadwick Boseman’s T’Challa is the star of Black Panther, a king, and is quite a presence on the screen. Boseman may seem perfect for the role, but he initially wanted to play a more comedic role as the character of Drax from Guardians of the Galaxy.

Clearly, he didn’t get the part, and for a good reason, yet Boseman credits director Sarah Finn for keeping him in mind when they were casting for Black Panther.