50 ‘Could Haves’ – Movie Roles That Were Intended for Different Actors

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26Billie Lourd

Carrie Fisher’s daughter, Billie Lourd, did audition for the role of Rey in the Star Wars sequel trilogy.


27. Steve Martin and Martin Short both turned down the role of Lloyd in Dumb and Dumber. Originally, the Farrelly Brothers didn’t know who Jim Carrey was and were only told that he was “The White Guy” on In Living Color.


28. Robin Williams was interested in playing the role of Hagrid in the Harry Potter movies, but he was rejected due to the “all-British and Irish cast” policy.


29. Burt Reynolds was considered for the role of Michael Corleone in Godfather but Marlon Brando said he would walk if they cast him. He said, “he is the epitome of something that makes me want to throw up. He is the epitome of everything that is disgusting about the thespian, he worships at the temple of his own narcissism.”


30. Ryan Gosling gained 60 pounds by drinking melted ice cream to play the father in Peter Jackson's “The Lovely Bones.” He was then told he was too fat to play the part and the role went to Mark Wahlberg.


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31Dick Van Dyke

When Sean Connery departed the role of James Bond, Dick Van Dyke was asked to consider taking over. When Van Dyke reminded Bond producer Albert Broccoli of his famously bad English accent from “Mary Poppins,” Broccoli replied: “Oh, that’s right—forget it!”


32. Bill Murray, Chevy Chase, and Steve Martin were all considered for the role of Indiana Jones before Harrison Ford was selected.


33. Pat Morita was originally denied the opportunity to audition for the role of Mr. Miyagi in The Karate Kid and only got the part because he grew his hair and beard out during a low point in his life and the producers didn’t recognize him when he was accidentally invited for a script reading.


34. David Prowse (who played Darth Vader) was a professional weightlifter and trained Christopher Reeve in Superman. He auditioned for the part of Superman and was told “we’ve found our Superman” and he replied, “Thank you very much.” He then found out that Reeve had actually got the role, and he was to only be a trainer.


35. Viggo Mortensen was offered the role of Aragorn in Peter Jackson's Hobbit film trilogy, but he turned it down since Aragorn never appeared in Tolkien’s Hobbit.


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36Nicolas Cage

Nicolas Cage was considered for the role of Randy "The Ram" Robinson in ‘The Wrestler.’ When taken to a live event, he thought wrestling was real like UFC! In the end, the crew had a meeting where it was determined that Cage looked too healthy for the part, so the role went to Mickey Rourke.


37. Owen Wilson attempted suicide in 2007, which led to Matthew McConaughey taking his role in the film ‘Tropic Thunder.’


38. Tom Cruise, Tom Hanks, and Kevin Costner were all offered and passed on the role of Andy Dufresne in The Shawshank Redemption. Hanks instead chose Forrest Gump, and Costner chose Waterworld, while Cruise declined to work for the first time director Frank Darabont.


39. Jet Li turned down a role in The Matrix Reloaded because Hollywood producers wanted to record and copy all of his martial arts moves into a digital library, with all rights going to them.


40. Actor Liam Neeson (Taken, Schindler's List, etc.) was offered the role of James Bond, but he turned it down because his fiancée told him she wouldn't marry him if he took the role.


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41Nicolas Cage Aragorn

Nicolas Cage was supposed to play the role of Aragorn in “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy, but he turned down the role because according to him “There were different things going on in my life at the time that precluded me from being able to travel and be away from home for three years.”


42. Keanu Reeves was initially offered Val Kilmer’s role in the 1995 film Heat. He turned it down to play Hamlet in a 789 seat theatre in Manitoba.


43. In 1987, production on the film Apt Pupil began with 17-year-old Rick Schroder cast as the lead. After ten weeks of filming, production suffered from a lack of funds and was put on hold. A year later, Schroder had aged too much for the film to work and 40 minutes of usable footage was abandoned.


44. The role of Paula in “An Officer and a Gentleman” was originally given to Sigourney Weaver, then to Anjelica Huston, and later to Jennifer Jason Leigh. Debra Winger eventually got the role after Leigh dropped out to do “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” instead.


45. Leonardo DiCaprio was offered the lead role in Hocus Pocus but he turned it down to act in "What's Eating Gilbert Grape." Though he was paid far less, it earned him his first Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor.


46Jim Carrey

Jim Carrey was offered to be the eighth doctor of Doctor Who, but he declined the role. He felt he would cause outrage amongst Doctor Who fans if the role wasn’t played by a fan.


47. Actor John Barrowman, who is gay, auditioned to play Will on “Will & Grace” but was turned down for being “too straight.” The role went instead to Eric McCormack, who actually is straight.


48. Roseanne Barr was offered the role of Peg Bundy on ‘Married With Children,’ but turned it down to create her own sitcom ‘Roseanne.’ Both shows are credited with pioneering sitcoms about dysfunctional families.


49. Marlon Wayans was cast as Robin in Batman Returns. Producers decided that, with The Penguin and Catwoman, the movie was too crowded and decided to cut out Robin. Despite not getting to actually play the role, Wayans was still paid $100,000 and receives royalty checks up to this very day.


50. Bill Murray auditioned for the role of Sulley in Monsters, Inc., but director, Pete Docter, said that when they decided to offer it to Murray, they were unable to track down the elusive actor because he had replaced his team of agents with a toll-free 1-800 number. They took that to mean “no.”

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