Alternate Casting: 40 Iconic Movie Roles That Almost Went to Different Actors

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26Indiana Jones

Indiana Jones

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

27. 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.

28. 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.

29. 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.

30. 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.

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31Owen Wilson

Owen Wilson

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

32. 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.

33. 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.

34. 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.

35. 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.”

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36Keanu Reeves

Keanu Reeves

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.

37. 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.

38. 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.

39. 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.

40. 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.

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