13 Actors Who Declined Major Acting Roles

Project Casting

Movies would have been extremely different, if this 13 actors decided to not to pass on these major acting roles.

Bill Murray may be known for his leading role on the Ghostbusters franchise but he also had the opportunity to play “Forrest Gump” a role he declined and was played by Tom Hanks.

Bill Murray is not alone. Harrison Ford was offered the leading role in Jurassic Park and the role of “Two-Face” was supposed to go to Matt Damon.

Here are 13 actors and actresses who turned down major acting roles.

Bill Murray decided not to play the lead in “Forrest Gump.”

Bill Murray
Andrea Raffin / Shutterstock.com

Murray told Howard Stern on Sirius XM that the part didn’t interest him. “I did have ‘Forrest Gump’ conversations,” Murray said. “I think I had the original book and all that sort of stuff.” Bill Murray admitted he never saw the movie.

Read more: 20 Actors that Became Famous Later in Life

Matt Damon declined the role of Two-Face in “The Dark Knight”

Matt Damon admitted to MTV he had to turn down the role due to scheduling conflicts. The role was later given to Aaron Eckhart

Leonardo DiCaprio declined on the leading role of “American Psycho.”

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Lionsgate reported that they offered DiCaprio $20 million to play serial killer Patrick Bateman in “American Psycho.” Lionsgate even issued a press release saying he would star. But, DiCaprio later decided to pass on the role. The role was later given to Christian Bale.

Christian Bale passed on playing James Bond

According the biography of Christian Bale, “The Inside Story of the Darkest Batman,” Christian Bale’s former publicist says the actor wasn’t interested in being “committed to a franchise that was very British”. The role was later given to Daniel Craig.

Read more: 7 Famous Actors that Never Took Acting Classes

Angela Bassett rejected the role of Leticia in “Monster’s Ball”

Angela Bassett hated the role on “Monster’s Ball” she told Newsweek that she did not want to fit into a cliché. “I wasn’t going to be a prostitute on film. I couldn’t do that because it’s such a stereotype about black women and sexuality.” the role was later given to Halle Berry earning her an Academy Award and making her the first African American woman to receive the award.

Angelina Jolie declined the lead role in Oscar-winner “Gravity.”

Angelina Jolie
Featureflash / Shutterstock.com

According to Variety, Angelina Jolie was set to play the lead but, she passed on the role giving it to Sandra Bullock.

Nicolas Cage declined the role of the Green Goblin in “Spider-Man.”

Nicolas Cage told CNN that he turned down the lead role in “The Wrestler” and the Green Goblin in “Spider-Man.”

Read more: 10 Actors That Refuse To Work Together Again

Al Pacino turned down the role of Han Solo in “Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope.”

Al Pacino was extremely selective when it came to movie roles. He passed on several big roles including Han Solo in “Stars Wars,” and Martin Sheen’s award-winning role in “Apocalypse Now.” The role was later given to Harrison Ford.

Jack Nicholson declined the role of Michael Corleone in “The Godfather.”

Jack Nicholson told Movieline that he passed on the iconic role because he felt that it was not his role to play. “Back then I believed that Indians should play Indians and Italians should play Italians … There were a lot of actors who could have played Michael, myself included, but Al Pacino was Michael Corleone. I can’t think of a better compliment to pay him.”

Will Smith passed on the leading role of Neo in “The Matrix.”

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Will Smith declined the role of Neo to make “Wild Wild West”. This is what Smith had to say about his decision, “I watched Keanu’s performance — and very rarely do I say this — but I would have messed it up,” Smith said. “At that point I wasn’t smart enough as an actor to let the movie be. Whereas Keanu was smart enough to just let it be.”

Harrison Ford chose not to star in “Jurassic Park.”

According to /FILM, Steven Spielberg said he offered the lead role to Harrison Ford during the screening of “Raiders of the Lost Ark” in Los Angeles.

Denzel Washington declined the role of Detective David Mills in “Se7en.”

Denzel Washington turned down the role in Se7en to work on the upcoming feature film “Devil in a Blue Dress.” But, the actor has regretted the decision after seeing the movie.”They offered me the Brad Pitt part, but I was like, ‘This is so dark and evil,'” Washington said. “Then, when I saw the movie, I was like, ‘Oh, shoot.'” Denzel Washington later admitted that it was a mistake. Brad Pitt would later get the role.

Jonah Hill turned down the lead in “The Hangover” series and “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.”

Jonah Hill
Phil Stafford / Shutterstock.com

Jonah Hill spoke with Bullet Magazine and he explained that he was offered to play any of the leads in ‘The Hangover.” He also had a chance to star alongside Shia LaBeouf in “Transformers:Revenge of the Fallen.” He explained why he was decided not to work on the movie.

Read more: 10 Famous Actors that Do the Same Thing in Every Movie

“A genuine fear of mine was that I was going to be known as ‘The Guy from Superbad’ for the rest of my life,” Hill said. “They were both really big decisions, and ones that most people didn’t understand,” he added. “I knew I could be a dramatic actor, but I also knew I couldn’t go from ‘Superbad’ to ‘Schindler’s List.'”

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