Entertainment NewsCelebrities20 Hollywood Stars Who Almost Landed Roles in Popular Movies

20 Hollywood Stars Who Almost Landed Roles in Popular Movies


Imagine your favorite movie character played by a different actor or actress. Sounds a bit jarring, right? However, this is not uncommon in the casting world of Hollywood. Let us delve into the journey of 20 noteworthy actors who narrowly missed playing well-known characters in the world of cinema.

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1. Robert Pattinson – Pirates of the Caribbean

Robert Pattinson
CANNES, FRANCE – MAY 23: Actor Robert Pattinson attends the ‘On The Road’ premiere during the 65th Cannes Film Festival on May 23, 2012 in Cannes, France (Editorial credit: Andrea Raffin / Shutterstock.com)

Prior to gaining immense popularity for the role of Edward Cullen in Twilight, Robert Pattinson auditioned for the role of Will Turner in Pirates of the Caribbean. However, the role eventually went to Orlando Bloom.

2. Scarlett Johansson – The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Scarlett Johannson Marriage Story
Los Angeles, CA – November 05, 2019: Scarlett Johansson attends the Premiere of Netflix’s “Marriage Story”at DGA Theater (Editorial credit: Ovidiu Hrubaru / Shutterstock.com)

Renowned actress Scarlett Johansson was reportedly one of the frontrunners for the lead role in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. However, the director David Fincher finally opted for Rooney Mara.

3. Chris Evans – Avatar

Chris Evans
Chris Evans attends the European film premiere of ‘Captain America: Civil War’ at Vue Westfield on April 26, 2016 in London, England (BAKOUNINE / Shutterstock.com)

Before his massive success as Captain America, Chris Evans was in the shortlist for the role of Jake Sully in the blockbuster film Avatar. The role eventually was played by Sam Worthington.

4. Jennifer Lawrence – Twilight Saga

Jennifer Lawrence
Jennifer Lawrence at the Los Angeles premiere of ‘The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2’ held at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles, USA on November 16, 2015. – Image (Tinseltown / Shutterstock.com)

Yes, you heard it right. Before the Hunger Games saga, Jennifer Lawrence auditioned for the role of Bella Swan in the Twilight series, a role that later Kristen Stewart won.

5. Leonardo DiCaprio – Baywatch

Leonardo DiCaprio
LOS ANGELES – MAR 12: A mural of Leonardo DiCaprio holding his Oscar is seen on March 12, 2016 in Los Angeles, CA – Image (Joe Seer / Shutterstock.com)

Who can imagine the Oscar-winning actor, Leonardo DiCaprio running with a rescue float on a beach? He did audition for the role of Mitch Buchannon in Baywatch, but the producer felt he was too old for the role, and it went to David Hasselhoff.

6. Will Smith – The Matrix

Will Smith
CANNES, FRANCE – MAY 23: Will Smith attends the 70th Anniversary during the 70th annual Cannes Film Festival on May 23, 2017 in Cannes, France. (Andrea Raffin / Shutterstock.com)

The popular actor Will Smith was approached for the role of Neo in The Matrix. However, Smith rejected the part due to its complicated plot, and the role found its way to Keanu Reeves.

7. Al Pacino – Star Wars

Al Pacino The Hunt
VENICE – AUGUST 30: Camila Sola, Al Pacino, Lucila Sola at ‘Manglehorn’ Premiere at the 71st Venice Film Festival on August 30, 2014 in Venice. – Image (andersphoto / Shutterstock.com)

The renowned actor turned down the offer to play the character of Han Solo in Star Wars, handing Harrison Ford the chance to shine in this iconic role.

8. Emma Watson – La La Land

Emma Watson
Emma Watson at the Los Angeles premiere of ‘Beauty And The Beast’ held at the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood, USA on March 2, 2017. (Tinseltown / Shutterstock.com)

Before Emma Stone dazzled the world with her performance in La La Land, Emma Watson was considered for the lead female role. However, she had to turn it down due to her commitment to the movie Beauty and the Beast.

9. Brad Pitt – The Bourne Identity

Brad Pitt
LOS ANGELES – MAR 2:: Brad Pitt in the press room at the 86th Annual Academy Awards on March 2, 2014 in Los Angeles, California (Joe Seer / Shutterstock.com)

Brad Pitt was all set to play the lead character Jason Bourne in The Bourne Identity. However, he opted out, choosing to focus on his project with Ridley Scott, and Matt Damon landed the part instead.

10. Sandra Bullock – Million Dollar Baby

Bird Box Sandra Bullock Netflix
NEW YORK – DEC 17, 2018: Sandra Bullock attends a screening of “Bird Box” at Alice Tully Hall on December 17, 2018, in New York City. – Image (JStone / Shutterstock.com)

Before Hillary Swank bagged the Academy Award for her role in Million Dollar Baby, it was supposedly offered to Sandra Bullock, who had to reject it because of scheduling conflicts.

11. Johnny Depp – Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

Johnny Depp
CANNES,FRANCE – 14 MAY 2011: Actor Johnny Depp attends the ‘Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides’ Premiere during the 64th Cannes Film Festival on May 14, 2011 in Cannes, France. (Andrea Raffin / Shutterstock.com)

Johnny Depp was intended to star as Ferris in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, but because of scheduling issues, the film went on to become one of Matthew Broderick’s most famous roles.

12. Russell Crowe – Wolverine

Russell Crowe
Russell Crowe making selfies at The Nice Guys’ photocall during the 69th annual Cannes Film Festival at the Palais des Festivals on May 15, 2016 in Cannes . – Image (Denis Makarenko / Shutterstock.com)

Hugh Jackman’s iconic role in Wolverine initially had Russell Crowe’s name penciled in, but he turned it down, paving the way for Jackman to become a global star.

13. Harrison Ford – Jurassic Park

Harrison Ford Casting Calls
MOSCOW – OCTOBER 09: Harrison Ford attends the photo call ‘Ender’s Game’ during the premiere of this film on October 09, 2013 in Ritz Carlton Hotel, Moscow, Russia (DenisShunov/Shutterstock)

Believe it or not, before Sam Neill bagged the role, the iconic character Dr. Alan Grant was offered to Harrison Ford in the blockbuster Jurassic Park.

14. Tom Hanks – Jerry Maguire

Tom Hanks - Greyhound movie
BERLIN, GERMANY – NOV 5: Tom Hanks, Halle Berry at the ‘Cloud Atlas’ Germany Premiere at CineStar on November 5, 2012 in Berlin, Germany (Joe Seer / Shutterstock.com)

Tom Hanks, the Forrest Gump actor, was the initial choice for Jerry Maguire’s leading role. Nonetheless, Tom Cruise was eventually cast, leaving his mark on this popular role.

15. Reese Witherspoon – Gone Girl

Reese Witherspoon
CANNES, FRANCE – MAY 26: Reese Witherspoon attends ‘Mud’ Photocall during the 65th Annual Cannes Film Festival at Palais des Festivals on May 26, 2012 in Cannes, France. (Denis Makarenko / Shutterstock.com)

Surprisingly, Reese Witherspoon’s film production company was actually responsible for bringing Gone Girl to the big screen, and she was initially set to star in it. However, she decided her talents were better used off-screen, so she became the producer, and Rosamund Pike played the lead.

16. Idris Elba – Django Unchained

Idris Elba
LOS ANGELES, CA – JANUARY 30, 2016: Idris Elba at the 22nd Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards at the Shrine Auditorium (Featureflash Photo Agency / Shutterstock.com)

Idris Elba was Quentin Tarantino’s first choice for the lead role in Django Unchained, but the role eventually went to Jamie Foxx.

17. Matt Damon – Avatar & The Dark Knight

Christian Bale Matt Damon
LOS ANGELES – NOV 04: Christian Bale and Matt Damon arrives for the ‘Ford v Ferrari’ Screening on November 04, 2019 in Hollywood, CA (Editorial credit: DFree / Shutterstock.com)

Matt Damon reportedly turned down not one, but two major films, Avatar and The Dark Knight. In both cases, scheduling issues were reportedly the reason behind his decisions.

18. Angelina Jolie – Gravity

Angelina Jolie
Angelina Jolie admits she started acting to help her late mother Marcheline Bertrand “pay the bills”.
Angelina Jolie is arguably one of the world’s most famous actresses but, she admits she never truly been comfortable in front of the camera, despite be

Before Sandra Bullock virtually took over the entire film Gravity with her compelling performance, the role was pitched to Angelina Jolie, who turned it down due to other commitments.

19. Jennifer Aniston – Titanic

Courtney Cox Jennifer Aniston
03DEC97: “Friends” stars LISA KUDROW (left), COURTENEY COX & JENNIFER ANISTON at the Fire & Ice Ball at Paramount Studios, Hollywood, to benefit the Revlon/UCLA Women’s Cancer Research Program. – Image (Featureflash Photo Agency / Shutterstock.com)

Our beloved “Rachel” from Friends was close to being the iconic “Rose” in Titanic. Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately for Kate Winslet, Jennifer Aniston had to pass up the role.

20. Ryan Gosling – The Lovely Bones

Ryan Gosling
Cannes, France – 15 MAY 2016 – Actor Ryan Gosling attends ‘The Nice Guys (The Nice Guys-LA Detectives)’ – Photocall at the annual 69th Cannes Film Festival at Palais des Festivals (taniavolobueva / Shutterstock.com)

Before Mark Wahlberg took the role, Ryan Gosling was originally cast in The Lovely Bones. He later stepped down due to creative differences with the director.

Every actor’s journey is rooted in auditions, rejections, and significant decisions. Sometimes, this means turning down parts that later become iconic, and sometimes, it involves narrowly missing a role. One can’t help but wonder how these movies might have looked if these stars had played the characters they initially auditioned for.

Brent Edward
Brent is an experienced Entertainment News reporter.


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