10 Actors Who Missed Their Chance to Play a Part in a Huge Hit

3 years ago

There’s a chance that any of the big Hollywood names you know got to where they are today because they made the right call throughout their careers. But there is no doubt that one of the most important questions in any actor’s career is which roles to take and which ones to let pass by. After all, filming takes a lot of time and work, and they can only participate in a limited number of projects from year to year. They might look back and see that refusing to participate in a project was clearly the way to go, but we can’t help but wonder what would’ve happened if some of those actors would have taken those missed opportunities.

So with that in mind, Bright Side did a little research and made a list of celebrities who rejected freshly written scripts that ended up being big hits on the big screen.

1. Emma Roberts could have played a starring role in Spring Breakers but she had creative differences with the director.

Roberts, who starred in Scream Queens and American Horror Story, was on the verge of playing a leading role in Spring Breakers, together with Selena Gomez and Vanessa Hudgens. Why did she choose to not be a part of the film? Director Harmony Korine explained that he and Roberts had “creative differences.” Finally, the character that Roberts was supposed to play was taken over by the star of the series Pretty Little Liars, Ashley Benson.

2. Emma Stone turned down a role in the female version of Ghostbusters because it was a franchise.

The multi-award winning American actress and singer had just starred in The Amazing Spider-Man. This was one of the reasons she rejected the proposal to participate in the all-female version of Ghostbusters (2016). Stone read the script and found it very funny, but she didn’t feel that it was time to get back into a franchise, due to the commitment that this kind of project entails. In the end, the stars of the film were Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Leslie Jones, and Kate McKinnon.

3. Rachel McAdams was the first choice for the starring role in The Devil Wears Prada, but she turned down the role on more than one occasion.

It’s hard to think of The Devil Wears Prada without Anne Hathaway as one of the main characters, but this is exactly what could have happened if Rachel McAdams had accepted one of the many invitations from Fox, the film’s producer, to play the leading role. McAdams might regret making that call, and with reason, since the film was a huge success at the box office. It made more than $300 million and managed to get 2 Oscar nominations.

4. Jennifer Lawrence met with Tarantino to be cast for The Hateful Eight, but she was caught in the middle of 2 projects and had no time.

Quentin Tarantino, director of The Hateful Eight, wanted Jennifer Lawrence to play the female lead in his movie. He met with the actress, but according to the director, that talk might have just been the polite thing to do. Back then, Lawrence was too busy shooting Joy and still in the middle of an intense publicity campaign for The Hunger Games. Finally, Tarantino reconsidered and decided to go for Jennifer Jason Leigh, who gave a different feel to the character, being 28 years older than Lawrence. Tarantino hit the nail on the head and Jason Leigh was nominated for an Oscar for her performance.

5. Warner Bros. bought the script of The Imitation Game for Leonardo DiCaprio to play in it, but then had to give it up because the actor never formalized anything.

In this case, the role that was rejected by DiCaprio was that of famous mathematician Alan Turing in The Imitation Game. At some point, Warner Bros. even managed to buy the rights to the story because DiCaprio showed interest in starring in the movie. However, the actor never formalized anything and the production company ended up dropping the whole thing. Eventually, the copyright was acquired by Black Bear Pictures and the role of Turing was given to Benedict Cumberbatch. It earned him a Best Actor nomination at the Oscars.

6. Matthew McConaughey had to choose between joining an already successful franchise or starting one from scratch.

The actor had to choose between 2 big franchises: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and The Dark Tower. He ended up choosing the latter, which is an adaptation of a series of novels written by Stephen King. McConaughey’s reasoning was that since Guardians of the Galaxy had turned out to be such a success, for the second installment they had the opportunity to make room for a more famous actor, but that would have made him feel like a kind of amendment. However The Dark Tower franchise was brand new, so he figured he would be able to give the character his own touch and let him grow with the movies. Little did he know that it would be a flop at the box office.

7. Willow Smith, at age 12, stood up to her father Will Smith and left Annie.

The remake of the musical rom-com Annie was originally meant to have Willow Smith, Will Smith’s daughter, as its star. Will coincidentally happened to also be the producer of the film. Willow was just a child at the time, but despite her father’s enthusiasm, she dropped out of the project after having a difficult time on her tour with Whip My Hair. Her father tried to convince her to not quit, by telling her that she could bring her friends to the set and that she would meet Beyoncé. However, Willow was crystal clear when replying: “Daddy, I have a better idea, how about I just be 12.” Finally, the role was played by Quvenzhané Wallis, who won a Golden Globe nomination.

8. Miles Teller would have danced and sung in La La Land instead of Ryan Gosling, but production couldn’t reach an agreement.

Sebastian’s role in La La Land was originally written for Miles Teller, but after long contract negotiations, the actor stepped aside. Finally, the director turned to Ryan Gosling, who was 7 years older than Teller. Gosling even had to learn to play the piano for the role. But in the end, it seems like all the effort paid off: thanks to the great performance he delivered, he won a Golden Globe and was nominated for an Oscar as Best Actor.

9. Molly Ringwald, a rising star in the ’80s, was the first choice to take the leading role in Pretty Woman.

Many actresses were short-listed for Vivian’s role in Pretty Woman. However, the first choice for director Garry Marshall was Molly Ringwald, who starred in iconic ’80s films like The Breakfast Club, Pretty in Pink, and Sixteen Candles. The actress read an early draft of the script titled $3000 and declined the role. Eventually, Vivian would be played by Julia Roberts, who was originally intended to just have a supporting role. Not only was the film a box office success (it grossed over $460 million), but Roberts was nominated for an Academy Award and won a Golden Globe for Best Actress.

10. Sandra Bullock could have played the boxer in Eastwood’s Million Dollar Baby, but Miss Congeniality 2 got in the way.

The role of boxer Maggie Fitzgerald was meant to be played by Sandra Bullock. But the shooting of Million Dollar Baby was set to take place at the same time as Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous. Eventually, Maggie’s character was played by Hilary Swank, the film was a success, and the actress won, among other awards, a Golden Globe and an Oscar for Best Actress.

What were the best decisions you made in your life? Would you change anything about the choices you made? Let us know in the comments!


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I believe that everything you do is for good. Even if they turned down something so successful they probably found something even better later


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