10 Iconic Movie Roles That Almost Went to Other Actors
The strength of a movie rests on the quality of its characters, and some actors have been so outstanding in their performances that they’ve become inseparable from their iconic roles. However, it’s surprising to learn that several famous pop culture portrayals could have been played by different actors. In fact, for some legendary roles, other actors were initially considered or offered the part, but due to fate or their own choices, they were either replaced or declined the opportunity.
1. Anne Hathaway as Barbie in the Barbie movie
The role of Barbie in the new Barbie movie originally been written for Amy Schumer. The earlier version of the film would have featured Schumer as a doll who gets banished from Barbieland for not meeting their standards of perfection. However, when plans changed, another candidate for Barbie was Anne Hathaway, but eventually, the part ended up being given to Margot Robbie.
2. Olivia Wilde as Harley Quinn in Suicide Squad
Before Margot Robbie was chosen to play Harley Quinn, Olivia Wilde was being considered for the role. Although Wilde had never portrayed a superhero or supervillain before, she did have a role in the comic book-based film Cowboys & Aliens. If Wilde had been cast as Harley Quinn, her involvement in the DC Extended Universe could have potentially prevented her from directing the acclaimed high school comedy Booksmart as her directorial debut.
3. Jon Hamm as Nick Dunne in Gone Girl
The novel Gone Girl was a massive hit in 2012, spending 2 months at the top spot on the New York Times bestseller list with a highly anticipated and eventually successful cinematic adaptation. Initially, Jon Hamm was being considered for the leading role of Nick Dunne, but he was unable to accept the offer due to his contract for another show. According to sources, Hamm was disappointed about not being able to take the role that was eventually given to Ben Affleck.
4. Shia LaBeouf as Jack in Don’t Worry Darling
Since its announcement in July 2019, Olivia Wilde’s psychological thriller Don’t Worry Darling has received a lot of headline exposure, mainly because of the cast. Initially, the lead role of Jack was given to Transformers star Shia LaBeouf, however later, the actor was fired from the project and then replaced by singer Harry Styles.
5. Matt Smith as John Watson in the Sherlock TV series
Matt Smith auditioned for the role of John Watson in the TV series Sherlock but was deemed unsuitable for the role. The creator felt that Smith was more suited to playing Sherlock Holmes due to his quirky and eccentric personality. However, the role of Sherlock had already been given to Benedict Cumberbatch, leaving Smith out of contention for both roles.
6. Channing Tatum as Thor in Thor: Love and Thunder
There were numerous people considered for the role of Thor before Chris Hemsworth was chosen, and Channing Tatum was part of the shortlist. The actor even met with the director to discuss the character, but ultimately the production team wanted someone who looked more Nordic.
7. Meryl Streep as Dwan in King Kong (1976)
Meryl Streep, a 3-time Oscar winner, once disclosed that she was rejected for a role in the 1976 movie King Kong because she was deemed not attractive enough. Meryl recalled this moment as “a sobering thing for a young girl.” The part was eventually given to Jessica Lange, who stars in American Horror Story.
8. Maisie Williams as Ellie in The Last of Us
In an interview, the co-creator of The Last of Us, reveals that they’d considered Maisie Williams from Game of Thrones for the role of Ellie in the HBO series adaptation. He stated that they were looking for someone who could portray a 14-year-old character with a mix of toughness, vulnerability, and wisdom beyond their years. The casting team reportedly auditioned numerous actors for the role, and eventually, Bella Ramsey was chosen.
9. Seth Rogen as Dwight Schrute in The Office
Despite the oversaturation of content on streaming platforms, few American shows have made as much of an impact as The Office. It’s hard to imagine anyone else playing the beloved central characters, but many talented actors auditioned for the show during the initial casting process. Among them was Seth Rogen, who had hoped to land the iconic role of Dwight Schrute. However, the part ultimately went to Rainn Wilson, who proved to be a perfect fit for the character.
10. Lukas Gage as Joe Goldberg in the series You
Actor Lucas Gage has a full-circle moment in You Season 4 by joining the series as Adam Pratt. However, Gage’s journey to the show was not a straightforward one. Initially, he had auditioned for the lead role of Joe Goldberg, but his portrayal of the mustache-twirling villain was not what the casting director had in mind. The casting director appreciated his effort but noted that it was tonally off for the character.