12 Actors Who Turned Down Major Movie Roles and Regretted It

6 months ago

Whether it was due to lack of understanding of the script or because of scheduling conflicts, there are many actors who turned down very famous movie roles and eventually regretted it. Do you want to know who some of these celebrities are?

Bright Side shares with you a list of 12 actors who refused roles in some iconic movies:

1. Sean Connery — Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings

The actor said that he didn’t understand the script and showed no enthusiasm for Tolkien’s work. He was offered $10 million for each film in the trilogy plus 15% of the box office for all 3 movies, but he still turned the role down.

2. Tom Cruise — Edward in Edward Scissorhands

Tom Cruise turned down the role of Edward Scissorhands because Tim Burton, the director, refused to give the film a happier ending.

3. Will Smith — Neo in The Matrix

Will Smith was chosen to play Neo because of his roles in other movies like “Men in Black” and “Independence Day.” But the actor said he didn’t understand the plot of the movie and believed that he wasn’t smart enough as an actor to play the role well.

4. Gwyneth Paltrow — Rose in Titanic

James Cameron originally wanted Gwyneth Paltrow to play Rose, but the actress turned the role down after reading the script, because the film seemed too sentimental. In addition, she had other projects at that time that interested her more than “Titanic,” giving the chance to Kate Winslet to step into the spotlight.

5. Matt Damon — Jake Sully in Avatar

Damon was approached about playing the role of Jake Sully, but he had to reject the offer since he had other commitments. The actor says that he’s still upset about turning the role down.

6. Demi Moore — Kit in Pretty Woman

Demi Moore immediately and without any explanation declined the offer to play Kit Deluca, Vivian’s best friend. Eventually, Laura San Giacomo proved to be the perfect candidate for the role.

7. Michelle Pfeiffer — Clarice in Silence of the Lambs

The director didn’t like Jodie Foster’s Boston accent, so he offered the role of Clarice to Michelle Pfeiffer. But the actress didn’t want to be a part of this film because of the violence contained in the novel on which the film was based. Foster ended up achieving notable success by winning an Oscar for Best Actress thanks to this film.

8. Al Pacino — Han Solo in Star Wars

The actor refused to work on the first installment of Star Wars because he did not exactly understand the script. It was very complicated for him to play a leading role without understanding the plot, although he considered it a good option to play Han Solo. Many other actors turned down that role for the same reason.

9. Jack Nicholson — Michael Corleone in The Godfather

Nicholson was willing to play Michael Corleone at first, but ended up declining the offer because he thought he was too old for the role and believed it should be played by an Italian actor.

10. John Travolta — Forrest in Forrest Gump

The actor turned down the role of Forrest Gump to star in another great movie in the history of cinema, Pulp Fiction. Both films had several Oscar nominations, but Tarantino won only one statuette for the Best Original Script, while Forrest Gump won 6, including Best Actor that went to Tom Hanks. Travolta later admitted that turning down the role was a mistake.

11. Mel Gibson — Maximus in Gladiator

The director, Ridley Scott, wanted Gibson to play Maximus, but Gibson turned down the role of the Roman gladiator because he believed that he was too old for it. The part eventually went to Russell Crowe who won the Oscar for Best Actor thanks to his brilliant performance.

12. Emily Browning — Bella in Twilight

Emily Browning refused to audition for the role of Bella because she didn’t want to sign on to a trilogy at that time. The author of the book, Stephenie Meyer, thought that Emily would be an ideal Bella. When Kristen Stewart got the part the Meyer wasn’t sure that it was a good idea.

Which of these actors would you like to have seen in the roles they turned down? Do you think these movies would have won or lost with their involvement? Tell us in the comments below!

In a recent poll conducted by Showcase Cinemas, 2,000 mothers globally crowned Tom Cruise as “the most attractive actor of all time” in 2022. The release of “Top Gun: Maverick” seems to have reignited the allure of the 60-year-old star, reminiscent of his heartthrob status from films like the original “Top Gun” and “Cocktail.” The poll also highlighted other beloved actors, with Cruise leading the pack, followed by luminaries like Robin Williams and Tom Hanks. This recognition underscores Cruise’s timeless appeal and enduring presence in the hearts of fans worldwide.


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