12 Actors Who Played Hard-To-Get Before Accepting the Role of Their Life

Great actors get scripts all the time, and it’s not uncommon for them to turn down a lot of them. Even for stars, it can be hard to imagine how successful certain films will be with the public. There are times when they regret their choices, but sometimes someone encourages them and they end up accepting roles that will change their lives.

At Bright Side, we compiled the stories of some actors and actresses who almost turned down incredible roles, but someone convinced them in time that they should accept them.

1. Mark Ruffalo as Hulk in The Avengers

During an interview, Mark Ruffalo confirmed that he almost turned down the role of the Hulk because he felt there was nothing new he could bring to the character. However, director Joss Whedon told him he truly believed he was the perfect actor for the character. Also, his colleague, Robert Downey Jr. (Iron Man), encouraged him to accept so they could work together.

Ruffalo got the director to hand him a few pages of the script, and after reading them, he was convinced.

2. Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss in Hunger Games

Jennifer wasn’t sure she wanted to accept a role in a huge franchise, but eventually, it was her mother who convinced her.

Lawrence didn’t care if the movies were big, she just looked at the character and the story, and if she liked them, she played them. But her mother pointed out that in this case she did like the story, so there was no reason to turn down the role.

3. Leonardo DiCaprio as Jack in Titanic

After shooting Romeo and Juliet, DiCaprio told Paul Rudd (Ant-Man) that he had been offered the role of Jack in Titanic. Rudd’s father was an expert on the Titanic, and the actor told him that the true story was incredible. Leo wasn’t too sure about accepting the role, but Rudd convinced him, saying, “You should do it.”

4. Christian Bale as Batman in Batman Begins

Christian Bale had just finished filming The Machinist, where he took on a dramatic role for which he had to lose a lot of weight. That’s why, when he was offered the role of Batman, Bale didn’t even want to listen to the proposal. But it was the director himself, Christopher Nolan, who personally went to convince Bale.

5. Maggie Gyllenhaal as Elizabeth in Donnie Darko

The director of Donnie Darko recently said in an interview how Maggie was reluctant to accept the role of Elizabeth Darko. At first, Maggie believed she was only being offered the role because she was Jake Gyllenhaal’s real-life sister. The actress thought that they should offer the role to an actress who was more important than her.

However, it was the way Maggie spoke, determined and selfless, that made the director determined to convince her to accept the role.

6. Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister in Game of Thrones

When David Benioff, the producer and screenwriter of HBO’s Game of Thrones, approached Peter Dinklage to offer him the role of Tyrion, the actor hesitated. He didn’t want to play a character with a long beard and pointy shoes and fall into the stereotype of a little person.

Benioff assured Peter that it wasn’t the case in this series. His character was neither a hero nor a villain, he had his weaknesses as well as his strengths just like any other human being. As we know, Tyrion’s complexity ended up convincing Dinklage to take the role.

7. Penn Badgley as Dan Humphrey in Gossip Girl

Penn Badgley nearly turned down one of his most memorable roles. In an interview, he said he was frustrated, had no money, and was depressed. But his parents and manager convinced him that the role of Dan was just what he needed. The actor turned it down, but the director couldn’t find anyone better to play him, and Badgley finally accepted.

8. Daniel Day-Lewis as Bill in Gangs of New York

Martin Scorsese was sure that Day-Lewis just had to play this role. Leonardo DiCaprio went to pick Daniel up at his house. They walked around New York for 10 minutes without saying a word, until Leo got up the courage to speak. Finally, they went out to dinner with Tobey Maguire (Spider-Man) and between the 2 of them, they managed to convince him.

9. Viggo Mortensen as Aragorn in Lord of the Rings

Viggo Mortensen had already turned down the role of Aragorn because he didn’t want to go through extensive filming far from home. However, his son saw the script on the kitchen table. He spoke passionately to him about the Lord of the Rings saga and finally convinced his father to accept the role.

10. Tom Cruise as Maverick in Top Gun

To convince Tom Cruise to accept the role of Maverick in Top Gun producers took him to fly with experts at a facility in California. The pilots wanted to pull a prank on Cruise so they tried to give him an extreme flying experience, which they thought would scare him. But they didn’t know Cruise. As soon as the actor got off the plane, he called the producer to confirm that he would take the role.

11. Meryl Streep as Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady

Meryl Streep did not want to play Thatcher because she did not like the character. However, the director convinced her that that was exactly why she should take the role: Meryl would then have the opportunity to portray Thatcher in whichever way she wanted. Streep thought it was a good opportunity to show how unpleasant she could be.

12. Chris Evans as Captain America in Captain America: The First Avenger

It was Chris Evans’ mother who convinced the actor to accept the leading role in Captain America. Chris was afraid of becoming too famous, of not being able to go out and walk his dog without being bothered. But when he asked his mother for advice, she convinced him that this was his chance to work as an actor all his life and never worry about paying the rent again.

Bonus: Julia Roberts in Friends

When Matthew Perry (Chandler) approached Julia Roberts to ask her if she was interested in making an appearance on Friends, Julia jokingly replied, “Write me a paper on quantum physics and I’ll do it.” To her amazement, Matthew wrote it and faxed it to her the next day. At that point, Julia couldn’t say no.

What movie or series do you think would not have been successful without the actors that were in them?

Psst! Bright Side has real quizzes now. We publish new ones daily. Go check them out.

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