14 Actors Who Almost Didn’t Land the Role They’re Now Famous For

Many actors turn down roles in movies that later become blockbusters. Or sometimes, even if they would like the role, they don’t make the final cut. While some of them may regret these decisions, movie stars like Leonardo DiCaprio or Julia Roberts have no regrets about the characters they didn’t end up portraying.

We at Bright Side have collected a list of career making roles that could have gone to different actors.

1. Sandra Bullock almost played Neo in The Matrix.

Before casting Keanu Reeves as Neo, producers considered many high-end actors, including Brad Pitt, Will Smith, and Leonardo DiCaprio. After many male actors refused the role, they considered changing Neo to a girl and reached out to Sandra Bullock to play it. It would have surely been interesting to see Neo portrayed by a woman, but it’s impossible to imagine the franchise without Keanu Reeves.

2. Leonardo DiCaprio could have played a lead role in Star Wars.

Before choosing newcomer Hayden Christensen for the role of Anakin Skywalker, many A-listers were considered, including DiCaprio. But the famous actor revealed in an interview that he didn’t feel ready for such a role.

3. Jennifer Connelly was considered for the role of Vivian in Pretty Woman.

Several actresses were considered for the role of Vivian in Pretty Woman, including Jennifer Connelly. But it was only Julia Roberts who made the cut in the end. Roberts is definitely the actress who makes the iconic movie what it is.

4. Blake Lively could have starred in Jennifer’s Body, instead of Megan Fox.

Blake Lively could have played the titular role of Jennifer Check, as she was offered the role before Megan Fox. But Blake had to refuse the role because she needed to focus on playing Serena van der Woodsen in Gossip Girl.

5. Julia Roberts was almost cast as the lead role in Sleepless in Seattle.

Julia Roberts almost became the leading lady in Sleepless in Seattle. The actress was offered the role but turned it down because she didn’t feel up to it. Even years later, Julia Roberts has no regrets and thinks Meg Ryan did a wonderful job in the rom-com.

6. Cora Crawley could have been blonde — and played by Gillian Anderson.

Gillian Anderson was offered the role of Cora Crawley in Downton Abbey. But she refused to play in the TV series because she wanted to focus on other projects. Gillian is only 13 years older than Michelle Dockery, who played Cora’s daughter in the show.

7. Liam Neeson didn’t portray James Bond because of his wife.

Liam Neeson was considered for the role of James Bond, but wouldn’t have accepted it because of his late wife. Natasha Richardson didn’t feel comfortable with her husband playing in the movie. This prompted Neeson to sing the James Bond theme song whenever they were fighting to lighten up the mood.

8. Drew Barrymore only wanted a small role in Scream.

Drew Barrymore was offered the leading role in the movie series Scream, but she insisted on only playing a supporting role instead. So the iconic character of Sydney Prescott went to Neve Campbell instead.

9. Penn Badgley almost wasn’t cast as Dan Humphrey in Gossip Girl.

The role could have gone to Alden Ehrenreich instead. Before considering Penn Badgley, the casting director of the TV series wanted Ehrenreich to play the role of Dan Humphrey. But later, the director admitted that he couldn’t have imagined anyone other than Badgley playing the character.

10. Abigail Breslin would have liked to have been in The Hunger Games.

Many young actresses were considered for Jennifer Lawrence’s character, including Chloë Grace Moretz, Hailee Steinfeld, and Emma Roberts. Abigail Breslin was one of the front runners for the role of Katniss Everdeen, but the casting directors later decided to choose Lawrence who was a little older.

11. Emily Blunt turned down the role of Peggy Carter.

Emily Blunt was offered the lead female role in Captain America: The First Avenger, but she declined it as she was working on other projects. Eventually, the role went to Hayley Atwell who had portrayed the character of Peggy Carter in other Marvel movies as well.

12. Rumer Willis could have played Blake Lively’s character in Gossip Girl.

Rumer Willis was pitched to play Serena van der Woodsen before Blake Lively, but she later said that she considered her audition for the role “awful.” It was one of Rumer’s first auditions and even though she loved to read the books the series were based on, she doesn’t regret not getting the role.

13. Matt LeBlanc could have been Phil Dunphy in Modern Family.

Matt LeBlanc who played Joey in Friends could have also played Phil Dunphy in another popular sitcom, Modern Family. Although Matt liked the script of Ty Burrell’s character when he read it, he felt that he wasn’t the right guy for the role.

14. Jamie Dornan was almost cast as Superman instead of Henry Cavill.

Jamie Dornan and Henry Cavill both auditioned for the role of Superman. But the casting directors chose Henry Cavill in the end, who went on to star in Man of Steel, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and Justice League.

Who is your favorite actor? Have you watched any of the movies from this list?

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