20 iconic movie roles that were almost played by other actors

We all make mistakes from time to time. Similarly, famous actors sometimes make a decision that turns out to be the biggest mistake of their lives and costs them millions of dollars. Even longtime Hollywood stars sometimes reject roles that turn out to be legendary once the movie is released. However, to be fair, in a number of cases these refusals can be due to scheduling clashes with other productions, leaving actors with no choice in the matter. 

So without further ado, we here at Bright Side offer you 20 iconic movie roles and the actors who almost filled them.

Jennifer Lawrence as Bella


Being a big fan of the Twilight saga, Jennifer auditioned for the female lead role in its famous screen version. However, her appearance was not appropriate for the role of the delicate and cold Bella.

Jensen Ackles as Captain America

Jensen Ackles was originally considered to play Captain America. However, he was too busy with other commitments to sign up. 

Robin Williams as Jack Torrance

The Shining

It's hard to believe it, but Robin Williams was really considered for the role of Jack Torrance, the movie's manic protagonist. Stanley Kubrick decided against him, deeming him too psychotic for the role. 

Scarlett Johansson as Lisbeth Salander

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

The director of the film, David Fincher, thought that Scarlett Johansson was just too hot for the part of socially maladjusted, techno-goth heroine Lisbeth. Well, we won't argue with that.

Will Smith as Django Unchained

Will Smith wanted Tarantino to rewrite the script of Django Unchained to give the character a more central role in the plot. 'I'm doing only lead roles,' he said. Quentin Tarantino didn't agree with him, though.

Bruce Willis as Sam 


It may be hard to imagine, but Bruce Willis (who was Demi Moore's husband at the time) was the director's first choice to play Sam. However, the Hollywood star turned this proposal down because he didn't think the movie would work with the main character being dead most of the movie. 

Emily Blunt as Black Widow

Marvel Universe

While most people would probably agree that Scarlett Johannson performed brilliantly as Black Widow in the Marvel Universe films, this role originally belonged to Emily Blunt. 'It wasn't the right time for this role,' Emily commented in one of her interviews.


Nicolas Cage as The Wrestler

Nicolas Cage was originally cast to play the lead character in The Wrestler but turned the proposal down to support his friend Mickey Rourke, who expressed an interest in the role. We must admit, as a former boxer, Mickey was just the perfect fit for the protagonist in this movie.

Gwyneth Paltrow as Rose


Though it’s hard to imagine anyone but Kate Winslet in the film's lead role, James Cameron was not impressed by Kate at first. He originally wanted Gwyneth Paltrow to play the main heroine. However, Winslet made every effort to land the part of Rose and succeeded.

Angelina Jolie as Ryan Stone


Originally, Angelina Jolie was the director's top pick to take the lead part in sci-fi drama Gravity. But the actress had to turn the role down because she was working on her own film, In The Land of Blood and Honey. They say Angelina was really mad at Sandra Bullock.

Leonardo DiCaprio as a psychopath

American Psycho

As we know, DiCaprio expressed interest in playing the lead role in the film American Psycho. However, the movie's director chose Christian Bale for this part and was absolutely right.


Kim Basinger as Miranda Priestly

The Devil Wears Prada

Kim Basinger auditioned for the part of the snobby editor-in-chief in The Devil Wears Prada. Fortunately, this iconic role finally went to Meryl Streep.


Reese Witherspoon as Marla Singer 

Fight Club

Here is another crazy idea. The lead female role in Fight Club was originally offered to Reese Witherspoon. She turned it down because she found the script 'too dark.' Perhaps she was right.

Sean Connery as Gandalf

The Lord of the Rings

The producers of The Lord of the Rings originally approached Sean Connery about playing the role of Gandalf. Connery declined the role because he found the script too strange. By the way, if he had accepted that offer, he would have become the highest-paid actor in cinema history.

Jim Carrey as Loki


Can you imagine what this film would have been like with Jim Carrey in this role? In fact, this stunning comedian was a long-time favorite to take on the role of Loki in Thor, but the part went to Tom Hiddleston instead.

John Travolta as Forrest Gump

John Travolta turned down the 'weird' role in Forrest Gump. But, as he admitted later, he regretted this decision very much.

Marilyn Monroe as Holly Golightly

Breakfast at Tiffany's

The author of Breakfast at Tiffany's wanted Marilyn Monroe to play the lead role in the screen adaptation of his novel, and she was lined up to play Holly. But the producers of the film chose Audrey Hepburn as soon as they learned that she had expressed interest in the role.

Will Smith as Neo

The Matrix

Will Smith turned down an offer to be Neo in The Matrix in favor of doing Wild Wild West (which failed at the box office). 'At that point, I wasn't smart enough as an actor to let the movie be,' he said later. Luckily, Keanu Reeves was smart enough for this iconic role.

Jeremy Irons as Hannibal Lecter

Silence of the Lambs

Jeremy Irons rejected the role of a maniac in the film Silence of the Lambs because he did not want to play such a cruel man. Anthony Hopkins, apparently, had another opinion and played this Oscar-winning role just brilliantly. 

Madonna as Frida Kahlo

Madonna has always expressed an interest for Frida Kahlo’s works and wanted to play this iconic character in the movie. However, the producers of the film chose to cast Salma Hayek, who did her job just perfectly.

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