Film Roles Actors Missed Out On

Movies That Could Have Been Different

Classic film and TV roles are so iconic, and it’s difficult to believe that another actor was considered for the parts, as the movie would have been different.

Every casting decision is vital to the movie’s success, as it can affect a movie more than we realize, but we can’t help but wonder what could have been. How we see every performer can completely change the experience of seeing a film.

If some studio executives had gotten their way, some of your favorite characters would have been played by the last person and some classic movies would have been very, very different.

Below are 10 Classic Films that nearly starred another unexpected actor.



10. O.J. Simpson as The Terminator


Mike Medavoy, head of Orion Pictures had a different vision for The Terminator. For the lead role, he didn’t want an Austrian muscleman, in fact he wanted O.J. Simpson. He told James Cameron who he had chosen. 'At the time, O.J. Simpson commercials for Hertz was jumping over a counter and running to a rental car,' Medavoy said. 'It was all of that athletic stuff, which the Terminator should have.'

But, James Cameron wasn’t thrilled. 'I wasn’t interested in an African-American man chasing a white girl with a knife,' he said. Plus, Cameron just didn’t think anyone would believe O.J. Simpson, could be a killer.


9. Tom Selleck as Indiana Jones


George Lucas didn’t want Harrison Ford for Indiana Jones. He tried to talk Steven Spielberg to cast the star of Magnum P.I., Tom Selleck. Selleck even filmed a screen test, playing a much angrier and louder Indiana Jones than the one we ended up seeing in the film. Lucas loved it. “It turned out really well,” he said.

Later Selleck said, 'I didn’t turn it down.' But, CBS wouldn’t let him take it, as he was under a contract, and they didn’t want him splitting his attention away from Magnum P.I. Years later, Selleck said, “I could have done them both.”


8. Burt Reynolds as James Bond


In 1970, after Sean Connery dropped out of the role, the studio tried to get Burt Reynolds to play the iconic role 007. Reynolds said, 'An American can’t play James Bond, it has to be an Englishman.' So Roger Moore took the role instead. In his later years, Reynolds regret his decision and even if he wasn’t British, he would have made a good James Bond, and said not taking the role ...'stupidity.'


7. Al Pacino as Han Solo


When Star Wars went into production, the studio wasn’t too interested in casting Harrison Ford as Han Solo. They wanted a big name, like Al Pacino. But approached, Al Pacino said, 'I was in The Godfather.' He didn’t really understand Star Wars, so he turned it down. After Pacino dropped out, the studio offer the role to, Robert DeNiro, Jack Nicholson, Christopher Walken, and Nick Nolte, who all turned it down.


6. Jack Nicholson as Michael Corleone


Before Al Pacino got the lead role in The Godfather, it was offered to Jack Nicholson. But Nicholson turned it down. Nicholson recalled, 'Back then I believed that Indians should play Indians and Italians should play Italians.' When Nicholson passed, they offered the role to Warren Beatty but he turned it down as well complaining, 'Not another gangster movie!' So Al Pacino got his most legendary role because the first two choices turned it down.


5. Tom Cruise as Captain Planet


Originally, Captain Planet had a much more famous voice: Tom Cruise. In the first version of the cartoon, Cruise landed the lead role, but Tom Cruise dropped out. According to David Coburn, 'One of the reasons they picked me is the guy I’m playing is not a macho superhero. He’s like a big brother, an encouraging coach, who inspired kids to do better.'

Even without Cruise, Captain Planet had a bizarrely star-studded cast for a Saturday morning cartoon. One of the planeteers was voiced by LeVar Burton, Whoopi Goldberg was the voice of Gaia. The cast of villains was even more incredible, with Elizabeth Taylor, Danny Glover, Jeff Goldblum, Martin Sheen, and Malcolm McDowell showing up bit roles in the show.


4. Nicholas Cage as Hellboy


Universal Studios wanted a big star to play Hellboy and tried to convince director, Guillermo Del Toro to cast their first choice, Nicholas Cage. The studio wanted their demon to look like a regular, everyday Nicholas Cage. The executives told Del Toro, 'What if you call him Hellboy and he comes from Hell and all that, but he looks like a guy?'

If Del Toro had given in, Nicholas Cage’s Hellboy would have a car called the 'Hellmobile' and a 'red pet dog.' If he got angry, he become a big red monster. But, Nicholas Cage, wasn’t the only choice, the backup was - The Rock.


3. Marilyn Manson as Willy Wonka


When the 2005’s, 'Charlie and The Chocolate Factory' first went into production, Marilyn Manson the shock rocker started an active campaign to get the lead role. Mason, believed he could play that role like no one else. For a while, it seemed like he was going to get the role, until Warner Brothers put their foot down. According to Entertainment Tonight, if Johnny Depp couldn’t do it, Tim Burton's second choice was - The Rock.


2. Michael Jackson as Doctor Who’s


In 1988, Paramount Pictures was aware of the success of 'Back To The Future' as Universal Pictures was making a fortune. Paramount needed a sci-fi hit that could compete, so the was a Americanized version of 'Doctor Who.' Michael Jackson came pretty close to being cast in a movie version of Doctor Who.

Jackson was 'quite keen' to play the role. However, even if Jackson couldn’t do it, Paramount had a second choice in mind - Bill Cosby.


1. Bill Murray As Batman


Before Michael Keaton won the starring role in Batman, it was offered to Bill Murray. Originally, the studio wanted the 1980s, Batman to be just like the 1960s TV show. Instead of being a dark, gothic vision of a brooding crime fighter, Batman was going to be a comedy directed by Ivan Reitman, the man behind Ghostbusters. Not only would Bill Murray be Batman, but Eddie Murphy would be Robin and David Bowie as The Joker.

However, Tim Burton took over, and wanted it to be a dark crime-fighting film, although the studio still wanted Bill Murray as Batman. Murray insisted, 'I would have been a fine Batman.'

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