Last month, Christian Bale‘s former publicist and assistant, Harrison Cheung, released a tell-all biography about his former boss.Christian Bale: The Inside Story of the Darkest Batman revealed the actor lost out on roles in “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape” and “Titanic” to Leonardo DiCaprio.
He’s not alone. Molly Ringwald also recently announced on Reddit she was offered Julia Robert‘s iconic role in “Pretty Woman.”
We found 25 other actors and actresses who turned down possible career-changing roles.
Harrison Ford wasn’t originally sought out to play Han Solo, nor was Al Pacino first in mind for Michael Corleone of “The Godfather.” And, we may have been cheering on a much different Harvey Two-Face in Christopher Nolan’s “The Dark Knight” if one actor wasn’t already preoccupied with another series.
Role was played by: Jake Gyllenhaal
It turns out Wahlberg was 'creeped out' by the idea of a gay sex scene.
From a 2007 interview:
'I met with Ang Lee on that movie, I read 15 pages of the script and got a little creeped out. It was very graphic, descriptive - the spitting on the hand, getting ready to do the thing. I told Ang Lee, 'I like you, you're a talented guy, if you want to talk about it more...' Thankfully, he didn't...I didn't rush to see Brokeback, it's just not my deal... Obviously, it was done in taste - look how it was received.'
Role was played by: Russell Crowe
IMDB reported the actor turned down the role due to his age.
Director Ridley Scott insisted to CNN Crowe was always his first choice for the role.
Gibson also turned down the role of Harvey Dent/Two Face in 1995's 'Batman Forever' due to conflicts with 'Braveheart.' Tommy Lee Jones played the villain instead.
Role was played by: Al Pacino
Nicholson admitted in a 2004 interview with Movieline that he passed on the iconic role because he knew it wasn't his to play.
'Back then I believed that Indians should play Indians and Italians should play Italians … There were a lot of actors who could have played Michael, myself included, but Al Pacino was Michael Corleone. I can't think of a better compliment to pay him.'
A 2009 Vanity Fair article references multiple actors who were considered for Corleone's role including Warren Beatty, Robert Redford and Martin Sheen.
Role was played by: Halle Berry
Angela Bassett turned down the role, openly telling Newsweek she didn't want to fit a cliché.
'I wasn't going to be a prostitute on film. I couldn't do that because it's such a stereotype about black women and sexuality.'
Vanessa Williams also turned down the role due to the full frontal nudity involved.
The role earned Berry a Best Actress Oscar, making her the first African-American woman to receive the award. Which is more than the actress probably would have received for a role she turned down ...
Role was played by: Keanu Reeves
Yes, Neo could have been played by 'Men in Black' actor, Will Smith. Instead, Smith made 'Wild Wild West,' which spawned this gem.
Smith told Wired he's OK with his decision, though.
'I watched Keanu's performance - and very rarely do I say this - but I would have messed it up,' said Smith. 'At that point I wasn't smart enough as an actor to let the movie be. Whereas Keanu was smart enough to just let it be.'
Role was played by: Heather Graham
Us Weekly originally reported the actress passed on the stripper role in the 2009 comedy because she believed it had 'no potential.' This could have been the comeback role Lohan needed.
Instead, Lohan opted for a January Playboy spread.
Maybe the Elizabeth Taylor Lifetime TV film will pan out.
Roles were played by: Julia Roberts and Sharon Stone respectively
'I just couldn't do that one, because of the sexual parts, the nudity,' she said. 'My father was still alive. I'm kind of prudish … And honestly? I am not that uninhibited about my body. I'm modest.'
Pfeiffer also passed on the role of Ginger in 'Casino' another part that went to Stone.
Speaking of 'Pretty Women,' this brings us to our next actress …
Roles were played by: Sandra Bullock
Julia Roberts passed on not one, but two roles that ended up going to Sandra Bullock instead.
The 'Pretty Woman' actress declined 'The Proposal' after reportedly refusing to accept a pay cut. Bullock took the role instead at the lower salary. To date, 'The Proposal' has earned more than $317 million worldwide.
She also passed up 'The Blind Side,' based on a real-life story. Bullock received the Best Actress Oscar for the role.
The latest film Roberts starred in was box-office flop, 'Mirror Mirror.'
Role was played by: Tom Hanks
Yes, John Travolta declined to run across America and deliver one of movies most well-known lines. Travolta later admitted passing on 'Forrest Gump' was a mistake.
The actor turned down two other films in which Tom Hanks was later cast: 'Splash' and 'Apollo 13.'
Travolta also passed on a number of roles that went to Richard Gere including, 'Days of Heaven,' 'American Gigolo,' 'An Officer and a Gentleman,' and 'Chicago.'
Role was played by: Kris Kristofferson
Barbra Streisand wanted the King to play the role of John Norman Howard in the 1976 remake of 'A Star is Born' so much she traveled to Las Vegas and offered him the part.
Convincing the King was easy. However, the studio couldn't meet the demands of Elvis' manager, Tom Parker, which included $1 million and top billing over Striesand.
Elvis also turned down the lead role in 'The Fastest Guitar Alive' (1967). Instead, Roy Orbison played the role.
Role was played by: Kevin Bacon
Casting directors wanted Cruise for the lead of 'Footloose' after watching his famous underwear scene in 'Risky Business.'
Unfortunately, the actor needed to turn down the role since he was filming 'All the Right Moves.'
Role was taken over by: Michael Gambon
The actor turned down the role of Hogwarts headmaster Albus Dumbledore after Richard Harris passed away.
McKellen said people always ask him if he wished he played Dumbledore, but since the actor played Gandalf in 'The Lord of the Rings' he declined.
Plus, he also had personal reasons for turning down the role …
'… seeing as one of the last things he did publicly was say what a dreadful actor he thought I was, it would not have been appropriate for me to take over his part. It would have been unfair.'
Role was played by: Brad Pitt
Washington could have had Brad Pitt's role. However, he turned down 'Se7en,' deciding to work on detective thriller, 'Devil in a Blue Dress' instead.
The actor later told Entertainment Weekly he regretted the decision after seeing a screener.
'They offered me the Brad Pitt part, but I was like, 'This is so dark and evil,'' said Washington. 'Then, when I saw the movie, I was like, 'Oh, shoot.''
Role was played by: Matthew Broderick
Could you have seen teen heartthrob Johnny Depp as Ferris Bueller? The 'Pirates of the Caribbean' actor was originally offered the lead role that eventually went to Matthew Broderick.
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.