Have you ever went to see a great movie and wondered how much better it would be with your favorite actor or actress in the lead role? Well, many directors and producers have probably had the same thought as their juicy roles were turned down by some of the hottest stars in Hollywood. Ironically, most of the roles that were turned down changed the careers of the actors that eventually got the parts. The movies also did extremely well at the box office. For some, it was the best option and for others perhaps a poor choice.
1. Cary Grant-Mr. Grant was approached by the producers of the James Bond series to play the lead role of the infamous 007. Thinking he was too old for the part and not wanting to have his career tied to a series, Mr. Grant turned them down. Sean Connery was chosen instead to start working in 1962 in Dr. No. Sean Connery played the role that led to lifetime recognition as an icon of the James Bond franchise.
2. Will Smith-The Matrix has become one of the greatest movie franchises of all time. It has grossed over one billion dollars worldwide. The role was initially offered to Will Smith, who turned it downed because he couldn’t get the concept. Will has admitted that after watching Keanu Reeves in the role that he would have done a disservice to the movie.
3. Gwyneth Paltrow-The role of Rose in “Titanic” catapulted Kate Winslet to superstardom. What would the movie have looked like with Gwyneth as the lead female character? Well, that’s the answer we will never know because she turned the role down to play in the movie “Sliding Doors”. She was James Cameron’s first choice for the role. Gwyneth has been quoted as saying “I couldn't have imagined going through what they did, and working with Cameron all that time." She was tired of the Hollywood scene and felt the smaller role in “Sliding Doors” would take some of the spotlight off of her.
4. Mel Gibson-From Mad Max to Lethal Weapon, Mel Gibson has played many strong characters. He has taken franchises to the next level with his outstanding performances. The Gladiator role was first offered to Gibson who turned it down saying that he was getting too old for this type of movie. Thanks Mel, because Russell Crowe did an amazing job as Maximus. Now that the movie has become an epic phenomenon, most of us could not imagine anyone else in that role.
5. Denzel Washington-Dreamgirls was already a classic well before it hit the big screen. The role of Curtis which was played by Jamie Foxx was initially offered to Denzel. It has been reported that he turned the role down because he’s not a singer. The role helped Jamie Foxx’s career and offered him many other opportunities in the industry.
Some roles were meant to be played by the actors and actresses that got the parts and we are thankful for those roles. Although, I’m a big fan of Denzel, Mel, Gwyneth and the others; the stars that were chosen for the various parts performed a body of work they could be proud of. This is what makes the film industry great. Remember this, an actor doesn’t find a great part; a great part finds an actor. See you at the movies.