12 Movie Stars Who Rejected a Role That Became Iconic

year ago

Rejection is a big part of an actor’s career. However, sometimes they’re the ones who turn a job down. Unfortunately for them, on a few occasions, the role they said “no” to ends up winning the hearts of fans all over the world. From characters like Holly Golightly (Breakfast at Tiffany’s) to Neo (The Matrix), many beloved movies could’ve looked completely different.

1. Josh Hartnett as Superman

Josh Hartnett turned down the role of Batman and Superman. The actor says that this decision was correct and perhaps the only right one he’s made. Josh didn’t want to become the hostage of stereotype roles and that’s why he didn’t consider this collaboration.

2. Madonna in The Matrix

Today, we know the character of Trinity in The Matrix thanks to Carrie-Anne Moss. Although the role had previously been offered to Madonna, she admitted that a tiny part of herself regretted having refused the experience.

3. Denzel Washington in Michael Clayton

© Michael Clayton / Samuels Media and co-producers, AXELLE / BAUER-GRIFFIN / East News

During an interview, the actor was asked if he regretted turning down any roles. He answered that Michael Clayton was some of the best material he had read in a long time. However, the fact that the job was from a first-time director made him nervous and he turned it down.

4. Laurence Fishburne in Pulp Fiction

© Pulp Fiction / Miramax Films and co-producers, JEAN-BAPTISTE LACROIX / AFP / East News

For his fans, Laurence Fishburne has remained Morpheus from The Matrix for many years though the actor had every chance to not let this situation happen. When Quentin Tarantino was working on Pulp Fiction, he invited Laurence to play the role of Jules Winnfield, but he turned the offer down.

5. Eddie Murphy in Who Framed Roger Rabbit?

The movie, Who Framed Roger Rabbit? became a hit in the ’80s. However, thanks to an interview, we learned that the role was first offered to Eddie Murphy. He explained that he ruled out being in the movie because he didn’t think the combination of human and animated characters would work. He also added that every time he sees it, he feels like an idiot for turning it down.

6. Sean Connery in The Matrix Reloaded

Apparently, Sean Connery, the former James Bond, had the opportunity to appear in the iconic The Matrix Reloaded, but turned it down for this reason: he just didn’t understand the script. In the end, the role of the architect went to Helmut Bakaitis.

7. Halle Berry in Speed

© Speed / The Mark Gordon Company and co-producers, OConnor / AFF-USA.com / MEGA / Mega Agency / East News

Halle Berry said in an interview that she was offered a part in Speed before Sandra Bullock. Thus, the film would have turned out completely different. At the time, she turned down the role because she was not convinced by the script. However, she admits that when she sees the film, she regrets her decision.

8. Angelina Jolie in Charlie’s Angels

We know from Angelina Jolie’s filmography that she loves to take part in action flicks. But still, there was a similar project the actress rejected. Drew Barrymore and Cameron Diaz did their best to convince Jolie to play their partner but to no avail.

Jolie felt she wasn’t right for this role and later explained her refusal: “I’m not at that point in my career, so audiences won’t have as much fun watching me run around in high heels chasing bad guys and flipping my hair.”

9. Marilyn Monroe in Breakfast at Tiffany’s

The iconic movie, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, was supposed to star Marilyn Monroe. She was the first choice of Truman Capote, the author of the original book. However, Monroe did not accept the role because her advisor recommended against playing a lady of the night. In the end, it was Audrey Hepburn who took the role of Holly Golightly and turned it iconic.

10. Matt Damon in Avatar

Matt admitted that he declined to star in Avatar, which cost him around $250,000,000. He said this made him feel like the dumbest businessman in the world. However, the reason for not accepting the role was that he had already signed on to be in another film and preferred to behave in a more ethical manner.

11. Jennifer López in Unfaithful

J.Lo has a long filmography of movies. However, she turned down a role that could have changed her acting career: as Connie in Unfaithful. She says producers sent her the script, but it was not finished. Although she regrets not having accepted, she admits that the character was meant to be played by Diane Lane.

12. Brad Pitt in The Matrix

It’s hard to imagine anyone other than Keanu Reeves starring in The Matrix. However, the role of Neo was offered to Brad Pitt first. He explained that he never thought the role was for him. He added, “If we were doing a show about the great movies I’ve passed up, we’d need 2 nights.”

Do you think the movies would have been different or the same if the artists on the list were acting in these films? Which characters from other movies would you change if you could?


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