19 Actors Who Bombed Their Audition and Lost Their Chance to Play an Iconic Character
In the minds of many people, certain fictional characters are strongly associated with the actors who portrayed them on-screen. Can you think of anyone else except Henry Cavill in the role of the Witcher? The fact is that 207 actors auditioned for the role of Geralt of Rivia. And if another actor had landed the title role, the series would have been totally different.
Today, we put together a list of actors who could have played some iconic characters, but life decided differently.
Téa Leoni could have played Rachel Green.
Before landing the role on Friends, Jennifer Aniston was a virtually unknown actress who had previously starred in a few short-lived sitcoms. Aniston even began to doubt herself as an actress, but then she was offered to audition for Friends.
The competition was strong, and dozens of actresses auditioned for the role of Rachel. The producers’ first choice was the famous actress, Téa Leoni, but she declined in favor of starring in the sitcom, The Naked Truth. So Aniston landed the role, but the producers were still not sure whether they’d made the right choice. Eventually, they had to admit that Aniston’s interpretation of Rachel was great, and she “breathed life into a difficult character.”
Jim Carrey turned down the role of Captain Jack Sparrow to act in the movie, Bruce Almighty.
Captain Jack Sparrow has become a truly iconic character thanks to Johnny Depp’s outstanding performance. It’s interesting that Jim Carrey could have played this role, but the production schedule for The Curse of the Black Pearl conflicted with Bruce Almighty. Perhaps Carrey decided that the latter project was more promising and turned down the role of the legendary pirate.
Tilda Swinton could have acted in the Harry Potter film series.
According to official information, the actress turned down the role of Professor Sybill Trelawney because she couldn’t fit the film into her busy schedule. But one of her interviews made everyone doubt that her busy schedule was the only reason why she refused the role. In the interview, she condemned boarding schools, saying her experience at a boarding school in London was “hell.” And then she added, “That’s why I dislike films like Harry Potter, which tend to romanticize such places.”
Tom Cruise could have played Cliff Booth in the movie, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.
Quentin Tarantino wanted Tom Cruise to play the role of Cliff Booth. The director and the actor met and discussed the part. However, Cruise was busy with other projects, so he had to decline this opportunity. Nowadays, it’s hard to imagine anyone else playing Pitt’s character, and as we all know, Pitt won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for this role. It’s also worth mentioning that the DiCaprio-Pitt duo remains unmatched. Tarantino even said about them, “It’s like lassoing a couple of wild stallions! They are such terrific actors and such great movie stars!”
Emily Blunt turned down the role of Black Widow in Iron Man 2.
Nowadays, it’s hard to imagine any other actress in the role of Natasha Romanoff, but Marvel Studios auditioned many aspiring actresses. According to Emily Blunt, what kept her from donning the skin-tight leather outfit was a scheduling conflict with another movie, Gulliver’s Travels. Later, the actress confessed that she was glad she didn’t play Natasha, saying, “Superhero movies tend to cast women as second fiddle to the guys who are out bromancing and beating up the baddies.”
Iwan Rheon auditioned for the roles of Viserys and Jon Snow on Game of Thrones.
At first, Iwan Rheon auditioned for the role of Viserys, but it was given to another actor. Then he was invited to read for Jon Snow. But as we all know, the role went to Kit Harington. However, the producers noticed Rheon and kept him in the pool of potential actors who could play some other characters, which were numerous. So when they started looking for an actor to play Ramsay Bolton, Rheon turned out to be the best choice. Rheon said about it, “I think they made the right choice; it would’ve been a very different Jon Snow if I’d played him.”
Katie Holmes wanted to play the role of Annette Hargrove in Cruel Intentions.
The studio wanted Katie Holmes who starred in Dawson’s Creek, while Holmes dreamt of acting in this romantic drama. However, director Roger Kumble wanted someone “with a little more strength of character.” He once saw the girlfriend of Ryan Phillippe (who had already been approved for the starring role) and asked the actor to invite her to dinner. This girlfriend was Reese Witherspoon.
After dinner, Kumble got down on his knees and begged her to play Annette. He recalled, “Reese was like, ’I’ll do it. But we need to work on the character.’ I’m like, ’Anything, anything, anything.’ She wanted to strengthen the character, and she was right. And she and I got together, and we gave Annette more bite so she wasn’t a doormat. And I’m very grateful to her for that.”
Eddie Redmayne wanted to play Kylo Ren in Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
The Fantastic Beasts star wanted to play Han Solo and Princess Leia’s son. Later, he revealed that he had a “catastrophically bad” audition, explaining, “I was trying again and again with different versions of my kind of ‘koohh paaaah’ [Darth Vader breathing sound] voice. And after like 10 shots the casting director was like, ’You got anything else?’ I was like, ’No.’” It’s interesting that he also failed the audition for the lead part in the movie, The Hobbit. But whatever happens, happens for the best. In our opinion, he was the best choice for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.
Cameron Diaz could have played Sonya Blade in Mortal Combat.
Cameron Diaz was approved for the role of the beautiful Sonya, but she broke her wrist while training for the fight sequences and had to quit. So the producers had to look for a replacement and chose Bridgette Wilson who was finishing up her lead role in Adam Sandler’s movie, Billy Madison, at the time. Wilson recalls, “On my last day of filming on Billy Madison, they called me up and asked, ’Will you do it if we fly you out the next morning?’ and I said, ’Yeah!’ I was so happy both worked out”
Tom Hiddleston wanted to play Thor.
At first, this British actor auditioned for the title part. He beefed up for the Thor try-outs, but the producers said, “Actually, you should play the bad guy.” So Hiddleston became Thor’s cunning but charming adopted brother.
Josh Hartnett could have played Loki.
Josh Hartnett was very interested in playing this villain and met the film director to discuss the role. But it went to Tom Hiddleston. Today, it’s really hard to imagine anyone else in the role of Loki, right?
Shailene Woodley could have played Rey in Star Wars.
The film director had a short list of actresses to play the role of Rey. It included Jennifer Lawrence, Shailene Woodley, Saoirse Ronan, Jessica Henwick, and even Carrie Fisher’s daughter, Billie Lourd. But in the end, the Lucasfilm producers decided to hire little-known actors to play the lead parts, so Daisy Ridley landed the coveted role.
Robin Williams always dreamt of playing Joker.
Robin Williams was obsessed with the idea of playing Joker. First, he auditioned for Tim Burton’s Batman but lost to Jack Nicholson. Then he had a chance to act in Batman Forever but didn’t get the role again. When Williams found out that Christopher Nolan was looking for an actor to play Joker, he said, “Chris, call me, I can play anything. I can play one of the main characters or a weird little man in the background.” Alas, his dream never came true.
Courtney Love auditioned for the role of Satine in Moulin Rouge!.
Courtney Love wanted to play the graceful Satine. Even though Love is a true master of transformations, it’s hard to imagine her in this role. Producers eventually gave preference to Nicole Kidman.
Keanu Reeves wanted to play Wolverine in X-Men.
When Keanu Reeves was asked what characters he’d want to play, he confessed that he had always dreamt of playing Wolverine but realized that he missed his chance because Hugh Jackman was too good in the role. Now we can understand why Reeves has remained outside of both the Marvel and DC universes. By the way, you can see Hugh Jackman’s auditions for the part of Wolverine here.
Cara Delevingne overplayed at the audition for Alice In Wonderland.
The title role in Tim Burton’s Alice In Wonderland was played by Mia Wasikowska. But Cara Delevingne was one of the candidates for the part. She admits that she overplayed at the audition, explaining, “My interpretation of Alice was a little crazy. I overplayed it — the way a young girl would overplay all her emotions.” When Delevingne found out that another actress landed the role, she was devastated, saying, “It was a hard lesson but it sort of propelled me toward what I’m doing it now; it was the precursor motivation.”
Lucy Lawless could have played Galadriel in The Lord of the Rings.
It’s interesting that Lucy Lawless, who is famous for the role of the warrior princess, Xena, was Peter Jackson’s first choice for the part of Galadriel. However, Lawless had to decline the offer because of her pregnancy. Later, the actress expressed her regrets, saying in an interview, “It would have been great if I was part of this success but truthfully, it did break my heart not being able to be a part of the film.”
Jake Gyllenhaal auditioned for Frodo Baggins in The Lord of the Rings.
Jake Gyllenhaal bombed the audition so badly that the film director, Peter Jackson, called him the worst actor he had ever seen. Eventually, Elijah Wood landed the role of Frodo.
Fans wanted Zach McGowan to play the Witcher.
Even before the auditions started, hundreds of Internet users claimed they wanted to see Zach McGowan in the role of Geralt. The actor was so flattered that he started posting impressive fan art on his Instagram and promised his fans on Twitter that he would fight for the opportunity to bring Geralt to life. However, the film’s director gave preference to another actor, Henry Cavill.
Do you think the moviemakers above made the right choices? Share your opinion in the comments below.