We all know and love the iconic roles that our favorite actors played, and most of them, no matter how many movies they make, are still remembered for the same role, no matter how old the movie is. But have you ever considered that your favorite actor might not have been the producers’ first choice for the part? Here are some great actors which were not the first choice for their most known roles.
10 Actors Who Were Not the First Choice for Their Most Known Roles
Harrison Ford in Star Wars
As hard as it might be to believe, Harrison Ford was not George Lucas’ first choice for the role of Han Solo. Can you image another actor playing one of the most iconic roles in the history of cinematography? It turns out that George Lucas first thought of Christopher Walken for the role and while we understand George’s choice, due to the fact that Walken can easily pull off a character such as Han Solo, it is hard to image Star Wars with other than Harrison Ford. Do you think Christopher Walken would have been a better choice?
Arnold Schwarzenegger in Terminator
Arnold was definitely not the producers’ first choice, as a few names were mentioned as being on their minds before choosing Schwarzenegger, such as Lance Henriksen or OJ Simpson. The latter was discarded because he did not seem cruel enough for the part, can you image the irony?
Jamie Foxx in Django Unchained
Although Django is a relatively new movie, fans associate Jamie Foxx with it, even though he played in a lot of other good movies before that. Quentin Tarantino’s first pick for this movie was in fact Will Smith and many people seem to think that he would have made a better role than Jamie did. What do you think, can you see Will Smith as Django?
Kevin Spacey in American Beauty
One of the most iconic characters in movie history is that of Lester Burnham, from American Beauty, played masterfully by Kevin Spacey. In his case, the situation is a little bit different because Spacey was in fact Sam Mendes’ first choice but the studio asked the directed to consider better-known actors and rumor has it that the part was offer to actor Chevy Chase but he turned it down. In the end, everything worked out because we couldn’t imagine a better man for the job than Kevin Spacey, his performance was memorable and has opened the path to a different kind of emotional and sincere acting.
Christian Bale in American Pshyco
Christian Bale is a successful actor but his most known part remains the one of maniac broker Patrick Bateman. We can all agree that he was the perfect man for the role and that he gave it the novel character and unique and interesting face but it seems that the studio did not have the same ideas, given the fact that Bale was not their first choice.
The studio choose Leonardo DiCaprio for this part but he later walked from the film due to protest from feminists groups that were asking for Mary Harron’s return (she left the project when the studio decided to go with DiCaprio). We think all was for the best as Leonardo DiCaprio went on to memorable roles and Christian Bale became famous and was casted in even bigger role. Although in our hearts, he will always be Patrick Bateman.
Keanu Reeves in the Matrix
Could you believe that one of the best characters in action movie trilogies history was not played by the first-choice actor? Before hiring Keanu Reeves for the part of Neo, the producers considered both Will Smith and Nicholas Cage but they turned down the offer. Also, rumor has it that Sean Connery turned down the part of Morpheus, which was given to Laurence Fishburne in the end. The Reeves-Fishburne couple performed fantastic in The Matrix Trilogy and Keanu will definitely remain in people’s minds as Neo, no matter how many new or better films he makes.
Tim Robbins in the Shawshank Redemption
When you say Tim Robbins you say Shawshank Redemption but the Stephen King adaptation did not start off with his name in mind. The first choices for Andy Dufresne’s character were in fact Tom Hanks and Kevin Costner but they both turned down the offers and the role was given to Tim Robbins who went on to write a little piece of cinematographic history with his performance.
Johnny Depp in Edward Scissorhands
Johnny Depp has had a lot of great roles throughout his acting career but for many of his fans he will always be Edward Scissorhands but before considering Johnny the leading role was offered to Tom Cruise, Tom Hanks, Robert Downey Jr. and William Hurt. Could you image Tom Cruise as Edward? We are happy that they ended up choosing Johnny Depp and that the movie was such a hit and remains a classic Tim Burton masterpiece.
Anthony Hopkins in Silence of the Lambs
Hannibal Lecter, what an outstanding character! But did you know that the role was first offered to Jeremy Irons and he turned it down? You would think that the actor has some regrets about it as the movie moved on to be a huge success but Irons says that he is happy with his decision and he is happy because he choose to do Dead Ringers instead.
We couldn’t help but agree with Jeremy because both Dead Ringers and The Silence of the Lambs are fantastic movies and we can’t believe they could be any better with deferent leading roles. But you have to admit that you are a little curious about how would have Hannibal looked portrayed by Jeremy Irons, aren’t you?
Sir Ian McKellen in Lord of the Rings
The Lord of the Rings trilogy is one of the most successful franchise in movie history and although the Lord of the Rings cast has been through a lot of changes before its final form, it seems that every actor was born for their part, although some fans of the book might disagree with us. Gandalf is the role that gave Sir Ian Mckellen a boost in popularity and made his name synonym to the one of Gandalf but he is another actor that was not the first choice for the part. It is said that Sean Connery turned down the part of Gandalf. After that, the part was offered to Sir Patrick Stewart who also turned it down. The final pick before Sir Ian Mckellen was Sam Neill but he did not get the part and they ended up offering it to the one that made Gandalf the loving character that is today.