Almost Cast – What Might Have Been

Lets take a look at some big roles that almost had different faces playing them.

  • Tom Selleck was originally pursued by Spielberg & Lucas to play Indiana Jones, but it conflicted with his agreement to do Magnum P.I.
  • Clint Eastwood in Apocalypse Now instead of Martin Sheen
  • Shirley Temple asked for too much money to play Dorthy in The Wizard of Oz
  • Johnny Depp and Will Smith were both asked to be Neo in Matrix before Keanu “Cool Breeze” Reeves
  • Tim Burton wanted his childhood hero, Sammy Davis, Jr., to play the title character in Beetlejuice. Studio execs shot him down.
  • John Denver turned down the lead role in An Officer and A Gentleman because he didn’t like the script.
  • Eric Stoltz was actually hired to play Marty McFly in Back to the Future, and was replaced later with Michael J Fox.
  • Rob Reiner attempted to buy the rights to Shawshank Redemption and envisioned casting Harrison Ford and Tom Cruise, instead of Morgan Freeman and Tim Robbins.
  • Brad Pitt was originally intended to play the role of Tommy Williams in Shawshank Redemption
  • The role of Dr. Peter Venkman in Ghostbusters (Played by Bill Murray) was originally written for John Belushi if it wasn’t for his untimely death.
  • O.J. Simpson was offered the role of the Terminator, famously played by Arnold Schwarzenegger, but it was deemed O.J. was “too nice” to fit the bill of the cybernetic killing machine. Who knew?
  • Eighteen days into filming Panic Room, Nicole Kidman had to leave the film due to a recurring knee injury, suffered during the filming of Moulin Rouge! (Her replacement, Jodie Foster, had only 9 days to prepare for filming)
  • Winona Ryder was to be in The Godfather Part III as Mary Corleone but dropped out.
  • The Pulp Fiction role of Vincent Vega (John Travolta) was actually written for Michael Madsen, who played “Vic Vega” in Reservoir Dogs but declined the Pulp Fiction role.
  • Johnny Depp:
    • turned down the role of Lestat in Interview with the Vampire
    • was Coppola’s choice to play Jonathan Harker in Dracula
    • turned down the lead in Legends of the Fall (one of several roles he turned down that Brad Pitt got)
  • Here are some roles that Nicolas Cage luckily did not take:
    • “The Ram” in The Wrestler (I have no idea how that would have worked at all?)
    • Andy Kaufman in Man on the Moon (again, could anyone but Jim Carrey pull that off?)
    • Willy Wonka in Charlie & the Chocolate Factory (starting to see a pattern here?)
    • Joel Barish (JIm Carrey) in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

    Star Wars Roles:

  • Peter Cushing, who played Grand Moff Tarkin, was considered for the role of Obi-Wan Kenobi before Alec Guiness was brought onboard
  • At one point, George Lucas had planned the character of Han Solo to be a huge green-skinned monster with no nose and gills. Then Lucas changed the idea of Han Solo to a black human. He auditioned several black actors and even musicians (including Billy Dee Williams) until finally settling on Glynn Turman. Before changing his mind again and making the character white.
  • Kurt Russell, Nick Nolte, Christopher Walken, Jack Nicholson, Al Pacino, Chevy Chase, Steve Martin, Bill Murray and Perry King were all candidates for the role of Han Solo.
  • James Caan, Al Pacino, Jack Nicholson, Robert De Niro and Burt Reynolds turned down the role of Han Solo.
  • Terri Nunn of the band Berlin was in the running for the role of Princess Leia and had readings with Harrison Ford and Mark Hamill.
  • Farrah Fawcett, Glenn Close, Barbara Hershey, Bernadette Peters, Bonnie Bedelia, Dianne Wiest, Margot Kidder, Jessica Lange, Meryl Streep, Sigourney Weaver, Cybill Shepherd, Christine Lahti Jane Seymour, Anjelica Huston, Catherine Hicks, Christine Baranski, Kay Lenz, Kim Basinger, Kathleen Turner, Debra Winger, and Geena Davis all auditioned for the role of Princess Leia.
  • Melanie Griffith was offered the role of Princess Leia.

I had always wanted to do a blog post about this topic for some dumb reason, and now that I finished it, I just found out there is a whole website dedicated to basically the same thing (a few of the above came from the site):

3 Responses to “Almost Cast – What Might Have Been”

  1. Howdy, your site is on air in the radio! Good job mate. Your posts are truly great and bookmarked. Regards

  2. To tell the truth, I’am voiceless. The Shawshank Redemption is phenomenal. I’am quite young film fanatic, as a matter of fact, this film is realised when I was born, and therefore I am more used to movies with incredible special effects, edge-of-your-seat action, et cetera. This film has none of that, and nonetheless, it appeals so close to me . Way Frank Darabont applies the tale of Red to drive on the tale, the beauty of the soundtrack used (note the mouth harp used merely earlier Red receiving the letter at the end). The entire movie, from beginning to end, from actions to music, is a beacon of hope, judgement, and redemption. The cast is pure, Morgan Freeman(Red) really brings about a refreshing feel to the story, and that is precisely what the film is, what a movie should be. Highly recommended for every and everyone.

  3. It is so hard to fathom that the magnitude of success that Mr. Johnny Depp portrayed in their movies throughout his entire acting career especially with a movie like Edward Scissor Hands. Stellar work Johnny!