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Tom Selleck iconic role

10 Actors Who Passed Up On Iconic Roles

1. Jim Carrey

Jim Carrey iconic role

The Role: Edward Scissorhands

Jim Carrey was considered to play the role of Edward Scissorhands before it was finally passed up on to Johnny Depp but after he turned it down the role went to Johnny Depp and practically made him famous.

2. Emily Browning

Emily Browning iconic role

The Role: Bella Swan

The Twilight film series has brought international attention to its stars Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson and Taylor Lautner. The author of the books on which the films are based, Stephanie Meyer, has stated that Emily Browning was her “ideal Bella”. However, Browning refused to even audition for the part. In an interview, the actress had this to say “The author at one point stated that I would be her ideal Bella, but I chose not to audition because I was at a point in my career where I wasn’t sure I wanted to work.”

3. Kate Winslet

Kate Winslet iconic role

The Role: Viola de Lesseps

Kate Winslet was offered the role of Viola de Lesseps in the 1998 British romantic comedy-drama film Shakespeare in Love. Had she accepted the role, Winslet might have won an Oscar for Best Actress much earlier in her career rather than having to endure 5 losses before winning her first Academy Award in 2009.

4. Mel Gibson

Mel Gibson Passed Up On iconic role

The Role: Bruce Wayne/Batman

Mel Gibson was initially approached to play the role of Bruce Wayne/Batman in Tim Burton’s 1989 adaptation. Thinking that the movie will be a flop, Gibson passed up on playing the role. In line with Tim Burton films, Batman was criticized for being “too dark”. That didn’t stop the film from being a massive box office success, earning a reported $411,348,924.

5. Jake Gyllenhaal

Jake Gyllenhaal iconic role

The Role: Jake Sully

Had Jake Gyllenhaal proceeded to play the role of Jake Sully in James Cameron’s Avatar he would now be holding the honor of starring in the highest grossing film of all time. For those who are none the wiser, Avatar has a reported box office gross earning amounting to $2,782,275,172. Whew!

6. John Travolta

John Travolta iconic role

The Role: Forrest Gump`

John Travolta was first offered the role of playing Forrest Gump, which he  passed up on. In 1994, the film became the highest grossing movie in North America. Tom Hanks was acclaimed for his portrayal of the role, giving him an award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role at the Oscars. Travolta has since admitted to regretting the decision he made. However, he probably might not have performed the role as well as Tom Hanks.

7. Jack Nicholson

Jack Nicholson iconic role

The Role: Michael Corleone

Jack Nicholson was first approached to play Michael Corleone, The Godfather. Jack knew that the movie was going to be great; however, he felt that the Italian role should be played by a Italian and refused the role. The role was then given to Al Pacino, who portrayed the role greater than any Italian could have performed.

8. Tom Selleck

Tom Selleck iconic role

The Role: Indiana Jones

Tom Selleck didn’t exactly turn down the role. He was very interested in playing the role. Steven Spielberg and George Lucas both picked Selleck for the role but a deal couldn’t be reached with Universal Studios whom Selleck was set to do another film with. The role eventually went to Harrison Ford (whom George Lucas was initially reluctant to cast) and gave him another major role after Star Wars. The franchise has a total worldwide earning amounting to $1,978,055,564.

9. Will Smith

Will Smith iconic role

The Role: Neo

Will Smith was initially offered the role of Neo in The Matrix. He turned it down on account of the concept being too complicated and he didn’t see the film performing well at the box office. Well, we all know how the movie fared.

10. Sean Connery

Sean Connery iconic role

The Role: Gandalf

Citing that he “didn’t get fantasy”, Sean Connery passed up on playing Gandalf in Peter Jackson’s adaptation of The Lord Of The Rings. The role that was eventually given to Ian McKellen earned the actor an award (Best Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture) and an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor. Gandalf was crowned the 28th greatest movie character of all time by Empire Magazine.

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