15 Movies That Were Supposed to Star Another Actor

Actors are largely responsible for bringing their characters to life, meaning it is difficult to even imagine another taking their place on the silver screen.

However, the business of making movies can see actors fired from the film set or opt not to accept the role.

It should therefore come as no surprise some of the greatest stories in film folklore are the great what ifs? where another well-known actor instead played the part.

Newsweek reveals some of the more surprising movie roles initially to be played by another film star.

Al Pacino

Han Solo in Star Wars

Al Pacino
Al Pacino attends 'The Humbling' premiere during the 71st Venice Film Festival on August 30, 2014 in Venice, Italy Annalisa Flori/Getty Images

The Godfather actor revealed in a 2013 An Evening With Pacino talk how he had accepted the Han Solo role George Lucas offered him in 1975.

However, Al Pacino subsequently turned down the Star Wars part because he "didn't understand the script."

Leonardo DiCaprio

Dirk Diggler in Boogie Nights

Leonardo DiCaprio
Leonardo DiCaprio attends UK Premiere of "The Revenant" at Empire Leicester Square on January 14, 2016 in London, England Samir Hussein/WireImage/Getty Images

The most successful of Mark Wahlberg's early movie career was Boogie Nights, where he played the part of porn star Dirk Diggler.

But fans of the film may be surprised to learn director Paul Thomas Anderson was initially interested in having Leonardo DiCaprio in the role, but the leading man turned down the chance due to conflicting commitments.

Marilyn Monroe

Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany's

Marilyn Monroe
American actress Marilyn Monroe stars as off-Broadway actress Amanda Dell in George Cukor's Let's Make Love, 1960 Hulton Archive/Getty Images

The Hollywood version of Truman Capote's classic novella originally had the author wishing Marilyn Monroe play Holly Golightly.

But the movie adaptation—released in 1961, less than a year before Monroe died—went to Audrey Hepburn, after the blonde bombshell was warned portraying the character could be a concern for her image.

Tom Selleck

Indiana Jones in Raiders of the Lost Ark

Tom Selleck
Tom Selleck as the titular investigator in the television series Magnum, P.I., circa 1985. He is posing with his red Ferrari 308 Silver Screen Collection/Archive Photos/Getty Images

Magnum P.I. star Tom Selleck was originally offered the role of Indiana Jones, later played by Harrison Ford.

Selleck turned the role down, out of a commitment to his TV show, but an actors' strike would ultimately delay production on his show that year, meaning he would have had time to shoot Raiders of the Lost Ark.

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Harrison Ford

Alan Grant in Jurassic Park

Harrison Ford
Harrison Ford poses for the Paramount Pictures movie Witness circa 1985 Getty Images/Hulton Archive

Harrison Ford was only one of the long list of Hollywood leading men considered for the role of Dr Alan Grant in Spielberg's 1993 dinosaur blockbuster.

Kurt Russell, Kevin Costner, Tim Robbins and Dennis Quaid were also in the filmmaker's mind, although the plum role going to Sam Neill helped pave the way for one of the most successful franchises of all time.

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Nicolas Cage

Aragorn in The Lord of the Rings

Nicolas Cage
Actor Nicolas Cage arrives at the screening of Summit Entertainment's Drive Angry 3D on February 22, 2011 in Hollywood, California Jason Merritt/Getty Images

Actor Nicolas Cage revealed in 2015 he turned down the role of Aragorn in The Lord of the Rings—which eventually went to Viggo Mortensen—due to inescapable work commitments.

Although the Face/Off film star said he does not have any regrets in his career, Cage has claimed movies like the fantasy film franchise may have catalysed his cinematic career.

Christopher Plummer

Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings

Christopher Plummer
Actor Christopher Plummer, winner of the Best Supporting Actor Award for Beginners, poses in the press room at the 84th Annual Academy Awards held at the Hollywood & Highland Center on February 26, 2012 in Hollywood, California Jason Merritt/Getty Images

Christopher Plummer, conversely, has admitted deeply regretting turning down the role of Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings trilogy, which was memorably taken by actor Ian McKellen.

Despite acknowledging a long-held passion for J.R.R. Tolkien's books, Plummer said he was at the time put off by committing to spendings years in New Zealand.

Johnny Depp

Ferris Bueller's Day Off

Johnny Depp
Johnny Depp in a scene from the film Cry Baby, 1990 Universal Pictures/Getty Images

Actor Johnny Depp was director John Hughes' initial choice for 1980s teen adventure Ferris Bueller's Day Off.

But despite other actors, including Jim Carrey and Tom Cruise, also in contention to secure the titular role, Hughes has conflictingly claimed he wrote the script with Matthew Broderick in mind.

Julia Roberts

Leigh Anne Tuohy in The Blind Side

Julia Roberts
Julia Roberts wearing a hounds tooth jacket as she stands with her hand on her hip in a scene from the film I Love Trouble, 1994 Touchstone Pictures/Getty Images

Academy Award winner Julia Roberts was originally offered the lead role in biographical sports drama The Blind Side.

However, Roberts passing on the part led to Sandra Bullock playing the real-life Leigh Anne Tuohy and led to the star taking home her own Oscar, for Best Actress.

Tom Hanks

Jerry Maguire

Tom Hanks
Academy Award-winning actor Tom Hanks poses during a 1986 West Hollywood, California studio photo session George Rose/Getty Images

The movie's director Cameron Crowe once revealed he wrote the Jerry Maguire drama script with Tom Hanks in mind.

Eventually, the multiple Oscar winner's increasingly packed schedule took Hanks out of the running and Hollywood heartthrob Tom Cruise became the obvious choice.

Charlie Hunnam

Christian Grey in Fifty Shades of Grey

Charlie Hunnam
Charlie Hunnam attends the European premiere of King Arthur: Legend of the Sword at Cineworld Empire on May 10, 2017 in London, United Kingdom Mike Marsland/WireImage/Getty Images

Fans of the racy E.L. James novel were most surprised, when in 2013 Charlie Hunnam, who had already been confirmed as their Christian Grey, unexpectedly dropped out of the project.

Hunnam later revealed he couldn't transition from Sons of Anarchy biker Jax Teller to successful businessman Christian Grey without more preparation and the Fifty Shades of Grey part was passed to Jamie Dornan.

Dana Delany

Carrie Bradshaw in Sex and the City

Dana Delany
Dana Delany attends the New York Stage and Film's annual gala at The Plaza Hotel on December 13, 2009 in New York City. Michael N. Todaro/FilmMagic/Getty Images

Dana Delany was originally cast as the iconic Carrie Bradshaw on the popular Sex and the City TV series.

Then Delany passed on the role because of its focus on sex and Sarah Jessica Parker instead performed as Carrie Bradshaw between 1998 and 2004, including the two movie spin-offs.

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Jack Nicholson

Michael Corleone in The Godfather

Jack Nicholson
Actor Jack Nicholson poses for a photo shoot in 1993 in his hotel room, in Los Angeles, California Michael Tighe/Donaldson Collection/Getty Images

Jack Nicholson revealed in 2004 how he decided not to play the iconic Michael Corleone because he believed the role simply was not suitable for his skills.

Several other actors were reportedly also considered for The Godfather part eventually played by Al Pacino, including Warren Beatty, Robert Redford and Martin Sheen.

Emily Blunt

Black Widow in Iron Man 2

Emily Blunt
Emily Blunt attends a photocall for Sicario during the 68th annual Cannes Film Festival on May 19, 2015 in Cannes, France Pascal Le Segretain/WireImage/Getty Images

Emily Blunt was the original choice for Avenger superhero Black Widow, who first appeared in 2010's Marvel movie.

However, due to scheduling conflicts with another project, she admitted passing on the Iron Man 2 role, which eventually was taken up by Scarlett Johnasson.

Emma Watson

Mia Dolan in La La Land

Emma Watson
Actress Emma Watson attends the Beauty And The Beast New York screening at Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center on March 13, 2017 in New York City Gary Gershoff/WireImage/Getty Images

Emma Watson was reportedly cast in director Damien Chazelle's La La Land when the movie was first announced.

However, Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling were famously in the roles when the film was released because Watson was committed to Disney's Beauty and the Beast.