These cult roles were intended for someone else
Scheduling conflicts can be a blessing for movie fans. Otherwise, some of the most iconic Hollywood film roles would have worked out very differently to what was originally planned. It seems unimaginable now, but the following actors almost appeared in our favourite cinema classics:
- Tom Selleck as Indiana Jones
- Nicolas Cage in Lord of the Rings
- Angelina Jolie in Gravity
- Will Smith in Django Unchained
- Denzel Washington in Seven
Tom Selleck as Dr Henry Jones in Raiders Of The Lost Ark
After his incredible performance in Star Wars, director Steven Spielberg wanted Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones. But producer George Lucas didn’t feel that Ford was right for another of his projects. Tom Selleck was chased to play the swashbuckling archaeologist, but he refused because he had already shot the pilot for Magnum. As luck would have it, there was a strike during the series shooting meaning Selleck could have actually accepted the role.
You can even see how Selleck would look with the famous hat in this trial recording.
Nicolas Cage as Aragorn in Lord Of The Rings
How would Lord of the Rings have turned out if Nicolas Cage - the master of a facial expression - had played the part of the ranger and later king, Aragorn? In an interview with Newsweek, Cage revealed that he didn’t wish to tie himself to the series for so long. “There were different things going on in my life at the time that precluded me from being able to travel and be away from home for three years.” He does not regret his decision, however, since he is a big fan of the saga.
Angelina Jolie as Dr Ryan Stone in Gravity
After the blockbuster Tomb Raider and Mr & Mrs Smith, Alfonso Cuaron’s masterpiece could have been Angelina Jolie’s next big coup. Alongside Robert Downey Jr - his obligations as Iron Man meant he was later replaced by George Clooney – she was firmly committed to the role of astronaut Dr Ryan Stone. Sandra Bullock took over and not only won a Best Actress Oscar nomination but also - thanks to revenue share - earned a salary of more than US $70 million.
Incidentally, Bullock had already benefited from a colleague’s withdrawal. In football drama The Blind Side, Julia Roberts was intended for the role of adoptive mother Leigh Anne Tuohy but Bullock stepped in and won an Academy Award.
Will Smith as Django in Django Unchained
Ultimately Jamie Foxx played the role of Django in Quentin Tarantino’s Western homage, but actually, Will Smith was supposed to play the gun-slinging avenger. The Men In Black star spent hours talking with the director but eventually rejected the role over those famous “creative differences”.
“I wanted to make that movie so badly, but I felt the only way was, it had to be a love story, not a vengeance story,” Smith told the Hollywood Reporter. It wasn’t Smith’s first mistake in his role selection. As Neo, he could have saved humanity in The Matrix but opted instead for Wild, Wild West. “He would have screwed it up,” the Hollywood star said in retrospect after he saw Keanu Reeves in the movie.
Denzel Washington as Detective Mills in Seven
Denzel Washington could have been seen instead of Brad Pitt in David Fincher’s thriller, Seven. But he rejected the role of Detective Mills to appear in Devil In A Blue Dress instead.
The actor told Entertainment Weekly: “They offered me the Brad Pitt part, but I was like, ‘This is so dark and evil.’ Then, when I saw the movie, I was like, ‘Oh shoot.’”