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These 12 Roles Didn’t Go to the Director’s First Choice, Now We Can’t Imagine Them Any Other Way

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Regret. Even celebrities feel it.

Let’s play in the realm of hypothetical. Imagine if the most memorable movie characters had ended up being played by actors the directors originally had in mind. Now, let’s go back to the way things really are because it’s so much better that way.

Here are 12 movies that would have been changed forever if these actors had just said yes (or if they had been available).

1. Julia Roberts as Leigh Anne Tuohy in The Blind SideLuckily for Sandra Bullock, Pretty Woman star Julia Roberts had already committed to Garry Marshall’s rom-com Valentine’s Day. Movie execs originally wanted Roberts for the role but after turning it down Bullock was put in instead. Rumored to have taken quite the pay-cut to do the flick, Bullock made it worth her while after taking home an Oscar.

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2. Molly Ringwald as Vivian Ward in Pretty WomanSpeaking of Pretty Woman, the movie that gave a young Julia Roberts her big break almost went to another famous 80s actress. Molly Ringwald admitted that the script passed her desk but she turned down the role for other parts. Still, the role didn’t come easily to Roberts who was only 21 and they feared she wasn’t well-known enough. Now try to imagine the movie without her!

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3. Sandra Bullock as Maggie Fitzgerald in Million Dollar BabyBullock addressed rumors she’d turned down the part in an interview, explaining she’d actually been involved in trying to get the movie made. When the studio finally believed there was an audience for a female boxing movie, Bullock was busy with the Miss Congeniality sequel so the part went to Hillary Swank, who won the Best Actress Oscar for her performance.

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4. Gwyneth Paltrow as Rose DeWitt Bukater (aka Rose Dawson) in TitanicAfter Kate Winslet’s iconic performance in the blockbuster film, I’m sure everyone is happy this didn’t end up happening. Paltrow admitted on “The Howard Stern Show” that she was one of two final actresses in consideration for James Cameron’s epic film but decided against it.

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5. Jack Nicholson as Michael Corleone in The Godfather. The actor admitted in a 2004 interview that the main reason he had turned down this role was that he wasn’t Italian and therefore felt it wasn’t his to play. “Al Pacino was Michael Corleone,” said The Shining actor. “I can’t think of a better compliment to pay him.”

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6. Paul Rudd as Phil in The HangoverIt’s safe to say no one could’ve predicted the success of this comedy and thankfully for Bradley Cooper, Paul Rudd didn’t either. Director Todd Phillips revealed Rudd was their original casting choice before turning down the role. Fun fact: Jack Black passed on the part of Alan, which ended up going to Zach Galifianakis.

7. Will Smith as Neo in The Matrix. Pretty much the worst kept secret in Hollywood, Will Smith has admitted multiple times that he turned down the opportunity to be in The Matrix, saying he didn’t see the potential of the film in the pitch. After seeing Keanu Reeves’ breakthrough performance, Smith still stands by his decision, affirming he would’ve “messed it up.”

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8. Al Pacino as Han Solo in Star Wars, 1977. The Godfather star admitted he turned down the major role because he couldn’t grasp the concept of the film. “I remember not understanding (the script) when I read it,” admitted the actor in an interview with MTV.

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9. Anne Hathaway as Tiffany in Silver Linings PlaybookThe role that changed everything for rising star Jennifer Lawrence almost went to another successful actress: Anne Hathway. The original casting choice for the part (opposite Mark Wahlberg – what?), Hathaway turned down the role due to creative differences with director David O’Russell. Lawrence would go on to win an Academy Award and cement herself as a leading lady. No hard feelings though, as Hathaway walked away with a Best Supporting Actress Oscar that same year for Les Miserables.

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10. Hugh Jackman as Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the CaribbeanJohnny Depp is to thank for the huge success of the Pirates franchise but as he’s admitted in multiple interviews he wasn’t exactly a favorable choice for the movie. It’s hard to imagine anyone else playing the quirky pirate now, but writer Stuart Beattie admitted he wrote the role with Hugh Jackman in mind – that is until Disney decided the actor wasn’t a big enough star back in 2003.

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11. Robert Pattinson as Christian Grey in 50 Shades of GreyAlthough a widely successful book series, it’s understandable that many actors had reservations playing the risky role. It was revealed on Twitter that the author of the successful series, E.L James, had Robert Pattinson as her first choice but it looks like the actor wasn’t feeling another movie franchise after Twilight (can you blame him?).

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12. Mel Gibson as Batman in Batman, 1989Mel Gibson was the first choice to play the iconic role of Batman in the first ever Batman movie. The successful actor, who was already committed to Lethal Weapon 2, reportedly didn’t see the film’s potential, so the part went to Michael Keaton instead – and the movie turned out to be a huge box office success.

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