Once an actor takes on an iconic role and makes it their own, it’s almost impossible to imagine someone else playing the part. However, when it comes to big Hollywood movies, most of the time there’s an extensive catalog of potential stars that are approached for the role.
While the best actor for the role usually gets the part, there are a variety of factors in the development period that can deter the initial prospects. Creative differences and scheduling conflicts are a few of those reasons, but sometimes it just comes down to being beat out by the competition.
Casting can make or break a movie and the right role can help catapult an actor’s career into an A-list territory. Here are 16 Hollywood stars who almost ended up playing highly coveted roles that eventually went to someone else.
1. Clarice Starling – The Silence of the Lambs.
Jodie Foster was praised for her performance in Jonathan Demme’s celebrated serial killer thriller, which won her the Best Actress Oscar, but she wasn’t the director’s first choice. Demme initially had his eye on casting Michelle Pfeiffer, who he had previously worked with, but she turned down the role because of the film’s violent nature.
2. Ferris Bueller – Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.
It was the titular character of John Hughes’ classic teen comedy that gave actor Matthew Broderick his star-making role. However, the part was initially offered to Johnny Depp, who turned it down due to scheduling conflicts.
3. Bridget Jones – Bridget Jones’s Diary.
Renée Zellweger truly made the character of Bridget Jones her own. However, another English actress was in consideration during the auditioning phase. Kate Winslet, hot off of Titanic’s monstrous success, would be an easy casting choice, but she was eventually deemed too young to play the 30-something character.
4. Forrest Gump – Forrest Gump.
It was a role that won Tom Hanks his second Oscar, and one he accepted immediately after he finished reading the script, but he wasn’t the first choice. John Travolta was offered the role prior to Hanks, however, he decided to pass on the future classic.
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