Biggest career mistakes of movie stars – 15 actors who turned down huge roles


We all make poor decisions from time to time, but when that decision costs you millions of dollars and a shot at an Academy Award, it can result in a lifetime of regret. Actors need to be extremely cautious when choosing their roles as one wrong decision can torpedo several decades of hard work.

Similarly, the right part can transform an actor’s career and lead to some of the greatest characters ever seen in TV and film.

The following 15 actors all turned down these iconic roles and let an incredible opportunity slip right through their fingers.

1. Dana Delany: Carrie Bradshaw in Sex and the City

It almost feels like blasphemy, but Sarah Jessica Parker was not the first choice to play what ultimately became the role she was born to play in “Sex and the City.”

Dana Delany turned down the role because she believed she wasn’t stylish enough. It is hard to imagine a world where Sarah Jessica Parker is not connected with fashion icon Carrie Bradshaw.

Parker was initially hesitant to accept the role in a television series as she was more focused on film and theatre at the time.

The bubbly actress went on to win an Emmy award for her performance as Carrie, and the series spawned two hit movies. Delany also refused the role she was originally offered on “Desperate Housewives” three times.

In the end, that part went to Marcia Cross, but Delany did eventually join the hit soap opera to play the part of Katherine Mayfair.

“Desperate Housewives” are available on Amazon – Click Here

When questioned about her role in “Desperate Housewives”, Delany stated “The hardest thing for me was figuring out the tone of the piece because it’s such a specific tone, so it was more of an acting challenge than anything else.”

She has since starred in hit ABC series “Body of Proof” and won a role alongside Robert de Niro in the 2012 movie “Freelancers.”

  • Anne

    not get typecast in an action role … but he’s Wolverine …

  • HLain

    Like Kristen Stewart was outstanding in the role. Her participation in the Twilight series should have insured that she never works again. About as close to nothing as you can get.

    • Rumionemore

      What’s she doing now?

    • ashgreen2080

      She’s actually quite good in some of her other roles, like Joan Jet in The Runaways. There’s not much any actor can do with a shitty, shitty script and even worse source material.

  • pauletteb

    Molly Ringworm would have been an absolute disaster in “Pretty Woman.”

    • zombiekiller117

      That would have the 90’s equivalent of doing a Miley Cyrus, changing your image and then having a melt down…

    • Debbie Love

      No kidding!

    • Nancy Justis

      True, but Julia Roberts was also a strange choice with her weird looks.

  • Dart Vade

    Emily Browning yeah that was a big mistake, bc now no one even knows who you are and stewart is getting more mature roles bc of the spotlight Twilight gave her. The movies were shit of course but it made her popular and her name rings bells

    • Megan Payette

      Even if Emily Browning did get the role of Bella Swan in Twilight, the movie would still suck ass.

      • Tyler Thomas

        Damn, but you would be set for life with the money that they pay you. Each of the cast is worth +50 million. You wouldn’t need to worry about finding any other job in your life.

    • bobby bobby

      things could have been different though. If she was in twilight it may not have been so successful. I’m not saying there is anything wrong with her acting but successful films are like jigsaw puzzles, every piece has to fit. Sometimes even the best actor or actress just doesn’t fit.

  • Dart Vade

    Paul Giamatti would have been excellent in the Office

    • Ricky Hoppes


  • Mike

    I don’t know if those are huge career mistakes really, just because someone else gets a role does not mean the movie would be the same. John Travolta as Forrest Gump, eh not really. Chevy Chase? Yeah you wouldn’t see Bubba Gump themed restaurants if that was the case. Matthew Broderick as Walter White? 2 seasons max on that show. Pamela Anderson as Scully? Ok that show would not have had the appeal it did. Sandra Bernhard? Well ok that would have been the one thing that may have made Sarah Jessica Parker actually seem hot on the show, putting her next to that.

    • Doris C

      SJP is not elegant or sexy. Why they picked her is beyond me.

      • khepra Bey

        Shes very unattractive

        • EclecticHorseman

          She was really cute and natural in “L.A. Story”, but went under the knife and eliminated all the aspects that made her genuinely attractive.

  • CComry

    Career mistakes? I disagree. Most actors are smart enough to know if a part is not right for them. It’s part of the job.

    • Debbie Love

      Good point.

    • woodt

      That was my thought also. As much as I like Travolta I just can’t imagine Forrest Gump being as good without Tom Hanks. With Pam Anderson no one would have taken the X-Files serious and it would have been canceled after a couple of episodes.

      • LucyRicardo

        I can’t see Travolta as Forrest Gump . . . just doesn’t fit.

        • bsrasmus

          I don’t know what you mean. Travolta wouldn’t have had to act.

    • Jacob Grant

      I know. These kinds of mistakes are very much in the eye of the beholder. The whole article sounds pompous and judgmental.

  • FYI – Tom Selleck did not turn down the Indiana Jones role. He was under contract and therefore was not available to do the film.

    • rose1957

      He could have broken the contract (happens occasionally), but he did the honorable thing because that’s how his parents reared him.

      • Debbie Love

        He does seem like someone who loyalty is an important character trait.

    • Doris C

      Doesnt matter. I liked Ford in the role and Selleck has made enough great movies to suit me even as an older heavier model. He is aging like Sean Connery with grace and dignity.His Jesse Stone movies need to revise and make more.

      • Former_US_citizen

        Jesse Stone movies are excellent. Writing, casting, directing, acting – all superb. Make more!

        • ALEX D

          I AGREE

      • EclecticHorseman

        Selleck has also truly hit his stride in Blue Bloods.

      • Bill

        What do the Stone movies need to revise? This comment makes zero sense.

        • Jim Price

          could the intended word have been revive? as in re animate — rise from the ashes — do it again

    • Debbie Love

      You are correct on that point. I think Selleck did well with Magnum, PI, his Three Men and a Baby roles.

  • zombiekiller117

    I wouldn’t say turning down ‘Pretty woman’ was a mistake for Molly Ringwald but I will say ‘Some kind of wonderful’ would have been even better had she accepted the role that Lea Thompson ended up taking.

  • After Dinner

    From the days of yesteryear: Steve Reeves was reported to be chosen for the first James Bond film. Also the role that made Clint Eastwood a star: the Man with No Name (Reeves said he didn’t think the Italians knew how to make westerns). At the “Hercules” star was the biggest in European cinema.

  • Steven Paul

    Dana is so much better looking than Sarah Jessica Parker, she would have looked so much better playing that part!

    • EclecticHorseman

      I think Dana Delany is gorgeous and, if that’s what she was thinking, seriously underrated herself as a candidate for that show

      • Darnell

        Dana Delany and Gillian Anderson, two of my favorite redheads. (Gillian looks much better as a redhead)

  • Steven Paul

    With Molly Ringwald, Pretty Woman would NOT have been such a big hit!

    • Charlotte Eden Orth

      I love Molly and Julia but hate, hate , hate forever the movie Pretty Woman. A Cinderella hooker story, puuuulllleeeeze!

      • bsrasmus

        Pretty Woman was not a Cinderella hooker story. Pretty Woman was the story of almost every woman alive. The female protagonist was a woman with low self-esteem. The male protagonist recognized that she was in possession of her fair share of human dignity, and it would be wrong to treat her with anything but respect. She came to realize that he was right. They fell in loved and lived happily ever after. A Cinderella story is similar, but it’s certainly different. In the Cinderella story, Cinderella’s sisters and mother oppressed her. In Pretty Woman, Vivian oppressed herself.

        • Bill

          Ridiculous statement that wholly misunderstands the concept of Cinderella, and adaptation.

  • Steven Paul

    John Travolta as Forrest Gump= ridiculous!

    • Nuschler

      Don’t agree. I thought that Travolta did a great job in Phenomena as a mentally slow farmer.

      • Paul Rolfgren

        Maybe, but he’s not anywhere near the actor that Hanks is. Hanks did an incredible job.

      • photonblaster

        That was a good example of type casting.

    • Old Buck

      You are so right.

  • Steven Paul

    Sandra Bernhard???? Just goes to show you how bad casting could have lead to a lot of bombs that were otherwise hits!

    • bobby bobby

      or maybe she was just right for the part, some people who may not necessarily be the best actors are just made for certain roles.

  • Steven Paul

    Pamela Anderson in the X-Files, season one cancellation!

    • EarlGrayHot

      Good God Almighty! That would have been horrible! I never understood why FOX execs were so against Gillian to begin with. She totally nailed the role and ANYONE could have seen Pamela Anderson didn’t have the talent to do it.

      • Doris C

        Pamela cannot act, just stand and look pretty.Gillian did a fine job in the series.

        • bobby bobby

          they weren’t hiring her for her acting ability. They wanted to attract the male audience. I happily don’t find her attractive myself but many guys do. I think it’s just guys suffering from barbie syndrome though but I may be wrong.

        • igotacomment

          And she could “just stand and look pretty” also.

        • CowboyUp

          I think Gillian had her Pamela beat both ways there.

        • Wyatt Earp

          Dana Delany would have been my first choice for X Files, but Gillian Anderson was wonderful. I think the studio wanted someone who’s hair contrasted with David’s.

      • bobby bobby

        it’s not about talent it’s about attracting the male audience.

        • daddybcat

          Hey bobby, give it rest.

          • bobby bobby

            give what rest?

          • Charles Vise


          • bobby bobby

            I was just giving him a hard time because he forgot the a. Still I’ve never really understood that saying. Give it a rest, what is it? and why is it so tired?

          • bobby bobby

            exactly, meaningless

      • catbell7cat

        does Anderson have the brain cells?? and no one would believe Scully’s job would allow all the teats to hang out in so many ‘suits”

        • bobby bobby

          she really is not that dumb.

        • beelp

          She has them, they just never made it past her chest, LOL.

      • firewateriv

        You obviously never saw Pamela’s critically acclaimed performance in that iconic tribute to super heroes – “Barbed Wire”

        • Mia Culpa

          Oh for the love of all things holy….rofl…spit coffee…lmfao

          • lml

            hahaha that is a funny as hell answer hahaha

      • Nuschler

        I only watched X-Files as syndicated re-runs…never knew it originally was on Fox! Chris Carter et al must have loved writing the dialogue referring to “Fox” as being a weird name for SA Mulder.

        Standard example: “Fox? Who would name their kid Fox?”

        • bobby bobby

          who wouldn’t be want to be known as a fox ; )

      • jim

        She would have been perfect. Brainy aliens meets brainless blonde.

      • Russell

        Because it’s Fox. One of the few times where they actually did something right and it was because things didn’t play out the way they wanted it to.

      • Wyatt Earp

        Because Anderson did’t wear shoulder pads to the audition. I am not big on liking women on TV, but Gillian Anderson and Sharon Lawrence (Sylvia Costas on NYPD Blue) were wonderful in their roles and very attractive, too.

    • WordsOfWisdom82

      That was the one on the list that seems fake. X-Files required some serious acting. I highly doubt that she was offered the part. This one has to be a rumor.

    • jbelkin

      well, yea, clearly Gillian Anderson is a great actress but if you look back at the first few episodes, that haircut she had was holy unattractive … it was only after they fixed her hairdo and her performances proved she had talent, she started to look better and by season 2, she was damn attractive.

      • catbell7cat

        don’t forget — Scully was a nerd — so she had to ‘transition’ first so we got to know her – not her hair/looks – She was an AGENT — a rep of the US Gov — and a brain — we would not have wanted the tax dollars being spent. ??

        • Lt_Scrounge

          IIRC she was supposed to have been a doctor before joining the bureau.

    • bobby bobby

      are you kidding the ratings would have been higher, guys seem to love that fake chick. Luckily I’m not one of them.

      • jim

        So what part of her is fake? Just saying.

        • bobby bobby

          I’d have to start with what isn’t fake lol

      • Lynn McDaniel

        No, they wouldn’t have. Guys really got into Gillian Anderson plus Anderson’s lack of intellect and fake chest would have killed the show.

        • bobby bobby

          killed the show? Yeah you keep thinking that lol

    • walkrrrr

      I think Gillian Anderson is 1,000 times more attractive than Pamela and I can’t imagine PA doing anything more than putting on 3 ounces of bikini and 16 ounces of makeup and trying to get famous for it.

    • James Whitener

      Unbelievable that they would even consider Anderson. She simply cannot act.

    • James Wind

      So true!

    • John Farrell

      Unless she undressed at the end of every episode.

    • Nola76

      Agreed. Pam Anderson CANNOT act! This role needed someone that could act first and look good second. Gillian Anderson nailed that role perfectly.

    • carl6352

      thought the same thing. not a very big brain when compared to the other parts lol. i could not see travolta as gump.

  • Steven Paul

    Darryl Hannah: Vivian in Pretty Woman, wow they couldn’t get anyone to say yes to this role could they? Better than Molly but still wrong. Would have at least scored some better office numbers though than Ringwold.

    • James

      Playing a Hooker or a Stripper usually doeen’t work out well. Ask Elizabeth Berkly or Demi Moore.

  • Steven Paul

    Hugh Jackman: James Bond in Casino Royale BAD BAD BAD choice, the one they had would have been much better than him! He’s the wrong actor for that part, but good in other roles!

  • Steven Paul

    Michelle Pfeiffer: Clarice Sterling in Silence of the Lambs=questionable. But she probably would have stuck around to fo the sequels. Foster was a one trick pony!

    • carbono

      They should have never made the sequel, it sucked! She didn’t like the script & she was right.

      • Tyler Thomas

        Hannibal was bad. I actually liked Red Dragon though i thought it was great!

      • bobby bobby

        but it was a cash grabber, they don’t just make movies because they are “good” they make them to make money.

    • ratsass

      Actually, one trick pony refers to someone who has only one trick – like someone who gets typecasted or plays the same role over and over. Jodi is not a one trick pony – she is the opposite – multi-talented.

  • Steven Paul

    Will Smith: Neo The Matrix no, just no!

  • Steven Paul

    Tom Selleck: Indiana Jones= possible but Selleck is better on TV than as a movie star. he doesn’t quite have the charisma to pull of Indiana Jones in my opinion. He had the looks for it though!

    • bobby bobby

      I don’t know, I just don’t see Indiana Jones as being quite that harry.

  • charles pitts

    forest gump with a dance seen

    • Deapea

      Forest Gump has a couple dance scenes. In the beginning with Elvis, and towards the end with Jenny. Nothing like what would have been with Travolta….but there were “dance scenes.”

  • Jeronimo Dan

    John was just thinking, this movie is going to cut into my Spa Time! Can’t have that?

  • Jeronimo Dan

    Tom Selleck, all can be said is…what a shame.

  • wargamer1969

    Pamela Anderson’s head has turned alien, just missing the huge oval black eyes.

  • Marcus Aurelius

    these actors that turned down these may not have been right for the part anyways, the actor makes the character they play famous if they are good at playing that character, it would be interesting to see characters in roles that have been killed by bad acting.

  • sma

    i saw pamala from about 4 feet away a few yrs ago…she is not a good looking lady.

    • bobby bobby

      I never thought she was all that attractive but 10 years ago almost no one would have agreed with me or you for that matter.

  • Rumionemore

    Most of these are big stars without the roles they turned down. Who can imagine Pamela Anderson playing an intellectual role? And maybe Gillian Anderson had no interest in Dowton Abby. I don’t even like to watch it. Some of these stars are private people, and that could be how they like it. Not everyone is motivated just by money.

    • bobby bobby

      the role she played probably would have been different then the one it ended up being with a different actress.

  • Paul B.

    Where is one of the biggest ones…George Peppard turning down the role of Blake Carrington in Dynasty…though I guess that A-Team thing did kinda work out for him….

  • Jack Madison

    I could never see Paul Schaffer as George Costanza. Jason Alexander hit it perfectly on every level. Besides, everyone would be watching Paul thinking “he’s a band leader for David Letterman.” Just wouldn’t have worked.
    I’m surprised Seinfeld and David even thought that way back then. But, the more I watch Jerry nowadays the more I dislike him. And I can quote anything from any Seinfeld at any given moment any time during the day…that’s how much I liked and watched the show.
    Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

    • bobby bobby

      maybe but you never know for sure unless we could go back in time.

  • Jack Madison

    It’s so weird to see Michelle Pfeiffer get older. She looks great but it’s always disheartening when you have to add “for her (his) age” at the end of that sentence.

    • markmywords

      You don’t have to. If you think she’s pretty, she’s pretty. No need to refer to her age.

  • Jack Madison

    Tom Selleck as Indiana Jones I can see. He has the looks, wit and charm to pull it all off and he would have been great. It’s one of the few people that turned down a role that I could see still playing in that role and would pull it off well.

    • loyalright

      Ford and Selleck working together as archaeologists would make a good movie.

    • ggarrett34

      Tom Selleck would make a Great Pres. of the USA!! Along with Sarah!!

    • DeeBee123

      I whole heartedly agree. But I think I could have seen John Travolta as Gump.

  • Lisa

    Kate Jackson was under contract with Charlie’s Angels. It hindered her ability to take on the Meryl Streep role in Kramer vs. Kramer.

  • lucascott

    The catch to this is had they not turned down these roles there is no guarantee they would have been as huge. Dana Delany could have sucked as Carrie Bradshaw and Sex and the City would have been cancelled after one season. Same with Desperate Housewives.

    Molly would have been hideous as Vivian and Pretty Woman would be one of those movies you only watch when it turns up on TBS late night

    • Jimmy Tavez

      You mean people watch it otherwise?

  • Debbie Love

    Also, the role of Sheriff Gillespie in the movie “In the Heat of the Night” went to Rod Steiger instead of George C. Scott. I think in all of these cases the actors/actresses who ended up in the films turned out to be the better choice.

  • Marci

    I’m so glad Gillian turned down Game and Downton – she is EXCELLENT in The Fall.

  • Dody Adkins

    Matthew Broderick as Walter White? No way, no how! Soooooo glad that one didn’t come to fruition!!!!!!!

  • Chief

    The title suggests she’d need to be “pretty” so it would be a miss…

  • Chief

    No way Travolta could be Forest Gump…He doesn’t fit that role at all

    • DoctorFeelgoodMD

      A good actor can fit any role.

      • bobby bobby

        not true at all. It’s not just about the acting it’s about having the right look for the part to. Although also it comes down to acting style as well. Some styles just don’t fit certain roles regardless of talent.

        • Steve Burnett

          Thats why they have screen tests and auditions

          • bobby bobby

            yep that’s right

      • Q⚛

        Thing is travolta acts almost the same in every movie, and his “style” doesn’t match forrest gump at all

      • ltg

        What does “a good actor” have to do with John Travolta?

  • Terry Powell

    Travolta also supposedly turned down American Gigolo(if I remember right he was his mother died and he dropped out) and An Officer And A Gentleman.

  • loyd melton

    All choices and actions has consequences some good and some bad but when they are done you have to live with them and move on

  • g_jefferson

    I think they would also agree that whatever gig it was wouldn’t have turned out as well as it did if they had played the part. Who knows how many movies could have been classics if not for bad casting. It just goes to show you how many parts have to fit perfectly from casting to editing and all parts in between, to create a classic.

  • Charlotte Eden Orth

    Matthew Broderick could have rocked Walter White!!!

  • Lost Croat Outburst

    Tried to get into the teen angst thing with Kristen Stewart, but I’m too old. She seems bored, sullen, and disinterested in the MOVIES, so I can imagine what a drag the promotional events are. Imagine the stress of being young, thin, attractive, famous AND rich. Oh, what to do next?

  • Tyler Thomas

    Bryan Cranston was great as Walter White, but i don’t think Matthew would’ve been bad. I haven’t seen him in anything serious, but never was Bryan Cranston in anything serious before Breaking Bad and looked on how that turned out.

  • Tyler Thomas

    What role was Gillian offered in Game Of Thrones? Game Of Thrones is spectacular and i just wondered how different it would be?

  • avlisk

    All Tom ever needed was Quigley. That’s better than any of those Star Trek movies he turned down. Pretty funny comment, eh?

    • unclesamonmars

      Funny ha-ha or funny like a clown?

  • wartybliggens

    This slideshow assumes the roles that were passed on would’ve been just as huge if these actors had opted them—but who’s to say whether a Walter White or a Forrest Gump would have been just as successful if played by a different actor?

  • Jenny choi

    How about Shu Qi, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.

  • BARFLY101

    despite many opposite views……i think travolta would have been great in gump…….sellect would be great as jones………and pamela anderson looks fine….she isnt 20 anymore…..i love her short hair…….

    • mtzpitbull

      If you like hair cuts that make you look a lot older than you are so be it, I personally think it looks horrible & makes her look much older & ragged especially since she cut it that way just to be trendy, not a good look

  • KL InIdaho

    The article does not give reasons why roles were turned down; it’s not always the script. Sometimes it’s the director, the studio, the location, timing, family concerns, health issues. Actors can say they are not interested for many reasons — not necessarily mistakes or stupidity.

  • bjeanfreau7

    The whole basis of this article is a false assumption. The actors that turned down the roles would not necessarily have had the same success as the actors that did perform. Who knows, maybe some of the films could have been complete flops and vice versa. Come on people! There are obviously different actors who will bring different aspects to any production. That is the beauty of the whole process!

  • bobby bobby

    hugh jackman when he’s skinnier would have made a good james bond

    • Tommy Tuttle

      I’m thinking PeeWee Herman. Or maybe Rick Moranis. Shake things up a bit, put a different edge on your James Bond.

  • thecryptowizard

    Hugh Jackman (Bond) and Will Smith (Neo) are the only two of the entire lot that I actually feel would have made better fits. The rest more than likely would have been wildly unsuccessful in those roles.

  • WIzeCrax

    Breaking Bad is a good show. It is NOT the best show of all time. Period. There are differing opinions, and I understand that… but there is also right and wrong… and you are just… wrong.

    • mtzpitbull

      Im sure many of us breaking bad fans would love to see a list of what shows you think are better, we all are entitled to our opinion’s so curious to see your’s

      • LCDR USN Ret

        How funny that you failed to use the apostrophe for the possessive of I am “Im (sic)” but used it for a possessive (opinion’s (sic)) when you meant a plural.
        And yes. Nothing better to do than criticize grammar/spelling today.

        • mtzpitbull

          Wow, you must be a very boring & petty person, you do realize that this is a internet comment I typed on my cell phone & not a mid-term paper, thank you for adding absolutely nothing to the conversation & for being completely off topic & good luck finding a life and/or a constructive hobby

    • Tommy Tuttle

      It isn’t my cup of tea but those who like it, REALLY like it. And the fact is, you can name a bunch of great TV programs and try to call any of ’em the best of all time. No show stands out as the best one. Nobody would argue that Small Wonder was the best show of all time, but a solid case can be made for Breaking Bad. So, we’re back to differing opinions. My opinion is that you are just wrong. Not that I like BB, not that I care, but there is right and wrong and you are just wrong.

  • Jeffrey Coley

    I think “Pretty Woman” was disgusting as a romantic comedy. Daryl Hannah was absolutely right to turn the role down. Really, the moral of the story is “all women are whores anyhow, so don’t judge”. Yeeech.

  • walkrrrr

    Interesing re: Emily Browning, since I’ve never even heard of her.

  • OnePCWhiz

    OK where does it say that Matthew Broderick was offered the role? Kinda misleading.

  • walkrrrr

    Um, it’s *LADY GRANTHAM* on Downton Abbey, whose given name is Cora Crawley.

    *MRS.* Crawley NOT “Lady”, is someone else.

  • LucyRicardo

    Hugh Jackman as James Bond? Yes!!!! Tom Selleck as Indiana Jones? Yes!!!! As James Bond? Yes!!!!

  • Contrarian

    I cannot see Michelle Pfeiffer as Clarice Starling. Not that she isn’t a good enough actress; she is. But she’s almost too glamorous and sophisticated looking. You cannot deglamorize her. The character was a young FBI trainee. She needed to be earnest looking. Young looking. Vulnerable.

  • Red_Geologist

    John Revolta couldn’t get permission from his controllers at SEA to take the Forrest Gump role.

  • mnelson52

    I thought Broken Arrow was a very good film

    • unclesamonmars

      Thanks for your input Mr. Travolta.

  • hal09i

    John Travolta did NOT turn down a role in “Apollo 13”. As I heard it, the actor fervently wanted to be part of the project, being a huge aviation and space buff. However, Ron Howard couldn’t see Travolta in any of the roles– especially the lead. Travolta was politley turned down when he asked for a part.

  • Brian Johnson

    “Biggest Career Mistakes of Movie Stars”? Just because someone was originally desired for a role doesn’t mean that person would have brought to the film or TV show the success that eventually followed. In most of those examples, it was for the BEST that that person turned down the opportunity. But I will say, Giamatti as Michael Scott would have been very entertaining in its own way.

  • JoseAmerica

    The movie isn’t “Indiana Jones”, it’s Raiders of the Lost Ark.

  • John Doe

    Just because the actors that actually got the mentioned roles did well doesn’t necessarily mean these would have been successful.

  • ospreycbk

    Paul Giamatti is probably one of the most underrated actors in films today. All of the films that I have seen him in had him playing his role perfectly. The police inspector in the Illusionist, the building superintendent in Lady In The Water, his role in Downton Abbey just to name a few.

    • LCDR USN Ret

      Don’t forget the John Adams series. Superb!

    • chiefkurtz

      Underrated implies doing good work that is criticized or reviewed as bad work. He’s not underrated, he’s underappreciated.

  • ospreycbk

    So how many of these “stars” actually turned down the role. When you read the article the role ended up with who the director/writer/producer wanted to begin with and or they weren’t available due to other contract requirements, or heaven forbid they blew the audition.

  • iolaisinwisconsin

    Vinnie Barbarino as Forrest Gump? I don’t think so.

    • pepjrp

      Maybe, but he was excellent as a Texas cowboy.

  • wolfdoctor

    George C. Scott turned down the role as Vito Corleone in the Godfather.

    • sgjsdad

      Robert Redford also turned down the role of Michael Corleone.

    • Political_Poop

      I always felt that Anthony Quinn would have been the perfect Vito Corleone.

  • paganW

    Sorry, but I can’t see Molly Ringwald as a hooker so maybe it was good that she turned it down. She
    didn’t go to Paris because she turned it down, she had to go to Paris because she was type-cast as the John Hughes teenage girl, which is why she turned down Some Kind of Wonderful.

    Thank god Pamela Anderson turned down the role of Scully; can you see her as the more logical, scientific doctor? Actually, can you see anything other than those cartoonish Jessica Rabbit implants she had back then?

  • God

    Um, does anyone else realize that the x files didn’t need anything else to attract the male audience? You guys realize what show you’re actually talking about right? If anything, they needed to get the FEMALE demographic to be more supportive. Sci-fi tends to draw a bigger Male crowd naturally. Oh, and Gillian Anderson is attractive to many men too.

  • jackcandobutwont

    Pamela in the x files, would have have some options…like pamela giving birth to some alien….no one really knows how many have done pamela, not even pamela!! probably if tested, pamela;s va jay jay would be a hazardous waste site/hole(s)!!

  • magnusrobot12

    The only problem i have with this list is that the actors made the character. Who is to say that Chevy Chase would have made Forest Gump the icon that he is?

  • HayleySherie

    This would be a much cooler slideshow if pictures had been used of the actors at the time of filming (for instance a 1994 John Travolta to compare him with 1994 Tom Hanks as Forrest Gump). Oh well.

  • Ron Baker

    The greatest show of all time is a show about a drug dealing chemistry teacher??? LOLOLOLOL

    • Tyrsca

      I somehow think you might not have watched the show, I personally wouldn’t say it was the greatest show of all time but I think it’s in my top 5 ever. The writing, acting and casting was close to perfect.

  • Zeke Teke

    How is it a mistake for this woman to have NOT been in Twilight? Yeah it made money, but if reputations is important at all, isn’t this a good thing to have avoided? But I guess that depends on if she is in it for the paycheck more than respect.

  • Zeke Teke

    Hugh Jackman is doing just fine I think

  • kim bunchalastnames

    um … “urban cowboy” wasn’t a flop. it was a huge hit. just sayin’.

    • unclesamonmars

      It was successful despite Ravolting’s presence.

  • Ricky Hoppes

    Can we all agree that Matthew Broderick not takin the breaking bad role is a GREAT THING

  • Tommy Tuttle

    Not mistakes. Travolta would’ve flailed as Gump, and the movie wouldn’t have been a success. And a Tom Selleck Indiana Jones would have been quite… uh… different. If the actor’s not right for the part, the film won’t be a hit. So it’s no mistake to turn down such a role, even if the next guy nails it and makes a huge hit of it.

    • interestedinjustice

      Here, here. Those are my thoughts too.

    • Steve67

      People just assume that Selleck would not have done as well as Ford because he ended up having a career mostly in television but we forget that at the time Ford was not nearly the icon he is now. He was known mainly for Star Wars at the time, but Indiana Jones is what made him an icon. Selleck was relatively unknown but one can certainly see why Lucas might consider him for the role. The Indiana Jones movies are great, but lets be honest, Shakespeare they are not. They are built on special effects and thrilling action sequences. While Indiana Jones is a great role, it is a fairly flat and one-dimensional role. And Ford made a career playing those types of characters because he is smart and knows his limits. He has had great success and has been connected with some of the biggest blockbusters ever. But as an actor he is good but not great. There is a reason why he has only been nominated for one Academy Award. He’s worthy of respect and reverence but he’s never gonna be said to have the depth of a DeNiro or Pacino or Hanks or Duvall. If Selleck took the role and made similar choices there is no reason to believe he wouldn’t have done just as well as Ford and perhaps even better.

    • cometboy

      My thought exactly. Every one of these actors made the right call.

  • sgjsdad

    Burt Reynolds turned down two roles that Jack Nicholson picked up and won Oscars for; McMurphy in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and Garrett in Terms of Endearment. Instead, Reynolds chose The Longest Yard over One Flew … and chose Stroker Ace over Terms … ! Reynolds also turned down the chance to take over the role of James Bond from Sean Connery. Evidently Burt didn’t think an American actor should be cast as Bond.

  • Shawn N

    Breaking Bad is the “best TV show of all time.” Ah… exaggerate much?

  • Summerwarmth

    I am I agreement with others that the “huge success” that these actors missed out on may have been a dismal failure if they had actually been in the starring role. I recall a Magnum PI episode where Tom Selleck mimicked (archeology mystic episode with him even wearing the hat and outfit) raiders of the lost ark so that his fans could see what they had missed without him in the starring role as Indiana Jones.
    It was cringe inducing, absolutely awful, he giggled in the worst places. If he had been in Raiders it would have been mediocre at best.

  • Itscomingsoon

    I like Selleck but he doesn’t translate to the big screen. If he was Indi, the first movie would have been the last.

  • interestedinjustice

    Regarding Kristen Stewart’s reputation for looking “bored, sullen or disinterested,” that’s exactly how Bella Swan is in the books. I would say that was perfect casting.

  • Gregory Eaton

    I think Will Smith would’ve been great in the Matrix as he looked so weak in the Wild West movie. Another reason of course is that in the books Neo was a black man. I still enjoyed the Matrix definitely one of my favorite shows

  • Jeff Shank

    Pam has “Twice” the talent!

  • Annie Laurie

    She would have been more pleasant to look at in all the publicity, that’s for sure!

  • Steve67

    I think a lot of you are simply showing your biases in your estimations of how some of these actors would have done. While there are some obvious ones; like Paul Shaffer as Costanza?? Or Sandra Bernhard in Sex and the City (or anything for that matter)?? Or Pamela Anderson in the X-Files?? Or Molly Ringwald in Pretty Woman??

    But others are not so obvious if you just apply a little objectivity. It would be hard to imagine anyone but Tom Hanks playing Forrest Gump but Travolta is a very good actor. I am not saying he would have done as well as Hanks but I don’t think it would have been the train-wreck that some of you are so sure it would have been. Who knows? Maybe he would have done just as well. I would say the same for Matthew Broderick as Walter White. Cranston is awesome as Walter White and with Broderick it would have been different but I don’t think it would have been as horrible as some of of you think.

    Also I think Paul Giamatti would have been an improvement over Steve Carrell on the Office. I think Carrell was overrated in that role.

  • michael s

    Sylvester Stallone as Axel Foley in Beverly Hills Cop.
    Brad Pitt/Nicole Kidman ,Will Smith/ Catherine zeta Jones 1st&2nd choices Mr and Mrs Smith.
    Oj Simpson as The Terminator.

  • joymars2

    No mistakes there at all. Who got cast were way better. There is a God.

  • Quantez Williams

    I recall reading somewhere that Travolta also turned down American Gigolo and An Officer and a Gentleman, both of which went to Richard Gere.

  • Political_Poop

    SATC wouldn’t have been the hit it was had Bernhard been cast as Miranda, even though they’re both lizards.
    And I think Jackman would have been very good as Bond.

  • Nuschler

    Hugh Jackman would STILL make a great 007. But he’s almost too nice a guy. The Bond character with Connery and in the Fleming novels was a misogynistic but cerebral guy who depended on his wits and savoir faire instead of his parkour.

    • ked5

      fleming was misogynistic. he wanted Cary Grant – who turned it down.

  • DeeBee123

    How could they do this and NOT mention that Kate Jackson had to turn down the role in Kramer vs Kramer. It won Meryl Streep her first Academy Award.

  • Keith Robey

    16: Sean Conery: Gandalf in THE LORD OF THE RINGS.

  • Joe Gawel

    Isn’t the headline misleading? Several of the people listed have never been or never will be MOVIE stars.

  • BB53

    “Urban Cowboy” was not a flop; it was a huge success!

  • John

    Just because a movie went big with an actor doesn’t mean the actor who turned down the role made a mistake. They might have sensed they weren’t right for the role. Molly Ringwald in “Pretty Woman”, “Ghost”? I have trouble seeing it.

    Julia Roberts nailed “Pretty Woman” even though, or maybe because, I found her less than convincing as a prostitute.

    And who can imagine “Ghost” with anyone but Demi?

  • Chris Pinkerton

    Who says they were mistakes? Maybe they wouldn’t have been good in that role. Seems to me all of these stars are doing just fine!

  • just-me

    Holy crap Dana Delaney as Carrie?? SJP’s role of a life time, plus her contract allowed her to keep all the clothes she wore in the series. Damn to have turned down that roll must be hard to live with even all these years later. OUCH!

  • lucygoose

    Whaaat molly ringwald in pretty woman?? The movie would have been a flop with her in that roll.

  • just-me

    Travolta as Gump?? Cant believe that role would have been offered to Chevy Chase over Tom Hanks! Forrest Gump is one of my favorite movies love Tom Hanks but Travolta has had a great career too, his role in Pulp is iconic.

  • just-me

    Paul Giamatti would have been great in ‘the office’ but he didn’t lose anything by declining that role. Steve Carell is a jerk, and everyone knows it. At the premiere of ‘despicable me’ first he refused to walk down the red carpet with any of his co-stars and then he threw a fit in his limo because he wasn’t the first one among the cast to walk down the red carpet. He then demanded to be the absolute last person to go down the carpet. They had to play the movie later than expected because he had to be coaxed out of his limo by his PR, taking no time to greet the kids who were lining the carpet hoping to get a pic or autograph from him. It was a rather sick display of how spoiled and childish these people can be.

  • PollyVinylChloride

    Urban Cowboy was a flop? I didn’t know that.

  • ospreycbk

    Actually nobody ever says that the part was actually offered to them. Being considered for a part and actually being asked to play the part are two different things.

  • Mike C

    Will Smith in anything is bad.

  • Celtic-Sword

    Will Smith in the Wild Wild West or The Matrix. Both bad choices. The Wild Wild West movie was a flop.

  • Dave Smith

    Not only did Matthew Broderick turn down “Breaking Bad,” he also turned down the role of Alex P. Keaton in “Family Ties” that put Michael J. Fox on the map.

  • ked5

    Cary Grant – James Bond. He felt he was too old. it was written for him, but he turned it down and it went to sean connery.

  • Jules

    The biggest was Elvis was offered the part of Tony in West Side Story. Col. Tom Parker persuaded him to turn it down. But for that Elvis might have been a serious actor.

  • BleedinCubbyBlue

    A picture of Emily Browning without a “bat in the cave” might have been nice

  • DrRGP

    And from the past: Gary Cooper declined the role in “Gone with the Wind” that eventually went to Clark Cable.

  • Makka2000

    Will Smith would have made a better Neo.
    A piece of wood would have made a better Neo!

  • HeidiJo

    Dana Delany would have been awesome as Carrie Bradshaw. She had the personality and the looks to make the show even bigger than it was. SJP has personality which worked for the show but she isn’t really attractive at all. Though I suppose SJP did clearly show that men in bars wanting to get laid are not picky about looks.

  • LadyDee33

    Sandra Bernhard clearly has “regret,” after stating that she would have taken it had she known Sex and the City would be so successful, lol. She should have taken a page out of Jonah Hill’s book. He took a pay cut in order to work with Leo DiCaprio in Wolf of Wall Street, knowing that it would do wonders for his career. Celebs need to look at the bigger picture, and understand that some roles with smaller checks can make you bigger than you already are


    the Jackman story is false.

    He was tested but Barbara Broccoli thought him ‘soft’. The scene they use to test potential Bonds is the seduction sequence in ‘From Russia With Love’. It is the ‘eliminator’, as insiders call it. Craig nailed it, and they even had him do it a second time. Jackman just didn’t.

    Hugh Jackman would have LOVED to have done Bond. This is press agent revisionism- don’t kid yourselves…

  • Jackie Lynn Cobb

    Pamela Anderson? Oh please……on what planet does she have any acting ability? at all?

  • TrueReview

    The movies probably would not of been hits if the actors were different. Hollywood’s 1st picks are usually duds like most of their movies.

  • Darrell Birkey

    “Downton Abbey”, not “Downtown”.

  • Gordon Waite

    Who, in their right mind, would turn down a James Bond role?

  • wayne wright

    If you look back at the original photos of Pam Anderson when she was discovered wearing a beer T-shirt, she was a totally cute and wholesome girl. It wasn’t until she started getting plastic surgery that she became a caricature of herself and a media joke. Too bad. Most of the other first choices for roles would have given us totally different movies and we’ll never know if they would have enjoyed the same success. Just on Julia Roberts – they must have to spend hours getting the camera angles just right so she doesn’t look like a big nostril horse face. I think Molly could have pulled that role off just as well.

  • Nola76

    Actually, I’m glad Sandra said no.

  • Steven Burgas

    Um, no, Selleck was FORCED to honor his contract.

    Please, get your information straight.

  • kimmyincali

    Sorry, Pretty Woman would not have been Pretty Woman without Julia Roberts 😉

  • Mike

    It’s interesting to think about what could have been, but none of these actors “suffered an error in judgement”. The actors who ultimately got the role did great with them but that doesn’t mean that ANY actor who got them would have been just as good, or become so well known for them.

  • Raymond

    Matrix sucked so bad, not sure even Will Smith could have saved it


    Obvious problem with this article is they make the flawed assumption that these hit series would still be as good with the actors/actresses in question. Very likely they would not. So maybe turning the roles down were not mistakes at all.

  • beelp

    Molly R. as “Pretty Woman”??? I almost puked.

  • cj

    Downton Abbey not Downtown

    • TraceGamble

      Must be the urban version we all missed they’re referring to.

  • stevervative

    Cryin’ shame Ms. Delaney refused the role, she’s world’s sexier than SJP!

  • Richard Goodbad

    “catapulted Julia Roberts to stardom and helped her on her journey to becoming America’s Sweetheart”

    I thought America’s sweetheart was Meg Ryan, wait, Sandra Bullock, er, Reese Witherspoon, um….

  • thetnrebel

    i thiunk she is one of the best looking females in hollywood

  • shawn duncan

    Charleton Heston turned down the role in The Omen that went to Gregory Peck instead. The Omen was one the biggest horror hits in the 70’s.

  • sbunny8

    #15 says Tom Selleck turned down the part of Indiana Jones in the movie “Indiana Jones”. There is no such movie. The title of the movie you’re talking about is “Raiders of the Lost Ark.”

  • Rock

    The movies may not have been hits with the original choices of actors. Everything from chemistry to public perception to changes made for the specific actor could easily have ruined everything.

  • Diagonotter

    What drives me nuts about this, is that actors don’t read a script and take or turn down roles based on whether they imagine (just by reading it) that it will be a huge success. Sure they don’t want to be in flops but look at there reasoning, all but a hand full, said they didn’t see themselves in the role, they didn’t like the tone of the script, they didn’t want to be type cast… this would have affected how successful they would have been playing the roles and therefore how successful the movie would have been. None of them said, it looks like a crappy movie or show. Sandra Bernhard being the notable exception, in that department, and the only one to be disappointed is Selleck, who wanted to to take the part but his show runners wouldn’t let him… all that said, Harrison Ford IS Indiana Jones, and though I can see Selleck in this type of role, I would have it any other way) And most have continued to be successful regardless. And most, to me, seemed like wise choices. Oh and the X-Files folks freaking dodged a bullet by hiring the Anderson with talent!

  • Wendy Brown

    I think that all those movies and TV shows became the hits they did BECAUSE of the acting job by the actors who landed the rolls. Personally, I can’t see Tom Selleck as Indiana Jones or anyone else as Pretty Woman besides Julia Roberts.

  • newsguy15

    I like Hugh Jackman’s reasoning for turning down the Bond role and he is doing great without it…

  • LAscreenwriter

    TOM SELLECK — It’s factually incorrect to say that he “turned down” the part of Indiana Jones, and a bit disingenuous to include him in an article about “biggest career mistakes” — in other words, an article spotlighting the most boneheaded decisions ever made by some stars — simply because Selleck did the direct opposite and actually accepted the part of Indiana Jones. Truth be told, he was eager to star in RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK.

    THE REAL STORY: Having proven himself by doing guest spots on various TV shows, Selleck signed a contract with CBS to star in MAGNUM PI. However, the execs at CBS didn’t like the pilot that was shot and screened for them, so they put the ka-bosh on the idea of taking it to series. Basically, the CBS execs said: “This thing is MEH. The storyline and characters for the show seem goofy… we’re not convinced that Selleck has enough sex appeal and star power to hold an audience… and, worst of all, this thing is set in Hawaii. And the #1 lesson that we learned from HAWAII 5-0 (the original Jack Lord version) is that filming a show there — as well as housing and feeding an entire cast and crew for a whole TV season there — costs a TON of money. So, let’s pass on this thing.”

    As a result, Selleck thought he was a free man because his contract stated that IF the network passed on MAGNUM then technically the contract was over. So, he tested for RAIDERS and instantly became Steven Spielberg and George Lucas’ one and only choice to be Indiana Jones. They both wanted him BIG TIME, and Selleck — contrary to the “turning down” and “biggest career mistake” thrust of this article — accepted the part.

    However… keep in mind we’re talking about Steven Spielberg and George Lucas here. The two guys who had JAWS, CLOSE ENCOUNTERS and STAR WARS to their credit and who had now completely redefined in Hollywood — in terms of making money (KA-CHING) — what a hit could mean. So, when word got out that THEY wanted Selleck really bad, the execs at CBS (yes, the same clueless clods that thought he had no star power) suddenly sat up and said: “Wait a minute. These two guys REALLY know how to make money and how to make hits. So what do THEY know about Selleck that WE don’t know?”

    At that point — in a foreshadowing of the same turn events that NBC would later pull on Pierce Brosnan, where they prevented him from becoming James Bond back when they were making THE LIVING DAYLIGHTS (and thus Timothy Dalton stepped into the role) — CBS called up Selleck and told him that they had reversed their decision. In short, now they DID want to take MAGNUM to series — which meant Selleck’s contract with CBS was instantly reactivated and legally binding.

    Selleck tried to work out a schedule that would allow him to star in RAIDERS and then shift into MAGNUM, but CBS turned him down cold. Basically, they said: “No way. We want to get started on filming the show right away.” As a result, Selleck had to pass on being Indy — at which point the REALLY sad and fateful twist to the story occurred. Because that is when the Actors Guild went on strike, forcing Selleck to sit on his hands while it was resolved. And sure enough, as if he needed any more salt poured in his wounds, just as RAIDERS wrapped shooting that’s when the strike ended and filming on MAGNUM finally began.

    In short: Selleck did NOT “turn down” playing Indiana Jones. In fact, Selleck actually could have done both projects, but because the execs at CBS refused to budge an inch THAT is how the world got Harrison Ford as a last minute replacement on RAIDERS…at which point the rest is movie history.

    Here’s a YouTube clip from The David Letterman Show. It skips a bit because it was edited a bit, but it has Selleck telling the key beats to this story himself…

    • SurfinUSA

      Very interesting. Thanks for taking the time (and editorial effort– impeccably written story) to share this little known event. Selleck would have created a different type of character instead of the acerbic and ironic Indy that Harrison Ford brought to the part. This is a case of the stars aligning as they should in the natural order.

  • beane2099

    Some of these have zero to do with making a dumb decision. In several of these cases the person in question wanted the part but simply didn’t have time. Also this list presumes that the role in question would have received as much notoriety with these individuals playing them instead. How long would X Files have really lasted with Pamela Anderson as lead? How well would the character of Walter White gone over with Matthew Broderick in the role? The roles became legendary in part BECAUSE of the people who ended up playing them. Walter White is one of the best examples I can think of.

  • kdlhouston

    The big one here is Molly Ringwald! After being hugely successful in the 1980’s, she basically killed her career in it’s prime.

  • Deanna

    I guess the Matrix was almost a box office bomb. I can’t even imagine Will Smith in that role.

  • Stephen Brooks

    Didn’t know Pamela Anderson was an actress?

    • The Observer

      Yes. She acts like she is an actress…

      • TransitDave


  • Jonathan Miller

    When did Pamela Anderson exchange her head for that of an alien?

  • Jonathan Miller

    “Into the Night” showed a Michelle Pfeiffer that was so hot the set would have have to been made of asbestos.

  • Lonnie Adams Jr

    Cannot believe they think “Urban Cowboy” was a flop!

  • Gavin Smith

    Wow, Dana Delaney would have been much better.

  • Gavin Smith

    Wow, Molly Ringwald missed the boat over and over. Sheesh.

  • Huey Oxberger

    According to IMDB, Travolta also turned down male lead roles in: American Gigolo, Officer & Gentleman, and Chicago. All of which went to Richard Gere, which made him a sex symbol superstar. Travolta also auditioned for lead in Pretty Woman.

  • There was no movie called “Indiana Jones”. It was called “Raiders of the Lost Ark”.

  • Jay David

    Definitely Dana Delany would have been an improvement over SJP.

    No one could be George Costanza except Jason Alexander. Without Alexander, “Seinfeld” would have bombed.

  • beberoni

    Pam don’t even look pretty anymore. She looks like she has been ridden hard and put away wet. Pretty ragged looking these days.

  • zaz_cag

    Madonna turned down Music of the (or my) Heart, because she didn’t want to learn how to play the violin.

  • Courtney Lynn

    It’s a good thing John Travolta passed on Forrest Gump, no one could have done it better than Tom Hanks

    • Dan

      Yeah I can’t see him in that one. Chevy Chase is even harder to picture. How could Chevy have ever pulled off the young Vietnam or college-era Gump? Hanks’ boyish face was a requirement for that.

  • Mr. Sunshine

    This woman cannot act!

  • Old Buck

    The reason for those parts to become so great was due to the actors that took the rolls. Can’t visualize Travolta as Gump. What made Gump was Tom Hanks acting ability and the use of his voice..

  • Wyatt Earp

    How the hell do you consider Urban Cowboy a flop? Most of the youngsters here have never heard of it, much less seen it. Except for Pulp Fiction (Which, other than by name, has nearly been forgotten) the rest of what you describe as his successful films were really terrible. Saturday Night Fever and Face Off were so bad I am sure his mother was embarrassed. Battlefied Earth was something that Ed Wood would have made if he had the budget.

    Pamela Anderson in X Files=cancelation after 4 episodes. I am surprised a produce/writer as good as Chris Carter wold have stood to have his work butchered by a bimbo who can’t deliver dialog, much less act.

  • Terry34668

    Gillian was very HOT I had her as a screen saver for years. Oh and yes she could act to

    • MikeofAges

      Gillian Anderson was great in the X-Files. One thing related to Hollywood casting I am very firm about is the idea that female actors (aka actresses) who play women with some intelligence must be so themselves or they will not be credible in the part. Women who are less gifted are entitled to pursue a career too, but it would have been a shame if anyone less had been cast as Agent Scully. The show might have failed entirely.

      An example of a casting decision that failed over this particular was Hilary Swank as Amelia Earhart. Please. If Earhart had been a young woman in our era she would have gotten a degree in engineering or might have gone to Annapolis or Colorado Springs. Swank is an outstanding actress, but like everyone, she has limits. No way was she able to convey Earhart. Not in her metier

      • loupgarous

        Claire Danes would have been a MUCH better Earhart, I agree. I totally loved her in the title role in “Temple Grandin.” She’s got range and passion, and can play intelligent people.

  • Correct me if I’m wrong, but hasn’t Hugh Jackman been rather typecast as action hero Wolverine??
    However, he’s so incredibly talented, handsome and charming that he is capable of overcoming typecasting, and so I wonder why a wonderful opportunity to play Bond worried him so.

    The first and best Bond certainly didn’t let the oft-repeated role cramp his acting style. That’s because he is another incredibly talented, handsome and charming actor that typecasting can’t harm.

    Adam West, as just one example, got bit bad by the typecast bug, and for all intents and purposes, was never heard from again. BAM!! Why? Because he was not a great actor IMO. Handsome? Not in the same class as Connery and Jackman to be sure. Charming? Never came across that way to me. But if he had to be remembered for one role, he sure picked a dandy! He could live off of the residuals. He will never be forgotten as the campy Batman, and the old TV show has a huge following to prove it.

    • loupgarous

      The first Bond was George Lazenby, no? from “In Her Majesty’s Secret Service”?

  • Dan

    I don’t know if it’s true or not, but I have heard that Sean Connery turned down Gandalf in LOTR because he didn’t understand the script, and also did so for another big part in a big movie that escapes me. And then he didn’t understand the script for League of Extraordinary Gentleman, but accepted that role because he didn’t want to miss the boat a third time for the same reason, only to watch that movie utterly suck.

    • loupgarous

      I thought The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen didn’t suck. It wasn’t all-time, and it bogged down toward the end, but it didn’t suck. The dynamics between the actors were excellent and Connery was a fantastic Allan Quartermain (not a demanding cast for him, I realized – all he had to do was be old, distinguished-looking, British and reasonably fit.)

  • Dan

    Oh and here’s one that probably trumps all the others on the list: Patrick McGoohan (Longshanks from “Braveheart,” and the judge from “A Time to Kill”) turned down, I believe, the James Bond role that ultimately went to Sean Connery. McGoohan had a solid overall career, but never achieved anything close to the enduring international star power of Connery.

    • loupgarous

      McGoohan would have been wasted on Bond films. “The Prisoner” is and always will be the quintessential spy show. I never get tired of watching it.

  • Dragonslav

    Or all of these actors aren’t interchangeable and the movies wouldn’t have been the same with a different cast. Really, a different George Castanza would have completely changed Seinfeld. Maybe for the better, maybe for the worse. Considering the popularity of the mentioned roles, I would guess for the worse in most cases.

  • jcottle

    Pamela Anderson????? Who in the h*** dreamed that would ever work? Pam Anderson is absolutely the only actress who doesn’t have to get into character to be a ditsy blonde.

    Gillian Anderson was not only perfect for the role, but her chemistry with Duchovny made the X-Files the most popular show of its time.

  • jcottle

    Broderick is another one who probably couldn’t have made Breaking Bad work the way Cranston did.

    It was Cranston’s ability to make a man so far on the right side of society go to the far extreme on the other end that made it such a hit. Broderick just can’t escape the good boy image the way Cranston did.