Iron Man 3 star Guy Pearce has been talking about his role as Tony Stark's nemesis in the $1 billion + grossing movie - and admitted that he very nearly turned down the part.
Apparently, Pearce almost passed on the project because Marvel wouldn't allow him to read the script, but an intervention from writer/director Shane Black saved the day:
When I watched the first one, I thought, 'Wow, there's something different here.' Shane [Black], who directed the third, had been a fan of mine, apparently. He called up and I had a meeting with him and he said, 'We're not allowed to give you the script but I can tell you all about it.' He ran me through the whole story over lunch. It sounded really interesting. But I did end up saying to my agent, 'I'm not going to do this movie until they show me the script.' And my agent went [sharp intake of breath], 'They really don't want to show you the script.' So I said I wasn't going to do it. They sent me the script via link. You have two hours to read it before your computer blows up! And it was fine - it was exactly what we'd talked about.
I do love this image of a super-secretive Marvel sending out scripts that self-destruct a couple of hours later. It's all very Stark-ian.
I always find it fascinating to think about how different our favorite movies would have been if actors or casting directors had made different choices. If Marvel had chosen not to send the script to Pearce we would have had a very different movie, with a very different villainous performance.
With that in mind, here are 5 actors who passed up on roles - and changed the cinematic landscape forever.
Will Smith - The Matrix
Turned down the chance to play Neo in The Matrix to instead star in Wild Wild West. Clearly Smith got this one Wild, Wild, Wrong and we'll never get to hear The Matrix spinoff album that no doubt would've followed.
Johnny Depp - The Wolverine
Think how very different the X-Men Universe would've looked if Johnny Depp had taken the role of Wolverine - it would be a lot more whimsical for a start. Luckily we don't have to, as Depp turned it down.
Tom Selleck - Indiana Jones
Tom Selleck was making waves back in the early 1980s - so much so, he was offered the part of the whip-cracking archaeologist in Raiders of the Lost Ark. Selleck, however, had to turn it down due to his commitment to Magnum P.I. - a decision he says haunts him to this day.
Heath Ledger - Spider-Man
The late, great Aussie actor was offered the role of Peter Parker in Sam Raimi's Spider-Man but turned it down as he thought he would be "taking away someone else's dream." As it turned out, Toby Maguire lived the dream and Ledger went on to give the performance of his career in The Dark Knight as Batman's arch-nemesis, the Joker.
Sean Connery - Lord of the Rings AND The Matrix
Connery has something of a mixed record when it comes to picking his roles. The legendary Scottish actor turned down the part of Gandalf in Lord of the Rings because he apparently didn't understand the script. What he probably now understands only too well is the 15% stake in the movie he was offered as payment meant he lost out on a multi-million dollar payday.
Clearly not having learned from his mistakes, Connery also turned down the role of the architect in The Matrix Trilogy, although I can totally forgive him for not understanding a single piece of dialogue that character said.
Which casting would you have liked to see happen?
(source Total Film)