You always hear stories of castings that could've happened, where the studio usually had someone in mind that conflicted with the director's vision. Bill Murray was the studios choice for Batman in Tim Burton's Dark Knight adaptation, but it was Burton who fought for Keaton. But it's not always as cut and dry as that and there are various things at work and the cast we ended up with are, a lot of the times, the third or fourth choice to play the parts.
Check out the list of original choices below:
Paul Newman as Woody - Toy Story
Originally, before Tom Hanks was cast, the first choice to play Woody was Hollywood legend Paul Newman. The idea was that as well as Woody representing old generation toys and Buzz Lightyear representing new there was to be more of an allegory to it. Newman as an old Cowboy was to dual metaphor old hollywood heroes while Buzz would represent new shiny ones.
Given that a huge theme in the Toy Story trilogy is time, this would seem rather fitting and add just another context to the already great films. He'd have been great at this I think.
Curiously this same thematic device was used in the later Pixar movie Cars. Newman plays a race car driver named Doc Hudson who represents a past generation. Furthermore I don't think that it's any mistake that the lead in the film is called 'Mc Queen' nodding to Newman and Steve Mc Queen's rivalry both in films and on the racetrack.
Check Paul out as Doc:
Matt Damon and Ben Affleck - Brokeback Mountain
Originally Ben Affleck and Matt Damon were original choices to play the lead cowboys in the controversial Brokeback Mountain. That would have been quite odd I think. Not that they couldn't have done it but being serious actors and how much they would get into the parts; it would be hard to watch them together in anything else.
Would've brought a whole new meaning to the phrase 'how you like them apples?' that's for sure.
Aragorn - The Lord of the Rings Trilogy
There are a few of these that I could really see being cast but others just seem ridiculous.
Check out the list:
Vin Diesel - believe it or not. He screen tested and was seen as a bankable star after The Fast and The Furious; however he got no further.
Daniel Day-Lewis - was offered the part but simply turned it down.
Nicholas Cage - turned down the part due to family obligations.
Russell Crowe - being a native of New Zealand, he was very interested in the part and filming at home but couldn't work out his schedule with America.
Stuart Townsend - Had already begun shooting, but after four days was let go as Jackson believed he was too young for the part. Viggo Mortensen was subsequently cast.
Robin Williams as Hagrid - The Harry Potter Series
Before Robbie Coltrane took the part of the kind hearted games keeper of Hogwarts, Warner Bros. had Robin Williams in mind for the part. Luckily J.K. Rowling had it in her contract that she would only sign over the material if all of the key cast were British. Well played J.K., not necessarily for this one, but I just don't like the idea of Tommy Lee Jones as Dumbledore or Josh Brolin as Sirius Black.
I do think Williams as Hagrid could've been interesting. He's certainly done his fair share of children's movies. That coupled with the acting chops as well a good knack for accents, he might not have been a bad choice.
Vince Vaughn as Donnie Darko - Donnie Darko
I don't know where to start with this one. Wasn't Donnie a teenager? Let's have a look at what Vince looked like round or about then:
He was in the process of trying to rekindle the magic of indie hit Swingers in the unrelated followup Made with Jon Favreau; he looked like this. Now I know Billy Crystal was 45 when he played a 25 year old in When Harry Met Sally so maybe this is what they were thinking. But they wore uniforms at the school in movie. Uniforms would've made it so much harder to pull off. There are ten years between Gyllenhal and Vaughn.
I'm wondering if the inspiration came from this:
Even aside from the technicalities of it; Vince Vaughn as Donnie just seems really really odd. But respect to the man himself; it was he who turned it down saying that he didn't want to play a teenager and that he didn't want the script changed to suit him.
"So fuckin' money and he doesn' even know it"
Kurt Russell as Han Solo - Star Wars
Kurt Russell went so far as even screen testing for the part of Han Solo. Russell, at the time had a fair share of movies and television under his belt and was no small name.
Check out his screen test:
Kurt Russell could've been interesting as Han Solo. I mean he did go on to play Han-like characters in Big Trouble in Little China and Escape From New York so there is a part of me that thinks it might not have been such a bad idea.
George Clooney as Hancock - Hancock
You can see why this could've potentially worked. We'd recently seen Clooney rocking the beard in Syriana and we know that he has some comedy chops as well as dramatic, so this could've certainly been an interesting casting. Though Will Smith did pull off a really good Hancock.
Will Smith as Neo - The Matrix Trilogy
Originally Will smith was approached to play Neo. He turned this down to do the comedy western Wild Wild West. He stated in an interview at the time that he 'wasn't mature enough as an actor' and that if Neo had been given to him he'd just 'mess it up'.
So there you have it folks, what do you think would've been the weirdest casting choice?