ByAlexandra Ekstein-Kon, writer at
Editor at MP. Twin Peaks, Mr. Robot, a bit of this, a bit of that. Tweet me at @alexa_ekon
Alexandra Ekstein-Kon

Once an actor becomes successful in Hollywood, the roles just seem to pour in from all sides. For example, when was the last time you saw a fan casting for a female role that didn't have Jennifer Lawrence somewhere on the list? Of course, with all of these casting offers fluttering like moths to the brightest stars in Hollywood, it's no wonder that some slip through their fingers. Anything from scheduling conflicts, skepticism about how successful the film will be, to confusion about how to play a role, actors inevitably turn down parts. However, some of these roles have since arrived at such an iconic level of fame that we can barely imagine how anyone could have turned them down.

All of the 14 actors and actresses below could almost have been these treasured characters; and after seeing what a success they've been with audiences, I bet some are a bit bummed (to say the least) that they didn't get a piece of the action.

1. Will Smith - Neo (The Matrix)

While Keanu Reeves killed it in The Matrix, I can't help thinking Will Smith would have made an unforgettable Neo, too. He stated to Wired:

“You know, The Matrix is a difficult concept to pitch. In the pitch, I just didn't see it. I watched Keanu's performance - and very rarely do I say this - but I would have messed it up. I would have absolutely messed up The Matrix.”

2. Sarah Michelle Gellar - Cher Horowitz (Clueless)

Both iconic blonde teen movie stars at the time, this could have been a great casting, had it worked out. However, the voice saying "As if!" ringing in all of our ears is undoubtedly that of Alicia Silverstone.

3. Emily Blunt - Black Widow (Avengers)

Here's another casting that could have been perfect, but I'd say we're all just as happy seeing Scarlet Johansson kicking ass on-screen.

4. Matthew Broderick and John Cusack - Walter White (Breaking Bad)

What? No! There's no other Walter White than Bryan Cranston.

5. Dougray Scott - Wolverine (X-Men)

Due to scheduling conflicts with Mission: Impossible 2, Dougray Scott had to cede the role of Wolverine. Doh!

6. Josh Hartnett - Bruce Wayne (Nolan's Batman)

This could have been a very interesting choice for Batman. Unfortunately, Hartnett thought he had a lot more gigs lined up than it turned out, although he now regrets his decision, stating:

"I learned my lesson when Christopher Nolan and I talked about Batman. I decided it wasn’t for me. I should have been part of the relationship with this guy Nolan, who I felt was incredibly cool and very talented. I was so focused on not being pigeonholed and so scared of being considered only one thing as an actor.”

7. Denzel Washington - David Mills (Se7en)

This casting could have been incredible, but we would have gotten a very different movie.

8. John Travolta - Forrest Gump (Forrest Gump)

I don't think I'm alone in saying a big thanks to the movie gods that this didn't come to fruition. Long live Tom Hanks!

9. Pierce Brosnan - Tim Burton's Batman

"I'm Man, Bat Man."

10. Pamela Anderson - Scully (X-Files)

This casting idea was heavily rumored, and at the time Pamela was riding off her Baywatch fame, but could this have actually worked? These personalities are so vastly different, methinks not...

11. Hugh Jackman - James Bond (Casino Royale)

We love Hugh Jackman, and we love Daniel Craig. That is all.

12. Michelle Pfeiffer - Clarice Starling (Silence of the Lambs)

As amazing as Michelle Pfeiffer is, could we really see anyone else as Starling other than Jodie Foster?

13. Jack Nicholson - Michael Corleone (The Godfather)

This would certainly have been an interesting casting choice, especially after having seen Nicholson playing a devious mob boss in The Departed. However, I can't help thinking that Jack's version of Michael would have been a lot more sadistic, and less emotionally conflicted than Al Pacino's. What do you think?

14. Jim Carrey - Captain Jack Sparrow (Pirates of the Caribbean)

Jim Carrey is an idol, but he's often known for playing completely over the top roles, as only Jim Carrey can. Johnny Depp's Captain Jack Sparrow is a much beloved character who comes directly from the depths of Depp's deepest and weirdest psyche. The franchise likely wouldn't have continued so long without him mumbling and stumbling through their adventures.



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