ByBrandon Swofford, writer at
Filmmaker, Youtuber, Actor, Animator, Fanboy
Brandon Swofford

It is always interesting to hear about actors that turned down roles in movies we loved. Most of the time, it was better that the deal did not work out. However, there were times where an actor did not accept the offer and the "re-cast" was not as valuable.

I hope you enjoy my list of ten movies that would have been superior if the actor or actress who was offered the role first stayed.

NOTE: I am not saying the actors who were re-cast are bad. I am just saying I would have love to have seen the original actors take on the roles instead.


As great as the film is, the leading actor is a little bit dull. Keanu Reeves may be good at playing dumb characters (like Neo in The Matrix and Johnny Utah in Point Break), but let's be honest, Keanu has never been a good actor. If he was not handsome he would not be a star. Will Smith, on the other hand, is the most charismatic man in the world and it would have been so cool to see him as the one.

In addition, James Bond himself, Sean Connery, passed on the role of Morpheus (played by Laurence Lishburne). Samuel L. Jackson and Russell Crowe were also considered for the role, but no one would have been cooler than Mr. Connery. Imagine the blue and red pill scene with Will Smith and Sean Connery together. I'll take the pill in the martini... shaken... not stirred.


Believe it or not, the real Slim Shady was called to play Matt Damon's role in Neill Blomkamp's sci-fi film, Elysium. He turned down the role because the film was not going to be filmed in his hometown, Detroit.

Matt Damon is a great actor and an American icon, however he was mis-cast. Damon is someone who you always see as a good guy. Even when he is supposed to play a villain, he still seems too nice. Eminem would have added some harshness to the character and you would buy him as someone who needs to pay for mistakes he made in the past. Do not forget about 8 Mile where he made a wonderful performance.

FUN FACT: Eminem was also supposed to play Jake Gyllenhaal's character in Southpaw. The re-casting probably worked out for the better. This fact is also a segue to out next movie...


Matt Damon was also considered to play Jake Sully, however, Jake Gyllenhaal has become one of the best actors working today. Not only is he fun to watch, but he is also a true chameleon and has transformed himself in unforgettable roles such as Nightcrawler, Southpaw, and Donnie Darko. The highest grossing film would have been even more memorable and cherished if the lead actor wasn't boring or just an Aussie who can do a convincing American accent. Jake Gyllenhaal would have added more magnetism and charm to the role and it even would have gotten him in a great action franchise.

4. OZ THE GREAT AND POWERFUL: Robert Downey, Jr. / James Franco

Downey, Jr. was committed to Iron Man 3 and could not sign for the role. Johnny Depp was also considered for the leading role, however, he signed on to do Lone Ranger instead. It is true. Losing the Iron Man and currently most powerful actor in Hollywood out to the man who left Anne Hathaway lonely hosting the Oscars in 2011 is devastating.

Speaking of Anne Hathaway...

5. KNOCKED UP: Anne Hathaway / Katherine Heigl

Reportedly, she turned down the role for the nudity in film. However, she is a much stronger actress than Katherine Heigl and she has the Oscar for Les Miserables to prove it. In addition, Heigl has no loyalty, saying her lead role in Knocked Up was "sexist."

While Anne Hathway has moved on to star in better films such as The Dark Knight Rises and The Devil Wears Prada, Heigl has only made crap films including Life As We Know It, The Ugly Truth, and more.

6. A GOOD DAY TO DIE HARD: Aaron Paul / Jai Courtney

The fifth installment to the Die Hard franchise seems to be a universally hated movie. One of the reasons why it gets hated on to this day is because it launched the career of the most boring, dull and untalented young actor in Hollywood: Jai Courtney. Hollywood really wants us to like Jai Courtney, stuffing him in franchises such as Terminator, Divergent and the upcoming Suicide Squad. Before Fox called up Jai Courtney to play John McClane's son, they offered the role to many young actors such as Paul Dano, Liam Hemsworth and Ben Foster. However, my favorite casting choice was Breaking Bad's Aaron Paul. He is an incredible actor and works great as a supporting character by stealing the show from leading actors like Bryan Cranston in Breaking Bad and Christian Bale in Exodus: Gods and Kings. Bruce Willis would have had more chemistry and engaging scenes with Aaron Paul than with the most lame young actor in Hollywood.

7. GHOSTBUSTERS: Eddie Murphy / Ernie Hudson

Originally, Winston Zeddmore was supposed to be played by comic genius, Eddie Murphy. Murphy turned down the role to star in Beverly Hills Cop instead. After Eddie Murphy left, Winston's role was cut in half before filming.

“Originally, Winston came in at the very beginning and was very involved throughout the whole film,” says Hudson. “Winston was the guy who got slimed at the hotel. Winston was the guy who thought of the marshmallow man at the end.” Thankfully we have Murphy as Axle Foley, however, it would have been great if he could have squeezed Ghostbusters into his schedule as well.

8. BATMAN FOREVER: Michael Keaton / Val Kilmer

Keaton, arguably the best Batman portrayed on film, turned down an enormous amount of money ($15 million) to star in the third installment of the Batman franchise for a fairly simple reason: "It sucked. Yeah, it was awful," states Keaton. Val Kilmer was called to take over the role as the caped crusader. His lazy performance only made the movie worse, along with a terrible sequel, Batman & Robin, where Kilmer was replaced by George Clooney.

9. IRON MAN 2: Terrence Howard / Don Cheadle

Robert Downey, Jr. and Terrence Howard had chemistry that was off the charts in the first Iron Man. In Iron Man 2, Terrence Howard was replaced by actor, Don Cheadle in the role of James "Rhodey" Jones.

Howard says, “it turns out that the person I helped become Iron Man… when it was time to re-up for the second one, (he) took the money that was supposed to go to me and pushed me out.”

Don Cheadle is a talented actor, however, he does not have the badass, tough and stable look that Howard brought to the character, nor does Cheadle work as well with Downey, Jr. on screen.

10. BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE: Denzel Washington / Jesse Eisenberg

Although the film has not been released yet, it is safe to say that Jesse Eisenberg will not make a convincing Lex Luther. From what we have seen in the trailers, he is not intimidating nor threatening. In the picture above, Jesse looks like a poor, sad kid undergoing chemotherapy rather than someone we would buy as Superman's arch-nemesis.

Bryan Cranston and Joaquin Phoenix were considered to play Lex Luther, however, my favorite casting possibility was Denzel Washington, the finest actor of our generation. We love Denzel as a hero and a villain. Having Denzel as Lex Luther would have been like Training Day with superheroes. SOUNDS AWESOME!


What original casting would you have like to have seen the most?


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