ByMatthew Bailey, writer at
Husband. Father. Gamer. Cinema Lover. Mix it all together, and there I am. I love all things pop-culture and coffee; but coffee is the best.
Matthew Bailey

One of the biggest questions in Hollywood is "what if?" What if the story had been written just a little differently? What if there had been a slightly bigger budget? What if the CGI had been a little better? What if this? What if that?

It's a question that follows many movies as the studios, fans and critics alike all try to determine where things went wrong or just hypothesize ways that a movie could be different. This question doesn't only follow box-office flops, although it usually is associated directly with poorly received films. One of the most popular what ifs is wondering about casting choices. Usually we look into the future and we fan-cast an upcoming movie, some of the currently trending fan-casts are for the Lobo movie, Green Lantern, Captain Marvel and a few other superhero-based films. But, what about the movies that have already been cast? What if an iconic role had not been cast the way it was? Here are just a few films that almost cast different actors in some truly iconic roles.

1. Star Wars - Han Solo

Han Solo is one of the most iconic characters in basically all of entertainment. He was the rogue that we all loved, he brought a mix of cowboy, space and charm — and we almost didn't have Harrison Ford in the role. Other actors who we could have met in the cantina on Mos Eisley were Kurt Russell, Sylvester Stallone and Al Pacino.

Can you imagine some of the iconic Han Solo lines with Sylvester Stallone uttering them? "Who're you calling, scruffy lookin' Adrien?"

2. 'Ferris Bueller's Day Off' - Ferris Bueller

One of the classic cult movies from the 1980s introduced us to Ferris Bueller who lived the teen fantasy and was loved by everyone:

"The sportos, the motorheads, geeks, sluts, bloods, wastoids, dweebies, dickheads - they all adore him. They think he's a righteous dude." - Ferris

Matthew Broderick brought Ferris to life in such a delightful way, that it's hard to imagine anyone else in the role. Yet there were quite a few young actors itching to take a ride in a 1961 Ferrari 250GT, some of whom were Jim Carrey, Johnny Depp, Robert Downey Jr. and even John Cusack.

3. 'Lincoln' - Abraham Lincoln

First off, if you haven't seen Lincoln, go check it out. Daniel Day-Lewis crafted a brilliant representation of America's sixteenth president. His performance even gained Day-Lewis an Academy Award, yet we were almost given a very different president. This president would have had a "very certain set of skills," one that he had acquired over a long career. Yes, that's right, Liam Neeson was originally lined up to portray the iconic president and Lincoln would have been infused with an action-packed flair that we didn't see in the actual movie.

4. 'Kill Bill Vol. 1' & '2' - Bill

Hopefully you've all seen the iconic douchebag named Bill from the set of Quentin Tarantino films all about taking revenge on the titular character. Well, David Carradine wasn't always the actor lined up to portray the villain. Tarantino's first choice of actor to portray Bill was Kevin Costner, but he declined the role to work on his excellent Western, Open Range.

5. Hunger Games - Katniss

Jennifer Lawrence was catapulted into instant fame and "It girl" status with her casting as the protagonist in the Hunger Games series of films. Yet, she didn't lock the casting at first, as another young actress was also on the short list before Lawrence won the role. Scream Queens star Emma Roberts had a shot at bringing Katniss Everdeen to life, and although she has a fair bit of experience surviving scary situations, the role was eventually given to Jennifer Lawrence.

6. Indiana Jones series - Indiana Jones

Another Harrison Ford casting that almost didn't happen was for the Indiana Jones films. Similarly to his casting as Han Solo, we can't imagine anyone else portraying the adventuring archaeologist. George Lucas was afraid that including Harrison Ford in another one of his movies would create an unhealthy connection between the actor and director and would corral the actor. Because of that fear, they screen tested another actor and were so impressed that they offered him the role. That actor was Tom Selleck, but he sadly had to turn it down due to a previous contract with CBS for the Magnum P.I. pilot.

7. 'The Notebook' - Allie

Okay, I will admit that I've never actually watched The Notebook, but I've been told that it is beautiful — and I'll take everyone's word on that. Yet, it almost was an entirely different movie because Rachel McAdams was almost not cast as the pivotal character. The role almost went to the pop princess Britney Spears, and she actually got far enough into casting to actually screen test with Ryan Gosling.

8. 'Donnie Darko' - Donnie Darko

This is one of those really odd what ifs, but Donnie Darko, the cult classic character, almost wasn't portrayed by Jake Gyllenhaal. Donnie Darko was offered to a then almost 30-year-old Vince Vaughn, which was odd considering the fact that the character was supposed to be a 16-year-old boy. The rewrites to turn the character into a much older character would have missed out on the teen angst that was all too present thanks to Jake Gyllenhaal.

9. The Matrix Trilogy - Morpheus

Laurence Fishburne created the icon that we know as Morpheus by portraying the character so brilliantly. The mind-freeing leader in search of the One was almost completely changed in just about every way. The role was offered to Sean Connery — yes, THAT Sean Connery. Can you imagine him explaining the Matrix to Neo?

"What is real? How do you define 'real'? If you're talking about what you can feel, what you can smell, what you can taste and see, then 'real' is simply electrical signals interpreted by your brain."

Yeah, I can't imagine it either — and neither could Mr. Connery. He turned down the role because, in his own words, he just "didn't understand the script."


Which "what if" casting was your favorite?

Source: Looper & What Culture


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