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Legendary Roles Turned Down By Great Actors

14 February 2013 | Features, People Lists | by David Zou

Al Pacino as Travis Bickle? Jack Nicholson as Michael Corleone? Robert De Niro as Jack Torrance? These are not fansy dreams but the cast that almost became reality. For different reasons, great Hollywood stars have regrettably turned down some legendary roles. Now we may re-imagine these classic characters played by another actor, would it be better or worse? We never know. Below are the “regret lists” of great actors we all love.

Al Pacino


Han Solo in Star Wars
Travis Bickle in Taxi Driver
Robert Wakefield in Traffic
Roy Neary in Close Encounters of the Third Kind
Paul Sheldon in Misery
Ted Kramer in Kramer vs. Kramer


Robert De Niro


Josh in Big
Jack Torrance in The Shining
Queenan in The Departed
Sonny and Michael Corleone in The Godfather
Paul Sheldon in Misery


Jack Nicholson


Michael Corleone in The Godfather
Captain Benjamin L. Willard in Apocalypse Now
George Lumley in Family Plot
Raymond Babbitt in Rain Man
Travis Bickle in Taxi Driver
Gordon Gekko in Wall Street


Marlon Brando


Vito Corleone(flashback) in The Godfather: Part II
Will Kane in High Noon
Lawrence in Lawrence of Arabia
Father Lankester Merrin in The Exorcist
Jim Stark in Rebel without a Cause


Cary Grant


James Bond in 007: Dr. No
Fr. Michael William Logan in I Confess
Cherry Valance in Red River
Joe Bradley in Roman Holiday
Linus in Sabrina
Holly Martins in The Third Man


James Stewart

jimmy stewart

Wyatt Earp in My Darling Clementine
Roger O. Thornhill in North by Northwest
Norman Thayer Jr. in Golden Pond
Pike Bishop in The Wild Bunch


Sean Connery


Simon Gruber in Die Hard 3
David Caravaggio in The English Patient
Gandalf the Grey in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
Neo in The Matrix
Edward Lewis in Pretty Woman


Harrison Ford

Harrison Ford

Dallas in Alien
Oscar Schindler in Schindler’s List
Kinsey in Kinsey
Bob Barnes in Syriana


Tom Hanks

tom hanks

Bill the Butcher in Gangs of New York
Andy in The Shawshank Redemption
Jack in Speed
First Sergeant Edward Welsh in The Thin Red Line
Harry Burns in When Harry Met Sally


Tom Cruise


Benjamin Button in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Donnie Brasco in Donnie Brasco
Robert Clayton Dean in Enemy of the State
Neville in I Am Legend
Salt in Salt
Bud Fox in Wall Street


Russell Crowe


Aragorn in The Lord of the Rings Trilogy
Morpheus in The Matrix
Will Shakespeare in Shakespeare in Love
Todd in Sweeney Todd


Daniel Day-lewis


Count Laszlo de Almásy in The English Patient
Lestat de Lioncourt in Interview with the Vampire
Aragorn in The Lord of the Rings Trilogy
Will Shakespeare in Shakespeare in Love


Brad Pitt


Hephaestion in Alexander
Patrick Bateman in American Psycho
Jim Lovell in Apollo 13
Jason Bourne in The Bourne Identity
Willy Wonka in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Colin Sullivan in The Departed
Kevin Lomax in The Devil’s Advocate


Angelina Jolie


Annalee Call in Alien 4
Alex Munday in Charlie’s Angels
Velma Kelly in Chicago
Connie Sumner in Unfaithful


George Clooney


J.D. in Thelma and Louis
Mr. Blonde in Reservoir Dogs
Jack in Sideways
John McLoughlin in World Trade Center


Johnny Depp


Jack in Titanic
Wolverine in X-men
Jonathan Harker in Dracula
Lestat de Lioncourt in Interview with the Vampire
Count Olaf in Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events
Jack in Speed


Jim Carrey


Austin Powers in Austin Powers
Zaphod Beeblebrox in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl
Buzz Lightyear (voice) in Toy Story
Willy Wonka in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory


Leonardo DiCaprio

Leonardo DiCaprio

Patrick Bateman in American Psycho
Camerlengo Patrick McKenna in Angels & Demons
Eddie Adams in Boogie Nights
Neo in The Matrix
Roark Jr. in Sin City


Jodie Foster


Cat Woman in The Batman Returns
Dorothy Valens in Blue Velvet
Clarice Starling in Hannibal
Annie Reed in Sleepless in Seattle
Sarah Connor in The Terminator
Connie Sumner in Unfaithful


Julia Roberts


Catherine Tramell in Basic Instinct
Mary Corleone in The Godfather: Part III
Marylin Rexroth in Intolerable Cruelty
Alabama Whitman in True Romance


Nicole Kidman


Erica in The Brave One
Frannie Avery in In the Cut
Jane Smith in Mr. & Mrs. Smith
Meg Altman in Panic Room
Rose in Titanic
Hanna Schmitz in The Reader


Umma Thurman

Umma Thurman

Carol Connelly in As Good As It Gets
Elizabeth I in Elizabeth
Lara Croft in Tomb Raider
Arwen in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring


Natalie Portman

Natalie Portman

Grace MacLean in The Horse Whisperer
Wendy in Ice Storm
Ann Darrow in King Kong
Lolita in Lolita(1997)
Rogue in X-men

Guys, what’s the biggest miss here in your mind?


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  • basuperstar

    Sean Connery as Neo????