12 Actors Who Were Offered To Play Legendary Characters But They Skipped Once-in-a-Lifetime Opportunity

Hollywood is full of almosts or what-ifs. It’s so hard to imagine anyone but Johnny Depp as Jack Sparrow or Kate Winslet as Rose Dawson but many might not know that these roles almost went to other actors.
Many actors turned down the role because of a scheduling conflict or lack of understanding of the script. No matter what it was, almost actors didn’t recognize a great role when they saw it and ended up kicking themselves for passing up a role of a lifetime. Some can’t hide their regrets until now while others don’t let the regret eat them and satisfy the result. Not only these actors but all of the viewers are glad that the casting directors found the right actors for the right roles.

#1 Eddie Redmayne in Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Source: © Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens / Lucas Films and co-producers© Les Misérables / Universal Pictures and co-producers

Eddie Redmayne called his audition for the role of Kylo Ren in Star Wars: The Force Awakens a catastrophe. He shared, “They gave me like a Star Trek scene — or like something from Pride and Prejudice. It was one of those films. With films that top secret, they don’t give you the actual lines. So they give you a scene from Pride and Prejudice, but then they tell you you’re auditioning for the baddie. If you’re me, you then put some ridiculous voice on.” Eventually, Adam Driver took on the role.

#2 Madonna in The Matrix

Source: © The Matrix / Warner Bros. and co-producers© s_bukley /

Madonna totally regretted when she said no to the role in “The Matrix”. In an interview, she said, “That’s like one of the best movies ever made… A teeny-tiny part of me just regrets that one moment in my life,”

#3 Anne Hathaway in Silver Linings Playbook

Source: © Silver Linings Playbook / Spyglass Media Group and co-producers© The Intern / Waverly Films and co-producers

Anne Hathaway was offered to portray Tiffany in “Silver Linings Playbook” but she turned it down because of some creative differences between her and the director David O. Russell. Eventually, the role went to Jennifer Lawrence who won an Academy for the part.

#4 Adrien Brody in Lord of the Rings

Source: © The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring / New Line Cinema and co-producers© Detachment / Paper Street Films and co-producers

Adrien Brody almost became a part of “Lord of the Rings” but he refused the offer. He explained, “I, somehow, didn’t get it, I don’t know what part I would have been right for, but it was some Hobbit-like character. I was looking for something else.”

#5 Jake Gyllenhaal in Zoolander

Source: © Zoolander 2 / Red Hour Films and co-producers© s_bukley /

Owen Wilson was first invited to play Hansel in “Zoolander” but he rejected the offer because of his scheduling conflict. The next choice was Jake Gyllenhaal. Finally, Jake didn’t score the role as the character’s schedule cleared up and he grabbed the spot.

#6 Emma Watson in La La Land

Source: © La La Land / Summit Entertainment and co-producers, © Regression / First Generation Films and co-producers

Emma Watson was invited to play the leading role in “La La Land”. However, she rejected it because, at that time, she was filming for Disney’s Beauty and the Beast.

#7 Matt Damon in The Dark Knight

Source: © The Dark Knight / Warner Bros. and co-producers© Jason Bourne / Universal Pictures and co-producers

Due to a scheduling problem, Matt Damon refused to play Harvey Dent in “The Dark Knight”. Then, Aaron Eckhart grabbed the role, and no one could’ve played it better.

#8 John Krasinski in Captain America: The First Avenger

Source: © The Avengers / Marvel Studios and co-producers, © 13 Hours / Paramount Pictures and co-producers

It seems that no one can play Captain America better than Chris Evans. Before him, many actors auditioned for this role and one of them was John Krasinski. However, the actors also turned the role down. It was because Chris Hemsworth, who had recently been cast as Thor, saw The Office star half-suited and said he looked good but Krasinski was aware that he’d never be able to match up with Hemsworth’s physique as a fellow actor.

#9 Tom Hiddleston in Thor

Source: © Thor: The Dark World / Marvel Studios and co-producers© The Night Manager / The Ink Factory and co-producers

Tom Hiddleston really wanted to play Thor so he beefed up from 180 pounds to 198 pounds. But he couldn’t get the role. Eventually, he landed the role of bad guy Loki.

#10 Matthew McConaughey in Titanic

Source: © Titanic / Paramount Pictures and co-producers© The Wedding Planner / Columbia Pictures and co-producers

Matthew was chosen to play Jack in “Titanic”. Everyone praised his performance while he auditioned with Kate Winslet. But James Cameron casted Leo because he realized the impact Leo had on women back.

#11 Jennifer Lawrence in Twilight

Source: © The Twilight Saga: The New Moon / Temple Hill Entertainment and co-producers© Silver Linings Playbook / Spyglass Media Group and co-producers

Jennifer Lawrence nearly got the role of Bella Swan in the Twilight Sage. However, she refused it because she thought that the movie wouldn’t be successful.

#12 Joaquin Phoenix in Doctor Strange

Source: © Doctor Strange In The Multiverse of Madness / Marvel Studios and co-producers© The Master / Spyglass Media Group and co-producers

Benedict Cumberbatch nailed the role of Doctor Strange and it’s hard to imagine anyone except him playing the part. However, he wasn’t the first choice. Joaquin Phoenix was offered the role but she couldn’t see himself in it and decided to say no to the role
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