Sometimes, even A-list actors got rejected for movie roles.
There are a lot of factors that play into the casting process of any movie. It might be a bad test reading, or they just don’t fit what the director envisages for the role. Some actors are even recast despite filming has already begun. There could be dozens of reasons why an actor was not cast for a role.
It’s tough to find the perfect cast for a movie. To find the right person to bring a character to life, the casting director has to work with a lot of candidates, both famous and unknown. And only one can get the role. That means dozens of others will miss out on what could be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
And some reasons are more outrageous than others. Find out the 11 bizarre reasons why famous actors were turned down for iconic movies.
#1 Brenda Song: Crazy Rich Asians. Verdict: Not Asian enough.
Source: Leon Bennett / WireImage / Getty Images
“A lot of people don’t know this, but I never got to read for Crazy Rich Asians, ever,” the Suite Life actor confessed in an interview with Teen Vogue. In a nutshell, their explanation was that her appearance was not Asian enough.
Source: Jean Baptiste Lacroix / WireImage / Getty Images
In a Twitter reaction to Entertainment Weekly, Crazy Rich Asians filmmaker Jon M. Chu contested Song’s allegation. He’s horrified that she believes this is the cause. “The truth is that I admire and admire Brenda Song. I didn’t need her to audition because I was already familiar with her!”
#2 Tom Holland: Finn in Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens. Verdict: Botched audition.
Source: Mike Marsland / Mike Marsland / WireImage / Getty Images
Holland revealed in an interview with Backstage: “I’d had four or five auditions… I remember shooting this sequence with this lady, bless her heart, and she was nothing more than a drone. So I was doing all of this, thinking to myself, ‘We have to get back to the ship!’
Source: Chung Sung-jun / Getty Images
‘Bleep, bloop bloop, bleep bloop, bleep bloop, bleep bloop, bleep bloop, bleep I couldn’t help but chuckle. It was hilarious to me. And I felt terrible for her because she was attempting to be a convincing robot or drone or whatever they’re called. Obviously, I didn’t get the part. That was hardly my finest hour.”
Source: Getty Images / Disney / Lucasfilm / Everett Collection
The role ultimately went to John Boyega.
#3 Andrew Garfield: Prince Caspian in The Chronicles of Narnia. Verdict: Not handsome enough.
Source: David Livingston / Getty Images
Garfield revealed in an interview with Entertainment Tonight: “I remember feeling desperate. I tried out for the role of Prince Caspian in The Chronicles of Narnia and thought, This could be it; this might be it. I recall being obsessed.”
Source: David Livingston / Getty Images
When the Spider-Man actor was denied the part, he went to his agency to find out why, and was informed he wasn’t “handsome enough.”
Source: Getty Images
Ben Barnes was eventually cast in the role.
#4 Freddie Prinze Jr.: Peter Parker/Spider-Man in Spider-Man (2002). Verdict: Auditioning for the wrong character.
Source: Vincent Sandoval / Getty Images
Prinze Jr. revealed in an episode of his podcast Prinze and the Wolf: “I had a meeting with Sam [Raimi] and was both delighted and frightened. We sat down — he was only talking to maybe three people — and I sat down, and he said, ‘So, tell me, tell me why you love Spider-Man?'”
Source: Theo Wargo / Getty Images for NBC
“I go into this entire like world of what my favorite aspects of Spider-Man were,” the actor said, “and I mistakenly bring up the alien symbiote, which is Venom, right?” “I honestly drove home irritated and outraged because you simply spoke about Venom instead of Spider-Man for 25 minutes, you stupid a—hole.”
Source: Getty Images / Sony Pictures / Everett Collection
Tobey Maguire, of course, won the job in the end.
#5 Harry Styles: Elvis Presley in Elvis. Verdict: Too famous
Source: Jo Hale / Redferns / Getty Images
In a recent Fitzy & Wippa podcast interview, Elvis director Baz Luhrmann explained: “The main problem with Harry is that he’s Harry Styles. He’s already a celebrity. Harry and I arrived at a point where he was anxious to put on the suit and go exploring.”
Luhrmann, on the other hand, described Styles as “very gifted” and a “wonderful spirit.”
Source: Don Arnold / WireImage / Getty Images
Austin Butler was eventually cast in the role.
#6 Robert Redford: Benjamin in The Graduate. Verdict: Too dashing to be a loser.
Source: Dominique Charriau / Getty Images
Director Mike Nichols remembered in an interview with Vanity Fair: “‘You can’t play [Benjamin],’ I said. ‘You should never play a loser.’ ‘What do you mean?’ said Redford. Sure, I can play a loser.’ And I asked, ‘OK, have you ever struck out with a girl?’ He replied, ‘What do you mean?’ He wasn’t kidding either.”
Source: Archive Photos / Getty Images
Dustin Hoffman was eventually cast in the role.
#7 Robin Williams: Hagrid or Remus Lupin in the Harry Potter franchise. Verdict: Not being British.
Source: Kevin Winter / Getty Images
Casting director Janet Hirshenson explains why director Christopher Columbus passed down Williams for the role of Hagrid in an interview with the Huffington Post.
Source: Warner Bros/Courtesy Everett Collection
“[Williams] genuinely wanted to be in the movie,” she explained, “but it was a British-only decree.” “And once [Columbus] said no to Robin, he was never going to say yes to anyone else.”
Source: Getty Images
In an interview with Total Film, Columbus stated that telling Williams that he couldn’t play Lupin was “extremely painful.” Columbus went on to say in another interview with Insider, “Robin would have been fantastic as Lupin. It may have been interpreted differently.”
Robbie Coltrane was cast in the role of Hagrid, and David Thewlis was cast in the role of Lupin.
#8 Sean Young: Vicki Vale in Batman. Verdict: Not available for filming.
Source: Theo Wargo / WireImage / Getty Images
Sean Young was cast as Vicki Vale in Batman, but after breaking her arm, she was let go and replaced by Kim Basinger. Young famously turned up to the Warner Bros. studio lot dressed as Catwoman to attempt to convince director Tim Burton that she was suitable for the job — which did not impress him.
Mark Canton, a Warner Bros. executive, described the incident in the behind-the-scenes documentary Shadow of the Bat: “My office door flew open, indicating how different security is these days, and Michael Keaton and I witnessed Sean Young dressed as Catwoman leap over my sofa and declare, ‘I am Catwoman!’ We both stared at each other and said, ‘Whoa.'”
Source: Getty Images / Warner Bros. / Everett Collection
Young confirmed to the Hollywood Reporter that Burton was not there on the studio property to see her prank. In another effort to earn the role, Young appeared on The Joan Rivers Show costumed as Catwoman, as seen above.
Michelle Pfeiffer was eventually cast as Catwoman.
#9 Zoë Kravitz: The Dark Knight Rises. Verdict: Too urban.
Source: Mike Coppola / Getty Images
In an interview with the Observer, the Batman star explained: “I’m not sure if it came straight from [director] Christopher Nolan. I believe it was either a casting director or a casting director’s assistant. Being a woman of color and an actor at the time, being told that I couldn’t read because of the color of my skin, and having the word ‘urban’ tossed around like that, was what was so difficult about that period.”
Source: Frazer Harrison / Getty Images
Kravitz subsequently shared the following on her Instagram story: “I did not bring this up to point fingers or make anybody appear, racist, including Chris Nolan, the film’s producers, or anyone on the casting crew since I genuinely think no one intended any harm. I was merely describing what it was like to be a woman of color in this industry at the time.” She also stated that she was looking for a “minor role” in The Dark Knight, not the role of Catwoman.
#10 Eddie Redmayne: Kylo Ren in Star Wars. Verdict: Lack of a good “evil” voice/Bad Darth Vader impression.
Source: Jeff Spicer / Getty Images for SOLT
Redmayne recounted his audition in an interview with Uproxx: “They offered me something out of a Star Trek episode – or something out of Pride and Prejudice. That was one of those movies. They don’t give you the real lines in top-secret flicks. So they show you a Pride and Prejudice scenario, but then they tell you you’re auditioning for the evil guy. If you’re like me, you’ll put on some ludicrous voice.”
Source: Gregg Deguire / WireImage / Getty Images
“[Nina Gold] was just sitting there, and I was trying different variations of my kind of ‘koohh paaaaah’ [Darth Vader breathing sound] voice,” Redmayne said. “And after about ten rounds, she asks, ‘Do you have anything else?’ ‘No,’ I said.”
Source: Getty Images / Disney / LucasFilm / Everett Collection
Adam Driver was eventually cast in the role.
#11 Chris Klein: Sky in Mamma Mia! Verdict: Can’t sing.
Source: Alberto E. Rodriguez / Getty Images
The American Pie star stated in an interview with Huffington Post: “So an audition I did for Mamma Mia! years ago ended up on the internet. And it’s a dreadful audition. And I took a chance despite the fact that I can’t sing! I’m not sure why I was in there. But I took a risk! It’s a musical, so let’s see if I can pull it off. And, you know, the way they throw it out there, it gets taken out of context and everything. It was a very horrible audition. Man, talk about a reason I didn’t get a part!”
Source: Getty Images / Universal Pictures / Everett Collection