While some performers have to battle it out with other actors tooth and claw to land a major role, others may pass up quite appealing opportunities. But there are instances when the circumstances force people to reconsider their choices.
It is not uncommon for these parts to become some of the most memorable in the filmographies of the actors that play them. We took a look at the parts that actors and actresses had first expressed little interest in doing but which, to our great good fortune, they ultimately decided to take on nonetheless.
1. Angela Bassett In Black Panther
Source: Black Panther
Angela Bassett answered “no” after reading the screenplay for the Black Panther sequel. It was upsetting for the actress that her character, Queen Ramonda, would be killed off. She debated the issue with the film’s director. But he justified his choice to her and coaxed her into the venture. The actress keeps her fingers crossed that her character will return in future Marvel films.
2. Robert Pattinson In Batman
Robert Pattinson knew nothing about Batman, even though Bruce Wayne had been a role model for generations of young boys. Unlike Christian Bale, who immersed himself in Batman media in preparation for his role in Nolan’s Batman Begins, Robert was less than enamored with the character. Nonetheless, he accepted the part, which turned out to be a career highlight.
3. Chris Pratt In Guardians of the Galaxy
Source: Guardians of the Galaxy
While several generations of boys grew up thinking of Bruce Wayne as their role model, Robert Pattinson didn’t know much about this superhero. Unlike Christian Bale, who studied all the comics and movies about Batman before his appearance in Nolan’s Batman Begins, Robert wasn’t as enthusiastic. But he still agreed to the role, and it was one of the best roles of his career.
4. Zoe Saldaña In Avatar
Here we have again another masterwork that was initially met with skepticism. The nightmare-like, CGI-heavy film of the future was depicted in detail. And when Zoe Saldaa read the screenplay, she got the chills. However, she gambled and succeeded. The actress planned to spend many days (and nights!) training in equestrian skills, martial arts, and archery. According to Zoe, it was the most challenging job she’s ever had to do.
5. Dev Patel In Slumdog Millionaire
Source: Slumdog Millionaire
In one of the interviews, Dev Patel admitted that he had been wrong about Slumdog Millionaire’s success. The young performer didn’t think it was particularly remarkable. The project’s size and scope didn’t bother him because of its importance to the community. If you had told him then that the film would go on to win both the Golden Globe and the Academy Award, he would have laughed out loud.
The production company had low expectations for Slumdog Millionaire. They had no idea who could be interested in hearing the tale. Despite the odds, Patel became a household name because to the efforts of filmmakers Danny Boyle and Loveleen Tandan.
6. Brad Pitt In Troy
Brad Pitt didn’t have a secret desire to play Achilles in Troy. The actor’s contractual obligations required him to participate in the production. Therefore, his approval was necessary. His demeanor in the workplace undoubtedly suffered, and he made it clear that he was unhappy with the movie’s content.
7. Leonardo DiCaprio In Titanic
Leonardo accepted an acting role in Titanic because he wanted to work with Kate Winslet. Their relationship is the stuff of legends. When 20-year-old Leonardo DiCaprio auditioned for James Cameron’s film, he had no clue that the part of Jack Dawson would be one of the most memorable of his career. After his breakout performances in What’s Eating Gilbert Grape and Romeo + Juliet, he gained widespread acclaim.
Not wanting to be typecast as the “blue-eyed lovely kid,” he pursued a more rugged appearance. But the film’s producers successfully attempted to get him to participate. Furthermore, Kate Winslet was a big assistance. She subsequently explained that she tried all in her power to get him to accept the role since she admired his acting ability.
8. Emily Blunt In The Devil Wears Prada
Source: Getty Images
Director David Frankel of The Devil Wears Prada tried out more than a hundred women for the part of Miranda Priestly’s secretary but ultimately decided against casting anyone. Emily Blunt was so focused on being cast in Eragon that she ignored all other potential roles. Frankel initially resisted reading lines for The Devil Wears Prada, but her casting agent spotted potential and convinced her to do so.
We quickly realized that she wasn’t a good fit. It wasn’t that she didn’t want to play the part; it was only that Emily Blunt had a British accent, and the character was American. But the director saw potential in her and cast her regardless; the part became a huge hit for Blunt.
9. Austin Butler In Elvis
The director of The Devil Wears Prada, David Frankel, auditioned more than 100 actresses for the role of Miranda Priestly’s assistant, but none were right. At the time, Emily Blunt wanted to be in Eragon, and couldn’t think about any other projects. But Frankel’s casting agent saw potential in her and made the actress read a few lines for The Devil Wears Prada.
At first sight, she wasn’t the right fit. It wasn’t about her reluctance to play the role; the character was an American, and Blunt has a British accent. But the director hired her anyway, and it ended up being one of Blunt’s most popular roles.