The actors who played iconic characters such as Wolverine, Forrest Gump, and Dominic Toretto have done such an amazing job. In fact, their performance was so phenomenal that we could hardly imagine anybody else to replace them! Many actors were not the first choice yet nailed their roles.
Surprisingly, some of them were actually not the first choice for the characters. Let’s find out Real Actors Are NOT First Choice for their iconic roles, and who the producers had in mind instead.
1. Tom Hanks – Forrest Gump
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His spectacular performance in Forrest Gump brought Tom Hanks an Oscar, and it’s a well-earned prize. The film also won Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Visual Effects, and Best Film Editing.
None of this would have happened if John Travolta had accepted the role. Tom Hanks might not be the first choice, but only a few can think that Travolta could have brought anything better than Hanks already did. Hanks was the perfect match for the part, and there is no doubt that he played Forrest beautifully.
2. Hugh Jackman – Wolverine, X-Men
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Hugh Jackman played his part as the superhero Wolverine so well that we think the character must be specifically written for him. Well, it’s not. It was originally meant for Dougray Scott. Scott turned down the opportunity due to a prior engagement with the crew of Mission Impossible II. Thanks to this decision, Jackman was able to go from zero to hero.
Wolverine was the role that turned Hugh Jackman into a well-known star, but Jackman also brought the character to life with his amazing performance. It’s hard to imagine anybody else playing the role of the Wolverine other than him.
3. Leonardo DiCaprio – Titanic
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Titanic is a legendary romantic movie that could make even grown men cry. The success of the movie is largely thanks to the chemistry between Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet. They have truly brought Rose and Jack to life and showed us how beautiful, yet how tragic the love story between the two is.
But Leonardo DiCaprio wasn’t the first actor the producers were thinking of when they cast for Jack. According to People, Matthew McConaughey was actually the studio’s top pick. Winslet once revealed, “I auditioned with Matthew, isn’t that weird?”
4. Vin Diesel – The Fast and the Furious
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We can all agree that Dominic Toretto, the street-racing criminal who puts family above all else, is the most iconic character of the Fast and Furious franchise. And it must be Vin Diesel who plays the character, nobody else.
But in reality, Diesel wasn’t the first choice for Toretto. At first, the studio executives were keen to cast Timothy Olyphant as Dom, but Olyphant passed on the part. Thankfully, Diesel did more than what was expected and truly made the character memorable. The film producer Neal H. Moritz described this decision as “the luckiest thing that ever happened to us.”
5. Cobie Smulders – How I Met Your Mother
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How I Met Your Mother is a legendary TV show with hard-to-forget characters. One of those characters is the lovable but overly sarcastic Robin Scherbatsky. Nobody could have portrayed her better than Cobie Smulders.
However, the first choice for Robin was Jennifer Love Hewitt. The actress was offered the part but turned it down to star in Ghost Whisperer.
6. Harrison Ford – Indiana Jones
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When we think about Indiana Jones, Harrison Ford’s face is the first thing that comes to our minds. The actor played his role so well that nobody can ever replace him. However, the whip-yielding archeologist wasn’t originally written for him but Tom Selleck. Selleck turned the role down due to contractual obligations for his role in Magnum PI, which ultimately gave Ford the chance to become a legend on the Hollywood screen.
7. Kate Winslet – Titanic
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So we already know that DiCaprio wasn’t supposed to play Jack, but Kate Winslet wasn’t supposed to play Rose too!? What the heck!? As it turns out, the role of Rose Dawson was originally offered to Claire Danes. Danes stated that there was “strong interest” in her for the part, but she ultimately turned it down.
Kate Winslet didn’t disappoint though. She fully embodied the character, and her performance as Rose Dawson skyrocketed her career.
8. Patrick Dempsey – Grey’s Anatomy
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Derek Shepherd is one of the most iconic characters in Grey’s Anatomy, and nobody could have played the part better than Patrick Dempsey. But the handsome Patrick Dempsey wasn’t originally the first choice. In fact, if Rob Lowe hadn’t turned down the offer, Dempsey would never have become the rock star neurosurgeon, and we have to admit that Grey’s Anatomy wouldn’t be the same without him.
9. Reese Witherspoon – Legally Blonde
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Elle Woods is the role that turned Reese Witherspoon into a big-league actress, but she only got this chance after successful actress Christina Applegate turned it down. Reese had to go through a series of auditions to convince Metro-Goldwyn-Meyer. Her efforts paid off and we got to see Elle Woods brought to life.
10. Dakota Johnson – Fifty Shades Of Grey
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The first choice for 50 shades’ protagonist wasn’t Dakota Johnson. Anastasia Steele, or Ana for short, was originally offered to Emilia Clarke. The mother of dragons turned down the role, and we are all glad that she did. As interesting as it might be, we just can’t see Clarke as Ana.