One of the most, if not the most important aspects of a film, is casting. It can really make or break a project. We’ve all thought after watching a movie, “the story itself was great, but the lead actor felt miscast.” Have you ever wondered what if different actors played some of the most iconic roles of all time?
Here are twelve movie roles that were played to perfection, but the actors who played these parts were not actually the producer’s first choice. Many of these roles really and truly ended up making the careers of the actors, putting them on the map in a way the roles they previously played had not done so before.
One of the most surprising things about this list are the contenders. While most of these roles went to A-list actors, producers considered a whole lot of B, C and even D listers, as well. For example, for one of these roles, both Madonna and Garbrielle Carteris (Andrea from Beverly Hills 90210) were considered. They are totally different types. Would you believe that Reese Witherspoon and Nicolette Sheridan were also considered for the same part? And then there are the what-ifs? Sometimes, actors want to take certain parts but are forced to drop out due to scheduling conflicts. Then, it is the producer’s second or sometimes even third choice that ends up getting cast, owning the role and fans can’t imagine it any other way.
12. Anastasia Steele in Fifty Shades of Grey
A lot of very popular actresses were considered for the highly coveted role of Anastasia Steele, including Shailene Woodley, Elizabeth Olsen and Emma Watson. Kristen Stewart was also considered, which makes sense because Fifty Shades was based on Twilight fan fiction. Lucy Hale of Pretty Little Liars read for the part, but she was rather uncomfortable with the material and said in an interview, “It was a two-page monologue of exactly what you would think it would …it was sort of one of those things where you just had to go for it or you’re just gonna look lame — hopefully, I didn’t look lame.” Ultimately, casting directors chose Dakota Johnson.
11. Christian Grey in Fifty Shades of Grey
Sons of Anarchy hunk, Charlie Hunnam was originally cast as the future Christian Grey, but reportedly had to drop out because he was tied up with a scheduling conflict, shooting his hit show, Sons of Anarchy. However, rumors were abound after he was cast that fans weren’t too happy with this news (completely outraged, actually) and the role was re-cast. Producers considered actors Matt Bomer, Theo James, Christian Cooke and Ian Sommerhalder, but the role ultimately went to British actor, Jamie Dornan.
10. Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games
Producers wanted Emma Roberts to play Katniss Everdeen in the highly anticipated book adaptation of The Hunger Games, but she turned it down to do Scream 4 (bad move). Shailene Woodley was also offered the role, but decided to take on The Spectacular Now instead. Hailee Steinfeld was apparently another option but, she turned down Katniss to play the iconic role of Juliet, in what turned out to be a very un-iconic remake of the Shakespeare classic. Chloe Moretz was also reportedly hungry for the part and told the press she would “die to play Katnis,” but hey, she’s still alive. The role, as we all know, ended up going to Jennifer Lawrence.
9. Lillian in Bridesmaids
It’s hard to imagine anyone other than Saturday Night Live star, Maya Rudolph playing Lillian in the hilarious ensemble comedy Bridesmaids, but when first casting the movie, producers had some other actresses in mind for the role. Who were they? One actress they considered was Mindy Kaling. Mindy Kaling is adorable and funny, but so not Maya Rudolph. Rose Byrne also read for Lillian and was not offered the part, but was later asked to read for Helen, a role which she ended up playing to absolute perfection.
8. Vivian Ward in Pretty Woman
Vivian Ward was the role that made Julia Roberts’ career. But, she wasn’t the first choice for the part. Sandra Bullock was actually offered the role, but ultimately turned it down. Molly Ringwald was also asked to play Vivian, but producers really wanted the adorable Meg Ryan for the iconic part. And there was a long list of other Hollywood actresses that wanted the part, including Geena Davis, Bo Derek, Madonna, Heather Locklear, Tatum O’Neal, Justine Bateman, Kathleen Turner, Melanie Griffith, Sharon Stone and Phoebe Cates, but Roberts won everyone over, and the rest is history.
7. Gordon Gecko in Wall Street
Gordon Gekko of the Oliver Stone film Wall Street, is one of the most interesting and unforgettable characters ever played. It’s really hard to imagine anyone could play Gekko other than Michael Douglas, but the producers actually had another actor in mind when they were casting the part, James Woods. He turned down the role to do a movie called Cop, which turned out to be a pretty forgettable flick. Jack Nicholson was also asked to play Gekko, but he had to turn down the role due to scheduling conflicts with The Witches of Eastwick and Ironwood.
6. Agent J in Men in Black
Can you imagine Ross Geller from the Friends fame playing a Will Smith part? Well, that’s exactly what producers thought when they wanted him to play the role of Agent J in Men In Black. But, David Schwimmer ultimately turned down the role in order to do The Pallbearer, a Gwyneth Paltow romantic comedy that was dead on arrival. He said he chose to do The Pallbearer instead of Men In Black because he wanted to “grow rather than go for the quick cash.” Well, that didn’t exactly turn out well for professor Geller.
5. Peter Parker in Spider-Man (2002)
Everyone loves Tobey Maguire and he played the role of Peter Parker in Spiderman (2002) to perfection. But, he wasn’t the only actor considered for the popular role. Edward Furlong, who played John Conner in Terminator 2, was also in the running. Wes Bentley was considered the fan favorite to play Peter Parker and Toby’s good friend Leonardo DiCaprio, was also an option. Producers originally didn’t want to cast Toby Maguire because they felt he didn’t have the right look, but after he bulked up for his screen test, they choose the right spider, Spiderman, that is.
4. The Title Role in The Terminator
Former Orion pictures president, Mike Medavoy really wanted O.J. Simpson to be the Terminator. In an interview, director James Cameron said “Medavoy came to me and [producer Gale Anne Hurd] he said, ‘Are you sitting down? You must sit down. I want O.J. Simpson for the Terminator.” Gale and I just looked at each other and thought, you’ve got to be f- - -ing kidding me. How do we get out of this?” A big problem Cameron had was with the idea of an African-American man chasing around a white woman with a knife. The irony of that isn’t lost on anyone.
3. Tiffany in Silver Linings Playbook
Anne Hathaway originally had Jennifer Lawrence’s role in Silver Linings Playbook, but she apparently had creative differences with director David O. Russell and split from the project entirely. Enter, David O. Russell’s favorite actress, who probably did a way better job than Anne Hathaway ever could have. And Lawrence’s on-screen chemistry with co-star Bradley Cooper was undeniable. She even won an Oscar for the role, but don’t worry, Anne Hathaway got hers the same year, for best supporting actress in Les Miserables. We guess she wasn’t too miserable about that.
2. Rose in Titanic
Did you know that Kate Winslet’s iconic Oscar nominated role as Rose in Titanic almost ended up going to actress Gwyneth Paltrow? There were many other actresses considered as well, including some you would never expect, like Christina Applegate, Nicollette Sheridan, Tori Spelling, Gabrielle Carteris and Madonna. But, there were also some actresses you wouldn’t be surprised were in the running, including Leo’s Romeo + Juliet co-star Claire Danes, Jennifer Connelly, Angelina Jolie, Winona Ryder, Reese Witherspoon and Charlize Theron. Kate Winslet was definitely the right choice.
1. Regina George in Mean Girls
Producers wanted Lindsay Lohan to play the part of Regina George in the popular movie Mean Girls, but she declined because she apparently didn’t want audiences to think she was a mean girl. Eventually, Lohan agreed to play Cady. According to the director, Mark Walters, studio head Sherry Lansing insisted Lindsay play Cady, telling him “‘We have to have Lindsay play the lead in Mean Girls. It’s just not going to work having her play the villain, because she now has an audience that won’t accept that.’” Lindsay, the villain? Oh, no. Not a chance.