It takes just one role to start an actor’s career. Well, it takes the right role. Whether it’s the part that catapults a newbie’s career into a non-stop adventure or a script that completely changes the trajectory of an actor’s future, choosing the right roles is key to success in the entertainment business. So what would happen if an actor was offered a role that would become of one the most beloved characters of all time, but he or she looked over the script and decided to pass on the opportunity?
That’s what happened to these celebrities. They’ve all been offered roles that have become staples of the Hollywood world and iconic characters throughout American film and television. Are these roles iconic because of the actors who played them or simply because the characters were written to perfection right from the start?
John Travolta: Forrest Gump
John Travolta wasn’t the only A-list actor who turned down the part of the lovable and memorable Forrest Gump.
Both Bill Murray and Chevy Chase passed over it as well before it landed into the hands of Tom Hanks.
Katie Holmes: Piper Chapman, Orange is the New Black & Buffy Summers, Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Katie Holmes almost starred as Piper Chapman in the Netflix original series, Orange is the New Black.
That wasn’t the only major character that Holmes almost played, she also auditioned for the role of Buffy in Buffy the Vampire Slayer but was eliminated due to her age at the time.
Jack Nicholson: Michael Corleone, The Godfather
Jack Nicholson didn’t think he was right to play Michael Corleone in The Godfather because he believed that an Italian role needed to be played by none other than an Italian.
Robert Redford, Martin Sheen and Warren Beatty were some of the other A-list actors that were considered for the role of Corleone.
Reese Witherspoon: Sidney Prescott, Scream
Reese Witherspoon was actually offered to play Sidney Prescott, from the hit movie trilogy, Scream, however, she ended up turning it down.
It didn’t seem to hurt Witherspoon’s career as she is still one of the most sought-after, highest-paid actresses in Hollywood.
Johnny Depp: Ferris Bueller, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
John Hughes wrote the script for this smash-hit with Matthew Broderick in mind, but it was Johnny Depp who was offered the role first.
Fortunately enough for fans, Depp was unable to commit and Broderick was cast in the widely-loved role.
Sandra Bullock: Margaret “Maggie” Fitzgerald, Million Dollar Baby
Sandra Bullock, was originally cast to star in Million Dollar Baby as Margaret Fitzgerald.
Because of scheduling conflicts with Miss Congeniality 2, Hilary Swank scooped up the opportunity to play the role!
Tom Hanks: Jerry Maguire
Tom Hanks passed on playing the role of Jerry Maguire, who was eventually popularized by leading man, Tom Cruise.
Hanks has been quoted in the past saying that Jerry Maguire was perfect and no one else could have played the part but Tom Cruise.