Being a movie star is not only about going in front of a camera and acting out a character that was previously written for you. There is so much behind the scenes that we never get to know or even understand, that people mostly get the wrong idea about Hollywood and the movie industry as a whole a lot of the time. First, have you ever stopped to think about how many of the great movies you have watched could have been different in a fundamental level? Just imagine if instead of having Reese Witherspoon portraying Elle Woods in Legally Blonde, we had someone like Christina Applegate playing the role. Yeah, that would change the movie at a fundamental level. And yes, for those of you already asking yourselves, that is one of the entries we will have on this list. Actors and actresses don’t become known throughout the world just because of the roles they play, but also because of the ones they let slip away.
A regular movie fan would be surprised at the number of iconic roles that went to actors or actresses who were not even the third or fourth option the director and production staff had for the part. So, without any further delay, let’s show you 10 actors who regret not taking roles and 10 who regret the roles they landed.
20 Took: Sean Connery
James Bond is one of the biggest characters of all time. It is almost impossible for you to go around the streets of any country and ask if a random person knows Agent 007 and get a negative answer. Everyone knows who James Bond was, and most people know all of the actors who have portrayed the legendary secret agent on the big screen.
One of the men who received most acclamation for the role was Sean Connery, who started playing James Bond in the 60s.
What many people might not have realized is that despite the fact that he was the first James Bond, Sean Connery might also be the one person in the world who most hates James Bond. Apparently, he got tired of the role so quickly that he began giving his salary to charity and said he would end James Bond if he had a chance. (Source: FirstPost)
19 Didn’t Take: Michelle Pfeiffer And Jodie Foster
Michelle Pfeiffer and Jodie Foster are two of the most decorated actresses of all time. To put it all into awards, Michelle was nominated for three different Academy Awards and even won a Golden Globe for best actress. Jodie has even more accolades, as she was the recipient of two Academy Awards as well as three Golden Globes. Yeah, these two are ladies who have already done everything there is to do in the movie industry. However, even in their illustrious careers, there was one movie that both of them probably regret not being a part of. That movie was Thelma and Louise.
Both Michelle and Jodie were cast during the preproduction of the movie, but the process took so long that they had to decline the roles because they had to work on other projects. (Source: Today)
18 Took: Bill Murray
Bill Murray is one of those actors who doesn’t need to prove anything to anyone. Come on, the guy was one of the leads in Ghostbusters, you can’t really beat that. But more than iconic roles that became classics, Murray has always been one of those guys who, whenever someone saw his name in a movie poster, it would be like a synonym to a good motion picture. That might be why playing Garfield became one of the biggest regrets of Murray’s career.
At first, it sounded like a joke, but it is not tough to see why Murray was not satisfied with the end-result of Garfield.
The problem was that the script was terrible, and apparently, the director decided to film all of the live-action scenes before Murray got a chance to be Garfield, which meant he could change nothing with improvisation. (Source: Collider)
17 Didn’t Take: Christina Applegate
Sometimes you think that you are too grand for a role. This happens when fame goes up to someone’s head. However, the problem here is when that fame is not yet enough to keep you relevant in the Hollywood landscape. One person who portrays that truth very well is Christina Applegate. In 2001, she was one of the best up-and-coming actresses in the business after her success in the TV series Married... with Children.
Because of that, she was reluctant to take a similar role to the one she had, which would have been the case if she had agreed to play Elle Woods in Legally Blonde.
Yes, ladies, your favorite lawyer was never supposed to be Reese Witherspoon, it was supposed to be Christina Applegate. Unfortunately for Christina, she turned down a role that could have made her skyrocket in Hollywood. (Source: ETOnline)
16 Took: Matt Damon
After the juggernaut success that was The Martian, we find it hard to believe that in any point of his career, Matt Damon thought he made a decision that could cost him the rest of said career. However, it seems like he had this very real concern before the Bourne Ultimatum went to theaters.
Apparently, Damon thought the script was so terrible that not even all of the action scenes would be able to save the third film in the Bourne franchise.
And despite how openly he voiced his concerns, Universal Pictures disregarded everything he had to say and continued production. Since he was under contract, there was little Matt could do but complete the project and try to save what he thought was already a goner. Surprisingly, the movie did pretty well and pulled in around $442 million at the box office. (Source: EOnline)
15 Didn’t Take: John Travolta
Tom Hanks has become one of the most iconic actors of all time, and a lot of that has to do with him playing larger-than-life characters like Forrest Gump. The thing is that Hanks was not supposed to play this particular iconic character. Not at all, Tom was actually not even the third choice for this part. The guy who got the first call was supposedly John Travolta, who unwittingly decided to turn down the part that would go one to earn Tom Hanks his second Oscar.
Now, this is one that must sting because no matter how famous Travolta is, the one thing he has yet to win in the movie industry is an Academy Award. Yeah, the guy was nominated two times for the award of best actor, first in 1978 for his role in Saturday Night Fever, and then in 1995 for the classic Pulp Fiction, but couldn't land a win. (Source: IMBD)
14 Took: Kate Winslet
Sometimes it doesn’t matter how great a movie is, actors and actresses just hate the role they played from time to time. A surprising one we found out about was that Kate Winslet absolutely despised her acting in Titanic. Yeah, right? This was arguably one of the greatest movies of all time, and the leading actress hated her own acting? It doesn’t make a lot of sense, but it is the truth.
The movie grossed a ridiculous $2.187 billion at the box offices, and Kate was still mad at how she acted.
What is most mind-boggling about this fact is that she was nominated for an Academy Award because of that same acting. Maybe she thought it would only be good enough if she had won the biggest prize in cinema. (Source: Hollywood)
13 Didn’t Take: Harrison Ford
Once you become Han Solo, it is hard to top that in terms of star power for a character. At the same time, when someone has become so recognized for juggernaut roles like Han Solo and Indiana Jones, it becomes tough for the audience to think of that actor as anything other than one of those characters. This was the main reason why Harrison Ford declined Steven Spielberg’s invite to play the main character in the 1993 Schindler’s List.
Ford thought that it would be a bad deal for the movie and the story behind it to have his face connected to the main character as it would probably take away from the figure of Oskar Schindler. This might have been a good decision for the movie as a whole, but no one can deny that Harrison must feel a bit of disappointment for not being a part of such a massive project. (Source: IMBD)
12 Took: Ben Affleck
Since we already mentioned Matt Damon and how he feared his career would end because of a single movie, we thought it would be impossible to get to the end without at least mentioning his partner in crime, Ben Affleck. After all, while Damon thought his career would be over because of one film, Affleck almost had that happen for real.
When people think Daredevil these days they imagine the Netflix series, which is amazing. And someone who is probably very happy with that is Ben Affleck. For those of you who don’t remember, Affleck played the visually impaired lawyer/superhero in a 2003 movie adaptation. A movie adaptation that was so bad Affleck openly said he hated the movie and it also cost him a long time to bounce back within the industry. This is an episode that makes you wonder why he agreed to be Batman now. (Source: NME)
11 Didn’t Take: Katie Holmes
Some people have bad luck, but some just seem to make bad choices all the time. Better yet, some folks pay hefty prices for the road not taken. Some could claim that Katie Holmes is about as good as choosing her movie roles as she is in choosing husbands (cough… Tom Cruise…cough). Those people would not be too far off if you are someone who agrees that Katie’s marriage to Tom Cruise was not the greatest of times in her life.
Talking about her professional life, there are two roles she could have taken that would have put her in the new standard of celebrity life and professional recognition. The first one was at the beginning of her career when she refused to play Buffy in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The second is a more recent example, as Katie rejected the part of Piper Chapman in Orange is the New Black. (Source: EOnline)
10 Took: Everyone In Fifty Shades Of Grey
It takes a special movie for everyone at the high-end of the cast to regret being a part of the production. It is even more surprising when said movie is the adaptation of an acclaimed best-selling novel. However, this is the position Fifty Shades of Grey finds itself in these days.
First, there were the two lead actors, who openly said that they were ashamed of some of the stuff they did during the movie.
Dakota Johnson said her regrets are not continuous as they come from time to time but are still there. Jamie Dornan is very open about how he regrets ever being a part of those movies, which goes along the same lines with what the director of the film, Sam Taylor-Johnson, thinks of the work they did. (Source: News)
9 Didn’t Take: Emily Browning
We know that there are a lot of people who despise everything that has to do with the Twilight Saga. Yes, they might have ruined vampires for a lot of folks, but no one can deny Twilight was one of the biggest movie successes of all time.
In case you haven’t realized, hate also sells tickets, and Twilight got a lot of those sales.
And one of the reasons for all that hate was how the main character was played by Kristen Stewart. It indeed is tough to imagine anyone being able to portray such an emotionless character as well as Stewart did, but it turns out that even the author of the novels did not get her preference in terms of the main character. Stephanie Meyer apparently wanted Emily Browning to play Bella Swan. (Source: MTV)
8 Took: Robert Pattison
For the people who thought the Twilight movies were good, one of the reasons for that might have been the fact that Robert Pattison hated his character with such a passion that he played Edward Cullen almost to a fault. Sure, Robert was probably glad at first that the movie provided him a chance to have a relationship with his co-star Kristen Stewart away from the cameras, but when it comes to the movie itself, he was very open as to how much he hated all of it.
Be it because he was playing a guy who seemed too perfect to be real, he decided the right way to portray Edward was as a “manic-depressed who hates himself.”
Oh yeah, it also seems he despised the attention he got from all the Twilight fangirls and even said that their screams are probably what people hear at the gates of hell. (Source: Smosh)
7 Didn’t Take: Sandra Bullock
Like a lot of the other actors and actresses on this list, Sandra Bullock is not someone who needed a breakout movie role to become one of the greatest celebrities in Hollywood. Much on the contrary, Bullock is known for receiving countless awards and being recognized as one of the best at what she does. A few of the awards she has won include a 2010 Academy Award for best actress in a leading role, honouring her part in the movie The Blind Side, as well as a Golden Globe for that same movie.
That being said, like any other actress, there is one role she regrets not being able to take. In Sandra’s case, it was the role of Maggie Fitzgerald in Million Dollar Baby. The part would fall on the lap of Hilary Swank, who nailed it and won an Oscar for it. (Source: Complex)
6 Took: Halle Berry
So, if everyone here is a movie fan, there is a good chance that you know what a Razzie Award is. If you don’t, just think of it as the reverse Oscars. These are the awards given by the public to the worst movies, actors, and actresses of any given year. As you can imagine, this is not exactly the kind of award you would see an actor or actress making a speech for, or even attending an event to accept it.
Well, Halle Berry despised her role in the 2004 flick, Catwoman, so much that she actually went in person to accept the award and even had a little speech ready to celebrate her newest accomplishment.
And yes, it was about as sarcastic as speeches come. Her precise words were: "I want to thank Warner Bros. for casting me in this piece-of-sh--, god-awful movie." (Source: Telegraph)
5 Didn’t Take: Josh Hartnett
When you are given a chance to play Bruce Wayne, a.k.a. Batman, you take that chance. Yeah, there have been bad Batman movies at times, but ultimately when you play a character like this, the upside vastly outweighs the downsides of a career decision like this. Someone who was given the opportunity to play Bruce Wayne in Batman Begins was Josh Hartnett.
Most of you probably know Josh for his work in the 2014 television series Penny Dreadful, or for his parts in action movies like Black Hawk Down and Pearl Harbor. Don’t get us wrong, those were all superb acting parts that he played very well, but none of them was as career changing as becoming Batman would have been for this guy. The only one thanking him for refusing the job offer must be Christian Bale, who became arguably the best Batman of all time. (Source: TheGuardian)
4 Took: Carrie Fisher
The late Carrie Fisher was one of the most interesting Hollywood stars we have seen in recent years, to say the least. She sure had her demons, but it’s hard to deny how great she was. After all, who would be able to forget the woman who portrayed Princess Leia?
Well, it turns out Carrie was not too keen on the part she played in the Star Wars universe. It is not like she didn’t like the character or anything in that sense. The problem for her was that playing Princess Leia elevated her to a level of fame that she was not too keen on achieving. She has said before that she would have never done the movie if she knew how famous she would become. But aren’t we all glad that she decided to go for it? (Source: NPR)
3 Didn’t Take: Denzel Washington
It doesn’t matter how good an actor might be, he or she ultimately becomes recognized for the decisions they make. It doesn’t matter how good you are, if you don’t choose your roles properly, you are never going to be an A-List celebrity.
Denzel Washington is most definitely someone who has been wise in picking his options and appearing in films that have become successful. But sometimes the tough decisions are the ones that make or break an actor.
Washington is a superstar, but he could be even more famous if he had only taken a chance at a new director when he could.
To be more specific, we are talking about the time when he refused to play Michael Clayton in Tony Gilroy’s directorial debut.
The part was later taken by George Clooney who turned it into an Academy Award nomination. (Source: IndieWire)
2 Took: George Clooney
No one can escape a list like this. It doesn’t matter how good you are, at some point, you will take a part you are going to be ashamed of sooner or later. Here we have the best of both worlds as we just talked about how George Clooney made a good choice when he agreed to play Michael Clayton after Denzel Washington said no. However, like any other actor, Clooney also made his bad choices. Perhaps the most notorious of those choices was his decision to play the Dark Knight in Batman & Robin.
Yes, this is one of those things you will not hear Clooney talking about any time he goes to an award ceremony or movie premiere. After all, it is something he should not only regret but be ashamed of. That was the movie that turned so many people off comic book adaptations. It took decades for the world to be ready for the next wave of superhero movies that would eventually work out. (Source: CinemaBlend)
1 Didn’t Take: Jack Nicholson
Honestly, it is hard to imagine a scenario in which Jack Nicholson would be more famous than he is today. Nevertheless, it turns out that he could have played one of the greatest characters of all time as he was first pitched the role of Michael Corleone in The Godfather.
Yes, Jack Nicholson could have played Michael Corleone. This is the kind of fact that would have literally changed the lives of a lot of people since The Godfather was such a monumental motion picture.
But even with a role this big in front of him, Jack decided to take the high road for what he thought was a better choice for the movie. His thought process was very simple. An Italian character should have been played by an Italian guy. Luckily for everyone, that Italian guy ended up being Al Pacino. (Source: TheGuardian)