Choices. Life is full of them and it’s up to us to decide which opportunities to go for and which to pass up. The rub is that we can never know what the ripple effect of our decisions is going to be.
Sometimes deciding to take a chance turns out for the best, while other times, well, we’re left with nothing but regret. Should we move to a new city or even a different country? Should we get married and have children or focus our efforts on building a career? Should we take a chance with a start-up company or just stick with the safe options? Life is packed full of different paths and we need to choose which ones to pursue.
When it comes to acting, a decision about whether or not to take a role is not to be taken lightly because as we all know the choices an actor makes can send their career into the stratosphere or destroy any future prospects they might have had. No one can foresee the future so it’s always a little difficult to judge what the ripple effect of a decision will be. Sometimes you just need to stick it out, especially if you want the long-term rewards – something these 15 celebs had to learn the hard way…
15. John Travolta Couldn’t Wrap His Mind Around Forrest Gump
We know, we know, it’s almost impossible to think of anyone other than Tom Hanks playing the leading character in Forrest Gump but he actually wasn’t the first choice for the role. It was offered to Bill Murray, Chevy Chase, and John Travolta first, but they all turned it down. Travolta later admitted that he couldn’t get a feel for Forrest at the time which is why he turned down the role and that is was probably one of the biggest career mistakes he ever made. Tom Hanks, who signed on to play the role an hour after reading the script, went on to win the 1995 Academy Award for Best Actor for the role while Robert Zemeckis walked away with Best Director. The film also won Best Picture and is now considered a classic.
14. James Purefoy Could Have Starred In V For Vendetta
James Purefoy is well known for his roles in shows like Rome and The Following but did you know that he was hired to play the leading role of V in the film V for Vendetta? The story goes something like this: apparently, James decided to abandon the role because he was having difficulty acting while wearing his character’s mask and this lead to tension between him and the filmmakers. After only six weeks of filming, he left the project citing “creative differences” and Hugo Weaving was brought in to finish the film. Thankfully because of the mask it was quite easy to replace him but we’re sure he’s still kicking himself for not sticking this one out as it could have been a breakout role for him.
13. Christian Bale Couldn’t See Himself As Steve Jobs
Christian Bale is known as an actor who is more than capable of transforming himself for a role and knocking it out of the ballpark almost every time. His incredible transformations for movies like The Machinist, Fighter, and The Dark Knight were all very impressive but there was one role Bale just couldn’t see himself in. Bale was approached to play the role of Steve Jobs in Danny Boyle’s film Steve Jobs and, although he initially accepted, he quickly changed his mind. This might have had to do with Job’s wife, who apparently called several actors who were interested in the role and told them not to take it. According to Sony, she even tried to get the film canceled. The part eventually went to Michael Fassbender.
12. Jean-Claude Van Damme Walked Away From Predator After Only Two Days Of Filming
In the early 1980’s, a young Belgian martial artist named Jean-Claude Van Damme arrived in Hollywood looking to make a name for himself. He was lucky enough to land a few minor roles and people started to notice him. He was then offered a part in a big studio action flick which could have been his breakthrough role but in a bizarre turn of events, the up and coming actor decided to quit the project after only two days on set. The movie was Predator and JCVD was cast to play the alien. It seems that he was unhappy about wearing a full body cast for the special effects and complained that it made him look silly. He decided to quit when he realized that people wouldn’t see him, just the special effects.
11. Molly Ringwald Did Not Like The Idea Of Playing A Call Girl
During the nineties, Molly Ringwald was one of Hollywood’s hottest young actresses, starring in movies like Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club, and Pretty in Pink. Due to her popularity, she was offered the role of Vivian in Pretty Woman but she made the decision to turn down what could have been her most iconic role ever. Why did she do this? She didn’t like the idea of playing a call girl and she wasn’t the only one. Sharon Stone, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Madonna all turned down the part too before Julia Roberts decided to take it. Molly has admitted in many interviews over the years that she regrets not taking the role of Vivian as she believes it could have helped prolong her acting career.
10. Mark Wahlberg Couldn’t Do The Love Scenes That Brokeback Mountain Required
Mark Wahlberg has turned down a number of movie roles that could have taken his career in an entirely different direction. He passed up a chance to star in Ocean’s Eleven and also turned down the leading role in Donnie Darko because he wanted his character to have a lisp and the director would not agree. He was also considered together with Joaquin Phoenix for the leading cowboy roles in the 2005 movie Brokeback Mountain but after reading a part of the script he decided to pass because he felt the homosexual love scenes were too much for him. “I met with Ang Lee on that movie,” he said, “I read 15 pages of the script and got a little creeped out. It was very graphic, descriptive—the spitting on the hand, getting ready to do the thing.”
9. Winona Ryder Was Too Exhausted To Appear In The Godfather Part III
When a renowned director like Francis Ford Coppola offers someone a part in one of his movies you would think that they would drop everything for such a big chance. You’d think that but of course, you’d be wrong.
During the mid to late 1980s Winona Ryder was one of Hollywood’s up and coming starlets thanks to brilliant performances in films like Beetlejuice, Edward Scissorhands, and Heathers. Coppola believed that Winona would be perfect for the role of Al Pacino’s daughter in his highly-anticipated sequel The Godfather Part III and although she initially accepted she dropped out shortly before filming began. Her official explanation was that she was exhausted having just shot three other movies back to back. Coppola ended up giving the role to his inexperienced daughter Sofia, whose performance left a lot to be desired.
8. Leonardo DiCaprio Thought Playing A Serial Killer Would Alienate His Fans
As difficult as it may be to believe now there was a time when Lions Gate Films was struggling to secure an actor to play the lead in American Psycho. They first approached Johnny Depp for the part of Patrick Bateman, but he turned them down flat, as did Edward Norton, Brad Pitt, Ewan McGregor and believe it or not, Leonardo DiCaprio. DiCaprio initially accepted the role and was announced as the lead but he decided to drop out after his agents warned him that the role of a serial killer might alienate his Titanic fan base. He dropped out to do The Beach instead and the role was offered to Christian Bale who jumped at the chance to play the iconic psychotic businessman.
7. Will Smith Didn’t ‘Get’ The Matrix
Believe or not, Keanu Reeves’ most memorable role almost went to someone else – Will Smith! Smith was offered the part of Neo but when movie execs pitched the concept to him he struggled to understand it and so he turned it down. “The Matrix is a difficult concept to pitch,” he later said, “ In the pitch, I just didn’t see it. I watched Keanu [Reeves’] performance—and very rarely do I say this—but I would have messed it up. I would have absolutely messed up The Matrix. At that point, I wasn’t smart enough as an actor to let the movie be. Whereas Keanu was smart enough to just let it be. Let the movie and the director tell the story, and don’t try and perform every moment.”
6. John Travolta Couldn’t Work With Roman Polanski
Not only did John Travolta quit Roman Polanski’s film The Double, he also got sued because of it. Controversial filmmaker Polanski and Travolta had opposing ideas about the subject matter of the film, especially with regards to the lead character and this caused a massive disagreement between them. When Travolta arrived for rehearsals and discovered that Polanski had ordered rewrites without consulting with him it was the final straw and he quit right then and there. He’d already been paid $17 million to star in the film so the studio took legal action and sued him for breach of contract. Travolta countersued and eventually, the matter was settled out of court but Polanski decided to abandon the film following all the drama.
5. Harvey Keitel Couldn’t Handle Stanley Kubrick’s Filmmaking Style
Watching a Stanley Kubrick film is like watching moving art. Every shot, every frame is perfect but that didn’t just happen. The legendary director was known for being extremely demanding when it came to filming and would often demand dozens of takes to get each scene exactly the way he wanted. This obviously made him quite difficult to work with and no one knows that better than Harvey Keitel. Keitel was cast to play a supporting role in Kubrick’s sexual thriller Eyes Wide Shut but when the start date of the film kept stalling he grew frustrated and decided to quit, knowing that the movie would take forever to film. He had already committed to another film and didn’t want to miss out because of Kubrick’s exacting filmmaking style.
4. Bill Murray Did Not Get Along With His Charlie’s Angels Co-Stars
It’s difficult to imagine Bill Murray being a mean person when he always plays lovable characters that you find yourself rooting for. But according to Hollywood insiders, Murray was anything but nice to his co-star Lucy Liu on the set of Charlie’s Angels and it might have been this feud that caused him to distance himself from the franchise. According to the rumor mill, things got rocky when Murray accused Liu of not being able to act and she retaliated by throwing punches, although they have both denied that this ever happened. Murray declined to reprise his role for the sequel due to his distaste for one of his co-stars, saying, “That same person was going to be involved in the second one, so I wasn’t going to show up again.” But he is adamant that he was not referring to Liu.
3. Emily Browning Was Too Tired To Star In Twilight
Can you believe that there was an actress who actually turned down the chance to play Bella in Twilight? Well, it’s true and we bet she’s still regretting this decision.
Series author Stephanie Meyer was very keen to have Emily Browning play the role of Bella but the young actress, who is known for her roles in films like Ghost Ship, and Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events, refused to even audition for the part claiming that she was too tired. She had just finished filming the horror flick The Uninvited and claimed that she didn’t want to get involved with a role that could turn into a series. We think she would have done a much better job than sulky face Kristen Stewart and it could have been a turning point in her career. Oh well, we live and learn, right?
2. Sacha Baron Cohen Missed Out On A Chance To Play Freddie Mercury
Controversial actor Sacha Baron Cohen is well known for his alter-egos, but he missed out on the chance to play the role of one of the most influential musicians in history; Freddie Mercury. In 2010 his reps confirmed that he would be playing the role of the Queen frontman in an upcoming biopic but three years later he dropped out of the project citing “creative differences”. Apparently, the surviving members of the band felt that his presence would be “too distracting”, but Cohen said that he wasn’t happy about the fact that Mercury died midway through the film. “Listen, not one person is going to see a movie where the lead character dies from Aids and then you see how the band carries on,” he explained to Howard Stern. “There are amazing stories about Freddie Mercury. The guy was wild. There are stories of little people walking around parties with plates of cocaine on their heads!”
1. Kel O’Neill Landed A Role In ‘There Will Be Blood’ But Was Fired Two Weeks Later
Kel O’ Neill made his acting debut in the 2002 film XX/XY and followed up with roles in Easier With Practice, Stephanie Daley, and the 2007 war drama Redacted. He was then hired to play the role of Eli Sunday in There Will Be Blood but after just two weeks he was fired from the production and Paul Dano stepped in to play the role instead. According to an article in New York Times Magazine, the young and relatively inexperienced O’Neill was too intimated by Daniel Day-Lewis‘ on-set intensity and penchant for staying in character and this was the reason he was let go. “If he hadn’t fired me from There Will Be Blood, I would probably still be an actor dreaming of making my own films someday,” O’Neill later said.
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