Famous Actors/Famous Roles: Who Said No First?

Leave a comment

Hope you had a good Labor Day weekend and that you got to relax and sleep in and eat good bad food and get stuff accomplished that you wouldn’t ordinarily be able to – if it hadn’t been a holiday. P to that S, why is Labor Day — supposedly a rest from our normal labor – perhaps the most physically difficult and psychologically frustrating day to accomplish stuff because you can’t enter a store without encountering a) warring, feral customers b) wailing, heartbroken children and c) three-hour lines? Just saying. Anyway did you see any movies? I saw The Switch and even though I pretty much knew every single line/plot point because of the trailer I still found it utterly charming. Largely because Jennifer Aniston and Jason Bateman are utterly charming. Especially Jason Bateman here. And of course it’s predictable and you’ve seen these types of movies so often that you can tell the beats, and you know the stock characters (the crazy/neurotic/sleazy/arrogant/crunchy best friend, the wise/precocious child, the hapless hunk, etc.) Still, these two actors – both so charismatic and talented — do make what works about it work. And I tried to imagine who else might have been cast in the movie. Because you know every time they cast a film, all kinds of things go wrong, and the actors they want aren’t available — and those that are don’t necessarily want it, and it gets very complicated. Nor is it til you have a big hit that you hear about who else might have done it, but couldn’t – or wouldn’t. (You know, just like my favorite scene in Pretty Woman where Julia Roberts, once spurned from chic Beverly Hills shops returns with a massive amount of cash and reminds the sales girls about the “Big Mistake” they made when they turned her down initially). Both Jake Gyllenhaal and Matt Damon were offered Avatar, and the role went to Sam Worthington. That film’s now earned some two billion dollars, and even though you might agree the cash has more to do with James Cameron and less to do with Worthington, still – are Matt and Jake wishing they’d said yes? Reportedly some of the more famous ones are Tom Cruise (who turned down Footloose and Donnie Brasco) and Warren Beatty (who allegedly said no to Misery, The Sting and Wall Street ). Melanie Griffith turned down Thelma & Louise, while Tom Hanks was offered Jerry Maguire, and only took Forrest Gump when John Travolta passed. Julia Roberts wound up starring in Pretty Woman once both Molly Ringwald and Jennifer Jason Leigh said no, and for better or worse, Sean Connery skipped out on Lord Of The Rings. Similarly, The Matrix could easily have starred Will Smith or Leonardo DiCaprio. Would these movies have been as good/memorable to you then? For today’s poll, let’s take a look at a few very popular films which might seem unimaginable without the leads they had. Voice your choice in today’s featured poll and tell us which of these movies – originally cast with other lead actors – is your favorite:

1) Wall Street
2) Pretty Woman
3) The Matrix
4) Thelma & Louise

For the latest pop culture news and voting, make sure to sign up for the People’s Choice newsletter!