24 Actors Who Turned Down Iconic Roles

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Can you imagine anyone other than Tom Hanks as Forest Gump? What about anyone besides Matthew Broderick as Ferris Bueller?

You won't believe what actors actually turned town those roles. In fact, we've got a list of 24 actors who passed on iconic roles -- sometimes for better, and sometimes for worse. 

Check them out below!

1. Michelle Pfeiffer, Silence of the Lambs

It's true. Maybe you can't imagine anyone other than Jodie Foster as Clarice in Silence of the Lambs, but Michelle Pfieffer was actually offered the role first. She turned it down because it was too violent.

2. Al Pacino, Star Wars

Are you sitting down? Because it's nearly impossible to imagine anyone other than Harrison Ford, but Al Pacino was actually offered the role of Han Solo on Star Wars.

3. Sarah Michelle Gellar, Clueless

That's right. Sarah Michelle Gellar passed on the role of Cher in the movie Clueless, which eventually went to Alicia Silverstone. Gellar focused on slaying vampires instead.

4. Leonardo DiCaprio, Boogie Nights

Leonardo DiCaprio probably made the right choice with this one. He turned down the role of Dirk Diggler on Boogie Nights so he could instead star in a little film called TITANIC.

5. Johnny Depp, Ferris Bueller's Day Off

Um, seriously? Try really hard to imagine Johnny Depp as Ferris Bueller, you guys. Doesn't work, does it? It's a good thing he turned down that role, because nobody other than Matthew Brokerick could be Ferris Bueller.

6. Lindsay Lohan, The Hangover

Lindsay Lohan, The Hangover
Who knows what might have happened if Lindsay Lohan hadn't turned down the role of Jade on The Hangover? Instead, that part went to Heather Graham.

7. Michael Madsen, Pulp Fiction

Okay, this one is just mind-blowing. Even though we know John Travolta as Vincent Vega in the postmodern film Pulp Fiction, it turns out, there was someone else who was offered the role first. Michael Madsen, however, was just too busy filming Wyatt Earp to be able to accept the part.

8. Will Smith, The Matrix

Um, holy cow. It's impossible to think of anyone else besides Keanu Reeves as Neo on The Matrix, but it actually really seems like a shame that Will Smith turned down the role. Why? He didn't think the film would be very successful...

9. Dana Delany, Sex and the City

Dana Delany, Sex and the City
Believe it or not, Dana Delany turned down the role as Carrie Bradshaw on Sex and the City. We definitely can't imagine anyone but Sarah Jessica Parker in that role.

10. John Travolta, Forrest Gump

This one is definitely a shocker. There's just no way we can picture someone other than Tom Hanks playing Forrest Gump, but John Travolta actually passed on that role first.

11. Henry Winkler, Grease

Henry Winkler, Grease
Henry Winkley could have played another very cool role in addition to his well-known part as Fonzie on Happy Days, but he passed on playing Danny Zuko for fear of being typecast. In an interview, he was once quoted saying, "John Travolta went on to buy a plane. I went home and had a Coke. That was probably not a really smart business decision."

12. Bette Midler, Sister Act

Crazy, right? It's impossible to imagine anyone other than Whoopi Goldberg as Sister Mary Clarence on Sister Act, but the producers originally wanted that role to be played by Bette Midler.

13. Reese Witherspoon, Scream

Neve Campell layed the role of Sidney Prescott on Scream, but that was only after Reese Witherspoon passed on the part. How different would that movie have been?

14. Brad Pitt, The Bourne Identity

Matt Damon wasn't the first pick to play Jason Bourne, if you can believe it. In fact, it was Brad Pitt who was initially asked to play the role, but he decided against it in favor of a part on another film.

15. Molly Ringwald, Pretty Woman

Molly Ringwald, Pretty Woman
It was probably a mistake for Molly Ringwald to turn down this role, but who can picture anyone else besides Julia Roberts as Vivian Ward in Pretty Woman? No one, most likely.

16. Mel Gibson, Batman

Mel Gibson didn't have any faith in the 1989 Batman remake, so he turned down the role, and Michael Keaton became the Dark Knight instead.

17. Julia Roberts, The Blind Side

Julia Roberts was offered the role of Leigh Anne Tuohy, but she passed on the role, leaving it open for Sandra Bullock instead.

18. Tom Selleck, Indiana Jones

Tom Selleck, Indiana Jones
You know what? This one would have made a lot of sense, and even though Tom Selleck did want the role as Indiana Jones, he passed when they couldn't agree on a deal. So, Harrison Ford was cast in the role instead.

19. Emily Browning, Twilight

Emily Browning, Twilight
Apparently, Stephanie Meyer thought Emily Browning was the perfect person to play Bella Swan, but Browning wasn't the least bit interested. Instead, the role went to Kristen Stewart.

20. Bruce Willis, Ghost

Bruce Willis turned down the major role as Sam on Ghost, which would have had him co-starring with his wife at the time, Demi Moore. Instead, she played opposite Patrick Swayze.

21. Matt Damon, Avatar

Matt Damon, Avatar
Who else thinks Matt Damon is kicking himself for this one? He turned down the lead role of Jake Sully in Avator. Whoops.

22. Kate Winslet, Shakespeare in Love

Kate Winslet was offered the role of Viola de Lesseps on Shakespeare in Love, but she passed, and Gwyneth Paltrow played the part instead (which won her an Oscar).

23. Tom Hanks, Jerry Maguire

Tom Hanks, Jerry Maguire
Tom Hanks was exactly who the writers had in mind for Jerry Maguire, but Hanks passed on the role because he didn't feel he was right for it. Instead, the iconic role went to Tom Cruise.

24. Ryan O'Neal, The Godfather

Ryan O'Neal wasn't the only actor to turn down the role of Michael Corleone on The Godfather. Dustin Hoffman, Jack Nicholson, Robert Redford, and Warren Beatty also turned it down, leaving room for Al Pacino to take it on.

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Movies, Al Pacino, Tom Hanks, Ryan O'Neal, Molly Ringwald
Michelle Pfeiffer, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Leonardo DiCaprio, Johnny Depp, Lindsay Lohan, Dana Delany, Bette Midler, Reese Witherspoon, Julia Roberts, John Travolta, Emily Browning, Mel Gibson, Bruce Willis, Matt Damon, Kate Winslet, Will Smith, Brad Pitt, Tom Selleck, Henry Winkler
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