The Return of Actors Who Almost Got the Big Role
It has been well over a year since we last played the cinematic "what if?" game, so its time again to look at actors who nearly got the big role in major movies.
If you're new to this series, here we run down the list of actors who were in serious contention for major roles in major Hollywood films. The situations can range from actors who screen tested for a role to even actors who signed on for the part but had to be replaced for a variety of reasons. And since its been so long since our last posting of this, we have a great deal of movies to chose from, with movies on this ranging from 24 years ago to movies just now being filmed.
In the early stages of production on 'Galaxy Quest', Harold Ramis was attached to direct based on a script that was rated R. Some have suggested that Ramis took issue with the studio's insistence on certain casting choices, like Tim Allen, and left the project. After Ramis' departure and during filming, the decision was made to tone down the script to a PG-13 rating, cutting out elements such as Fred Kwan's pot use, though his performance still reflects the character's drug use, and the obvious dubbing over of f-bombs.
After his oscar-nominated performance two years prior for the studio with 'Dead Poet's Society', Robin Williams was the initial choice for the title character of Bob Wiley. However, Williams had just finished production on 'The Fisher King' and was not in a position to accept the part. And director Frank Oz's original choice for the role of Bob's psychiatrist Leo Marvin was Patrick Stewart, who was still working on the early seasons of 'Star Trek: The Next Generation'.
After leaving the WWE, CM Punk was very vocal in his desire to have a part in the upcoming sequel to 'Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles'. While Punk spoke about his hopes to play the vigilante Casey Jones, he actually auditioned for Rocksteady, Shredder's lackey who is exposed to the mutagen that transformed the turtles and becomes a rhino. The role eventually went to Punk's former WWE co-worker, Sheamus.
After the resolution of the rights dispute of 'Thunderball', it was believed that the villain in the next Bond film would be the long-absent Blofeld. During pre-production of 'Spectre', Gary Oldman was offered the role of Franz Oberhauser (still rumored to be revealed as Blofeld) but was unwilling to commit to the six month production schedule. After Oldman declined, Academy Award nominee Chiwetel Ejiofor was in consideration before two-time Oscar winner Christoph Waltz was given the part.
Though Ben Affleck was reportedly the filmmakers' first choice for Batman and the first person they approached for the role, Affleck did not initially accept the role. After Affleck was officially cast, Josh Brolin confirmed that he had been in discussion for the part.
During the casting stages, both Anna Kendrick and Elizabeth Olsen auditioned for the role of April O'Neil. Let that sink in for a bit. Ms. Toe Thumb Megan Fox beat out an Oscar nominee and the Scarlet Witch for the role.
Italian actress Monica Bellucci screen tested to be Bond's former love, Paris Carver, in 'Tomorrow Never Dies' before Teri Hatcher was cast. In 1997, Brosnan spoke about the decision to cast Hatcher over Bellucci,
"Monica Bellucci is a ravishing beauty - a gorgeous, gorgeous woman. She screen-tested to be a Bond girl a while back, and the fools said no. Teri Hatcher stole the day instead."
Bellucci would finally get to be a Bond girl 18 years later when she was cast as Lucia Sciarra in 'Spectre', making her the oldest Bond girl at 50-years-old at the time of filming, 11 years older than Honor Blackman when she appeared in 'Goldfinger'.
As covered in the recent video of 'Pulp Fiction' facts, the role of Vincent Vega was originally written for Michael Madsen, who has already appeared as Vincent's brother Vic Vega in 'Reservoir Dogs'. Madsen had to decline the role due to his commitment to 'Wyatt Earp'. Studio head Harvey Weinstein wanted Daniel Day-Lewis for the part before it ultimately went to John Travolta, whose career was revitalized after the movie was released and was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor for his performance.
When the 4th Mad Max film was originally in production in the early 2000s, Mel Gibson was set to reprise his role as Max. But due to delays in filming and Gibson's intent to work on 'Passion of the Christ', the project was put into Developmental Hell for over a decade. When it was finally revived, Tom Hardy took over the role of Max and Gibson gave Hardy his blessing.
When the adaptation of the 60s television show was originally announced, Tom Cruise was the primary contender for the role of CIA agent Napoleon Solo with Henry Cavill starring opposite as KGB agent Illya Kuryakin. When Cruise decided not to leave the 'Mission Impossible' franchise, he left this project and Cavill was moved into the role of Solo with Armie Hammer coming in to play Kuryakin.
After the critical disappointment of the last two Spider-Man films with Andrew Garfield, Fox reached a deal with Marvel to allow Spider-Man to join the continuity of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. When it was announced that a new Spider-Man would be cast to make his debut in 'Captain America: Civil War', 'Hugo' and 'Ender's Game' star Asa Butterfield was a confirmed candidate for the role, becoming one of the final contenders before it was announced that Tom Holland was cast.
Benicio Del Toro was a major candidate for the role of Khan in 'Star Trek Into Darkness', even going into negotiations with the studio for the part. However, Del Toro and the filmmakers reportedly couldn't come to terms on money, and Del Toro withdrew his interest in the project.