13 Iconic Roles That Stars Originally Wanted to Turn Down
While some actors have to fight tooth and nail to get a big role, others may turn down very interesting offers. But sometimes, circumstances make them change their decisions. And, as it often happens, these roles become some of the best in these stars’ filmographies. We looked back at the roles that actors and actresses originally weren’t very enthusiastic about, though fortunately they still ended up accepting them.
Matt Smith, House of the Dragon
Just think about it — Matt Smith, who portrayed Daemon Targaryen in House of the Dragon, thought that this project had no future and that it would fail. The actor had no idea how anyone could make a good sequel in the Westeros universe. He thought the task was too difficult, so he turned the role down.
But the showrunners insisted and convinced him. The series turned out to be extremely successful and made Smith even more famous.
Val Kilmer, Top Gun
The 1986, Top Gun made Val Kilmer a big star. But it almost didn’t happen because the actor kept turning this role down. The agent and director convinced him to play the character that later became the film’s iconic villain.
Austin Butler, Elvis
For Austin Butler, who got the role of Elvis, the filming was more of a torture than a joyous experience. The director of the film, Buz Luhrmann, was to blame for that. He’d often make the young actor cry.
Luhrmann wanted the actor to actually feel all the hardships of the singer, so he asked Butler’s colleagues to interrupt him when he was recording the songs for the film. Austin has commented that dealing with that treatment was not easy. But it was worth it. His acting was outstanding.
Daniel Craig, Skyfall
As you know, Daniel Craig won’t portray James Bond anymore. The 2021 Bond film No Time to Die is the last Bond movie featuring Craig. But the actor actually wanted to stop playing Bond earlier. He didn’t want to be in Skyfall, only agreeing to the project because he was contractually obligated to complete it. But now, both viewers and critics consider Skyfall to be the most popular James Bond movies.
Emily Blunt, The Devil Wears Prada
The director of The Devil Wears Prada, David Frankel, auditioned more than 100 actresses for the role of Miranda Priestly’s assistant, but none of them were right for the role. At the time, Emily Blunt wanted to be in Eragon, and couldn’t think about any other projects. But Frankel’s casting agent saw potential in her and made the actress read a few lines for The Devil Wears Prada.
At first sight, she wasn’t the right fit. It wasn’t about her reluctance to play the role; the character was an American, and Blunt has a British accent. But the director hired her anyway, and it ended up being one of Blunt’s most popular roles.
Leonardo DiCaprio, Titanic
It’s fair to say that Leonardo agreed to appear in Titanic just for Kate Winslet. There are legends about their friendship. 20-year-old DiCaprio had no idea that when he came to the audition for James Cameron’s film, the role of Jack Dawson would be one of the best of his career. He was very popular after his roles in What’s Eating Gilbert Grape and Romeo + Juliet.
He didn’t want to be the blue-eyed pretty boy. But the movie creators managed to convince him to join the project. And Kate Winslet helped a lot. She later said that she adored his acting talent, so she did everything in her power to make him agree to take the part.
Brad Pitt, Troy
The role of Achilles in Troy wasn’t a big dream for Brad Pitt. But the actor had to agree to the project to satisfy the terms of his contract at the time. His working mood was obviously affected, and after the film, he said multiple times that he wasn’t happy with what he saw on the screen.
Dev Patel, Slumdog Millionaire
In one of the interviews, Dev Patel told that he didn’t think that Slumdog Millionaire would be such a resounding success. The young actor didn’t see it as something outstanding. He thought it was a small project with a big heart. At that moment, if someone had told him the movie would win a Golden Globe and an Oscar, he would have burst out laughing.
Well, the studio itself didn’t hope much for Slumdog Millionaire. They weren’t sure who would find the story interesting. But directors Danny Boyle and Loveleen Tandan, despite all the opposition, managed to create a masterpiece that turned Patel into a superstar.
Zoe Saldaña, Avatar
And here is another masterpiece few people believed in. The future movie was described like a nightmare, full of CGI. And Zoe Saldaña was actually scared by the story when she read the script. But she took the risk, and it paid off.
The actress would spend several days (and nights!) learning to ride horses, martial arts, and archery. Zoe says it was the hardest role of her life.
Michael J Fox, Back to the Future
For 4 years in a row, director Robert Zemeckis and writer Bob Gale faced rejections from all movie studios as they searched for support for Back to the Future. But their persistence paid off and they were given the green light to create their time-travelling story. They chose Michael J Fox for the main role, and it was another closed door on their path.
The young actor, famous for Family Ties, was interested in a different project. So, Zemeckis and Gale had to fight tooth and nail again to turn their dream project into reality. They made a deal with the movie studio and got Fox to appear in the movie. Finally, in 1985, the famous time-travel epic was released.
Chris Pratt, Guardians of the Galaxy
Who is going to watch a film where the main character is constantly talking to a raccoon? When Marvel was making Guardians of the Galaxy, it was a very popular question. Director James Gunn thought that Chris Pratt was a great fit for the role, but he didn’t even want to audition for it.
At some point, the actor changed his mind, but this time, the director didn’t want to work with him. In the end, both of them were convinced, and the first rehearsals showed that the star was really a great choice for the part.
Robert Pattinson, Batman
While several generations of boys grew up thinking of Bruce Wayne as their role model, Robert Pattinson didn’t know much about this superhero. Unlike Christian Bale, who studied all the comics and movies about Batman before his appearance in Nolan’s Batman Begins, Robert wasn’t as enthusiastic. But he still agreed for the role, and it was one of the best roles of his career.
Angela Bassett, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
After reading the script of the sequel to Black Panther, Angela Bassett said “no.” The actress didn’t like the fact that her character, Queen Ramonda, would die. She even argued about it with the director. But he explained his decision to her and convinced her to join the project. Now, the actress hopes that her character might be revived in the following movies, as often happens in the Marvel universe.
If these actors had turned down their roles, who would be a good replacement?