Keanu Reeves as Neo, Tom Hanks as Forest Gump - sometimes in Hollywood an actor plays a role so perfectly you would have thought it was written specially for them. Well more often than not, it wasn’t. Actually some of our favorite movies could have ended up looking very different if another actor hadn’t of passed up a leading role first.
Will Smith could have been Neo in 'The Matrix'.
1. Will Smith: Neo, 'The Matrix'
Could you have imaged Will Smith dawning that famous leather coat to play Neo in 'The Matrix'? Well it almost happened. Will was originally offered the part but in his words he, ‘wasn’t smart enough as an actor’ to see the movie’s potential. After seeing the movie Will knew he’d made the right decision, saying ‘I watched Keanu's performance - and very rarely do I say this - but I would have messed it up.’ Instead Will chose to make the less memorable, but still a box office hit, ‘Wild Wild West’.
2. Brad Pitt: Jason Bourne ‘The Bourne Identity’
Back when Jason Bourne’s first film outing was beginning production, Brad Pitt had signed on to play the titular character. Then before filming began the star backed out choosing a role in the forgettable ‘Spy Game’ instead. Matt Damon then stepped in to fill Pitt’s shoes and well, after two further films the rest is cinematic history.
3. Sarah Michelle Gellar: Cher Horowitz 'Clueless'
Before she started slaying vampires Sarah Michelle Gellar could have first been ruling Beverley Hills as the matchmaking shopping obsessed Cher in ‘Clueless’. Sarah was actually offered the role of Cher before Alicia Siverstone, but the then soap opera star had to turn it down due to scheduling conflicts with ‘All My Children’. Sarah probably regretted having to say no when the movie became such a pop culture smash, still she only had to wait another two years before landing her own iconic '90s role.
Lindsay Lohan could have had a career revival with a role in 'The Hangover'
4. Lindsay Lohan: Jade 'The Hangover'
Would Lindsay Lohan’s acting career be back on track if she hadn't of turned down the role of stripper Jade in ‘The Hangover’? Maybe. Reports are conflicted as to just why Lindsay turned down the part. Originally it was claimed that Lindsay just didn't like the script and passed on the movie. However director Todd Phillips later told The Hollywood Reporter that Lohan was simply just too young for the part and so Heather Graham was cast instead.
5. John Travolta: Forest Gump, 'Forest Gump'
It’s hard to imagine anybody other than Tom Hanks offering that box of chocolates, but originally the role of Forest Gump was offered to John Travolta. Travolta passed on the movie because he didn't want to be juggling too many projects at once, but he's since expressed regret at the decision. Maybe if John hadn't of said no, he would have finally picked an Oscar win. He scored a nomination in 1994 for ‘Pulp Fiction’, but lost out to, surprise surprise, Tom Hanks for 'Forrest Gump'.
Next page: Liam Neeson as James Bond, and others.