VOICE OVER: Eric Cohen
WRITTEN BY: Nick Spake
Script written by Nick Spake
Don't call us, we'll call you. Did you know that Matthew McConaughey auditioned for the role of Jack Dawson in Titanic? Or that Jennifer Lawrence almost played Bella Swan? WatchMojo is counting down the stars who auditioned for huge roles, but didn't land the part.
Special thanks to our users MattW128 and NickSpake1 for suggesting this idea! Check out the voting page at https://www.WatchMojo.comsuggest/Top%2010%20Celebrities%20Who%20Tried%20Out%20For%20Big%20Roles
Script written by Nick Spake
Top 10 Stars Who Auditioned for Iconic Roles
Don't call us, we'll call you. Welcome to WatchMojo.com and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Celebrities Who Tried Out For Big Roles.
For this list, we’re taking a look at A-list talent who auditioned for major motion pictures, but the role ultimately went to someone else.
#10: Miles Teller for Sebastian Wilder
“La La Land” (2016)
Miles Teller delivered arguably his best performance in Damien Chazelle’s “Whiplash.” The actor was set to reteam with director Damien Chazelle in “La La Land” with Teller playing musician Sebastian Wilder. Although Teller had also booked a role in “War Dogs,” he was willing to give up that project to star in the musical. Teller found out from his agent, however, that Chazelle was moving on without him, believing he was no longer “creatively right” for the part. While it’s reportedly water under the bridge now, Teller initially sent Chazelle a text asking, “What the f**k, bro?” Ryan Gosling went on to play the jazz musician, winning a Golden Globe and earning an Oscar nomination for Best Actor.
#9: Millie Bobby Brown for X-23
Watching “Logan,” you might’ve noticed a few parallels between X-23 and Eleven from “Stranger Things.” Both are deadly young girls with superhuman powers and limited speech who spent most of their childhoods in a lab. So, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Millie Bobby Brown auditioned for Laura. Although she didn’t get the part, Brown described this as her “best audition.” She was especially thrilled just to be in the presence of Hugh Jackman and director James Mangold. Brown also praised Dafne Keen who won the role and earned widespread acclaim for her intense performance. Given how popular crossovers are nowadays, we’d love to see both of these actresses in “X-23 vs. Eleven.”
#8: Josh Hutcherson for Peter Parker
“The Amazing Spider-Man” (2012)
When it was announced that Spider-Man was getting a cinematic reboot, many fans speculated on who could fill Tobey Maguire’s shoes. Josh Hutcherson was among several potential performers who made the shortlist to play Peter Parker. The young actor even filmed an extravagant screen demo complete with slick fight choreography. Although Andrew Garfield landed the role of Spidey, things still worked out pretty well for Hutcherson. The same year “The Amazing Spider-Man” hit theaters, Hutcherson starred as Peeta Mellark in “The Hunger Games.” By the time that YA franchise wrapped up in 2015, yet another Spider-Man reboot was in production. Although Hutcherson once again expressed interest in playing the web slinger, Marvel went with Tom Holland.
#7: Brad Pitt for Brian McCaffrey
Sometimes the stars align in Hollywood. Both Brad Pitt and Robert Downey Jr. auditioned for Brian McCaffrey in “Backdraft.” The part went to William Baldwin, who gave up the role of J.D. in “Thelma & Louise” to do the firefighter drama. With Baldwin out, Downey Jr. and Pitt were considered to play the sexy drifter who woos Thelma. Downey Jr. was reportedly deemed “too short,” paving the way for Pitt to land his breakout role. “Backdraft” and “Thelma & Louise” were released on the same day in 1991. While “Backdraft” won the box office that weekend, “Thelma & Louise” was a bigger critical success and even received an Academy Award.
#6: Matthew McConaughey for Jack Dawson
Leonardo DiCaprio made Jack Dawson a household name, but he wasn’t the only one up for the iconic role. In addition to Jeremy Sisto of “Six Feet Under,” Matthew McConaughey was also competing to play Jack. Although the studio reportedly wanted McConaughey, director James Cameron fought for DiCaprio and ultimately got his way. It’s interesting to think how McConaughey and DiCaprio’s careers have intersected over the years. The two later appeared together in “The Wolf of Wall Street,” which earned Leo a Best Actor Oscar nomination. He’d ironically lose to McConaughey, however, for his work in “Dallas Buyers Club.” At least DiCaprio would get his Academy Award just two years later.
#5: Jennifer Lawrence for Bella Swan
Much like Josh Hutcherson, Jennifer Lawrence was up for a couple high-profile roles before breaking out as Katniss Everdeen. Considering how people are constantly comparing “The Hunger Games” and “Twilight,” it’s weird to think that Lawrence was almost Bella Swan. As we all know, Kristen Stewart went on to play the teenage girl who falls unconditionally and irrevocably in love with Edward Cullen. Looking back on the experience, Lawrence stated, “I’d had no idea ‘Twilight’ would be such a big deal. For me, and assuming for [Stewart], it was just another audition. Then it turned into this whole other thing.” Although Stewart beat out Lawrence, it’s seems there is no bad blood between them.
#4: Scarlett Johansson for Judy Shepherd
Now that Kirsten Dunst and Scarlett Johansson are all grown up, audiences sometimes forget that they were both child actresses back in the day. The two auditioned for the role of Judy Shepherd in 1995’s “Jumanji,” but Dunst was the one who got to star opposite Robin Williams. Since Johansson was so young at the time, she wasn’t especially “bitter” about losing the gig. Plus, it’s not like her audition tape was Oscar caliber. Great things awaited on the horizon for both actresses.
#3: Robert De Niro for Sonny Corleone
“The Godfather” (1972)
Robert De Niro’s history with the “Godfather” films is as complicated as it is fascinating. The then-relatively unknown actor originally auditioned for Sonny Corleone in the 1972 film. Although James Caan earned that role, director Francis Ford Coppola kept De Niro in mind to play Paulie Gatto. Coppola had his heart set on casting Al Pacino as Michael Corleone, but he was already committed to starring in “The Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight.” In order to keep Pacino onboard, Coppola decided to trade De Niro. Coppola would make it up to De Niro when he cast him as a young Vito Corleone in “The Godfather Part II,” resulting in the actor’s first Academy Award.
#2: Tom Selleck for Indiana Jones
“Raiders of the Lost Ark” (1981)
Having already worked with Harrison Ford on multiple films, George Lucas was apprehensive about casting him as Indiana Jones, despite director Steven Spielberg’s optimism. Tom Selleck did a screen test for the role opposite Sean Young, who’d incidentally go on to star in “Blade Runner” alongside Ford. Although Selleck was offered the part, he was contractually committed to starring in a new show called “Magnum, P.I.” With Selleck forced to walk away from the movie, Spielberg convinced Lucas to let Ford try on the fedora and break out the whip. Due to a writer’s strike that delayed the production of “Magnum,” Selleck actually could’ve done both projects. By then, however, the Ark was sealed shut.
Before we get to our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:
Idris Elba for Gaston
“Beauty and the Beast” (2017)
Olivia Wilde for Naomi Lapaglia
“The Wolf of Wall Street” (2013)
Carey Mulligan for Lisbeth Salander
“The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” (2011)
#1: Kurt Russell for Han Solo
“Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope” (1977)
Harrison Ford almost missed out on playing not one, but two of his most iconic characters. Kurt Russell is just one of several big names who tried out for Han Solo in “Star Wars.” Although his audition went fairly well, Russell decided to walk away from the role and do an ABC western instead. Ford, meanwhile, had been asked to simply read lines with the auditioning actors and Lucas soon realized what was right in front of him. Don’t feel too bad for Russell because he’s a great career, and even got to play Star-Lord’s dad forty years later. Speaking of modern sci-fi movies, Adam Driver beat out Oscar-winner Eddie Redmayne for Kylo Ren in “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.”