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Picture this: Will Smith dodging bullets in slow motion in ‘The Matrix,’ or Al Pacino piloting the Millennium Falcon in ‘Star Wars.’ Sounds strange, right? But in the unpredictable world of Hollywood casting, these scenarios could have been a reality. Every iconic character starts with a script and a casting call, and you’d be surprised at the number of A-list actors who were initially pegged for some of the most legendary roles in film history. From action heroes to romantic leads, these parts were almost played by someone else. So, let’s dive into the fascinating world of ‘what could have been’ with these 10 actors who were originally slated to play roles that have since become iconic.
Will Smith as Neo in “The Matrix”
Before Keanu Reeves took on the role of Neo, Will Smith was offered the part. However, he turned it down because he didn’t fully understand the concept.
Tom Selleck as Indiana Jones in “Raiders of the Lost Ark”
Tom Selleck was originally cast as Indiana Jones, but due to his commitment to the TV show “Magnum P.I.,” he had to pass on the role, which then went to Harrison Ford.
Sean Connery as Gandalf in “The Lord of the Rings”
Sean Connery was offered the role of Gandalf but turned it down, reportedly because he didn’t understand the script. The role was then famously played by Ian McKellen.
John Travolta as Forrest Gump
Before Tom Hanks brought Forrest Gump to life, John Travolta was offered the role but turned it down. Travolta has since admitted that passing on the role was a mistake.
Michelle Pfeiffer as Clarice Starling in “The Silence of the Lambs”
Michelle Pfeiffer was the first choice for the role of Clarice Starling, but she turned it down due to the film’s violent themes. The role went to Jodie Foster, who won an Oscar for her performance.
Hugh Jackman as James Bond in “Casino Royale”
Before Daniel Craig took on the role of James Bond, Hugh Jackman was offered the part. However, he turned it down because he was already committed to the “X-Men” franchise.
Al Pacino as Han Solo in “Star Wars”
Al Pacino was offered the role of Han Solo in the original “Star Wars” trilogy, but he turned it down, finding the script confusing. The role, of course, went to Harrison Ford.
Nicolas Cage as Aragorn in “The Lord of the Rings”
Nicolas Cage was offered the role of Aragorn but turned it down due to family obligations. The role was eventually played by Viggo Mortensen.
Julia Roberts as Leigh Anne Tuohy in “The Blind Side”
Julia Roberts was originally offered the role of Leigh Anne Tuohy but turned it down. The role went to Sandra Bullock, who won an Academy Award for her performance.
Matthew McConaughey as Jack Dawson in “Titanic”
Before Leonardo DiCaprio was cast as Jack Dawson in “Titanic,” Matthew McConaughey was considered for the role. However, director James Cameron insisted on DiCaprio.
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