Ten Life-Changing Film Roles That Actors Turned Down

When a new film or TV show is proposed or in production, it is almost impossible to predict whether it will be a big hit or a flop. The performance of the film also determines the future of the actors, which is why accepting a film role can be as damning as it can be rewarding. As a result, when you are an actor and are called to take part in the projects, you have to weigh your options properly. That is why some stars rejected the roles that have shaped the film industry and probably regrated it.


Black Widow Might Have Been Played by Emily Blunt!

Black Widow

Whenever the list of the greatest female superheroes of all time is mentioned, Black Widow always comes up. The role is now synonymous with the face of Scarlett Johansson, but that wouldn’t be the case if Emily Blunt had taken the role. Blunt was called up for the Marvel role before Johansson, but she passed it on because she was allegedly committed somewhere else. The role soon became a life changer as it has become one of those roles that define Marvel heroes, but Blunt isn’t the face of it. She, however, said she is happy that Johansson got the role and that she is still open to playing it in future.

Raymond Reddington-The Blacklist Might Have Been Played by Kevin Spacey!

Raymond Reddington-The Blacklist

Raymond Reddington, or the concierge of crime, is one of the greatest crime lords ever created on the screens. He is the face of NBC’s The Blacklist, which is the network’s top show with a cultic following over its seven seasons. The star that took the role is James Spader, but the original name chosen for it was Kevin Spacey. Spader is definitely the best Reddington anyone would hope for, but Spacey would have enjoyed the fame that came with it. He, however, turned it down, choosing to star in House Of Cards instead. House of Cards is a big hit, but it hasn’t earned as huge a following as The Blacklist.

James Bond Might Have Been Played by Burt Reynolds!

James Bond

Who would refuse to become James Bond? It is one of those roles that are guaranteed to make you an A-Lister overnight, which is the dream of every actor. Well, one of the best James Bonds of all time was Sean Connery, but that role was first offered to Burt Reynolds. While Reynolds got to prove himself in other roles on the big screens, he regretted passing on the role of being 007. He said his reason was that he thought the world would never accept an American as James Bond, although he later said that his reason was totally stupid.

Terminator Might Have Been Played by Sylvester Stallone!


Just like James Bond, Terminator is another film franchise whose worst films still enjoy a huge following and everyone that enlists finishes with lots of publicity. The role has shaped the image of Arnold Schwarzenegger as T-800, but he wasn’t the first person to be offered the job. The role was first given to Sylvester Stallone, who turned it down. Stallone has had an awesome career, but being the Terminator would have made it more fantastic. Mel Gibson also turned down the role. O. J Simpson would have landed the role as well, but the producers didn’t think he had the look of a killer.

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Daenerys Targaryen-Game Of Thrones Might Have Been Played by Tamzin Merchant!

Daenerys Targaryen-Game Of Thrones

Being offered the role of Daenerys Targaryen would be a ticket to stardom, and every star would probably dream of landing it. However, while Emilia Clarke is now the person associated with the face of The Mother of Dragons, that wasn’t the case in the beginning. The first person to act Daenerys Targaryen was Tamzin Merchant, but she didn’t show up for the reshoots after the pilot episode forcing the producers to take Emilia Clarke. Tamzin went on to take a role in the British historical drama, The Tudors.

Jake Sully-Avatar Might Have Been Played by Matt Damon!

Jake Sully-Avatar

Avatar joined the ranks of Star Wars and Terminator when it became the highest-grossing film of all time, and 10% of the profits were to go to the star that would play Jake Sully. The producer James Cameron had the perfect idea of Sully and approached Matt Damon for the role, but he turned it down. He later regrated, saying he was the dumbest actor of all time. Cameron also offered the role to Jake Gyllenhaal, but despite being the character’s namesake, he turned it down. The role and the big money later went to Sam Worthington.

Batman Might Have Been Played by Josh Hartnett!


Batman is one of those superheroes that would shape an actor’s career and, of course, make you a lot of money. However, once you play the vigilante, you can expect Batman to be your second name for the rest of your life, and that is the kind of life Josh Hartnett didn’t like when he turned down the legendary role. He is probably the man that turned down more superhero roles than any other actor in history. He passed on the role of The Dark Night and 2006’s Superman. He later rejected the role of Spiderman as well all because he didn’t want people to see a superhero whenever they look at his image.

Gandalf-Lord Of The Rings Might Have Been Played by Sean Connery!

Gandalf-Lord Of The Rings

Like Avatar, the money from the Lord Of The Rings trilogy was enormous. The series earned a whopping $2.92 billion in profits, and everyone that starred was assured of a share, except Sean Connery who turned it down. He was offered the role of the witch, Gandalf, which was retained in all the films of the trilogy. He claimed that he didn’t understand what his role was supposed to look like from the script and even said he still didn’t understand it after the entire trilogy was over. Ian McKellen understood the script and got Gandalf’s share of the big bucks.

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Superman Might Have Been Played by Josh Hartnett and Jude Law!


Henry Cavil is one of the greatest actors of all time, but the first thing everyone thinks of when they see him is Superman. He accepted the role of the man of steel in 2006 after it had been turned down by many stars, including Josh Hartnett and Jude Law. Jude Law refused the role because he didn’t fancy the suit that Superman wears. He said that he just didn’t like that outfit and preferred to pass on the role, which later proved to be a bad idea. Jude Law is still a star to watch, but he would have probably made a fantastic Superman while earning big on the side.

Viola- Shakespeare In Love Might Have Been Played by Julia Roberts!

Viola- Shakespeare In Love

Shakespeare in Love winning the Oscars for being the best motion picture in 1998 was controversial, but the win held, and everyone earned big from it. Gwyneth Paltrow gave one of the most iconic speeches in Oscars’ history when she got the award for her role as Viola. However, the person that would have taken that statue was Julia Roberts, as she was the first to be offered the role. She, however, turned it down because Daniel Day-Lewis had pulled out, yet she wanted him to be her Shakespeare.

Author: Gus Barge

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