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Top 10 Actors Who Turned Down Iconic Movie Roles

Do you regret it? The question is for the actors who turned down roles that become iconic in movie history. Indeed many actors have confided their regrets in missing out on great roles. There are many actors who denied the same role which finally turned out to be a career for many other actors.


The roles that some actors rejected went on to win the Oscars. While other movies turned out to become cult classics. However, knowing the list, it would be difficult for movie lovers to think of any other actor in their place. So here are some of the actors who due to various reasons had to turn down their roles.

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Celebrities Who Said No To Blockbuster Movie Roles

1. Will Smith: ‘The Matrix’

Will Smith in ‘Matrix; Keanu Reeves

Keanu Reeves marked his name in gold with his role as Neo in the ‘Matrix‘ franchise. However, the role seems to have reached the ‘John Wick’ lead after a couple of actors rejected the role. And Will Smith is one of them. The actor shared his regret in 2019 on his YouTube channel for missing the role. Smith confessed that he struggled to understand the concept of the movie.


2. Christina Applegate: ‘Legally Blonde’

Christina Applegate for 'Legally Blonde'; Reese Witherspoon
Christina Applegate for ‘Legally Blonde’; Reese Witherspoon

Elle Woods of the Harvard Law School was made immortal by Reese Witherspoon in the movie ‘Legally Blonde’. But it was Christina Applegate who played one of Rachel’s sisters in ‘Friends’ who got the role first. She turned down the iconic role as she thought it too similar to her role in the sitcom ‘Married…With Children’.

3. Matt Damon: ‘Avatar’

Matt Damon for Avatar; Sam Worthington

Missing a chance to work with James Cameron and losing 10 percent of one of the highest-grossing films is really a punishment. And Matt Damon is at the receiving end of it. Yes, Cameron wanted Damon to take up the role done by Sam Worthington in ‘Avatar’, but Matt Damon had to say ‘no’ to it.

4. Leonardo DiCaprio: ‘Boogie Nights’

Leonardo DiCaprio for 'Boogie Nights
Leonardo DiCaprio for ‘Boogie Nights’;

In 2008, the ‘Titanic’ star Leonardo DiCaprio shared how he had turned down the role of Eddie Adams in the movie ‘Boogie Nights’. Dicaprio chose Titanicover the movie made by a relatively inexperienced filmmaker, Mark Wahlberg etched his name in Hollywood playing the role of Dirk Diggler.


5. Emily Blunt: ‘Iron Man 2’

Emily Blunt for 'Iron Man 2'
Emily Blunt for ‘Iron Man 2’; Scarlett Johannson

The stars of the Marvel Cinematic Universe are not just famous in Hollywood, but famous worldwide. And turning down a role in the MCU is a loss. But Emily Blunt had to do it as she had contracted to star in ‘Gulliver’s Travels’. Thus the role of Black Widow came into the hands of Scarlett Johannson.

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6. Michelle Pfeiffer: ‘Pretty Woman’

Michelle Pfeiffer for 'Pretty Woman'; Julia Roberts
Michelle Pfeiffer for ‘Pretty Woman’; Julia Roberts

Julie Roberts paced through the screen to the beats of the song “Pretty woman walking down the street. Pretty woman, the kind I like to meet.” However, it was Michelle Pfeiffer who was supposed to act opposite Richard Gere. But the box office hit was turned down by the actress as she didn’t like the tone of the movie.


7. Denzel Washington: ‘Se7en’

Denzel Washington: Se7en
Denzel Washington: Se7en

A classic in the thrillers, ‘Se7en‘ was originally to have Denzel Washington in the cast. But the actor thought the script to be demonic and turned it down. He was supposed to play the role made famous by Brad Pitt, the character named David Mills. Washington missed his chance.

8. Julia Roberts: ‘Shakespeare In Love’

Julia Roberts for ‘Shakespeare In Love’; Gwyneth Paltrow

The movie role that handed Gwyneth Paltrow an Oscar is one that was originally offered to Julia Roberts. However, she rejected the role due to casting disagreements. Paltrow appeared alongside Joseph Fiennes in the movie.

9. Matthew McConaughey: ‘Titanic’

Matthew McConaughey: ‘Titanic’

There is nothing much of a question here. Jack Dawson in ‘Titanic’ will always be Leonardo DiCaprio. But Matthew McConaughey was also seriously considered for the tragic hero role. However, the ‘Interstellar’ actor chose different ventures over the James Cameron movie.


10. Jack Nicholson: ‘The Godfather’

Matthew McConaughey: 'Titanic'
Jack Nicholson for ‘The Godfather’; Marlon Brando

The cult classic movie and an Oscar-winning role – this is what Jack Nicholson missed his chance. He turned down the legendary role of Michael Corleone. Just because he believed that the Italian mafia boss should be played by an Italian.

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Naveena Prasad M
Naveena Prasad Mhttps://firstcuriosity.com/
An ambivert and a feminist, Naveena is an ambitious girl bustling with ideas. Agatha Christie helped her plot her escape route through reading. Then on, reading and writing became her partners in crime! Chocolates, black tea, and salads are her first love. And she chills with crime thrillers and rom-com.