As the summer box office is showing, Disney is a pretty unstoppable force when it comes to movie-making. While they appear to be the biggest movie studio by far thanks to lucrative mergers, they have long been one of the most influential and iconic studios in Hollywood.
Largely known for its ground-breaking animation work, Disney has produced some of the best films of all-time. They are also experiencing great success remaking some of those animated classics, like the smash-hit The Lion King. But even with their monumental success, not ever actor jumps at the chance to make one of their movies. Here are some of the actors who have turned down Disney movies.
10 Julie Andrews In Mary Poppins Returns
Julie Andrews is a Hollywood legend having starred in such classics as The Sound of Music and even lent some gravitas to modern films like Aquaman. She is probably best known for her lovable performance as the world's most magical nanny in Mary Poppins.
When it came time to make the long-awaited sequel Mary Poppins Returns, Emily Blunt was chosen to play the titular. Wanting to pay homage to the original legend, the filmmakers asked Andrews to film a cameo. But as classy as ever, Andrews declined so that Blunt could have the spotlight to herself.
9 Jack Nicholson In Hercules
Hercules remains one of the most underrated of Disney's animated films. The retelling of the classic mythological hero is a hilarious, energetic and thrilling adventure. The film follows Hercules on his quest to become a hero and defeat the villainous Hades.
When casting the film, Danny DeVito was brought in to play Hercules' mentor, Phil. After being cast, DeVito recommended they ask Jack Nicholson to play Hades. The filmmakers were excited by the idea, but Nicholson's price proved far too high and James Woods was cast instead.
8 Michael Douglas In Frozen
Michael Douglas is one of the most prolific movie stars of all-time, known for his intense and often adult films. In recent years, Douglas has embraced the younger generation with his role as Hank Pym in the MCU. Aside from that very fun role, Douglas was also approached about playing a role in Frozen.
On James Corden's talk show, Douglas admits to turning down the part though he says he can't remember which role it was. He seems to have some regret since he says it would have been the most profitable thing he ever did.
7 Gregory Peck In Pocahontas
Disney has been able to cast some truly legendary actors in their films over the years, but even they would have been excited to have an actor like Gregory Peck join one of their films. The To Kill a Mockingbird actor almost had a role in Pocahontas which was specifically written for him.
The character was to be called Old Man River and was meant to be a spiritual mentor for Pocahontas. However, while preparing for the role, Peck himself suggested the role should be a female and stepped aside. Linda Hunt was then cast as Grandmother Willow instead.
6 Woody Allen In Tarzan
Woody Allen is one of the most controversial figures in Hollywood these days, so it is strange to think that he was almost cast in a Disney animated film, Tarzan. The film retold the classic story of the man raised in the jungle and became friends with all the jungle animals.
Allen was approached to play Tantor, Tarzan's neurotic elephant friend. Allen was reportedly close to signing on before Dreamworks persuaded him to join their own animated film, Antz in exchange for distributing his future films.
5 Will Smith In Dumbo
While most of the recent live-action remakes of classic Disney cartoons have been wild successes, Tim Burton's take on Dumbo proved to be a bit of a disappointment. Perhaps with a superstar like Will Smith in the cast, the movie would have faired better.
Smith was approached for one of the starring roles in the film, most likely the part of Holt Farrier, eventually played by Colin Farrell. Though he turned down that remake, Smith would soon go on to star in the more successful remake of Aladdin as the Genie.
4 Ryan Gosling In Beauty And The Beast
Ryan Gosling has managed to become one of the biggest stars in Hollywood without taking roles in the typical big-budget studio films. Of course, one must assume that Gosling gets approached for such roles all the time, so it's not surprising that he was courted to play Beast in the remake of Beauty and the Beast.
It's hard to imagine Gosling playing a motion-capture singing and dancing monster, as good of an actor as he is. Gosling passed on the role and the part went to Dan Stevens.
3 Emma Watson In Cinderella
Speaking of Beauty and the Beast, Emma Watson proved to be a charming live-action version of Belle in that film. But like Will Smith, Watson was first offered another live-action Disney remake before signing on for a different project.
Cinderella was the film that helped kick-off this extremely profitable trend. Watson was offered the titular role of the poor girl who is transformed into a princess for one night. After Watson passed, the role went to Lily James who became a breakout star thanks to the role.
2 Tim Curry In Lion King
Few actors have such a distinct and wonderful voice as Tim Curry. Though he is known for plenty of live-action roles in films like The Rocky Horror Picture Show and the It miniseries, Curry has lent his iconic vocals to countless animated projects over the years.
Curry was originally approached to play the villainous Scar in the Disney animated masterpiece, The Lion King. Anyone who has heard Curry's voice knows he could have done amazing in the role, but scheduling conflicts prevented it. Luckily, Jeremy Irons took the role and was fantastic.
1 Eddie Murphy In Who Framed Roger Rabbit?
Who Framed Roger Rabbit? remains one of the most ambitious projects Disney has ever undertaken. The live-action/animation hybrid was ground-breaking in the brilliant tale of a grizzled private eye investigating a crime involving a popular cartoon personality, Roger Rabbit.
Despite the ambition of the project, the filmmakers were keen to cast a big-name actor at Private Eye Eddie Valiant. Eddie Murphy was a top choice, but asked for too much money, something he admits to regretting. Bob Hoskins took the part and proved to be the perfect man for the job.