When a movie becomes an overnight hit, or a box office bomb, it’s often the cast that gets the credit or blame. But audiences might never ask how different things could have been if other actors or actresses were cast – or how close their favorite movies came to being something completely different.
Here are Screen Rant’s 10 Amazing Movie Castings That Almost Happened.
The story that saw movie stars Nicolas Cage and John Travolta swap faces is famous for its cheesy performances, but as fun as it was, it could have been truly incredible. The script was actually written for Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone, both at the top of their game at the time. Other duos like Bruce Willis and Alec Baldwin were considered, but Michael Douglas and Harrison Ford seemed the most likely. When director John Woo decided on the leading men instead, Douglas remained as a producer.
Even Pixar makes mistakes, since they finished the entire undersea adventure with actor William H. Macy voicing the role of Nemo’s dad, Marlon. The actor is so slouch, but when Disney’s CEO saw the finished version, he famously said the moviewas nowhere near as good as the studio believed. They soon recruited actor Albert Brooks to revoice the entire movie, and his energetic delivery made it Pixar’s biggest hit to date.
It’s impossible to imagine anyone other than Keanu Reeves as the hero of this trilogy, but there was a time when another soft-spoken, enigmatic actor was offered the part of The One: Nicolas Cage. The Hollywood veteran turned down the part since it would be filmed far from home in Australia, leaving movie fans to wonder how completely different the series – and the actors’ careers – could have turned out.
Who Framed Roger Rabbit?
It’s hard to think that this mix of cartoon and live action could have been better, but Steven Spielberg and Robert Zemeckis’ first choice for the grouchy detective Eddie Valiant was apparently Harrison Ford. When he proved too expensive, they turned to their second choice: comedy legend Bill Murray. Since Murray has no agent, only a voicemail for offering roles, he didn’t get the message. The worst part? Murray later admitted that if he’d known of the offer, he would’ve taken it in second.
Super Mario Bros.
The video game movie proved to be a bit of a joke in Hollywood, with star Bob Hoskins forever calling the part of Mario Mario his biggest regret. But would you believe an even bigger name actually pursued the role? Tom Hanks got himself attached to star as the mustachioed plumber, before the studio cast Hoskins instead, believing he was the more bankable actor. We’ll let time be the judge on that one.
The Bourne Identity
He was an unlikely hero, but Jason Bourne completely redefined the modern movie spy, and made Matt Damon a household name overnight. The part was originally going to be played by Brad Pitt, who decided that another spy thriller, Spy Game, was a better choice. It’s hard to argue Pitt would’ve ruined the series, but with a fifth instalment in the franchise coming to theatres, it was probably for the best that Damon landed the role.
Quentin Tarantino’s breakout film was like a Hollywood game of musical chairs, with Bruce Willis making it clear he wanted the lead role of Vincent Vega. John Travolta ended up beating him out, along with Oscar winner Daniel Day Lewis – Rumored to be the only role Lewis ever actively campaigned for. The director still liked Willis for the boxer Butch, but had promised the part to Matt Dillon. When Dillon said he needed a night to consider the offer, Tarantino cast Willis instantly, saying that if he didn’t want the part after reading the script, the director didn’t want him, either.
The Incredible Hulk’s big screen history hadn’t been easy, with three actors playing the part in less than a decade. But that almost wasn’t the case. When talks with Ed Norton reprising his role in The Avengers ended, director Joss Whedon prepared a list of replacements. Mark Ruffalo was his top pick, knowing it might be an unpopular choice with the studio. They surprised him by admitting he was at the top of theirs, after they had tried to cast him in the previous solo movie, making the change to the shared universe… not a change at all, really.
Quentin Tarantino hit a home run with his World War II story, but the original planned cast would have felt completely different. It was the German actor Christoph Waltz who brought the villain Hans Landa to life, but Tarantino originally planned to cast Leonardo DiCaprio as the Nazi officer. He also cast comedian Adam Sandler as Donny Donowitz, a.ka. The Bear Jew, who dropped out. Tarantino turned to his friend Eli Roth, and finally got to cast DiCaprio as the villain in Django Unchained years later.
It’s never easy to cast the Batman on film, but director Christopher Nolan managed to gather some serious talent – and didn’t let them escape once he passed them over for the part. Irish actor Cillian Murphy was a serious frontrunner for the new Bruce Wayne, along with Aussie Heath Ledger. Christian Bale won the part, but the competition clearly made an impression: Nolan cast them as the villains of the first two films, as the Scarecrow and Joker, respectively.
Those are some the craziest casting close calls, we know of, but which ones are your favourites? Let us know in the comments, and remember to subscribe to our YouTube channel for more videos like this one!