25 Actors Who Passed Up On Iconic Roles

Posted by on February 25, 2013

The history of film is cluttered with stories about stars who were an inch away from playing roles that got embedded into the hearts and minds of movie audiences. When actors look back into some of their career mishaps, the ones they’ll probably notice the most are the glaring errors they made in passing up on important roles. In 25 Celebrities Who Passed Up On Iconic Roles, we take a look at some of films most memorable characters and the stars who almost got to play them.


Sean Connery

The Role: Gandalf

Citing that he “didn’t get fantasy”, Sean Connery passed up on playing Gandalf in Peter Jackson’s adaptation of The Lord Of The Rings. The role that was eventually given to Ian McKellen earned the actor an award (Best Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture) and an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor. Gandalf was crowned the 28th greatest movie character of all time by Empire Magazine.


Dana Delany

The Role: Carrie Bradshaw

Carrie Bradshaw, played by Sarah Jessica Parker, is one of the most popular female TV and movie characters of all time, at least in the “chick flick” genre. The role was originally offered to Dana Delany who turned it down although she later claimed not to regret her decision.


Molly Ringwald

The Role: Vivian Ward

Molly Ringwald was one of the most sought-after actresses in Hollywood in the 80′s, thanks to the movies she started in like Pretty In Pink and The Breakfast Club. However, the actress has been plagued with obscurity ever since the 90s. Her fate might have turned out differently had she accepted the role of Vivian Ward in Pretty Woman. The movie was a massive commercial success earning $463,407,268 at the box office. Julia Roberts who eventually played the character received an Oscar nomination for the role and is now regarded as one of the biggest movie stars in the world.


Will Smith

The Role: Neo

Will Smith was initially offered the role of Neo in The Matrix. He turned it down on account of the concept being too complicated and he didn’t see the film performing well at the box office. Well, we all know how the movie fared.


Henry Winkler

The Role: Danny Zunko

Henry Winkler was approached to play Danny Zunko in the musical film Grease. When he turned it down, John Travolta took on the role. Grease earned $694,589,888 at the box office. The American Film Institute listed Grease at #97 in its 100 Years…100 Passions which lists the 100 greatest love stories in American cinema.