One of the most important parts of the process of movie-making is casting the right people for the right parts. While some movies nail the casting within the first try, others find the perfect match after an actor turns down the role due to a myriad of reasons. The dynamic business in Hollywood has the production on its toes to make sure a suitable replacement is ready to take on the role when big movie stars may drop out from films unexpectedly. Some actors are contractually obligated to a particular role, some face illness issues while others undergo creative differences during the pre-production phase, the reasons are endless.
Some roles were cast as replacements that could not be imagined played by anybody else now. From action movies to romantic comedies, many actors have left projects that they now regret. Let’s take a look at the ten actors who had to drop out of main roles.
10 Kevin Spacey- All The Money In The World
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Two months before the theatrical release of Ridley Scott’s All The Money In The World, Kevin Spacey was involved in sexual misconduct allegations who was playing the lead role of Getty, as noted by News Week. Scott recast Christopher Plummer, who received an Oscar nomination for his role. The movie made $56 million worldwide with Plummer receiving $1.5 million as salary.
9 Winona Ryder- The Godfather Part III
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Winona Ryder was offered the role in The Godfather Part III as Mary Carloene, Michael’s daughter however the actress had to turn down the role. The actress was exhausted from starring in three back-to-back movies and wanted to take a break. Francis Ford Coppola cast his daughter Sophia for the role while the movie made $136.9 million worldwide.
8 Matt Damon – Avatar
Matt Damon regrets turning down the lead role in one of the highest-grossing movies of all time Avatar. The movie grossed $2.6 billion worldwide and Damon was offered a 10% chunk from the film’s profits. According to Deadline, Damon had to refuse the role since he was committed to shooting the next installment in the Jason Bourne franchise. The role went to Sam Worthington.
7 Will Smith – The Matrix
Will Smith quickly regretted the decision of turning down the lead role of Neo in The Matrix which grossed over $850 million with Keanu Reeves, who took the role and got paid $10 million with 10% of the box office profit for the first one and $15 million with 15% of profits for the second installment. Smith turned down the role to star in the movie Wild Wild West which was a commercial flop.
6 Claire Danes – Titanic
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David Cameron’s Titanic could not be imagined without Kate Winslet as Rose however the role was first offered to Claire Danes. The actress refused the role because she didn’t want to do another romantic movie starring opposite Leonard Dicaprio whom she acted alongside in Romeo+Juliet. Titanic went on to gross $2.8 billion with Winslet getting paid $2 million for her role.
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5 Emily Blunt – Marvel Series
Marvel movies have collectively grossed over $41 billion, a feat that cannot be achieved easily. Emily Blunt was offered the role of Black Widow in Iron Man 2 but she turned down the role due to her contract to act in Gulliver’s Travels, a role she didn’t want to do, as noted by Independent. Johansson has made over $80 million for playing the role of Black Widow.
4 Leonardo Dicaprio – American Psycho
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After his highly successful movie Titanic, Leonardo DiCaprio was interested in playing the lead role of Patrick Bateman in American Psycho however, he had to leave the project after facing creative differences with the film’s director Oliver Stone. The movie grossed $43 million worldwide and put Christian Bale into the limelight with this critically-acclaimed lead role.
3 Charlie Hunnam – Fifty Shades of Grey
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Charlie Hunnam was excited to take on the role of Christian Grey in the Fifty Shades trilogy. Hunnam left the role after claiming to have an emotionally traumatizing experience due to the film’s sexually explicit content. Jamie Dornan took the role weeks after and played the lead. The trilogy made over $1.3 billion at the box office with Dornan receiving a sizable salary for the role.
2 Emma Watson – La La Land
Emma Watson had plans to star in Damien Chazelle-directed musical La La Land. The actress was unable to commit to the role as she was already training to become Belle in Beauty And The Beast, as stated by Cosmopolitan. Emma Stone took the role and went on to win an Oscar for her performance while earning $22.5 million for her role. The movie made $443 million at the box office.
1 Sean Connery – Lord Of The Rings
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Legendary actor Sean Connery was offered the role of Gandalf in Lord Of The Rings but he refused the role because he couldn’t understand the script. The studio was desperate to get Connery onboard and offered him $60 million with 15% of the film’s profits which would’ve earned him $450 million since the movies made over $2.91 billion worldwide.
Other notable actors who left lead roles include Christina Applegate for Legally Blonde, Hugh Jackman as James Bond, and Jake Gyllenhaal in Suicide Squad. While there were various reasons for them to not accept roles, these actors went on to create some other notable movies which have gained immense popularity all over the world.
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Source: News Week, Deadline, Independent, Cosmopolitan
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