9 Iconic Roles That Almost Went to Someone Else
Johnny Depp as Ferris Bueller?
By Evann Gastaldo, Newser Staff
Posted Jul 5, 2014 9:21 AM CDT
Johnny Depp attends a promotional event for his movie “Transcendence” in Beijing on March 31, 2014.   (AP Photo/Alexander F. Yuan)

(Newser) – John Travolta as Forrest Gump? Difficult to envision, but it could have happened: Travolta turned down the role before Tom Hanks ended up with it, according to HLN's list of 18 iconic roles that almost went to different actors. More:

  • Will Smith turned down the role of Neo in The Matrix, and Keanu Reeves got the part.
  • Ralph Macchio, aka the Karate Kid, turned down the role of Marty McFly in Back to the Future, and Michael J. Fox ended up with it.
  • Michelle Pfeiffer was the first choice of director Jonathan Demme to play Clarice Starling in The Silence of the Lambs, but of course, Jodie Foster ended up with the role.
  • Tom Selleck couldn't get out of his Magnum PI contract, but if he could have, he might have played Indiana Jones instead of Harrison Ford.

  • Speaking of iconic Harrison Ford roles, Christopher Walken was the first actor offered the role of Han Solo in Star Wars.
  • Sarah Michelle Gellar turned down the role of Cher in Clueless, and Alicia Silverstone got it.
  • Sean Connery reportedly turned down the role of Gandalf in Lord of the Rings because he didn't quite get the script. Ian McKellen got the part.
  • Johnny Depp had a scheduling conflict, otherwise he could have played Ferris Bueller instead of Matthew Broderick.
Click for the complete list, including a Brat Pack-er who could have had the lead role in Pretty Woman.

More From Newser
My Take on This Story
To report an error on this story,
notify our editors.
9 Iconic Roles That Almost Went to Someone Else is...
Show results without voting
You Might Like
Showing 3 of 10 comments
Jul 11, 2014 11:38 PM CDT
John Cusack auditioned for the role of Bender, "the criminal" in The Breakfast Club. Judd Nelson got the role instead, because John Hughes didn't think Cusack looked tough enough. Bender is the kind of guy who could mug a grandma for drug money. In all fairness, Nelson looked like he could kill somebody. Cusack is way too cute and kind of "a-dork-able." I suppose Charlie Sheen (who would have been PERFECT) was disqualified because audiences would wonder why he isn't playing Andy "the athlete's" brother.
Jul 11, 2014 10:54 AM CDT
The role of Marty McFly first went to Eric Stoltz, who filmed for weeks until it was decided he wasn't working out. At that point they decided to go with their first choice, Michael J Fox, whose producers on Family Ties relented and allowed Fox to film concurrently with his work on the sit-com. Similar thing happened with Michael Keaton being booted from The Purple Rose of Cairo and Jeff Daniels stepped in.
Debussy Fields
Jul 11, 2014 9:22 AM CDT
Tom Selleck's conflict with Raiders wasn't Magnum PI, it was another period adventure movie called High Road to China. He chose... poorly.