9 famous film roles which could have been played by a completely different actor

Will Smith as The Matrix's Agent J? Gwyneth Paltrow as Jurassic Park's Ellie? Things could have been so different...




Smith turned down the part that Keanu Reeves went on to play. He’s since said: “I would have absolutely messed up The Matrix I wasn’t smart enough as an actor to let the movie be, whereas Keanu was smart enough to just let it be.

“Every so often you see a performance you know you couldn’t have given.”


In 1992, Paltrow screen-tested for the role of Ellie Sattler, but the role went to Laura Dern.

“Star Wars was mine for the taking but I didn’t understand the script,” Pacino has since said about the role, which eventually went to Harrison Ford. Well, that’s a good enough reason…

Tom Hiddleston’s take on Thor’s brother could have been very different if Josh Hartnett had been cast. He reportedly had meetings with director Kenneth Branagh for the part and was on the shortlist.

The film’s director Alfonso Cuarón has said Jolie couldn’t do Gravity because “she went to do one film and another she was going to direct”. 

Williams said that he tried to get a part in the film but was turned down because JK Rowling wanted only British actors in the film. “There were a couple of parts I would have wanted to play, but there was a ban on American actors,” he said. There are rumours it would have been Hagrid, portrayed by Scottish actor Robbie Coltrane, who he wanted to play. It probably wasn’t the part of Harry he was after…

Ross Gellar in Men in Black? The actor was offered a role to star alongside Tommy Lee Jones in the action movie but turned it down to star opposite Gwyneth Paltrow in rom-com The Pallbearer. “This is an opportunity to grow rather than go for the quick cash,” he said. 

It’s hard to imagine but Forrest Gump could have been John Travolta instead of Tom Hanks. The Grease actor was offered the part but turned it down — a decision he may well now regret… 

Can you imagine Jerry Maguire without Tom Cruise? Nope. Hanks felt the same way when he turned down the role. “I think you look at it now and it couldn’t have been anybody other than Tom Cruise,” he’s since said. 

It’s difficult to imagine anyone except Reese Witherspoon as the sorority sister/legal mastermind but it could have been Christina Applegate. “I kept getting sent scripts for dumb blondes,” Applegate said. “And here’s one of my biggest regrets: one of those was Legally Blonde. I just didn’t want to play a dumb blonde again. Well, that was stupid.” 


The US adaptation of Stieg Larsson’s international best-selling novel could have starred Carey Mulligan instead of Rooney Mara. Mulligan said she’d gone through three rounds of auditions in her efforts to get the part.