Some movies, and even careers, are defined by a single role in a hit movie. It’s almost impossible to imagine anyone else filling any of the characters on this list’s shoes, let alone filling them as well. As you read this list try to imagine these actors inhabiting the roles of these characters that we’ve grown to love so well. Some of them are absolutely terrible; especially #4. Scroll down and find out, were any of your favorites near misses?
Table of contents:
- will smith as neo
- mel gibson in gladiator
- jack nicholson as the godfather
- christopher walken as han solo
- john travolta as forrest gump
- robin williams as the joker and the riddler
- tom selleck as indiana jones
7 Will Smith as Neo
To me, this would not have worked. Keanu Reeves played this character so cold and monotone, and with Will Smith’s reputation for being funny, I can’t imagine that none of that would have come through. I movie would have been so drastically different in tone that I feel like it would have hurt this film. It would have become just another Will Smith movie, and I feel like it would have went the way of the mediocre movie, much like Hancock, and no one would remember it two years later. Thanks Will for turning that one down.
6 Mel Gibson in Gladiator
This is the one choice on this list that might have worked. Pre-crazy Mel Gibson was a pretty bad dude. Russell Crowe was perfect, but I think Mel would have given him a run for his money. Think about it. Braveheart and Gladiator are not wildly different characters. In a way, it’s like instead of beheading William Wallace they just made him enter gladiator fights in ancient Rome. I’m talking myself into this casting as I type. I kind of want to see this now.
5 Jack Nicholson as the Godfather
Here’s how Jack explained turning down this iconic role, “"I knew 'The Godfather' was going to be a great film, but at that time I believed Indians should play roles written for Indians and Italians should do the same." He was already a gigantic star at the time, and turning down that role obviously didn’t hurt his career, but just think how much different those movies would have been with him. Ugh…
4 Christopher Walken as Han Solo
This is by far the worst one on this list. Han Solo is one of the greatest characters of all time because of his cocky nature and his quippy attitude. Christopher Walken in this role would have bombed. I’m not saying the movies would have been ruined, but it would have hurt them bad. Since the whole, “I know” line at the end of Empire was reportedly improv by Ford, we would have lost that great line too! Epic fail, Lucas. Thank you for casting Harrison Ford instead.
3 John Travolta as Forrest Gump
This one makes me cringe. Travolta is a decent actor, but he’s definitely no Tom Hanks. Forrest Gump is arguably the best movie ever made, but if Travolta had landed those running shoes, bet that it wouldn’t be. I’m not dogging Travolta as an actor, he’s good in certain roles, but I just don’t feel that he has the range to successfully execute a role like Forrest Gump. Consider that bullet dodged.
2 Robin Williams as the Joker and the Riddler
Robin Williams didn’t actually turn these roles down. He was reportedly given them, only to have them yanked out from under his feet at the last minute. He has always wanted to play a super hero villain, and honestly, I think he would be pretty good. Him playing the Joker instead of Nicholson would have made it so completely different that I don’t think that I would have likes to see it, but as the Riddler I think he would have been great. There are rumors that he may be cast as Hugo Strange in the next Batman movie so he could get his wish. I guess we’ll see.
1 Tom Selleck as Indiana Jones
I’m not saying that this casting would have been a disaster, but Harrison Ford is so perfect as Indy that I can’t imagine anyone else filling that fedora. It’s reported that Selleck wanted the role, he just couldn’t get the scheduling worked out around his then television show Magnum P.I, and had to turn the role down. I’ll bet he kicks himself in the butt everyday for letting this movie franchise slip by.
Can you imagine Christopher Walken as Han Solo? What about Jack Nicholson as the Godfather? I don’t want to either. Do you think there are any roles on this list that would have worked better?
Top Photo Credit: tymorg85
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