Many successful actors and actresses admit that their acting skills play a much smaller part in their successful careers than what people may think. However, they all admit that the one thing that played a crucial part in their journey to the Hall of Fame was their ability to identify good parts in great productions and win them. There are some opportunities of a lifetime that only come around once so here are 5 global A-listers who have turned down or missed out some iconic roles that could have taken their careers to a completely different level.
Sean Connery Turn Down The Part of Gandalf in ‘”Lord Of The Rings”
The Lord of the Rings franchise has netted a total of $2.9 billion USD at the box office. In addition to being a box office success, it won over 30 American, British and Australian Academy awards being won. Its soundtrack even claimed a Grammy for the Best Score Soundtrack Album.
The plot’s principal character of Gandalf was first offered to Sean Connery for a $30 million USD paycheck. The producers were so keen on getting Connery that he was offered and additional 15% of the film’s box office takings which is estimated to be a total of $450 million.
Connery turned this offer down because he simply did not understand the script. Even after reading the book and script and after seeing the movie he still does not get the premise of the movie.
Will Smith Turned Down The Part of Neo in “The Matrix”
Once you are an iconic movie star, roles will keep on rolling in from all angles. Simply due to physical limits, one will have to turn down some of these roles. In this instance, Smith turned down the sci-fi smash hit of The Matrix because he did not understand the script.
After seeing the movie, Will said that he was glad to have turned down the film as he would have utterly ruined the movie. Keanu Reeves was smart enough to allow the movie to play whereas Will would have worked to shine in the film.
Sandra Bullock Should Have Played Maggie Fitzgerald in “Million Dollar Baby”
With the case of Million Dollar Baby, the issue here is that the rumor mill got the story totally wrong. According to Bullock, she had been working with Clint Eastwood to get the movie published for years to no avail. The reason for the delay given by studio heads was that female boxing movies don’t sell. After many wasted years, she moved onto another project (Miss Congeniality 2) and Hilary Swank became her replacement.
Four Academy awards and $ 200 million dollars later, the female boxing movie Million Dollar Baby was a proven hit. Sandra, not one to hold a grudge, was not bitter that the film also gave Swank the Oscar nod for Best Actress. Even though she wanted to play that role, she was happy for the movie’s success.
Emily Browning Could Have Played Bella in The “Twilight” Saga
This Australian starlet was offered to audition for the lead role of Bella in the hugely successful Twilight saga. She declined and missed out a series that grossed over $3.3 billion at the box office. When asked if there was any regret, Browning remarked that she thought the casting was perfect. She also said she would not have been able to manage the intense spotlight that was placed on the Twilight cast at the time. One man’s trash is another’s treasure and in this instance, Twilight turned out to be pure gold.
Thomas Jane Should Have Played Don Draper in “Mad Men”
Not wanting to move away from feature films some actors made huge career blunders based on pride.
AMC, the producers of Mad Men, originally wanted Thomas Jane to play the lead role of Don Draper. AMC was told simply that Jane does not do television. Ironically after the huge success of Mad Men’s first season Jane took on a role in television. He starred in the much shorter and less acclaimed series of Hung where he portrayed a male prostitute. Maybe he felt a bit of remorse after missing out on the 16 Emmy and 5 Golden Globes won by the Mad Men cast.