19 ACTORS WHO WERE ALMOST CAST IN THESE ICONIC ROLES, BEFORE THEY WENT TO SOMEONE ELSE
Vince Vaughn as Joey would have changed TV forever.
1. Amy Schumer as Barbie in Barbie
Once upon a time, Amy Schumer was in talks to play the iconic doll in the upcoming Barbie, but the role ultimately went to Margot Robbie. First citing scheduling conflicts, Schumer recently revealed to the Hollywood Reporter the reason was due to creative differences. She said, "[The studio] definitely didn't want to do it the way I wanted to do it, the only way I was interested in doing it."
2. George Clooney as Noah in The Notebook
As bizarre as it sounds, Clooney was once in talks to play the poetic millworker from Seabrook Island. The older version of Noah would have been Paul Newman, but after watching some of Newman’s early work, Clooney backed out. “He’s one of the handsomest guys you’ve ever seen,” Clooney said in an interview at the 64th BFI London Film Festival, covered by Deadline. “We met up [again], and I said, ‘I can’t play you. I don’t look anything like you. This is insane.’ We just wanted to do it because we wanted to work together, [but] it ended up being not the right thing for us to do.”
3. Britney Spears as Allie in The Notebook
After a long, restless search for the right Allie, the filmmakers landed on Rachel McAdams, and it’s hard to imagine anyone else in the film. But history would have been much different with pop superstar Britney Spears opposite Gosling, her Mickey Mouse Club costar from a decade earlier. Spears even performed with Gosling in a screen test. 4. Claire Danes as Rose in Titanic
Before Kate Winslet portrayed the headstrong young woman with porcelain skin and flowing red hair, Claire Danes turned down the part of Rose. Leonardo DiCaprio and Danes were the lovebirds of Romeo + Juliet a year earlier, but Danes didn’t want the superstardom and has "no regrets" about turning down the role. "I remember after that movie came out and he just went into another stratosphere," Danes told Dax Shepard on his Armchair Expert podcast. "I went to the premiere of The Man in the Iron Mask, and when he walked into the room, the floor fell in his direction. Everybody in the room went toward him. It was a little scary. I think I may have sensed I was courting that. And I just couldn't do it. I didn't want it."
5. Jenna Fischer as Andi in Man with a Plan
Before Liza Snyder took the part, the casting was set: Jenna Fischer was set to play Matt LeBlanc’s wife in the CBS family comedy sitcom, but producers ultimately decided that “Pam wouldn’t marry Joey," and seeing the two iconic actors together would've been weird onscreen.
6. Vince Vaughn as Joey in Friends
In a 2018 interview with HuffPost, Friends casting director Ellie Kanner opened up about the difficulties of making the right decisions when casting an ensemble of six. One of the countless actors to audition for the role of Joey Tribbiani was Vaughn, who fit the part, but not the rest of the group as LeBlanc did. Kanner stated, “It’s just a matter of putting the pieces of the puzzle together.”
7. Hank Azaria as Joey in Friends
And Azaria, who ended up playing Phoebe’s scientist boyfriend in the first season, and later returned, had a strong desire to play Joey. He even auditioned for the role twice.
8. Janeane Garofalo as Monica in Friends
The beloved Monica Geller was actually written for Reality Bites star Janeane Garofalo — before Courteney Cox was even in the picture. In 2012, Friends creator David Crane told Vanity Fair, “When we originally wrote the role, we had Janeane Garofalo's voice in our head. Darker and edgier and snarkier, and Courteney brought a whole bunch of other colors to it. We decided that, week after week, that would be a lovelier place to go to."
9. Blake Lively as Karen in Mean Girls
Amanda Seyfried’s breakout role as the ditzy, weather-predicting Karen almost went to Gossip Girl star Blake Lively.
10. Amanda Seyfried as Regina George in Mean Girls
And Seyfried auditioned for the part of vicious queen bee Regina George, which was scored by Rachel McAdams. "I'd flown out to LA for the first time with my mother,” Seyfried told Vanity Fair. “I met Lacey Chabert for the first time, and Lindsay Lohan was in the room, and Blake Lively was playing Karen, and then I was Regina.”
11. Al Pacino as Han Solo in Star Wars
Harrison Ford wasn’t George Lucas’s first choice for the smuggler Han Solo. It was Pacino who already made his mark as Michael Corleone in The Godfather. “It was at that time in my career where I was offered everything,” Pacino told MTV in 2014. “I was in The Godfather. They didn't care if I was right or wrong for the role, if I could act or not act… I remember not understanding it when I read it."
12. Julia Roberts as Viola in Shakespeare in Love
It wasn't Gwyneth Paltrow, but Julia Roberts who was cast as Viola de Lesseps before Miramax re-envisioned the project. The movie had many iterations. "Julia Roberts was going to do it for a long time, and then that version fell apart. It ended up in Miramax, and I was the first person they offered it to," Paltrow told Variety.
13. John Travolta as Forrest Gump in Forrest Gump
Tom Hanks won his second Academy Award for playing the kind-hearted, naïve living legend in Robert Zemeckis's classic 1994 film. But Hanks wasn't the first choice; John Travolta was initially offered the role but declined it in favor of another major project. Fortunately, his decision to take on the part of Vincent Vega in Quentin Tarantino's Pulp Fiction ended up reviving his career.
14. Anne Hathaway as Tiffany in Silver Linings Playbook
Anne Hathaway declined the role of Tiffany due to creative differences with director David O. Russell before Jennifer Lawrence was cast. Lawrence earned critical praise and won an Academy Award for Best Actress.
15. Sandra Bullock as Maggie in Million Dollar Baby
Before Clint Eastwood got involved, Sandra Bullock fought tooth and nail to get Million Dollar Baby off the ground. "We had Million Dollar Baby with someone else for a while, trying to get it made," Bullock reportedly said. "I couldn't get it made. We tried and tried and tried." Of course, Hilary Swank eventually put on the boxing gloves and won an Academy Award. Bullock continued, "When things like that happen, that's the way they're supposed to be."
16. Hugh Jackman as James Bond in Casino Royale
After launching into A-list status by playing Wolverine in X-Men, it was a time when Jackman was offered every role. In an interview with Variety, Jackman said, "I was about to do X-Men 2, and a call came from my agent asking if I'd be interested in Bond. I just felt at the time that the scripts had become so unbelievable and crazy, and I felt like they needed to become grittier and real." Once told his suggestions wouldn't make the cut, Daniel Craig put on the Bond suit for five films.
17. Eduardo Franco as Eddie in Stranger Things
Now known globally as the actor who portrays Argyle in Stranger Things, Eduardo Franco initially auditioned for the part of Eddie, which went to Joseph Quinn. But Eduardo expressed his contentment with how things turned out, telling Insider that "they made a beautiful decision."
18. Eminem as Mad Max in Mad Max: Fury Road
At one point, director George Miller was dead-set on superstar rapper Eminem playing the role of Mad Max. Miller told Vulture, "He’d done 8 Mile, and I found that really interesting — I thought, 'He’s got that quality.'"
19. And finally, Emily Blunt as Black Widow in the Marvel Cinematic Universe
Contrary to popular belief, the original choice for Black Widow was Emily Blunt, not Scarlett Johansson. Due to scheduling conflicts, Blunt declined the role, saying, "It was a bit of a heartbreaker for me."