Tagged: The Matrix

Tom Selleck

It’s what every young actor dreams of, they are offered a role in a film that looks like it could become a blockbuster. So what do you do? Phone Mum and Dad? Jump in the air? Well for some Hollywood actors they decided to say no… yes that’s right say no to what could have become one of the biggest roles of their career. Let’s have a look at the men who had the nerve to say ‘no.’

Tom Selleck – It almost seems like something that could have happened in another universe, but believe or not Harrison Ford wasn’t actually the producers first choice to play the legendary explorer Indiana Jones. When pre-production first started on “Indiana Jones And The Temple Of Doom” way back in the early 1980s the producers wanted the mustached-one himself, Tom Selleck to play the action hero. At the time Selleck was hot property due to the fact that he was playing television cop Magnum in the extremely popular “Magnum P.I.” However, when he was offered the role of Indy he turned it down, so George Lucas went with the man he had just worked with on the “Star Wars” franchise – Harrison Ford.

Will Smith – Keanu Reeves has joked in the past that getting to play Neo in the sci-fi thriller “The Matrix” provided him with enough money to feed his family forever. But Mr. Reeves should consider himself extremely lucky for every having the opportunity to don the duster jacket and enter into the realm of the matrix, because he wasn’t Andy and Lana Wachowski’s first choice to play the role. The Wachowski’s first choice was Will Smith who had just completed work on his comedy television series “The Fresh Prince Of Bel Air” and was the toast of Hollywood after delivering great performances in blockbusters such as “Independence Day,” “Men In Black” and “Enemy Of The State.” Ironically, Smith ended up doing “Wild, Wild West” instead of “The Matrix” and as time has since told, that was the beginning of the fall of his career as far as critics were concerned.

Jack Nicholson – Okay, so ultimately it didn’t affect his acting career all that much, but how many people know that screen legend Jack Nicholson once turned down one of the most iconic screen roles of all time. Back in 1972 when director Francis Ford Coppola was putting together his cast for arguably one of the most famous films of all time, “The Godfather,” he originally approached Jack Nicholson about playing the role of Michael Corleone. Nicholson turned down the role and instead Coppola gave the role to a virtual unknown called Al Pacino who used the role to become a screen legend himself.

Matt Damon – Matt Damon may be one of the biggest stars on the planet so it’s a little weird to find out that the actor turned down two roles that could have helped him become an even bigger star. It seems Damon may have something against franchises because both film roles he turned down were roles in two of the biggest franchises of modern times. Firstly, Damon turned the lead role in James Cameron’s “Avatar,” which was feverishly snapped up by Australian Sam Worthington, and then went on to turn down the role of Harvey Dent in Christopher Nolan’s Batman epic “The Dark Knight.” Both films went on to become mega blockbusters at the box office; however, people should cut Damon a little slack as he turned down “Avatar” to do “The Bourne Ultimatum” and turned down “The Dark Knight” to do “Invictus,” so both his choices still kind of worked anyway.

Johnny Depp – Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” has become one of the most iconic films of all time and even back in 1986 you would have thought any actor would have jumped at the opportunity to work with director John Hughes. Hughes may have delivered great films like “Sixteen Candles,” “The Breakfast Club” and “Pretty In Pink” but that wasn’t enough to win over Johnny Depp who decided to pass when he was offered the role of Ferris Bueller in the comedy. True Depp seems to have landed on his feet since then so it ultimately wasn’t a bad decision, but it can still make film goers wonder what could have been. For the record, the role of Bueller ended up becoming a career defining role for Matthew Broderick.

As you can see actors say ‘no’ to a role normally because they have a good reason and thankfully not many live to regret it, although it is still a fairly funny daydream to wonder what Tom Selleck would have looked like playing Indy.

Sandra Bullock

It must be an exciting time for an actress when she is sent a script to read, it must even be more exciting when the script she is sent is one for a blockbuster film that may change her career forever. For that reason, it is almost unfathomable how an actress can read a blockbuster script but then decline the role. But is has happened, so let’s take a look at the actresses who have turned down blockbuster roles.

Nia Long – Nia who? Yes sometimes a decision that an actress can make about her career can be the difference between one day getting a star on a Hollywood pavement or career suicide. Back in 2000 when the producers were putting together a dream cast for the big screen adaptation of “Charlie’s Angels,” they had one actress say no to a role that would have seen her acting in one of the biggest action blockbusters of all time alongside the likes of Drew Barrymore and Cameron Diaz. Actress Nia Long was actually approached about playing the role of Alex Munday, but when she turned it down to be in “Big Momma’s House” the role instead went to Lucy Liu. The decision was pretty much career suicide for Long who, since “Big Momma’s House,” has pretty much been restricted to doing just television roles.

Sandra Bullock – Okay, so Sandra Bullock has enough brownie points in her bag to show that it probably didn’t matter that she passed on a movie role once, but there is another actress out there who is very thankful that she did. Back in 2004 when legendary director Clint Eastwood was putting together the cast for boxing flick “Million Dollar Baby,” the role of Maggie Fitzgerald was actually offered to Sandra Bullock first, but she declined the role saying she couldn’t work with Eastwood. Instead, the role went to Hilary Swank who had impressed everybody with her performance in “Boys Don’t Cry” five years earlier. Swank probably still thanks Bullock for the opportunity because playing Maggie saw Swank pick up an Oscar.

Jada Pinkett – Can making bad decisions about movie roles run in the family? It’s common knowledge that Will Smith turned down the role of Neo in “The Matrix” but his wife Jada Pinkett also made a terrible decision about a role as well. Getting offered a role in a franchise based on a comic book is now like a badge of honor, but back in the year 2000, it was less so. It is perhaps only a little surprise that Pinkett was not quick to snap up the role of Storm for the “X-Men” film when it was first offered to her. Pinkett turned down the role and instead it went to Halle Berry, who used it to catapult her career into a new atmosphere of stardom.

Michelle Pfeiffer – “Pretty Woman,” love it or loathe, it but it is still one of the most watched films of all time. It was also the film that introduced the world to Julia Roberts and made her a superstar. Yes, it was Roberts who played the role of fun-loving escort, Vivian Ward, in this Cinderalla story. At the time Roberts was a virtual unknown with “Steel Magnolias” being the only film of note under her belt. She should consider very lucky to have won the role in “Pretty Woman,” because the role was first offered to Michelle Pfeiffer who was hot property after just working on “Dangerous Liaisons.” Pfeiffer turned down the role and Roberts used it to become a star.

Demi Moore – Yes, it maybe news to all of you out there that ever decided to hit the pause button during a certain scene in the erotic thriller “Basic Instinct,” but it almost wasn’t Sharon Stone who took the lead role opposite Michael Douglas. When director Paul Verhoeven was first putting together the cast for “Basic Instinct,” his first choice of leading lady was in fact Demi Moore who was the toast of Hollywood after her lauded performance in “Ghost.” When Moore said no to the role of “Basic Instinct’s” relative vixen, Catherine Tramell, the role was instead offered to Sharon Stone who was mainly known for her role opposite Arnold Schwarzenegger in “Total Recall.”

Some may say that their decision was wise, some may say that their decision was one of the stupidest decisions they ever made in their lives. But for one reason or another the woman above all said no to a blockbuster. Thankfully, not too many have lived to regret to the decision.