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.