Stars Who Passed on Huge Roles
Lindsay Lohan turned down 'The Hangover'? Will Smith passed on playing Neo? It sounds impossible to believe. But really, it's the truth.
Can't Win Them All
They say hindsight is 20/20. But even a blind Ewan McGregor could tell you passing on the opportunity to play Neo in The Matrix was a mistake. But if it makes the Scottish actor feel better, he's not alone. Will Smith also opted out of that now iconic part. And those are just two of the many Hollywood stars who have missed out on blockbuster roles.
Matt Damon - 'Avatar'
Between filming The Bourne Ultimatum and The Green Zone, Matt Damon couldn't find the time to squeeze in a little film called Avatar. According to WENN, the actor was courted by director James Cameron, but ultimately had to watch from home as the sci-fi flick grossed over $1 billion worldwide.
Will Smith - 'The Matrix'
You'd think passing on one of the most iconic film roles in the last 20 years would leave you upset. But when you're as famous as Will Smith, you can afford to miss these types of opportunities. Besides, as the actor said: "I just didn’t see it. I watched Keanu's performance – and very rarely do I say this – but I would have messed it up." So there you have it.
Ewan McGregor - 'The Matrix'
Always wished Neo had a Scottish accent? Well, there were once rumors Ewan McGregor was meant to star in the film, rather than Keanu Reeves. Only, the Scotsman completely denied the story to Playboy magazine back in 2005, saying: "I didn't turn down The Matrix -- not to my knowledge, anyway. F---ing people will hang if I did."
Sean Connery - 'The Lord of the Rings' Trilogy
According to CNN, the actor's decision to pass on the role as Gandolf reportedly cost the guy $400 million! No, the producers weren't ready to pay him that salary. Rather, they offered Sean Connery up to 15 percent of the worldwide box office receipts to play the part -- and as you may recall, the movies sort of did well.
Kevin Costner - 'Kill Bill'
Kevin Costner has starred in many fantastic films, including Dances with Wolves and Field of Dreams. He's also responsible for the disaster known as Waterworld. And if he hadn't passed on the role of Bill, you could have seen the actor in Quentin Tarantino's arthouse film, Kill Bill. Instead, Costner opted out, allowing David Carradine to take the part.
Mel Gibson - 'Gladiator'
He's not the most popular star in Hollywood, but Mel Gibson can certainly act. His performance in Braveheart helped the film win an Oscar for Best Picture in 1995. Yet, despite his success making epic historical dramas, the actor turned down the lead role in Gladiator. Seeing as Russel Crowe would go on to take the part and score an Academy Award for his efforts, we imagine Gibson regrets his decision.
Sarah Michelle Gellar - 'Clueless'
Most people remember Sarah Michelle Gellar for her role as Buffy on the TV series Buffy the Vampire Slayer. But if the actress had played her cards right, she could have starred as Cher Horowitz in Clueless. Ultimately, scheduling conflicts prevented Gellar from taking the part, allowing Alicia Silverstone to make movie magic.
John Travolta - 'Forrest Gump'
Picture any actor not named Tom Hanks playing the lead in Forrest Gump. Now try and imagine John Travolta sitting on a park bench, telling the world "life is like a box of chocolates." Yeah, we have no idea who thought that would ever work. The actor has since admitted he made a mistake turning down the iconic part. But in this case, we think he made the right choice.
Chevy Chase - 'Forrest Gump'
We loved Chevy Chase in Caddy Shack. And we've fully embraced him on the NBC series Community. But like John Travolta, we're glad he turned down the role of Forrest in Forrest Gump. Nothing against the guy, but it's tough to imagine Clark Griswold delivering the same emotional performance Tom Hanks gave us.
Tom Hanks - 'Jerry Maguire'
Just because Tom Hanks fit perfectly into the role of Forrest Gump, doesn't mean he could play any part. And the Oscar-winning actor knows this better than anyone. When asked to comment on his decision to pass on starring in Jerry Maguire, Hanks had this to say: "I think you look at it now and it couldn't have been anybody other than Tom Cruise."
Lindsay Lohan - 'The Hangover'
Lindsay Lohan has made a lot of regrettable decisions in her life. But in terms of career choices, her biggest blunder may have come in 2009, when she reportedly passed on the summer blockbuster, The Hangover. As Us magazine reported at the time, the actress allegedly turned down the part of stripper Jade (a role Heather Graham ended up playing).
Julia Roberts - 'The Blind Side'
After landing her role in 2009's The Blind Side, Sandra Bullock went on to win an Oscar, SAG Award, and a Golden Globe for Best Actress. A year later, Forbes named her the highest-paid female star in Hollywood. But none of this would have happened if the woman initially slated for the part, Julia Roberts, hadn't passed on the film.