Every successful film owes part of its fame to the actors who work in it. Protagonists chosen so accurately that it would be impossible to even think of substituting them. Yet often, some of the most famous roles in cinema history were thought for someones else.
For example, in the case of the classic film “Pretty Woman” the part of Vivian was thought for Darryl Hannah, and only after she refused it was given to Julia Roberts.
When the producers of “Pretty Woman” offered the part to Darryl Hannah, she refused because she thought it was degrading to play the part of a prostitute that gets saved by an improbable (in real life) prince charming.
Or in “Ghost” where Bruce Willis and Tom Cruise both said no to the producers, therefore the part was given to Patrick Swayze.
The reason? Thery all thought the stories were too improbable to be a success. Well, everyone can make mistakes.
Sarah Michelle Gellar’s refusal.
She was an actress that was particularly sought after in the 90s especially for films dedicated to teenagers. That’s why hers was the first name on the list to be chosen for “Clueless” by the producers. The star of “Buffy, the Vampire Slayer”, was forced to decline the invitation because of the film was being shot at the same time as the TV series.
John Travolta’s regret.
Could you immagine Forrest Gump without Tom Hanks’ face? It seems impossible to even think about it. Yet the director had offered the part to John Travolta at first. He refused thinking the film had no potential. “With hindsight, it was a great mistake”, said the actor later on.
Marilyn as Audrey.
When Truman Capote wrote “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” his idea was for Marilyn Monroe to play the part. But the diva said no because her agent suggested it thinking the part of Holly Golightly would hinder her image.
Mel Gibsosn’s no.
When Ridley Scott started working on finding the protagonist for “The Gladiator” in 1999, he thought that the part of Maximus Decimus Meridius would have been perfect for the actor of “Braveheart”. Mel had other projects and said therefore refused. So the part went to the then semi-unknown Russell Crowe.