Tuesday, July 3, 2007


While listening to The Jamie and Brady Show on Sports Radio 1130 WDFN a few weeks ago, I learned of a website called notstarring.com. It focuses on actors/actresses and the roles they turned down, auditioned for, got fired from, or simply didn't get. After fishing around the site, here are a few interesting facts that I turned up:

1. Cary Grant was the top choice for "It's a Wonderful Life".
2. Nicolas Cage was considered for the role of John Bender (played by Judd Nelson) in "The Breakfast Club".
3. Brad Pitt auditioned for the role of J.D. (played by Christian Slater) in "Heathers".
4. Will Smith was considered for the role of Willy Wonka in "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory".
5. Geena Davis was considered to play the lead role of Catherine Tramell in Basic Instinct.
6. Richard Gere turned down the lead role in "Die Hard".
7. Cuba Gooding Jr. was considered for the role of Pat Healy (played by Matt Dillon) in "There's Something About Mary".
8. Telly Savalas was originally cast in the lead role of "Cool Hand Luke".
9. Levi Stubbs (the lead singer of the Four Tops) was a favorite to play Louis McKay (portrayed by Billy Dee Williams) in the film "Lady Sings the Blues".
10. Brooke Shields auditioned for the role of Regan MacNeil (played by Linda Blair) in "The Exorcist".

If you get a chance to check out http://notstarring.com/, feel free to share any interesting casting choices you didn't know about.


Taj said...

I love Paul Newman and I can't even count the amount of times I've seen Cool Hand Luke. So there is no way I could see Telly Savalas in that role.

Since I seem to retain facts I don't intend to, I don't even need to go to the website to name a few.

Keanu Reeeves turned down the role in Platoon because he thought it was too violent.

Both Nicole Kidman & Catherine Zeta Jones turned down the role in Mr & Mrs Smith.

Brad Pitt's role in Thelma and Lousie was originally offered to William Baldwin. When he turned it down, they considered George Clooney.

I seriously could go on and on...lol

Malcolm said...

Wow, I didn't know about Keanu Reeves turning down "Platoon"!

As for "Cool Hand Luke", don't get me started. That is one of my favorite movies to quote! Although I have it on VHS, I haven't purchased the DVD because it has zero special features. I was hoping they would release a 40th Anniv. Special Edition set, but I haven't heard anything.

Telly as "Cool Hand Luke"... I don't think so either!

pjazzypar said...

If Nicole or Catherine Zeta had taken the role in "Mr. & Mrs Smith" maybe Jennifer Aniston would still have a husband (LOL). But seriously John Travolta turned down "The Americab Gigolo" and I could actually see him possibly playing the role. He also passed on the role of Billy Flynn (Chicago) which also went to Richard Gere. Some other "not starring roles" are:

1. DeNiro turned down "At Close Range" because it was to dark and "Big" because it didn't pay enough.
2. Streisand turned down "Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore" because she felt she was too young at the time and "Cross Creek" which went to Mary Steenburgen.
3. Sigorney Weaver was considered for the role that went to Kathleen Turner in "Body Heat".
4. Debra Winger turned the lead in "Arthur" (every time I see this movie I think about my uncle Ronald who absolutely loved it). She also had to bow out of "Big" because she was pregnant at the time. Strangely she turned down the lead in a host of memorable films, "Broadcast News", The Fabulous Baker Boy", "A Leaque of Their Own", "Nuts","Bull Durham" and "Peggy Sue Got Married" to name a few.
5. Meryl Streep turned down the role of Cora in remake of "The Postman Always Rings Twice". Reportedly Sissy Spacek and Rachel Welch were considered before producers settled on Jessica Lange. I Think this was a good call because I really couldn't see Spacek in the steamy role.
6. Kevin Costner was considered for the role of Richard Kimble in "The Fugitive". I personally think the role went to the right person because Harrison Ford is a better action actor in my opinion.
7. Natalie Wood campaigned for the lead in "Ordinary People".
8. Al Pacino was considered to play the role that Jon Voight portrayed in "Coming Home".
9. Tom Cruise turned down "Enemy of the State" because he was still working on "Eyes Wide Shut".
10. Sylvester Stallone turned down the lead role in "Die Hard". What a mistake. As much as he likes sequels it would have been a gold mine for him.

I loved this post. Thanks for the informational website. Oh by the way, I think I can envision Levi as Louis McKay.

Taj said...

Man Cool Hand Luke...Newman suckered me in and the movie keeps me there. I have a hoodie I had made especially for poker that says "Sometimes nothing can be a pretty cool hand".

And "What we've got here is failure to communicate", is on my answering machine! lol

pjazzypar...I thought the same thing about Aniston..LOL

And I agree that Sissy Spacek was definately not right for that role! I also couldn't imagine Sigourney Weaver in Body Heat.

Angela Basset turned down two roles s that went to Halle Berry...X-Men and Monster's Ball (which I really didn't care for even though it got massive hype). She also turned down Entrapment which went to Zeta Jones. I hated Entrapment...may be she would have classed it up.

pjazzypar said...

Hey Taj,

"Cool Hand Luke" is an all time favorite on everyone's list that enjoy classic film. Paul Newman and George Kennedy played wonderfully of of each other. It had elements of shock (at least for the times), humor, and sadness.

I was not impressed with "Monster's Ball" at all. I simply did not get the nomination. I frankly thought the Academy might have gave her the award for having the ability to do a "love scene" with Billy Bob Thornton and not throw up!

Speaking of movies and nominations for that year in particular, although I liked the film "Training Days" I did not think it warranted an Oscar nomination. If you could see the footage from the Oscar Presentations that night, you would see the initial look of shock and confusion on Denzel Washington's face when it was announced that he won. That year (2003) was the year that Sean Penn should have won for "I am Sam".

Taj said...

I was also surprised Penn didn't win. I saw the Oscars that year but missed Denzels initial reaction.

Monster's Ball..ugh. I saw it after she won and I was truly baffled as to how she was nominated. I was about through with it when the sex scene came on. I remember thinking they'd have to offer me a heck of a lot of money just to do that scene.

Malcolm said...

pjazzypar: you had me cracking up on your comment about Halle doing the sex scene with Billy Bob.

My feelings about Denzel and Halle winning that year is that the NAACP was making alot of noise about the lack of Black Academy Award winners over the years. I think that awarding Denzel and Halle was a way for the Academy to toss a bone and quiet down the NAACP for awhile. I also feel that Denzel winning was a "make up" for him not taking home the prize for "Hurricane".

popartdiva said...

And Tom Selleck was originally offered the role as Indiana Jones but honored his comittment to Magnum P.I.(which hadn't been finalized) and turned it down.

The list goes on and on doesn't it? Had some of these people taken these key roles maybe they wouldn't have been the iconic cultural images they are today. . . . .

Malcolm said...

Hi popartdiva,

Oh yes, the Tom Selleck/Indiana Jones "could have been" is a classic one. Although I am a fan of Selleck's work, I have a hard time seeing him as Indy.

After reading your comments, it made me think about some of the "not starring" stories from TV.

1. Rosie O'Donnell was considered for the role of Elaine Benes on "Seinfeld".

2. Jon Cryer missed out on the role of Chandler Bing from "Friends". His audition tape failed to arrive before the network had made its final decision.

3. Whitney Houston auditioned for the role of Sondra Huxtable on "The Cosby Show".

4. George Peppard was cast in the role of Blake Carrington on in "Dynasty", but was fired from the role after disagreements with the show's producers.

5. Johnny Carson was considered for the role of Rob Petrie on "The Dick Van Dyke Show".

As you said, the list goes on and on.

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