21 Actors Who Turned Down Iconic Roles, and It Changed the Movies for the Better

Keanu Reeves portrayed Neo in The Matrix and Leo portrayed Jack in Titanic so effortlessly that we can’t even imagine someone else playing their characters on screen. But what if we tell you that they weren’t the first choice for these movies! Sometimes, actors tend to turn down iconic roles for a number of reasons and their replacements can turn out to be significantly better choices.

So, Bright Side wants to show you how the movie posters would’ve looked if the original actors had never refused to act in these films in the first place. Brace yourselves, because your mind is going to be blown.

1. Matthew McConaughey as Jack and Gwyneth Paltrow as Rose in Titanic

Played by: Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet

21 Actors Who Turned Down Iconic Roles, and It Changed the Movies for the Better

© Social Films  

2. Will Smith as Neo and Val Kilmer as Morpheus in The Matrix

Played by: Keanu Reeves and Laurence Fishburne

21 Actors Who Turned Down Iconic Roles, and It Changed the Movies for the Better

© Social Films  

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3. Tom Cruise as Ren McCormack in Footloose

Played by: Kevin Bacon

21 Actors Who Turned Down Iconic Roles, and It Changed the Movies for the Better

© Social Films  

4. Michelle Pfeiffer as Vivian Ward in Pretty Woman

Played by: Julia Roberts

21 Actors Who Turned Down Iconic Roles, and It Changed the Movies for the Better

© Social Films  

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5. Mel Gibson as Maximus in Gladiator

Played by: Russell Crowe

21 Actors Who Turned Down Iconic Roles, and It Changed the Movies for the Better

© Social Films  

6. Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt in Brokeback Mountain

Played by: Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal

21 Actors Who Turned Down Iconic Roles, and It Changed the Movies for the Better

© Social Films  

7. John Travolta as Forrest Gump in Forrest Gump

Played by: Tom Hanks

21 Actors Who Turned Down Iconic Roles, and It Changed the Movies for the Better

© Social Films  

8. Al Pacino as Han Solo in Star Wars

Played by: Harrison Ford

21 Actors Who Turned Down Iconic Roles, and It Changed the Movies for the Better

© Social Films  

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9. Jack Nicholson as Michael Corleone in The Godfather

Played by: Al Pacino

21 Actors Who Turned Down Iconic Roles, and It Changed the Movies for the Better

© Social Films  

10. Hugh Jackman as James Bond in Casino Royale

Played by: Daniel Craig

21 Actors Who Turned Down Iconic Roles, and It Changed the Movies for the Better

© Social Films  

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11. Daniel Day-Lewis as Aragorn in The Lord of the Rings

Played by: Viggo Mortensen

21 Actors Who Turned Down Iconic Roles, and It Changed the Movies for the Better

© The Lord of the Rings / New Line Cinema   © In the Name of the Father / Universal Pictures  

12. Leonardo DiCaprio as Patrick Bateman in American Psycho

Played by: Christian Bale

21 Actors Who Turned Down Iconic Roles, and It Changed the Movies for the Better

© American Psycho / Sony Pictures Releasing   © Inception / Warner Bros. Pictures  

13. Charlie Hunnam as Christian Grey in Fifty Shades of Grey

Played by: Jamie Dornan

21 Actors Who Turned Down Iconic Roles, and It Changed the Movies for the Better

© Fifty Shades of Grey / Universal Pictures   © Reveal / Calvin Klein  

14. Jake Gyllenhaal as Rick Flag in Suicide Squad

Played by: Joel Kinnaman

21 Actors Who Turned Down Iconic Roles, and It Changed the Movies for the Better

© Suicide Squad / Warner Bros. Pictures   © Spider-Man: Far From Home / Sony Pictures Releasing  

15. Leonardo DiCaprio as Alan Turing in The Imitation Game

Played by: Benedict Cumberbatch

21 Actors Who Turned Down Iconic Roles, and It Changed the Movies for the Better

© The Imitation Game / The Weinstein Company   © The Wolf of the Wall Street / Paramount Pictures  

16. Anne Hathaway as Tiffany in Silver Linings Playbook

Played by: Jennifer Lawrence

21 Actors Who Turned Down Iconic Roles, and It Changed the Movies for the Better

© Silver Linings Playbook / The Weinstein Company   © Looking Glass Films / Wikimedia Commons  

17. Tom Cruise as Edward Scissorhands in Edward Scissorhands

Played by: Johnny Depp

21 Actors Who Turned Down Iconic Roles, and It Changed the Movies for the Better

© Edward Scissorhands / 20th Century Fox   © Jerry Maguire / Sony Pictures Releasing  

18. Julia Roberts as Margaret Tate in The Proposal

Played by: Sandra Bullock

21 Actors Who Turned Down Iconic Roles, and It Changed the Movies for the Better

© The Proposal / Walt Disney Studios   © TODAYshow / Twitter  

19. Sean Connery as Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings

Played by: Ian McKellen

21 Actors Who Turned Down Iconic Roles, and It Changed the Movies for the Better

© The Lord of the Rings / New Line Cinema   © / Wikimedia Commons  

20. Jim Carrey as William ’Buddy’ Hobbs in Elf

Played by: Will Ferrell

21 Actors Who Turned Down Iconic Roles, and It Changed the Movies for the Better

© Elf / New Line Cinema   © Ace Ventura: Pet Detective / Warner Bros.  

21. Jennifer Lawrence as Bella Swan in The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 2

Played by: Kristen Stewart

21 Actors Who Turned Down Iconic Roles, and It Changed the Movies for the Better

© The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2 / Summit Entertainment   © b.m.a.n. / Wikimedia Commons  

Do you feel that they should have accepted these roles? Who do you think could have been a better cast choice in the movies you have seen? Share with us in the comments below.

Preview photo credit Social FilmsPretty Woman / Buena Vista Pictures