Top 6 Actors Who Turned Down Legendary Movie Opportunities

Actors That Passed On Roles And Did Expensive Mistakes

Matt Damon – 'The Dark Night' and 'Avatar'

English: Caricature of Matt Damon by Karl Meer...
English: Caricature of
Matt Damon by Karl Meersman.
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
One of the biggest mistakes of Matt Damon's career was passing the role of Harvey Dent in the 2008 blockbuster hit 'The Dark Night'. He also missed a role in the top-grossing film of all times – James Cameron's 'Avatar'. Both movies were scheduled in a way which overlapped with two other movies Damon was working on. During the shooting of the “Dark Night”, he was shooting Clint Eastwood's “Invictus” and 'Avatar' gave way to “the Bourne Ultimatum”. Truly he must have fired his agent for passing such top notch opportunities.

Jack Nicholson – 'The Godfather'

What would the Godfather be without the faithful head of the mafia? Of course I am talking about Michael Corleone and the fact that the role of this dubious character was given to Al Pachino instead. He told the press that he was a firm believer that 'ethnic specific' roles should be played by people originating from the same ethnicity. Thus Italians should be played by Italians. Whether his statement is racist or not is beyond the point, considering that Nicholson passed one of the greatest roles of his career.

Michelle Pfeiffer – 'The Silence of the Lambs'

English: Michelle Pfeiffer at the premiere of ...
English: Michelle Pfeiffer at
the premiere of Stardust in Los Angeles
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
who can forget this all time favorite psychological thriller flick? Anthony Hopkins sure can deliver one sadistic mo-fo and Jodie Foster's performance as agent Clarice Sterling did not fall behind in execution. But director Johnathan Demme had different plans for the actor who was going to be playing his main character. Michelle Pfeiffer had issues with the movie's graphic violence and overall 'dark ambiance'. But she wasn't the first actress to turn down the role. Demme went to a lot of the top-Hollywood actresses, before he offered the role to Jodie Foster.

Sean Connery - “The Matrix' and 'The Lord of the Rings'

Talk about missing some of the top grossing movies of all times! Not to mention two of the movies with the largest fan base in existence, which would have undoubtedly added to Connery's success, especially in his later years. The reason behind him turning down these roles is not yet clear, but one thing is certain – he did admit regretting not taking the roles when he had the chance. But with black Will Smith playing Neo and white Sean Connery playing Morpheus, there is not telling what the end movie would have looked like then.

Kevin Costner - 'The Shawshank Redemption'

English: Actor and director Kevin Costner whil...
English: Actor and director
Kevin Costner while visiting
Andrews Air Force Base.
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Kevin Costner is undoubtedly one of the best actors to ever walk the streets of Hollywood. He made quite a name for himself during the 80s and 90s, but then he decided to go for a role in “Underworld”, and we all know how terrible that movie was, instead of taking the role of Andy Dufrense in “The Shawshank Redemption”. Truly that movie would have made Costner a few million more, and affirm his position as a great actor.

Jim Carrey - 'Meet the Parents'

Having Robert De Niro as a father-in-law can sure be a strain on a man's nerves. Jim Carrey admitted that he was offered the role of De Niro's awkward son-in-law – Gaylord Focker. He went on to say that 'Meet The Parents' was indeed his idea, but casting Ben Stiller was by far the better choice. It is good to see Hollywood actors admit that thy sometimes are not good for a role as other actors, go figure.

Author Bio

Paula knows a lot about famous actors. When she doesn't work at Shiny London she loves to watch movies.

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  1. Not usually being a defender of the super Liberal Damon, it's difficult to make judgments on roles that these actors missed. Any actor at the height of their career, isn't going to take a role in a big production where they're not the big star. Unless it's a big "rat pack thing" where they're all friends & that's not a consideration.
    The Dark Knight was Christian Bale's big thing, he had control over the whole thing, even the director. Sam Worthington & the special effects were the big draws on Avatar; Damon would have been totally eclipsed.
    Damon is mega-rich. He calculations are bent on keeping at the top. Either he must be the big star in a movie or one in a group of his peers. If he's out shown just once, that's a death knell for his position & his next contract.

  2. Damon is a nut job when it comes to his political views and you are right about the role in The Dark Knight but he could gain a big deal with a role in Avatar.