12 Famous Actors Who Almost Got the Part


Somewhere in an alternate universe, we watch very different movies. Russell Crowe slices and dices as Wolverine, Hailee Steinfeld kicks it as Katniss Everdeen and Bill Murray plays just about anyone he wants to.

It's kind of weird, thinking about iconic roles that could have been so different. In some ways, we're way better off, but in others, my heart breaks a little that David Bowie isn't our Elrond. A lot of these are rumors, but even the hearsay is pretty juicy.

Take a look at these surprising near-casting misses and contemplate the timeline where Will Smith whoa'd as Neo.

1. Jodie Foster as Catwoman

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We know she can do smart, intense and feminist, but somehow the mind boggles at Clarice Starling wearing Michelle Pfeiffer's hardcore catsuit. Foster was reportedly a contender for the role. 

2. Adrien Brody as the Joker

Sure, he's a Wes Anderson favorite now, but what if he'd joined Christopher Nolan's stable of actors instead? Brody might have earned an Oscar turn for the Joker too, but wow, that part would not be the same. Brody has confirmed that his near-Joker status is all true. 

3. Bette Midler as Sister Mary Clarence

The lead in Sister Act was written for the Divine Miss Midler, but perhaps it was divine intervention that made her decide her fans wouldn't like seeing her in a nun's habit. Thank the Lord Whoopi Goldberg swooped in.

4. Christopher Walken as Han Solo


You've heard about the other famous almost-scruffy-looking Nerf herders, but somehow imagining a Millennium Falcon that needs more cowbell is the most intriguing option.

5. Frances Bean Cobain as Bella Swan


According to mom Courtney Love, Cobain was offered the role at 13, but she turned it down because the role was being "a sexist Mormon piece of shit."

6. Nicolas Cage as John Bender

He was almost Superman, but can you really imagine a pre-Moonstruck Cage assuring us that screws fall out all the time, and the world is an imperfect place?

7. Catherine Zeta-Jones as the Doctor

Fans online have been clamoring for a lady to headline Doctor Who for years. Former showrunner Russell T. Davies suggested Zeta-Jones as Eleven, but the role went to Matt Smith instead.

8. John Travolta as Forrest Gump


The mid-'90s were a weird time for Danny Zuko. Could he have fit in Forrest between Look Who's Talking Now and Vincent Vega? Maybe that other cast had Dave Chappelle as Bubba too.

9. Jennifer Hudson as Precious

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Fresh off her Oscar win for Dream Girls, Hudson considered the lead role but decided it was too intense for her. Lucky for us, this meant a career-defining break and an Oscar nomination for the fabulous Gabourey Sidibe.

10. Jim Carrey as Captain Jack Sparrow


He turned down Disney's most iconic pirate because of schedule conflicts with Bruce Almighty. We won this round.

11. Janeane Garofalo as Monica Geller

Friends would have had a very different roommate dynamic with our favorite inventor of Post-Its (no, not that one) in the mix.

12. Charlie Sheen as Spider-Man

Peter Parker could have been so many people: Edward Furlong, Leonardo DiCaprio, Jake Gyllenhaal. That we missed out on Charlie Sheen's Spidey? #winning.