Skip to main content

15 Actors Who Were Cast In Iconic Roles Then Replaced

We all have an actor we admire, and probably watch their best films repeatedly, but as is the case with many Hollywood films, it's likely that another actor was initially cast in the leading role.

Here are 15 actors who were supposed to take on the leading role before unforeseen circumstances saw another actor take their place.

1. Panic Room- Nicole Kidman

Nicole Kidman has appeared in countless movies over the years, but one flick that got away was the psychological-horror movie, Panic Room.

 The Australian had to pull out of the David Fincher project after suffering a hairline fracture when filming Moulin Rogue! The part eventually went to Jodie Foster, in a role which saw her protect her daughter (played by a young Kristen Stewart) from three murderous intruders.

2. Raiders of the Lost Ark- Tom Selleck

This is a brilliant piece of movie trivia. Yep, Tom Selleck, the dude with the fantastic mustache, was supposed to play Indiana Jones in the movie's namesake, but his Magnum P.I. contract wouldn't allow him to film the movie.
 Instead, the role went to the now-legendary actor Harrison Ford, who won the role after a successful audition.

3. Titanic- Reba McEntire

The gregarious Titanic character Molly Brown, played effortlessly by Kathy Bates, was the only family member of Rose's who had an inkling of respect for Rose's working-class lover, Jack Dawson, and because of that she became one of the film's most-loved characters, but Bates wasn't supposed to have played the role if James Cameron had his way.
 In fact, the world-famous filmmaker believed country star Reba McEntire was perfect and cast her in the role before scheduling conflicts forced her to pull out.

4. Dirty Harry- Frank Sinatra

The late jazz showman was one of a kind, and his songs will forever be remembered, though the same can't be said for his acting chops.
 Indeed, you may or may not be aware that Sinatra turned his hands to acting on a few occasions, though no role would have been as big as Dirty Harry, the iconic Western which made Clint Eastwood a global star.

In the end, Sinatra suffered a hand injury and had to be replaced, but it wasn't until John Wayne turned down the opportunity to replace Sinatra that Eastwood was finally cast.

5. Demolition Man- Lori Petty

Sandra Bullock's breakout role in Demolition Man allowed her career to change gears, and only a year later she was starring in Speed, a movie which garnered Bullock even more attention.
 However, as is the case with acting gigs, luck plays a significant role, and fortunately for Bullock, she had plenty on her side as she got her break on the movie by replacing Lori Petty, who was fired two days into filming.

6. Back to the Future- Eric Stoltz

Everyone's favorite 80s movie is a timeless classic, and we can all agree that Michael J. Fox did a superb job playing the lead character Marty McFly, but for the first four weeks of filming, director Robert Zemeckis was working with a different lead actor!
 Eric Stoltz was initially cast, but after a months' work, Zemeckis decided he had the wrong man and brought in Fox instead. Awkward....

7. Knocked Up- Anne Hathaway

Seth Rogen's no-holds-bars comedy about a couple having a baby for the first time was a better movie than most imagined, but the scene involving the birth of the child rattled the feathers of Anne Hathaway.
 Not willing to compromise on the scene, Rogen decided to look elsewhere and ended up replacing her with the blonde bombshell Katherine Heigl.

8. American Psycho- Christian Bale

Okay, so you're probably really confused right now because you could have sworn Christian Bale played the narcissistic banker Patrick Bateman in the movie American Psycho and you'd be right in thinking that. Still, allows us to explain.
 While the role initially went to Bale, producers wanted a bigger name and were determined to get Leonardo DiCaprio so fired Bale soon after being cast- even though the director wanted the British star from the start.

However, Leo passed, and rather than offer it back to Bale; producers offered the role to Ewan McGregor. Bale then begged McGregor to let him have the part again, so he dropped out, and allowed Bale to regain the role, one he would play with chilling ease...

9. Precious- Helen Mirren

The critically lauded film about an obese African American woman who falls pregnant and is beaten by her wicked mother was enjoyed by both critics and cinemagoers, and while the casting of the lead role was never in doubt, the part of Precious's social worker initially went to the British actress Helen Mirren.
 Casting directors eventually replaced Mirren with acting novice Mariah Carey, but she was actually pretty good!

10. Apocalypse Now - Martin Sheen

Martin Sheen initially turned down the role of Willard in the Francis Ford Coppola movie Apocalypse Now which is understandable given that the filming process was utter hell.
 But once Harvey Keitel began work as Sheen's replacement, Coppola just wasn't feeling it, and 4 weeks later, the impresario lured Sheen back.

11. Mortal Kombat- Cameron Diaz

Beleive it or not, the beautiful Cameron Diaz was supposed to kick some serious ass in the Hollywood adaptation of the legendary video game Mortal Kombat!
 It would have been a sight to behold, but unfortunately, Diaz injured her wrist and had to pull out, allowing Bridgette Wilson to take on the role instead.

12. The Lovely Bones- Ryan Gosling

The Lovely Bones, adapted from the best-selling book of the same name, didn't translate well to the screen and if we're honest, Mark Wahlberg's character was less than convincing, which may have been a reason why the movie tanked. But it could have been a different story if their original target had been secured.
 Ryan Gosling was the studio's go-to guy, but then director Peter Jackson decided Gosling wasn't right and opted for Wahlberg, which was clearly a mistake.

13. The Paperboy- Sofia Vergara

Lee Daniel's steamy period film starred the drop dead gorgeous Nicole Kidman, who played the flirtatious muse of an imprisoned killer.
 However, the role, which also included having to pee on Zac Efron among other raunchy things, was supposed to be given to Modern Family's Sofia Vergara before scheduling conflicts forced her to drop out.

14. Eyes Wide Shut- Sydney Pollack

Stanley Kubrick's final film starring Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman had a plethora of acting talent, including Harvey Keitel, but he had to drop out near the end of filming because of rescheduling conflicts.
 This annoyance, did, however, pave the way for Sydney Pollack, who put in a critically-acclaimed performance, even if the movie itself divided critics.

15. Sylvester Stallone- Beverly Hills Cop

Perhaps saving the oddest till last, the cult classic comedy starring the brilliant Eddie Murphy could have been a lot different if the studio landed their first choice actor, Sylvester Stallone.
I mean, I don't know about you, but I can't imagine Stallone being anywhere near as funny as Murphy, both as a person and as a performer, but producers were nonetheless convinced he was the man until he dropped out two weeks before filming.

The script was then radically altered to accommodate Murphy's more, how shall we put it... versatile craft.



Designed by Open Themes &