16 Celebs That Turned Down Career-Defining Roles And Now Regret It

    Tough luck, huh?

    How easily can you recall a career-defining moment? How would you feel if it passed you by? The following celebs and actors spoke about missing out on what could've been their big break.

    1. Anne Hathaway turned down a role in Knocked Up. She told Allure it was due to the birth scene, saying, "My issue with it was that having not experienced motherhood myself, I didn't know how I was gonna feel on the other side about giving birth."

    Anne Hathaway at an event

    2. Denzel Washington could've starred in Se7en. He told GQ that he ultimately turned down the role, but it "was the best material I had read in a long time," and that he, "was nervous about a first-time director, and I was wrong."

    Denzel Washington attending a premiere in a suit and tie

    3. When Halle Berry watches Speed, she regrets turning down the role of Annie. She told Entertainment Tonight, "I was offered Speed before Sandra Bullock. I stupidly said no. But in my defense, when I read the script the bus didn’t leave the parking lot."

    Halle Berry at a premiere with gorgeous hair and a striped blazer

    4. Will Smith regrets turning down the role of Neo in The Matrix, telling ReelBlend, "I’d go back to the Wild Wild West and I would say, 'Asshole, why didn’t you do The Matrix?'"

    Will Smith at a premiere in a striped three piece suit

    5. Madonna also turned down a role in The Matrix, telling Jimmy Fallon, "Can you believe that? That’s, like, one of the best movies ever made. A teeny-tiny part of me regrets just that one moment in my life."

    Madonna presenting an award at the MTV Video Music Awards

    6. Michelle Pfeiffer turned down a role in Silence of the Lambs because she was 'trepidatious' telling The New Yorker, "There was such evil in that film. It was that evil won in the end, that at the end of that film evil ruled out. I was uncomfortable with that ending. I didn’t want to put that out into the world."

    Michelle Pfeiffer at a premiere in a turtleneck

    7. Christina Applegate says turning down the role of Elle Woods in Legally Blonde was a stupid move on her part. She told ETOnline, "The script came along my way and it was right after I had just finished, Married [...with Children], and it was a blonde who in that first script didn't win it but ends up going to Yale or Harvard, I don't remember," she says, "I got scared of kind of repeating myself."

    Christina Applegate at a premiere wearing a blazer

    8. Michael Keaton turned down Groundhog Day. He told Entertainment Weekly that he read the script, but "didn't get it" though he thinks the movie ended up being great.

    Michael Keaton at a photo call

    9. Leonardo DiCaprio almost starred in Boogie Nights but ended up choosing Titanic instead. He told GQ, "I think they’re both great and wish I could have done them both."

    Leonardo DiCaprio at a movie premiere wearing a suit

    10. Josh Hartnett was almost in Batman Begins. He told Playboy magazine, "I was so focused on not being pigeonholed and so scared of being considered only one thing as an actor." He realized his mistake eventually, saying, "I learned my lesson when Christopher Nolan and I talked about Batman. I decided it wasn’t for me. Then he didn’t want to put me in The Prestige. They not only hired their Batman for it, they also hired my girlfriend at the time."

    Josh Hartnett acting in a movie on set

    11. Bruce Willis says he's a 'knucklehead' for turning down a role in Ghost, telling The New York Times in 1996, "I just didn’t get it... I said 'Hey, the guy’s dead. How are you gonna have a romance?’ Famous last words."

    Bruce Willis in 1989

    12. Emily Blunt had to turn down the role of Black Widow in Iron Man 2 due to scheduling conflicts with another role, telling MTV News, "It’s a shame the two of them couldn’t work together. It just got complicated, so I think I had to pull out for my own sanity more than anything."

    Emily Blunt attending a movie premiere

    13. Javier Bardem turned down a role in Minority Report due to the English language requirement, telling The Hollywood Reporter, "At the time, it was difficult for me to jump into a foreign-language performance."

    Javier Bardem attending a movie premiere in a suit

    14. Kevin Costner turned down a role in The Shawshank Redemption due to his work on another movie, Waterworld. According to sources, he has stated he "regrets not taking the part."

    Kevin Costner wearing sunglasses

    15. Eddie Murphy didn't end up in Who Framed Roger Rabbit and regrets it now, telling Jimmy Fallon he wasn't on board with the idea then, "I was like, ‘What? Animation and people sounded like bulls*** to me.' Now every time I see it, I feel like an idiot."

    Eddie Murphy in 2007

    16. Finally, Henry Winkler regrets turning down the role of Danny Zuko in Grease, telling AARP Magazine, "I turned down the lead role in Grease. I didn’t want to be typecast. But you’re typecast anyway. And it’s not now that I’m, like, ‘Oh, I should’ve done the role.’ It’s that I turned it down intellectually instead of instinctually. Listen to your gut— it knows everything. Your head knows only some things. So I went home and had an orange juice. Travolta went home and bought a plane."

    Henry Winkler at a late night talk show

    Could you imagine if any of these actors starred in the what came to be iconic roles?