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16 Classic Movies That Were Almost Cast In The Wrong Direction

Imagine if these actors landed the lead role. Would they still be on your list of favorites?

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1. GoodFellas (1990)


Tom Cruise and Madonna were the producers' first choice for the roles of Henry Hill and his wife. Ray Liotta and Lorraine Bracco were subsequently cast in those parts.

2. Speed (1994)


The film was originally written with the intention that Jeff Bridges would play Jack and Ellen DeGeneres would play Annie. DeGeneres was initially chosen because the role of Annie was going to be a comedic role opposite the serious role of Jack.

3. The Rock (1996)


Arnold Schwarzenegger was offered the Mason role, but at the time the script was only 80 pages "with a lot of handwriting and scribbles and it didn't seem fully baked". In a Reddit AMA, he stated he regrets not taking the role. Years later, however, he still got to play a part as a convict with a mysterious past in Escape Plan (2013).

4. Ghost (1990)


Michelle Pfeiffer, Nicole Kidman, Kathleen Turner, Kim Basinger, Debra Winger, Geena Davis, Molly Ringwald, Meg Ryan, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Madonna were considered for the role of Molly Jensen.

When it came time to cast the film, writer Bruce Joel Rubin suggested Patrick Swayze for the role of Sam Wheat. Director Jerry Zucker felt that Swayze was completely wrong for the part. Many actors that included Paul Hogan (who instead made Almost an Angel (1990)), Tom Hanks, Kevin Bacon, Mel Gibson, Dennis Quaid, Bruce Willis (Demi Moore's husband at the time, who didn't think the film would work), John Travolta, Nicolas Cage, Mickey Rourke, David Duchovny, Johnny Depp, Kevin Costner and Alec Baldwin were all offered the part but all turned it down feeling that playing a ghost would be cheesy.

5. Die Hard (1988)


John McTiernan was originally going to make Commando 2, but Arnold Schwarzenegger turned the role offer down. Commando 2 was transformed into this film; Schwarzenegger was the first actor offered the title role, but he again declined. Eventually Bruce Willis would get the part after it had been offered to Sylvester Stallone, Burt Reynolds, Harrison Ford, Mel Gibson and Richard Gere.

7. Top Gun (1986)


Matthew Modine turned down the Tom Cruise role because he objected to the film's Cold War politics. Patrick Swayze, Emilio Estevez, Nicolas Cage, John Cusack, Matthew Broderick, Sean Penn, Michael J. Fox, Scott Baio and Tom Hanks all turned down the role of Maverick. Charlie Sheen, Jim Carrey, Rob Lowe, Eric Stoltz and Robert Downey Jr. were considered for the role of Maverick. Sheen would later go on to spoof the role in the 1991 comedy Hot Shots!

9. Titanic (1997)


Christian Bale auditioned for the role of Jack Dawson, but was turned down because James Cameron didn't want two British actors playing the lead roles of two Americans.

10. Dirty Harry (1971)


The role of Harry Callahan was originally written for John Wayne. The writers, husband and wife team Harry Julian Fink and Rita M. Fink, had just finished working with Wayne on Big Jake (1971) and when they were trying to sell their script, they used him as an example of how they envisioned the character. Wayne however said he wasn't interested in the role as he felt the violence in the script was unjustified and glorified. Eventually, the Finks sold their script to Universal, who were thinking of using it as a Clint Eastwood vehicle, but they never followed up on initial plans, and they let the rights to the script run out.

14. Pretty Woman (1990)


Albert Brooks and Sylvester Stallone turned down the role of Edward Lewis.

Julia Roberts was far from the first choice for the role of Vivian. It was offered previously to many successful A-list actresses including "brat pack" member Molly Ringwald (who starred in Sixteen Candles (1984), The Breakfast Club (1985), and Pretty in Pink (1986)). Ringwald turned it down because she felt uncomfortable with the content in the script, and did not like the idea of playing a prostitute. She has since stated in several interviews that she regrets turning the role down.

16. The Shawshank Redemption (1994)


Tom Hanks, Kevin Costner, Tom Cruise, Nicolas Cage, Johnny Depp and Charlie Sheen were all considered for the part of Andy Dufresne. Hanks turned it down because he was committed to Forrest Gump (1994). Costner liked the script a lot but was then embroiled in the filming of Waterworld (1995).

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