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13 Celebs Who Were Turned Down For Roles Because They Were "Too Ugly" And 8 That Were Turned Down For Being "Too Pretty"

I literally can't imagine anyone ever thinking Winona Ryder is too ugly for a role, but here we are.

1. Winona Ryder recently talked about being told she wasn't attractive enough to be a star in the '80s. In particular, she's mentioned in the past that at a specific '80s audition a casting director stopped her mid-sentence and told her, "You should not be an actress. You are not pretty enough. You should go back to wherever you came from and you should go to school. You don’t have it."

winona saying she didn't have the look in the '80s

2. Winona's Stranger Things costar and onscreen love interest, David Harbour, has also discussed not being deemed attractive enough for roles. When he had a bit part in Brokeback Mountain, he says that director Ang Lee told him he needed to look more handsome during a take.

close up of David in a cowboy hat

3. Jessica Alba was similarly told she needed to "be prettier" and "cry pretty" during her character's death scene in Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer.

close up of jessica in a blonde wig

4. Emmy Rossum almost didn't get to star as Fiona in Shameless because producers felt she wasn't capable of not being pretty. "They didn't want to see me; they wouldn't even [let me] audition," she said. "They thought my image was too glamorous, that I couldn't not be pretty."

Emmy as Fiona

5. Similarly, Jennifer Lawrence was originally turned down for her role in Winter's Bone because she was "too pretty" — she had to prove to them she was "not cute."

Jennifer in Winter's Bone

6. Last month, Emma Thompson says she was deemed "not pretty enough" by male executives to do nude scenes, which lost her roles. "I have also never conformed to the shape or look of someone they might want to see naked."

emma smiling

7. Four Weddings and a Funeral writer Richard Curtis didn't want Hugh Grant to star in the film because he was too handsome.

Hugh Grant in the film

8. And Andrew Garfield lost out on the role of Prince Caspian in the Chronicles of Narnia series because he "wasn't handsome enough."

9. Mindy Kaling wasn't considered pretty enough to play herself in an unnamed sketch show early in her career. The network (which is no longer on the air, according to Kaling) offered her the show, but then had her audition for the part of herself, and rejected her.


10. Alison Brie claims that her past playing polished and "cute" roles almost prevented her from being cast as the less conventionally attractive Ruth in Glow.

Brie in the show

11. Benedict Cumberbatch was originally deemed "not sexy enough" to play Sherlock in Sherlock by BBC execs.


12. BBC execs reportedly thought the same of David Tennant as Casanova in Casanova, and wanted Moffat to cast someone sexier.

close up of david

13. Conversely, Scarlett Johansson was "too sexy" to star in The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.

Scarlett on a red carpet

14. According to Kate Beckinsale, director Michael Bay didn't think she was attractive enough for her role in Pearl Harbor because she "wasn't blonde and [her] boobs weren't bigger than [her] head."

Kate in pearl harbor

15. Director Joe Wright originally didn't want Keira Knightley to star in his film Pride and Prejudice because of her good looks.

Keira in pride and prejudice

16. After being recast following the pilot for Stumptown, actor Mark Webber went on social media to talk about how he was allegedly fired for not being attractive enough.

17. Minnie Driver almost didn't star in Good Will Hunting because the producer didn't think she was "hot enough."

Minnie in the film

18. According to composer Anne Dudley, Poldark executive producer Damien Timmer was worried women wouldn't find star Aidan Turner attractive.

Turner in the show

19. After being named Esquire's "sexiest woman alive" in 2005, Jessica Biel said she struggled to get work and was told by a director, "I’m not looking for the sexiest woman; I’m looking for the girl next door."

Jessica Biel

20. Meryl Streep was considered "too ugly" to star in King Kong.

21. And finally, Melissa De Sousa was considered "too pretty" to play a "down-on-her-luck stripper" in Hustle & Flow.

Melissa on a red carpet

Which of these was the most shocking? Got any other examples of actors being told they were too attractive or not attractive enough? Let us know in the comments!