Most of the time, actors turn down or drop out of a role over something like scheduling conflicts. Sometimes, however, they make the choice because of a moral conviction or a personal preference.
Here are 14 actors who had very good reasons for not taking a role:
1. Zendaya dropped out of Lifetime's biopic Aaliyah: The Princess of R&B after the project received backlash from the late singer's family. On Twitter, the actor said she was "honored to portray [Aaliyah] and pay tribute to her [but] if she is going to do it, she wants to do it right."
She told MTV, "I just felt the project wasn't 100% there. I feel [that] production-wise everything just felt a little rushed. And I think because she's someone I admire and I love so much, it can't be done halfway, or not to the standards I think it should be done at, so I just decided not to do it."
The role went to Alexandra Shipp.
2. Similarly, Will Ferrell backed out of Reagan, a planned comedy about Ronald Reagan experiencing Alzheimer's-induced dementia while in office, after the film received criticism from both the late president's children and the Alzheimer's Association.
In a statement, the Alzheimer's Association said, "[This organization] is appalled that anyone would plan to develop a film that satirizes an individual living with Alzheimer's or another dementia. Would filmmakers consider using a fatal form of cancer or another deadly disease for comedy? It's time to stop this forever."
3. Amandla Stenberg auditioned for the role of Shuri in Black Panther, but they removed themself from the running because they felt the character should be played by a darker-skinned actor.
She told Variety, "That was not a space that I should have taken up. And it was so exhilarating to see it fulfilled by people who should have been a part of it and who deserved it and who were right for it. I just wasn't."
The role went to Letitia Wright.
4. About three days into his role as the titular character's voice in Howard the Duck, Robin Williams quit out of frustration because he was "being handcuffed in order to match the flapping duck's bill." The puppet's mouth movements had already been filmed to match the puppeteers' bland delivery of the lines, essentially rendering the comedian's iconic improvisation style impossible.
Chip Zien, who replaced him, told the Hollywood Reporter, "What I was told was by the third day, Robin said, 'I can't do this. It is insane. I can't get the rhythm of this. I am being confined...' So, on Memorial Day 1985, I got a call from my agent, who said, 'You have to get right to the airport! Robin Williams just quit, and you're now Howard the Duck. You need to get there tonight. There is a ticket waiting for you at the counter.' I was incredibly excited."
5. Emilia Clarke declined the role of Anastasia Steele in Fifty Shades of Grey. She said, "The last time that I was naked on camera on [Game of Thrones] was a long time ago, and yet it is the only question that I ever get asked because I'm a woman." She was "sick and tired of [the questions] because [she] did it for the character."
On the Hollywood Reporter’s Dramatic Actress Roundtable, she said, "So, that coming up, I was like, 'I can't.' I did a minimal amount, and I'm pigeonholed for life, so me saying yes to [Fifty Shades], where the entire thing is about sensuality and sex and being naked and all of that stuff, I was just like, 'No way am I going to voluntarily walk into that situation and then never be able to look someone in the eye.'"
The role went to Dakota Johnson.
6. Anne Hathaway turned down the role of Alison Scott in Knocked Up because she worried about how her future self might feel about the explicit birth scene. "Having not experienced motherhood myself, I didn't know how I was gonna feel on the other side about giving birth," she said.
She told Allure, "And by the way, I could pop a kid out and think, 'Oh, well, I really should have done that movie.'"
The role went to Katherine Heigl.
7. Warren Beatty declined playing the titular character in Kill Bill because it was being filmed in China, and he didn't want to leave his kids for that long.
He recommended David Carradine, who ended up getting the part.
8. Selena Gomez reportedly turned down the role of Mitchie Torres in Camp Rock because she "knew that if she had passed on it, that Demi [Lovato, her childhood friend] would get the part."
The part indeed went to Demi, becoming their breakout role.
9. Angela Bassett turned down the role of Leticia Musgrove in Monster's Ball because she felt the character was "such a stereotype about Black women and sexuality."
She told Newsweek that her criticism was of Hollywood, not Halle Berry, who won an Oscar for the role.
10. Jack Nicholson rejected the role of Michael Corleone in The Godfather because he "believed that Indians should play Indians and Italians should play Italians."
Al Pacino was, of course, a perfect fit for the part.
11. After rising to fame on Saturday Night Live, Aidy Bryant rejected many roles she felt would've been an offensive portrayal of fatness, including an unnamed production where "a man was in prison and the other guys in prison were like, 'You've got to get an ugly girl to be your prison wife and she'll come and bring you food and have sex with you!'"
She told Adweek, "I remember being like, 'Oh, they think that this is a fun thing for me, and it's so insulting.' Those were some of the moments where I was like, 'Is this what it is in Hollywood? I think I might have to write for myself...'"
So, she co-created the Hulu series Shrill and cast herself as the lead.
12. Lily Allen rejected a Game of Thrones role as Yara Greyjoy, the sister of her real-life brother Alfie's character Theon, because of an incestuous storyline.
In a Reddit AMA, she said, "I felt uncomfortable because I would have had to go on a horse and he would have touched me up and shit. Once they told me what was entailed, I said no thanks."
The part went to Gemma Whelan instead.
13. The role of Jules Winfield in Pulp Fiction was written with Laurence Fishburne in mind, but he turned it down because he "had a problem with the way the heroin use was dealt with [in the script]." He felt "it was a little cavalier, and it was a little loose."
He told Vulture, "I felt like it made heroin use attractive. For me, it's not just my character. It's, 'What is the whole thing saying?'"
14. And finally, Amanda Seyfried declined to play Gamora in Guardians of the Galaxy because she didn't "wanna be green." Additionally, after doing wire work for Pan, she was uncomfortable doing stunts.
She told ComicBook.com, "I remember Jennifer Lawrence talking about once, how long it took her to get blue [for X-Men]. And I was like, 'That seems like hell on earth,' because then you get to set, and you're only there for a couple hours, and then you have to take everything off. And that was literally the reason."
However, she later told the Hollywood Reporter's Awards Chatter podcast, "I didn’t want to be part of the first Marvel movie that bombed. ... The script was great, it was all based in not wanting to be 'that guy.' Because if you are the star of a giant movie like that, and it bombs, Hollywood does not forgive you. I've seen that happen to people and it was a giant, giant fear and I thought, is it worth it?"
The role went to Zoe Saldaña.