Could you imagine a "Titanic" without Leonardo DiCaprio or a "Matrix" without Keanu Reeves as Neo? We've got a list of 10 actors who were almost cast in some of your favorite movies, and some of them might surprise you.
Often times the actors who make their roles in movies so memorable weren't actually the first choice for the part. Casting can be a lengthy process, and sometimes the studio and the director don't agree on the best actor for the part. Click through to check out our list of 10 actors who almost starred in some of your favorite films.
See who almost got 'Knocked Up
Katherine Heigl's issues with "Knocked Up" and director Judd Apatow have been well-documented in the press, and we highly doubt Apatow's original pick would have been so vocally ungrateful for the part. Anne Hathaway was considered for the role of Alison Scott in the comedy about a one-night stand that leads to an unexpected pregnancy. Hathaway told Marie Claire magazine in 2007 that she turned down the part "because it was going to show a vagina" not mine, but somebody else's. "And I didn't believe that it was actually necessary to the story."
She's gone on record before as saying she's not against parts with nudity if it's integral to the story, but her statement to Marie Claire is a little contradictory and "Knocked Up" wouldn't have even featured her own nudity, just the nudity of someone else in a scene that emphasizes the pain of childbirth honestly. In the end, the role was a total get for Heigl, who has since made a career in generic rom-coms and hasn't found a role since that's been as interesting.
He could have been the one
"The Matrix" wouldn't be "The Matrix" without Keanu Reeves in the role of Neo, the chosen one who discovers the reality he lives in is not what it seems to be and must lead a fight against those who control it.
Can you imagine if Nicolas Cage had been Neo instead? You might think he turned the role down because wearing sunglasses so much would hide his trademark crazy eyes, but he actually turned down the part because the movie was shooting in Australia, and Cage didn't want to be away from his family for too long. Still, imagining Cage chewing scenery and sexy-dancing in a sweaty underground neo-hippie rave with Carrie-Anne Moss is pretty delightful.
See who almost played a psycho
Christian Bale was the perfect choice for sociopath and (possible) serial killer Patrick Bateman in Mary Harron's adaptation of Bret Easton Ellis' "American Psycho". With his physique, beautifully chiseled face, and his pompous demeanor, we couldn't possibly picture the movie without Bale as the lead.
But once upon a time, Leonardo DiCaprio was considered for the role of Bateman and after becoming the It boy in 1997 with "Titanic", every studio in town had DiCaprio on their wishlist. And while Harron, who had been working exhaustively with writer Guinever Turner on adapting the film, had already chosen Christian Bale, Lionsgate was making plans of their own to hire a bigger star for the risky project. They put out an offer of $20 million to DiCaprio and announced his involvement at the 1998 Cannes film festival, but Harron thought he wasn't remotely right [for the part]. There's something very boyish about him. He's not credible as one of these tough Wall Street guys. He brought way too much baggage with him and I did not want to deal with someone who had a 13-year-old fan base.
Which funny man said no to 'Batman'?
Bill Murray is one of the greatest actors alive and a guy who built his career on comedic roles with an edge, and who has been killing it in his later years with meatier, more dramatic roles in Wes Anderson's films and stuff like "Broken Flowers". But back in the late 80s, when Murray was still just a comedic actor, he had the chance to star as Batman in Tim Burton's vision of the caped crusader.
Burton chose Michael Keaton, another comedic actor and former stand-up, to play the part instead, showing audiences that Keaton was capable of something darker than what audiences were used to with him. The result might have been the same for Murray, and if he had taken the part, it might have gotten him into dramatic work a little earlier.
Then again, we really can't picture Bill Murray as Batman and Batman is cool and all, but Bill Murray is cooler.
Too hungover for 'The Hangover'?
Lindsay Lohan has made a lot of mistakes in her career, but perhaps none worse (in her career, not her personal life) than turning down the role of stripper Jade, which eventually went to Heather Graham.
The part would have called for Lindsay to play a stripper and single mother in the film alongside Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, and Zach Galifianakis, but Lohan read the script and said she didn't think the movie would go anywhere, so she turned it down. That turned out to be a terrible move on her part, as "The Hangover" went on to gross $277 million at the box office. And Lohan went on to star in "Labor Pains", a TV movie for ABC Family.
Who almost boarded a sinking ship?
Leonardo DiCaprio went from child star to mega A-lister in 1997 with "Titanic", but did you know that the role once went out to Matthew McConaughey? Yeah, McConaughey's had a great comeback in the last year or so with parts in films like "Magic Mike" and "Killer Joe", but 1997 McConaughey in "Titanic" would have been bad news for everyone involved.
In an interview with MTV regarding the 3D re-release of the film, James Cameron said he would neither confirm nor deny early casting rumors: "I just don't think that's cool to talk about actors that either chose not to do it, or were unavailable, or stupidly decided that there wasn't enough meat on the bone of the character, or whatever it was.
When asked about whether those actors should have come back begging for a second chance, Cameron said, "They should've come whimpering back afterwards" and said, "I will never second guess you again as long as I live. But it's too late. You got one chance, that's it. And you might want to think about this next time when you get called."
See who was almost a hero
Robert Downey Jr. brings a little snark, charm, and edge to the character of Tony Stark/Iron Man and perfect for a character who likes his drinks stiff and thinks he's smarter than everyone in the room. But what if Tom Cruise played Iron Man? We can totally see it.
Cruise and Downey Jr. both have the ability to play sarcastic know-it-alls with a dark side, and Cruise knows how to have a good time with an action film. Of all the almosts on this list, Tom Cruise as Iron Man is one of the more reasonable ones, we think. Cruise was set to produce and star in the film through most of the 90s and early 2000s, but time took its toll and by the time they finally had a script, Cruise didn't think it was strong enough. In a fun twist, Cruise went on to star with Robert Downey Jr. in "Tropic Thunder", which was released the same summer as "Iron Man".
See who gave up the ghosts
Dan Aykroyd originally wrote "Ghostbusters" with stars John Belushi, John Candy, and Eddie Murphy in mind for the roles of Peter Venkman, Louis Tully, and Winston Zeddemore, respectively. But Belushi passed away before they could make the film, and Candy couldn't commit to his role and as for Eddie Murphy, he chose to star in "Beverly Hills Cop" instead. "Ghostbusters" was temporarily the highest-grossing comedy of all time that year, but when "Beverly Hills Cop" was released just a few months later, it knocked "Ghostbusters" off the throne.
Perhaps it was for the best that Eddie Murphy didn't star alongside Bill Murray, Harold Ramis, and Dan Aykroyd in the paranormal comedy classic and Murphy has a larger-than-life screen personality, and the film needed actors that could share the screen and the laughs.
See who almost took the day off
Among the names considered for the leading role in "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" were John Cusack, Jim Carrey, Johnny Depp, and Robert Downey Jr.? You bet.
Before Matthew Broderick landed the iconic role of high school slacker and schemer Ferris Bueller, John Hughes conducted a thorough search for the right actor for the part. Robert Downey Jr. was considered, and with his quick wit and charming demeanor, we could totally see an alternate movie universe where RDJ played Ferris. In the end, Broderick won out with his more boyish looks and his ability to improvise comedy bits, like the synthesizer coughs and his own dance moves.
Guess who totally 'blue' it
Before casting Sam Worthington in "Avatar", James Cameron sent out an offer to his number one pick, Matt Damon. Damon turned it down, but still regrets not starring as Jake Sully in the visually ambitious flick. In a recent interview with Playboy, Damon says, "I particularly wanted to work with James Cameron, and still do. He knew he was the star of that movie and everyone was going to see it anyway". When he said, "Look, I'm offering it to you, but if you say no, the movie doesn't need you", I remember thinking, "Oh God, not only do I have to say no because of scheduling, but he's going to make a star out of some guy who's going to to start taking jobs from me later".
Well, that last part isn't so true. "Avatar" was more a visual feast than anything else, and we highly doubt Damon needs to worry about Worthington stealing his roles out from under him, since Worthington is clearly busy making "Clash of the Titan's" sequels for the rest of his life.