Every day, ordinary people aren’t the only ones who make ill-advised choices. Here's a list of actors and actresses who were first choice for movies sending their stars on to fame and fortune and the occasional Oscar for the role (but for one reason or another dropped out of the running):

Hugh Jackman was the original choice for the role of Captain Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Carribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl. Johnny Depp got the part.

Eric Stoltz should have been Marty McFly in Back to the Future. Michael J. Fox was better known at the time, however, so…

Who was supposed to be Indiana Jones in Raiders of the Lost Ark? Tom Selleck! It could’ve worked.

Buddy Ebsen was the original Tin Man in The Wizard of Oz until he had an allergic reaction to the aluminum makeup used. Original footage still exists of him in the role.

Bela Lugosi was first choice for the Monster in Frankenstein (1931). He turned it down because the make-up hid too much of his face. And we know who got the role...

Stuart Townsend was replaced by Viggo Mortensen as Aragorn in Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring (2001.

Michelle Pfeiffer succeeded Annette Benning in Batman Returns.

Harvey Keitel replaced by Martin Sheen in Apocalpyse Now though some of his footage was used in the final film.

Molly Ringwald and Jennifer Jason Leigh both turned the role of Vivian in Pretty Woman which went to Julia Roberts who, in turn, refused Sharon Stone’s role in Basic Instinct. Jodie Foster, Kim Bassinger, Ellen Barkin, and Nicole Kidman also passed on Basic Instinct.

Warren Beatty turned down the Gordon Gekko role in Wall Street, as well as Robert Redford’s role in The Sting.

Michelle Pfeiffer and Jodie Foster were originally cast as Thelma and Louise but had to drop out when pre-production dragged.

Keanu Reeves turned down the role played by Charlie Sheen in Platoon but was cast in Speed when Richard Grieco refused because he thought the script sucked. Stephen Baldwin also turned down that role.

Sarah Michelle Gellar had scheduling conflicts preventing her from play Cher in Clueless so she became Buffy instead. Maybe that choice wasn't so bad.

Will Smith turned down the Keanu Reeves role in The Matrix but got the lead in I, Robot after Denzel Washington refused it.

Leonardo di Capprio also turned down the lead in The Matrix, as did Nicolas Cage. Along with Edward Norton, he turned down the title role in American Psycho which was won by Christian Bale.

John Travolta decided against playing Forrest Gump but got the role in Pulp Fiction after Michael Madsen turned it down, while Tom Hanks turned down the lead in Jerry Maguire, which went to Tom Cruise, who in turn, was first choice to play Kevin Bacon’s role in Footloose. Did you follow all that? Hope I don’t have to repeat it!

David Boreanaz might have been the new Batman, but he let it go to Christian Bale, who lost out on the role of George W. Bush in the film W.

Alec Baldwin relinquished the role of The Fugitive to Harrison Ford. I could see Baldwin in the role, if I squint.

Hugh Jackman got the role of Wolverine after Dougray Scott and Russell Crowe both turned it down.

Before Russell Crowe became The Gladiator, the part was offered to Mel Gibson. Gibson also refused Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves and that role went to Kevin Costner. Along with some other poor choices he’s made lately.

Steve McQueen lost out on Apocalypse Now,and playing Butch Cassidy.

Steve McQueen, Gene Hackman, Dustin Hoffman, Al Pacino, and Jack Nicholson all lost out on Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

Michelle Preiffer, Geena David, Meg Ryan, and Melanie Griffith all were asked to play Clarice in Silence of the Lambs. They decided not to.

Do you suppose it was on their agents’ advice, or their own opinions? And are they still kicking themselves?



6 C popped corn 1/2 C sliced green onions 1 C chopped celery

3/4 C crumbled bacon 1 C grated cheese 1/2 C chopped water chestnuts

3/4 C mayonaise

Combine all ingredients except popcorn and chill. Add popcorn just before serving.



  1. Anonymous // December 19, 2010 at 12:20 PM  

    Michelle Pfeiffer was offered the role of Annie Reed in Sleepless In Seattle and turned it down,giving Meg Ryan the biggest commercial and critical succes of her career !

  2. Mary Ricksen // December 19, 2010 at 1:49 PM  

    Interesting post! I didn't know about the aluminum allergy. My sister is a Wizard of Oz freak I have to tell her!


  3. Judy // December 19, 2010 at 5:07 PM  

    Wow, Toni! Lots of interesting facts and another interesting recipe! Such fun! Thanks for posting!

  4. Mary Marvella // December 19, 2010 at 7:17 PM  

    I must try the popcorn salad. I never thought of pop as a salad ingredient.

    So many bits of interesting information, Toni.

  5. Mona Risk // December 19, 2010 at 7:29 PM  

    Toni, this is awsome. I love all these little stories behind the big stories.

  6. Beth Trissel // December 20, 2010 at 8:49 AM  

    Toni, this is fascinating. I really enjoyed your post.

  7. Joanne // December 20, 2010 at 9:18 PM  

    What an interesting post, Toni, and a surprise treat at the end. I've never heard of a popcorn salad.

  8. Kimber Leszczuk. // December 21, 2010 at 9:54 PM  

    Neat article! The popcorn salad sounds really interesting - thank you for the recipe.