Actors Who Regret Turning Down Big Movie Roles

If only they didn't reject the roles, we might see different actor playing Neo in 'The Matrix' instead of Keanu Reeves and another actress taking on the iconic role of Elle Woods in 'Legally Blonde'.

AceShowbiz - There are plenty of iconic roles that we can't really imagine anyone else playing them because the original actors have successfully portrayed them. However, many of those actors apparently were not even the first choice for the roles. While playing the characters might be a turning point for them, this revelation also means someone is having a deep regret for turning down those roles.

If only they didn't reject the roles, we might see different actor playing Neo in "The Matrix" instead of Keanu Reeves. In addition, we might see another actress taking on the iconic role of Elle Woods, a role in "Legally Blonde" which was made famous by Reese Witherspoon.

Among those stars who have mentioned about their mistakes in picking projects are Leonardo DiCaprio, Halle Berry, Matt Damon and Dustin Hoffman. Some thought the movie wasn't going nowhere, while some revealed that it was purely due to their misjudgements.

Find out the details below.

1. Will Smith - Neo (Keanu Reeves) in 'The Matrix'

Will Smith - Neo (Keanu Reeves) in 'The Matrix'
WENN/Warner Bros.

We might see someone else playing Neo, a character who is made famous by Keanu Reeves, in "The Matrix" if only Will Smith didn't turn down the role. Smith recently revealed why he rejected the role and went for flop movie "Wild Wild West" instead, saying that he wasn't "proud" of his own decision.

He shared that the success he was riding after starring in "Independence Day" and "Men in Black" played a big role in the mistake. He said that when he listened to a pitch for the mega-successful movie, he wasn't too impressed. That's why he ultimately went to do "Wild Wild West".

2. John Lithgow - Joker (Jack Nicholson) in 'Batman'

John Lithgow - Joker (Jack Nicholson) in 'Batman'
WENN/Warner Bros./FayesVision

One of John Lithgow's regrets was not accepting the role of Joker in Tim Burton's "Batman". Before the role was handed to Jack Nicholson, Tim was offering the role to Lithgow who decided that he wasn't fit for the role.

Now that it appears that Joker has become one of iconic DC villains, the actor revealed his deep regret turning down the role in the original 1989 movie. "I tried to persuade him I was not right for the part, and I succeeded," Lithgow told Vulture about his audition. "I didn't realize it was such a big deal."

3. Leonardo DiCaprio - Dirk Diggler (Mark Wahlberg) in 'Boogie Nights'

Leonardo DiCaprio - Dirk Diggler (Mark Wahlberg) in 'Boogie Nights'
WENN/New Line Cinema

When it comes to Leonardo DiCaprio, it is undeniable that he has enviable career of any movie star alive after starring in "Titanic". However, it doesn't mean he always made the right decision when selecting which project to take.

During his interview with GQ in 2008, "The Revenant" actor said that regretted turning down a chance to star as Dirk Diggler in "Boogie Nights". " 'Boogie Nights' is a movie I loved and I wished I would have done. I'm not saying I would have. But it would have been a different direction, careerwise. I think they're both great and wish I could have done them both," he said.

4. Denzel Washington - Clayton (George Clooney) in 'Michael Clayton'

Denzel Washington - Clayton (George Clooney) in 'Michael Clayton'
WENN/Warner Bros. Pictures/Frederic Kern

Denzel Washington was apparently offered to take the role of Michael Clayton in "Michael Clayton". Despite admitting that the Oscar-nominated flick had "the best material," Washington shared that working with first-time director Tony Gilroy made him hesitant.

"It was the best material I had read in a long time, but I was nervous about a first-time director," he told GQ. "I was wrong. It happens." The movie earned seven Oscar nominations, including Best Supporting Actor for George Clooney. Meanwhile, Gilroy went on to write and direct "Duplicity" and "The Bourne Legacy" as well as writing "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story".

5. Christina Applegate - Elle Woods (Reese Witherspoon) in 'Legally Blonde'

Christina Applegate - Elle Woods (Reese Witherspoon) in 'Legally Blonde'
WENN/Metro Goldwyn Mayer/FayesVision

It may be hard to separate "Legally Blonde" from Reese Witherspoon. The "Big Little Lies" actress rose to stardom following her role as Elle Woods in the movie, but it turned out that she wasn't the first choice to play the iconic role.

Christina Applegate revealed that she turned down the role because she didn't want to play another "dumb blonde" so soon after playing one on TV's "Married... With Children". "The script came my way, and it was after I had just finished 'Married [...With Children]'. I got scared of kind of repeating myself. What a stupid move," she said.

6. Dustin Hoffman - Travis Bickle (Robert De Niro) in 'Taxi Driver'

Dustin Hoffman - Travis Bickle (Robert De Niro) in 'Taxi Driver'

It may be hard to picture anyone other than Robert De Niro in the role of disillusioned Vietnam vet turned cabbie Travis Bickle in "Taxi Driver". However, director Martin Scorsese apparently shopped the role around before the iconic part was ultimately handed to De Niro. Among those who got the offer was Dustin Hoffman.

"I remember meeting Martin Scorsese. He had no script and I didn't even know who he was. I hadn't seen any of his films and he talked a mile a minute telling me what the movie would be about. I was thinking, 'What is he talking about?' I thought the guy was crazy! The film was 'Taxi Driver'," Hoffman said. He added that turning down the movie wasn't the only mistake he made throughout his career, "I made so many dumb mistakes (turning down hit movies). The list is endless."

7. Josh Hartnett - Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) in "Batman Begins"

Josh Hartnett - Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) in
WENN/Warner Bros./FayesVision/

Josh Hartnett could have played Batman in Christopher Nolan's "Batman Begins". Nolan was said to be approaching the actor before Christian Bale eventually wore the cape for the movie.

"I said no because I was tired and wanted to spend more time with my friends and family. That's frowned upon in this industry. People don't like being told no. I don't like it. I learned my lesson when Christopher Nolan and I talked about Batman," he explained. "I decided it wasn't for me. I should have been part of the relationship with this guy Nolan, who I felt was incredibly cool and very talented. I was so focused on not being pigeonholed and so scared of being considered only one thing as an actor."

8. Christopher Plummer - Gandalf (Ian McKellen) in 'The Lord of the Rings'

Christopher Plummer - Gandalf (Ian McKellen) in 'The Lord of the Rings'
WENN/New Line Cinema/C.Smith

Do you know that Ian McKellen wasn't the first choice to portray Gandalf in "The Lord of the Rings" movies? The role was originally given to Christopher Plummer, an actor who is famous for his role as Captain von Trapp in the beloved musical "The Sound Of Music".

Sounding regretful, Plummer said of his decision to turn down the popular Middle-Earth flick, "I don't know why I turned it down. I thought 3 or 4 years in New Zealand... I thought there were other countries I would like to visit before I croak. It was a marvellous part and I loved 'The Lord of the Rings'. I grew up on it actually. It is a great, great, great book and then it became a great film."

9. Matt Damon - Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) in 'Avatar'

Matt Damon - Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) in 'Avatar'
WENN/The 20th Century Fox/Euan Cherry

Matt Damon seemingly still can't forgive himself for turning down one movie role that was initially offered to him. Well, he should be because it was the leading role in "Avatar", the most successful movie of all time, that he rejected.

Speaking to Playboy, "The Martian" actor said, "I particularly wanted to work with James Cameron, and still do… He knew he was the star of that movie and that 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 start taking jobs from me later."

10. Burt Reynolds - Han Solo (Harrison Ford) in

Burt Reynolds - Han Solo (Harrison Ford) in
WENN/Walt Disney Pictures/Dennis Van Tine

Burt Reynolds could have been a part of "Star Wars" franchise. Before Harrison Ford was attached to play the iconic role of Han Solo, it was said that Reynolds was offered the part.

"I just didn't want to play that kind of role at the time,” he told Business Insider in 2016. "Now I regret it. I wish I would have done it."

11. Harrison Ford - Bob Barnes (George Clooney) in 'Syriana'

Harrison Ford - Bob Barnes (George Clooney) in 'Syriana'
WENN/Warner Bros./Mario Mitsis

Harrison Ford claimed that he was once offered the role of Bob Barnes in "Syriana". The actor revealed that he rejected the role, which earned George Clooney an Oscar nomination, because he felt the movie was lacking substance.

"I saw a bit of (director) Steve Gaghan's movie 'Syriana' and I wish I'd played the part that was offered to me - George's part," he admitted. "I didn't feel strongly enough about the truth of the material and I think I made a mistake. I think the film underwent some changes and I think a lot of it is very truthful. The things that I thought weren't, were obviated after I left the table."

12. Halle Berry - Annie Porter (Sandra Bullock) in

Halle Berry - Annie Porter (Sandra Bullock) in
WENN/The Mark Gordon Company/FayesVision

Just recently Halle Berry shared that she once passed on Sandra Bullock's role in 1994 movie "Speed". The "John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum" star could have been sharing screen with Keanu Reeves if only she didn't "stupidly" say no.

Trying to justify her decision, the actress added, "But in my defense, when I read the script the bus didn't leave the parking lot. I was like no, no, no, no. Then I see the movie and I'm like, 'Arrrrghh.' " She continued, "I was in it well before these fine people [Reeves]. They were offering me the parking lot version."

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