Celebrities make mistakes too! Here are 18 who turned down the role of a lifetime.

Passed on the Part: 18 Stars Who Turned Down Famous Roles

Sydney Scott
Passed on the Part: 18 Stars Who Turned Down Famous Roles
18 Start slideshow

We’ve all made mistakes or bad career decisions that we look back on and grimace. We’ll admit that we’ve passed on one or two awesome opportunities, but luckily we’ve bounced back.

At the risk of sounding like a cheap tabloid, celebrities are just like us. Famous people make dumb decisions all the time — all the time — and quite a few of them have passed on some famous roles that definitely would have boosted their careers or taken them in better directions. Some of our favorite movies would have been completely different if these actors said yes and we wonder if we would have loved them as much.

Check out our round-up of celebs who have passed on huge roles and let us know if you think they made the right choice!

0 Thoughts?
1 of 18

John Cusack not only passed on the opportunity to play John Bender in The Breakfast Club, but also passed on the epic role of Walter White in Breaking Bad. Luckily, Bryan Cranston is doing an amazing job.

Drew Barrymore dodged the biggest bullet in history when she passed on the role of Naomi in Showgirls. The girl has made some questionable film choices, but at least she knew better than to stoop this low. (Although we have to admit that Showgirls is a total classic in its own way!)

Cute little Reese Witherspoon turned down the role of Sidney Prescott because she didn't want to star in some B-movie slasher flick. So, Scream wasn't a good idea, but playing Adam Sandler's mom in Little Nicky was?

Kevin Costner opted out of starring opposite some lovely ladies in Kill Bill: Vol 1. and Vol. 2, to do something else worthwhile. He directed Open Range instead, a film we don't remember ever hearing about. But hey, it might be good.

We are a little confused by this one. Tom Cruise clearly has the stamina and the moves to dance for hours (i.e. Risky Business, the Oprah couch jumping incident and his dance moves in Tropic Thunder), but for some reason he passed on Footloose. Whatever, his loss was Kevin Bacon's gain.

After Grease and Saturday Night Fever, there was a long lull in John Travolta's career. He's passed up a number of roles, but the one that could have put him back on the map sooner rather than later was Forrest Gump. As we all know, Tom Hanks snagged the role and Travolta regretted not following up Look Who's Talking with a better gig.

Because of scheduling conflicts Sarah Michelle Gellar had to pass on playing Cher Horowitz in Clueless, but it's totally fine because she was busy with Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Alicia Silverstone did an iconic job.

You'd think a man with anger issues would gladly take on the role of a vengeful gladiator, but instead Mel Gibson passed on Gladiator. The role went to a man with an equally bad temper (who's not as anti-semitic), Russell Crowe.

Before Molly Ringwald decided to be the mother of a pregnant teen, she made some poor decisions herself like turning down Pretty Woman, Ghost and Scream. We are shaking our heads.

Sean Connery is . . . well, he's Sean Connery, so playing Bond was probably easy for him. But the role of Gandolf in Lord of the Rings was one Connery had to pass up because he just "didn't get fantasy." And, honestly, we can't imagine him in the role anyway. 

It's hard to imagine anyone else besides Keanu Reeves playing Neo in The Matrix, but Will Smith was offered the role and turned it down. Smith found the script too hard to follow, but later admitted that he thought Keanu was great for the role.

Marky Mark a.k.a. Mark Wahlberg turned down the role of Linus in Ocean's Eleven with an A-list cast and director and the role went to Matt Damon. But, later on Mark would star in a film by M. Night Shyamalan in which he talks to trees. (We're just kidding around, he's also had a thriving production career and won all of our hearts in The Fighter.)

Where would John Travolta be if Henry Winkler hadn't passed on Grease? (There are a ton of masseuse jokes that we could answer with, but we won't). The Fonz has a long resume with some good roles, so this didn't hurt his career at all.

Mickey Rourke was offered the role of Maverick in Top Gun. Yes, it may be hard to believe that Mickey Rourke was once a much sought after actor, but that period existed. Anyway, John Travolta was briefly considered, but instead producers went with Tom Cruise. (Cue "You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling")

Halle Berry passed on the role of Annie Porter in Speed, which went to Sandra Bullock. Later Halle won an Oscar for her role in Monster's Ball (anyone who hooks up with Billy Bob Thornton on-screen deserves an Oscar), but later followed that up with Gothika and Catwoman.

Julia Roberts must have gotten a case of the Molly Ringwalds because she passed on Sleepless in Seattle, Shakespeare in Love and Basic Instinct.

If there's an awesome opportunity knocking Lindsay Lohan will find a way to dodge it. She passed up the chance to play Jade in The Hangover because she was probably busy doing so many other important things. The part went to Heather Graham.

Robert Pattinson made the decision not to star in the Oscar-winning film There Will Be Blood opposite Daniel Day-Lewis and instead took his career in a less serious sparkly-vampire direction.

Next slideshow starts in 10s

The Easiest Update You Can Ever Make: The Hair Pin

The Easiest Update You Can
Ever Make: The Hair Pin
share