11 Actors Who Almost Played Iconic Movie Roles (PHOTOS)

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11 Actors Who Almost Played Iconic Movie Roles (PHOTOS)

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11 Actors Who Almost Played Iconic Movie Roles (PHOTOS)

Hollywood is rife with stories of near-misses, like the actors below who almost played certain legendary characters on film.

Of course, hindsight is what it is, and no one can predict how a movie would turn out, but it’s hard not to think these famous folk feel a twinge of regret when they think how close they came to greatness.

So do them a favor: Kickstart your imaginations and try to dream of the alternate universes in which these stars filled these roles!

11 Actors Who Almost Played Iconic Movie Roles (PHOTOS)
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1. Gwen Stefani auditioned to play Jane Smith in ‘Mr. & Mrs. Smith’

Gwen Stefani auditioned to play Jane Smith in ‘Mr. & Mrs. Smith’ Credit: Christopher Polk/Getty Images for MasterCard; 20th Century Fox

It’s hard to imagine anyone matching the chemistry Angelina Jolie had with (now ex-husband) Brad Pitt, but this pop star told Howard Stern she had a shot at playing Jane Smith, the film’s housewife-by-day/spy-by-night.

“I feel like I almost got it,” Gwen said. “I went to a bunch [of auditions] ... [It was] very competitive and I wanted to do it, but I wanted to do music more.”

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1. Gwen Stefani auditioned to play Jane Smith in ‘Mr. & Mrs. Smith’

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It’s hard to imagine anyone matching the chemistry Angelina Jolie had with (now ex-husband) Brad Pitt, but this pop star told Howard Stern she had a shot at playing Jane Smith, the film’s housewife-by-day/spy-by-night.

“I feel like I almost got it,” Gwen said. “I went to a bunch [of auditions] ... [It was] very competitive and I wanted to do it, but I wanted to do music more.”

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2. Nicole Kidman nearly played Mrs. Smith, too

Nicole Kidman nearly played Mrs. Smith, too Credit: Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images; 20th Century Fox

Nicole had to drop out to finish filming The Stepford Wives. Angelina eventually got the part, co-starring with Brad Pitt, and the rest is tabloid history.

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2. Nicole Kidman nearly played Mrs. Smith, too

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Nicole had to drop out to finish filming The Stepford Wives. Angelina eventually got the part, co-starring with Brad Pitt, and the rest is tabloid history.

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3. Angelina Jolie was considered to play Cher Horowitz in ‘Clueless’

Angelina Jolie was considered to play Cher Horowitz in ‘Clueless’ Credit: Jason Merritt/Getty Images; Paramont Pictures

...along with Sarah Michelle Gellar and Reese Witherspoon. Per the New York Post, the casting director looked at Angelina and said, “No, no, no, this is exactly the opposite of what I need for this.”

3. Angelina Jolie was considered to play Cher Horowitz in ‘Clueless’

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...along with Sarah Michelle Gellar and Reese Witherspoon. Per the New York Post, the casting director looked at Angelina and said, “No, no, no, this is exactly the opposite of what I need for this.”

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4. Will Smith turned down the role of Neo in ‘The Matrix’

Will Smith turned down the role of Neo in ‘The Matrix’ Credit: Jason Merritt/Getty Images; Warner Bros.

“I would have absolutely messed up The Matrix,” he told Wired (per Moviepilot), before praising Keanu Reeves’s performance.

“At that point I wasn't smart enough as an actor to let the movie be. Whereas Keanu was smart enough to just let it be.”

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4. Will Smith turned down the role of Neo in ‘The Matrix’

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“I would have absolutely messed up The Matrix,” he told Wired (per Moviepilot), before praising Keanu Reeves’s performance.

“At that point I wasn't smart enough as an actor to let the movie be. Whereas Keanu was smart enough to just let it be.”

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5. Jennifer Lawrence auditioned to play Bella Swan in ‘Twilight’

Jennifer Lawrence auditioned to play Bella Swan in ‘Twilight’ Credit: Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images; Summit Entertainment

“I’d had no idea Twilight would be such a big deal,” J.Law told The Guardian. “For me, and assuming for [eventual star Kristen Stewart], it was just another audition. Then it turned into this whole other thing.”

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5. Jennifer Lawrence auditioned to play Bella Swan in ‘Twilight’

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“I’d had no idea Twilight would be such a big deal,” J.Law told The Guardian. “For me, and assuming for [eventual star Kristen Stewart], it was just another audition. Then it turned into this whole other thing.”

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6. Emily Blunt was offered the part of Black Widow in ‘Iron Man 2’

Emily Blunt was offered the part of Black Widow in ‘Iron Man 2’ Credit: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images; Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

The part eventually went to Scarlett Johannson, who made her Marvel debut in 2010’s Iron Man 2.

The Brit was also handed the part of Agent Peggy Carter in 2011’s Captain America: The First Avenger but turned it down. Hayley Atwell got the part and continued playing Agent Carter on the aptly titled TV show Agent Carter.

6. Emily Blunt was offered the part of Black Widow in ‘Iron Man 2’

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The part eventually went to Scarlett Johannson, who made her Marvel debut in 2010’s Iron Man 2.

The Brit was also handed the part of Agent Peggy Carter in 2011’s Captain America: The First Avenger but turned it down. Hayley Atwell got the part and continued playing Agent Carter on the aptly titled TV show Agent Carter.

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7. Britney Spears screen-tested for the role of Allie in ‘The Notebook’

Britney Spears screen-tested for the role of Allie in ‘The Notebook’ Credit: Jason Merritt/Getty Images; New Line Cinema

The Notebook could have been a Mickey Mouse Club reunion if Britney had won the part of Allie instead of Rachel McAdams.

“I hadn’t seen her really since she was about 12,” Ryan Gosling told Entertainment Tonight. “She did a really nice job … She did an excellent job, actually. That was cool.”

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7. Britney Spears screen-tested for the role of Allie in ‘The Notebook’

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The Notebook could have been a Mickey Mouse Club reunion if Britney had won the part of Allie instead of Rachel McAdams.

“I hadn’t seen her really since she was about 12,” Ryan Gosling told Entertainment Tonight. “She did a really nice job … She did an excellent job, actually. That was cool.”

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8. Sean Connery turned down the role of Gandalf in ‘The Lord of the Rings’

Sean Connery turned down the role of Gandalf in ‘The Lord of the Rings’ Credit: Michael Loccisano/Getty Images; New Line Cinema

We all associate Ian McKellan with Middle Earth's kindest wizard, but former James Bond actor Sean Connery was offered the part.

“I never understood it, he said, per WENN. “I read the book. I read the script. I saw the movie. I still don't understand it.”

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8. Sean Connery turned down the role of Gandalf in ‘The Lord of the Rings’

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We all associate Ian McKellan with Middle Earth's kindest wizard, but former James Bond actor Sean Connery was offered the part.

“I never understood it, he said, per WENN. “I read the book. I read the script. I saw the movie. I still don't understand it.”

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9. David Bowie auditioned for ‘The Lord of the Rings’

David Bowie auditioned for ‘The Lord of the Rings’ Credit: Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images; New Line Cinema

Could the Thin White Duke have played the white wizard? LOTR star Dominic Monaghan claims he saw David come to audition right after he did.

“As I was reading a magazine waiting, David Bowie came in and signed his little list and went in,” Dom tells The Huffington Post, surmising David read for the part of Gandalf.

9. David Bowie auditioned for ‘The Lord of the Rings’

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Could the Thin White Duke have played the white wizard? LOTR star Dominic Monaghan claims he saw David come to audition right after he did.

“As I was reading a magazine waiting, David Bowie came in and signed his little list and went in,” Dom tells The Huffington Post, surmising David read for the part of Gandalf.

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10. Gwyneth Paltrow turned down the role of Rose in ‘Titanic’

Gwyneth Paltrow turned down the role of Rose in ‘Titanic’ Credit: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images; 20th Century Fox

You’d think that Gwyneth would have a Titanic regret about not playing Rose, but she’s philosophical about it.

“I look back at the choices I've made and think, ‘Why the hell did I say yes to that? And no to that?’” she told Howard Stern, per Us Weekly.

“And you know, you look at the big picture and think: There’s a universal lesson here. What good is it to hold onto roles?”

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10. Gwyneth Paltrow turned down the role of Rose in ‘Titanic’

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You’d think that Gwyneth would have a Titanic regret about not playing Rose, but she’s philosophical about it.

“I look back at the choices I've made and think, ‘Why the hell did I say yes to that? And no to that?’” she told Howard Stern, per Us Weekly.

“And you know, you look at the big picture and think: There’s a universal lesson here. What good is it to hold onto roles?”

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11. The studio wanted Timothy Olyphant for ‘The Fast and the Furious’

The studio wanted Timothy Olyphant for ‘The Fast and the Furious’ Credit: FX; Universal Pictures

Justified star Timothy Olyphant could have played Dom in the unstoppable Fast and the Furious franchise.

“I had been working with Paul Walker on another movie, Skulls, and I gave him the script [for The Fast and the Furious],” producer Neil H. Moritz said on The Bill Simmons Podcast.

“And then we had to look for Dom Toretto. The studio said, ‘If you can get Timothy Olyphant to play that role we will greenlight the movie… The luckiest thing that ever happened to us is Tim Olyphant turned us down. He’s a great actor. In fact, I’m curious to see what that movie would have been.”

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11. The studio wanted Timothy Olyphant for ‘The Fast and the Furious’

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Justified star Timothy Olyphant could have played Dom in the unstoppable Fast and the Furious franchise.

“I had been working with Paul Walker on another movie, Skulls, and I gave him the script [for The Fast and the Furious],” producer Neil H. Moritz said on The Bill Simmons Podcast.

“And then we had to look for Dom Toretto. The studio said, ‘If you can get Timothy Olyphant to play that role we will greenlight the movie… The luckiest thing that ever happened to us is Tim Olyphant turned us down. He’s a great actor. In fact, I’m curious to see what that movie would have been.”

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Hollywood is rife with stories of near-misses, like the actors below who almost played certain legendary characters on film.

Of course, hindsight is what it is, and no one can predict how a movie would turn out, but it’s hard not to think these famous folk feel a twinge of regret when they think how close they came to greatness.

So do them a favor: Kickstart your imaginations and try to dream of the alternate universes in which these stars filled these roles!