Regrets: 10 Movie Roles That Were Passed Up

A missed opportunity is something we all regret. There are many times when you get the chance to do better, but you knowingly reject it. And when you realize your mistake, it's already too late. The same happened with actors who left career-defining roles and regretted their decision. Here are a few examples of actors who regretted rejecting prominent roles:

1. Bruce Willis

Fortress Bruce Willis
Photo Credit: Lionsgate Films.

In Ghost, the role of Sam Wheat was offered to Bruce Willis. The movie was based on the theme of romance between a human and a ghost. It was a unique and new concept. Bruce Willis rejected the roles saying, “Hey, the guy's dead. How are you gonna have a romance?” Later in his 1996 candid admission to the New York Times, he regretted rejecting the movie that became a blockbuster.

2. Will Smith

Aladdin Will Smith
Photo Credit: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures.

The Matrix is a popular movie that came in 1999. it is a science fiction movie where Will Smith was offered the role of Neo. He rejected the position because he could not grasp the concept and themes of the movie. Later, Keanu Reeves played Neo in The Matrix, and it became a super hit movie. Will Smith mentions this movie as one of his biggest career regrets.

3. Sean Connery

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade Sean Connery
Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures.

Sean Connery is a famous legendary actor. He is best known for his extraordinary performance in the movie James Bond. The are many speculations that in “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy, he was offered the role of Gandalf. He rejected the role, which went to Sir Ian McKellen. 

4. Josh Hartnett

Oppenheimer Josh Hartnett
Photo Credit: Universal Pictures.

The most famous superhero movie, Batman Begins, wanted to cast Josh Hartnett as Batman. But he was scared of the role as it was a new thing for him to portray a superhero. He presented his regret in an interview, saying he was so focused on not being pigeonholed. He got scared of being considered only one thing as an actor. He said no to Christopher Nolan. It leads him to regret the Batman and The Prestige movies. 

5. Leonardo Di Caprio

Don't Look Up Leonardo DiCaprio
Photo Credit: Netflix.

The most legendary actor Leonardo DiCaprio, known for the Titanic, shows his regret for not doing Boogie Nights. He was offered Titanic and Boogie Nights both at the same time. He chose the movie Titanic, but he also loved the other one. He regrets wishing he could have done both films.

6. Matt Damon

Syriana Matt Damon
Photo Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures.

A super hit blockbuster, Avatar, was offered to Matt Damon. He was offered the lead role of Jake Sully in the movie. He turned down the film as it was a completely unique project. With the absolute success of the project and super high profits, Matt Damon regrets rejecting the movie.

7. Al Pacino

Scarface Al Pacino
Photo Credit: Universal Pictures.

The most excellent movie of the time, Star Wars, wanted to cast Al Pacino as Han Solo. He rejected it, and Harrison Ford portrayed the character in such an iconic way that it became the most beloved one. After the absolute success of the movie, Pacino mentioned that he missed the opportunity. It was mainly because he could not grasp the character in the script.

8. Kevin Costner

Black or White Kevin Costner
Photo Credit: Relativity Media.

Kevin Costner was offered The Shawshank Redemption, one of the greatest movies of the time. At that time, he was busy filming the Waterworld. So he rejected the role but knew it was an ample opportunity. When the movies came out, Waterworld was a big flop. While The Shawshank Redemption became the most beloved movie.

9. Eddie Murphy

Coming 2 America Eddie Murphy
Photo Credit: Amazon Studios.

Who Framed Roger Rabbit was a fantastic animated movie offered to Eddie Murphy initially. He rejected the film as it was a unique animation project at that time. But the movie turned out to be extraordinary and became a blockbuster. Eddie said, “I wasn't on board with the idea, but now every time I see it, I feel like an idiot.”

10. Henry Winkler

Arrested Development Henry Winkler
Photo Credit: 20th Century Fox Television.

In the movie Grease, Henry Winker was offered the role of Danny Zuko. He turned down the film. His reason was quite intellectual that he didn't want to be type-casted. But later, he realized that he had made a mistake. Every actor is type-casted one way or the other. He regretted his decision to use his intellect instead of his instincts and rejected the movie. 

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