Close Call! Actors Who ALMOST Played A Few Surprising Roles…

January 29, 2012  |  
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Before movies make it to the big screen there are numerous negotiations that take place behind the scenes. Some of our favorite characters in movies were very close to being replaced by other actors. Once I see a movie, I can’t even imagine anyone else playing that role.  So to hear that some of  Hollywood’s breakthrough roles almost went to other actors makes you think, how would the movie have turned out if the producers went with their first choice?

See what actors had a close call!

Will Smith  in “The Matrix”

“The Matrix” was a huge box office hit in 1999. The movie starred Keanu Reeves as Neo. Will Smith was offered the role before Keanu, but turned it down to star in the movie “Wild Wild West”. Some would say this was a million dollar mistake. Especially since “Wild Wild West” isn’t one of Smith’s best roles. However, in an interview Smith said, “I would have absolutely messed up the “The Matrix”. At that point I wasn’t smart enough of an actor to let the movie be—whereas Keanu was.” I agree with Smith on this once. At that point in his career he wasn’t playing serious roles. He was still being the funny guy we knew who hailed from Philadelphia. Maybe passing on this role wasn’t such a bad idea. It worked out in the end because Smith found his way through Hollywood with successes like “Ali” and “The Pursuit of Happyness”.



Jennifer Hudson in “Precious”

“Precious” was an intense depiction of life through the eyes of a troubled teenager with an abusive mother and an abusive father. It was very moving. It is one of those movies that stick with you. I think Gabourey Sidibe was MADE for the role of Precious. I can’t even imagine Jennifer Hudson as Precious. Jennifer looks to old to play the role of a teenager, it would not have been believable. She was amazing as Effie in “Dreamgirls”, but the jump from Effie to Precious would have been very hard to achieve. I think she was better off passing on the role. She has been accused of passing on the role because of the weight issues, and as everyone can see she had plans to loose weight not gain. However, in an interview she defended the decision to pass up on the role, stating that there were other reasons why she did not want to play Precious. She said, “I just felt that character was doing things, at least in the script that I got, that were places I did not want to go and not where I needed to go”. Jennifer Hudson has amazing talent as a singer and actress, I am sure she will find a better role more suitable for her.


Queen Latifah in “Monster’s Ball”

According to sources as well as the Queen herself, she was supposed to play Halle Berry’s role in “Monster’s Ball”. The role was hers but due to scheduling conflicts she could not fulfill her obligation. The original cast was supposed to be Queen Latifah, Sean Penn and Robert De Niro. In the end the cast included Halle Berry, Billy Bob Thornton and Heath Ledger. Halle went on to win the award for Best Actress at the Oscars for her role in “Monster’s Ball”.

Jada Pinkett- Smith in “Charlie’s Angels”

Jada Pinkett- Smith was the original choice to play an angel alongside Cameron Diaz and Drew Barrymore. She turned down the role to star in Spike Lee’s “Bamboozled”. I think it actually would have been interesting to see Jada as an angel. Her replacement, Lucy Lui didn’t do that well of a job so I wonder how the movie would have turned out with Jada as the third angel.


Denzel Washington in “I.Robot”, “Dreamgirls”, and “Ray”

I maybe a little biased when it comes to Denzel because I think he is an extraordinary actor. I run to theaters to see any movie he is starring in and he never disappoints. Denzel has been in this business long enough to know what roles work best for him. He was offered the chance to play Jamie Foxx’s role as Curtis Taylor Jr. in “Dreamgirls”. Can you honestly say that you wanted to see Denzel try to sing his way through that script? I don’t think so. Jamie Foxx can also thank Denzel for not taking the lead role in “Ray”. The role of Ray Charles was made for Jamie Foxx. However, it might have been interesting to see Denzel replace Will Smith in “I.Robot”. Even though Will did an excellent job, the role might have been right up Denzel’s alley.

 Halle Berry in “Gigli”

The best thing that came out of “Gigli” was Bennifer. After the movie Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck fell in love and even got engaged. Other than romance “Gigli” was a box office disaster. It also was a  career flop for Jennifer and Ben who starred in the movie. Halle Berry dodged this bullet by turning down Jennifer Lopez’s role in the movie. Due to scheduling conflicts with X-Men 2, Halle could not take the role.

Samuel L. Jackson in “The Matrix”

Along with Will Smith, Samuel L. Jackson also turned down a role in the movie “The Matrix”. Jackson was supposed to play the role of Morpheus. Morpheus was  later played by Laurence Fishburne. I can see Samuel in the black jacket with the shades, but Laurence was so good in the that role I can’t imagine anyone else playing Morpheus.


Cuba Gooding Jr. in “Amistad”

Steven Spielberg wanted Cuba Gooding Jr. to star in the movie “Amistad”. According to Cuba, he was too big-headed after winning his Oscar for “Jerry Maguire” that he turned down the role. Apparently because the role  was a “slave role”. Cuba was not interested. He wanted to be selective in his film choices after his success. The role then went to Dijimon Hounsou.



Dave Chappelle in “Forrest Gump”

Dave Chappelle was offered the role of Bubba in “Forrest Gump”. He turned down the role because he thought the movie would bomb. He has since said that he regrets not taking the role. Mykelti Williamson later accepted the role of Bubba.



Rachel Louissaint is a graduate student and a blogger. She is also the writer for her own blog Follow her on twitter at @Ebony_Maiden. 

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