According to Comcast Entertainment, twenty-six movie stars turned down roles that became instant hits for others.
These are my top ten favorites:
1 - Al Pacino
Al Pacino turned down the role of Han Solo in "Star Wars"
While I cannot picture anyone else in the role that Harrison Ford made famous, I can see a little bit of "make 'em an offer he can't refuse" attitude working well, even in outer space.
2 - Michelle Pfeiffer
A woman, in my opinion, is the epitome of gorgeous, turned down the role of Vivian Ward in "Pretty Woman".
Michelle Pfeiffer once said that she did not always enjoy playing roles where beauty counted more than acting. While I believe she is the prettiest woman in Hollywood, I also believe she is one of the best actresses around, and I am glad she does not always play roles that only show off her pretty face.
3 - Sean Connery
The original James Bond, and still the best, Sir Connery turned down the role of Gandolf in "Lord of the Rings". He reportedly turned down the role because he did not understand it. "Gandolf, just Gandolf", no, I do not understand that either.
4 - Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone Richard Gere, and Burt Reynolds all turned down the role of John McClane in the "Die Hard" series.
I think the unique style and comedic wit of Bruce Willis was the better choice. "Rocky" and the "Governor" lack the brand of humor that Bruce Willis brilliantly incorporates into everything role he plays.
5 - Will Smith
The Fresh Prince turned down the role of Neo in "The Matrix"
I can easily see Will Smith play any role, as he is a talented dramatic actor as well as a comedic actor. The problem I see with Mr. Smith in that role is that I do not think the funny Neo would have come off as well as the emotionless Neo did in the movies.
6 - Russell Crowe
Crowe turned down the role of Wolverine in the "X-Men"
With Russell Crowe's looks, charisma, charm, and talent, I can picture him in that role. A beautiful mind, the leadership of a Commander, and the stamina of a gladiator, I believe Mr. Crowe would have pulled it off. Hugh Jackman possesses the same qualities as Russell Crowe, and he was perfect in the role of Wolverine.
7 - Mel Gibson
Mel turned down the role of Maximus in "Gladiator." Anyone who saw Braveheart or The Patriot knows that Mr. Gibson could have played this part to the maximum, but it is difficult for me to picture anyone else in the role of Gladiator, except Russell Crowe.
8 - Sean Connery, Samuel L. Jackson, and Russell Crowe all turned down the role of Morpheus in the "Matrix" trilogy. If I had to choose, I think that Sean Connery and Will Smith in the roles of Neo and Morpheus would have been a great combination. Laurence Fishburne performed beyond the call of duty as Morpheus, however.
9 - Nick Nolte
Nolte turned down the role of "Indiana Jones"
Also offered the role of Han Solo, Nick Nolte chose not to star in the Indiana Jones film series. One of my all time favorite roles of Nick's was as Tommy Jordache in the powerful television miniseries, Rich Man, Poor Man. His character started out as a boy who got into trouble because his father repeatedly told him he would amount to nothing. I think I would have enjoyed watching Nick Nolte and Sean Connery playing the roles of father and son.
10 - Susan Dey
Susan Dey, of Partridge Family fame, and later a lawyer in LA Law, turned down the part of Sandy in "Grease". I think Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta possesses the right combination of 'tough' guy and 'soft' girl. I also believe that Olivia has the voice of an angel.
Bonus pick (saving the best for last)
The producers of "The Terminator" thought about, and passed over O.J. for the role made famous by Governor Schwarzenegger. The reason was, according to Comcast Entertainment, fans would not have taken Mr. Simpson seriously as a killer.