Casting What Ifs—Actors Who ALMOST Took On These Iconic Roles

Harrison Ford in the opening scene from Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

Have you ever been watching your favorite movie and wondered how it may have turned out had the lead role been played by someone else? If you have (or if you’re now wrapping your brain around it for the first time), we went ahead and dissected 10 last-minute casting changes from some of Hollywood’s most iconic roles! 


1. Anne Hathaway - Alison Scott
Knocked Up (2007)

Knocked Up

When she was initially offered the role, Hathaway turned it down because she felt that the movie was a little “too radical.” 


2. Diane Lane - Vivian Ward
Pretty Woman (1990)

Pretty Woman

This extremely iconic role was sought after by many big names in Hollywood, including Winona Ryder, Molly Ringwald, and Michelle Pfeiffer, but was ultimately offered to Diane Lane. She turned down the role due to “conflicting schedules.” 


3. OJ Simpson - Terminator
The Terminator (1984)


Movie master James Cameron revealed that Orion Pictures co-founder Mike Medavoy pushed for O. J. Simpson to play the Terminator. The iconic role eventually went to Arnold Schwarzenegger. Good save. 


4. Robin Williams - Jack Torrance
The Shining (1980)

The Shining

Robin Williams came close to being cast for this lead role in The Shining, but director Stanley Kubrick said Williams was “too psychotic for the part.”


5. Daniel Day-Lewis - Vincent Vega
Pulp Fiction (1994)

Pulp Fiction

Pulp Fiction producer Harvey Weinstein was not all pleased with Tarantino (who was still a green director at the time) in his decision to give the role of Vincent Vega to John Travolta instead of his contender, Daniel Day-Lewis. 


6. Tom Selleck - Indiana Jones
Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)


Speilberg and Lucas both pushed for Indiana Jones to be played by Tom Selleck, who ultimately turned down the role to take up Magnum, P.I. back in 1980. 


7. Susan Dey - Sally Albright 
When Harry Met Sally... (1989)


There were a lot of changes to the original script of When Harry Met Sally..., including the fact that Rob Reiner initially wanted Susan Dey of the TV show L.A. Law  (1986-1992) to play Sally.


8. Billy Crystal - Buzz Lightyear
Toy Story (1995)

Toy Story

Speaking of Billy Crystal, he was originally offered the voice role of Buzz Lightyear from Toy Story, which he eventually turned down. After seeing the completed movie, he announced that it was the biggest mistake of his career. 


9. Tom Hanks - Jerry Maguire
Jerry Maguire (1996)

Jerry Maguire

Though Tom Hanks was Cameron Crowe's first choice to fill the title role, he later retracted the offer as he felt that Hanks would be too old by the time the movie was ready to be made.


10. Cillian Murphy - Batman / Bruce Wayne
Batman Begins (2005)

Batman Begins

Though he ended up in the movie after all (in the opposing role, actually), Cillian Murphy was first offered the role for Batman. The role was picked up by Christain Bale who gave an unforgettable performance.