What Could Have Been: 10 Weird “Originally Casted As” Movie Roles


There are tons of things that we don’t see or hear about in Hollywood, but one thing that happens faster than the blink of an eye are role changes.  A director might be pissed.  A studio pulls an audible.  An actor wants more money.  Bottom line is that a tons of changes take place before a film is finished and us viewers get to see it.

So unless you’re well tapped into the industry you rarely hear about people who were originally cast in certain roles or even directors originally cast to shoot films.  It’s funny to think of “what could have been.”

Here are 10 “originally cast as” examples

Thanks to Supertremendous for some of these photoshops

Tom Selleck as Indiana Jones


Tom Selleck was originally cast as Indiana Jones, but his producers for “Magnum, P.I.” would not let him out of his contract, so the role ended up going to Harrison Ford instead.   Man, what would Selleck’s career have been like?  I mean the dude is handsome, charming, but maybe just not that great an actor?  Who knows.

Lance Henriksen as the Terminator


Lance Henriksen  was originally cast as the Terminator (O.J. Simpson was considered for the role as well!); Henriksen was
recast as the cop Vukovich.  OJ Simpson!  That would have been utterly ridiculous.  Thank God Henriksen didn’t play the Terminator.  Can you even phathom this movie without Arnold?

Jim Carrey as Dr. Evil


He was originally cast as “Dr. Evil” in Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery (1997), but he had to drop out of the role due to a scheduling conflict with Liar Liar (1997).  This was in Carrey’s tail end of his funniness and I definitely think he’d have nailed the role.  It’s a shame we didn’t get to see it.

Will Smith as Neo


Will Smith passed on the role of Neo saying that The Matrix was a “difficult concept to pitch.” Yeah, difficult and multi-billion dollar drawing. Smith has done just fine though.

Robert De Niro in Big

De Niro

Penny Marshall originally offered the lead role in Big to De Niro instead of Tom Hanks. P oor Bobby was rejected because his six million dollar salary demand was too high.  Hahaha.  Can you even picture De Niro acting like a child?  Honestly I don’t think it’s possible.

Jean Claude Van Damme as Predator

Van Damme

JCVD was originally cast as the Predator creature.  Once the director compared him to Schwarzenegger, Carl Weathers and Jessie Ventura it became apparent that a “taller” man was needed.  Poor Jean Claude.  Little guy!

Bill Murray in Batman


Murray was one of the frontrunners to play the Caped Crusader when the studio originally wanted to create a big screen replica of the 1960s TV version starring Adam West.  He was removed once Tim Burton took over.  Oddly enough I think Murray would have been pretty cool had the movie been like the TV Version.  But I’m gonna have to agree with Tim Burton on the no cast.  Murray does NOT fit into Burton’s brain at all. 

Jack Nicholson as Michael Corleone


Nicholson turned down this role.  I’m kind of glad he did.  Not that he wouldn’t have been good but clearly as The Departed shows he makes a much better Boston type gangster.  I can’t picture him in a highly Italian kissing on the cheek role.

Marlon Brando as The Penguin


Tim Burton favored him for Batman Returns.   Eh, I can’t picture it.  Maybe because he was fat at the time?

Eric Stoltz in Back to the Future


Eric Stoltz was the original Marty. After filming quite a few scenes they realized he was being a bit too dramatic, so they cast Michael J Fox.   Really?  Eric Stoltz?  I’m still coming to grips with this one.