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.

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  1. Sean Connery turned down the role of Morpheus because he didn’t understand the script. Sean Connery fighting Will Smith in the dojo would have been epic haha.

  2. I dont understand why Van Damme would be considered at all for the rolle of Predator. I mean, I dont think the script required the Predator to do the splits at anytime…..

  3. Christopher Walken was also offered the role of Han Solo. OJ Simpson didn’t get the part of the Terminator because the producers viewed him as “too nice of a guy” HA! We all see how that turned out. For anyone that watches Fringe they had an episode that took place in the 80s in an alternate universe and one of the characters went and saw Back to the Future and as they were walking out of the theater the marquee said “Eric Stoltz in Back to the Future”

  4. The Van Damme predator was suposed to be completly diffrent than the predator we know. It was gonna be a much more acrobatic predator (that is why he was first cast) and the costume was not the same at all. But after Van Damme ended up getting the lead in Bloodsport he dropped out to do that film and they changed the character. Yeah, im a bit of a Predator buff.

  5. Whats up with the doc’s hand?

    Also, too bad on the Selleck thing, IMO he aged more gracefully than Harrison did. Plus as much as I love Harrison as Indy, he sometimes gives this idiotic look…..I dunno.

  6. By far one of the weirdest original choices for casting was when The Last Temptation of Christ was being cast Martin Scorsese’s original choice was… Christopher Walken yes Christopher Walken now allI can think about is how cool it would have been if Christopher Walken played Jesus in that movie *sigh* what might have been.

  7. “# jaromiron 06 May 2010 at 5:10 am
    Whats up with the doc’s hand?”

    YES!! WTF?? I read the article and saw that pic and was like “huh?”. i dunno why i kept looking at it trying to figure out what the deal was.

    It was funny i saw your comment 😛

  8. Van Damme actually filmed some stuff in the original Predator monster suit (some of the footage even makes it into the final movie), but John McTiernan hated the way the suit looked. He sat next to Stan Winston on a flight back to LA during production and they chatted about the movie and Winston drew him a picture of a giant rasta warrior-type creature, which McTiernan loved. The studio built the suit and cast Kevin Peter Hall a 7’2″ actor as the creature we know and love.

    Hey Henrik from another Predator buff…

  9. In a recent episode of Fringe, they show the other reality and you can see a movie theatre playing Back to the Future starring Erik Stolz. I thought that was pretty funny.

  10. Schwartzenegger was supposed to play Kyle Reece in Terminator, but took one look at Henriksen and said “I’m supposed to be afraid of him?” and talked Cameron into casting him as the Terminator instead. That’s how I’ve heard it anyway.

    Harrison Ford was also supposed to star in “Big”.

  11. Lance Henriksen as the Terminator would have been fantastic. Though I know it seems like Arnold’s role now that we’ve all seen him in it, Henriksen has a cool that could have made the role so much more menacing.

    The best reason of all, however, is that Lance Henriksen would have made a better governor.

  12. Lance Henriksen as the Terminator would have been fantastic. Though I know it seems like Arnold’s role now that we’ve all seen him in it, Henriksen has a cool that could have made the role so much more menacing.

    The best reason of all, however, is that Lance Henriksen would have made a better governor.

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