There are certain characters you can’t imagine anyone else playing. Tom Hanks was incredible as Forrest Gump. Would Bill Murray have played the reverent Forrest differently? Sandra Bullock was brilliant in Gravity, but how would Angelina Jolie have looked floating around in a space helmet (gorgeous probably!) But we’ll never know because the stars turned down these roles. Along with them, here are some other actors who also said no to parts that may have changed their lives…

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Forrest Gump

NO: Bill Murray YES: Tom Hanks

actors who turned down iconic roles: Bill Murray

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‘I did have Forrest Gump conversations,’ Bill Murray told Howard Stern on his Sirius XM show, but Bill said the part didn’t interest him. When Howard asked if he regretted passing on the film, Bill said he’d never seen it! Well, we have and we think Tom Hanks’ portrayal of Forrest was fab, and are very pleased Tom got to tell us why life was like a box of chocolates!

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Raiders of the Lost Ark

NO: Tom Selleck YES: Harrison Ford

actors who turned down iconic roles: Tom Selleck

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Tom Selleck was director Stephen Spielberg’s second choice to play

Indiana Jones, Harrison Ford was his first. But creator George Lucas objected as Harrison Ford had been in both American Graffiti in 1973 and Star Wars in 1977. However, when Tom was approached, he was committed to Magnum PI, and couldn’t take the role. So Harrison got to wield the whip after all. And Tom, well he did later get the chance to snog Courteney Cox in Friends!

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Monster’s Ball

NO: Angela Bassett YES: Halle Berry

actors who turned down iconic roles: Angela Bassett

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The part of Leticia Musgrove in Monster’s Ball was originally offered to Angela Bassett, but she turned it down, saying about the part, ‘I couldn’t do that because it’s such a stereotype about black women and sexuality.’ Halle Berry ended up taking the role and, in 2002, became the first black woman in the history of the Academy Awards to win Best Actress for her role. Halle then went on to make what is deemed one of the best and emotional acceptance speeches of all time…

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Pretty Woman

NO: Michelle Pfeiffer YES: Julia Roberts

actors who turned down iconic roles: Michelle Pfiffer

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Since making her debut in Scarface in 1980, Michelle Pfeiffer has been pretty picky with her roles! She rejected the lead role in Basic Instinct in 1992, which made Sharon Stone a household name… And that wasn’t the first time Michelle had said no to a successful movie. In 1990 she’d already turned down the role of Vivian in Pretty Woman, as she wasn’t keen on the tone of the script. Julia Roberts famously played the role and it made her a star, not least with all the stunning promotional posters for the film!

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James Bond

NO: Christian Bale YES: Daniel Craig

actors who turned down iconic roles: Christian Bale

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A former publicist of Christian’s says the actor passed up the chance to play James Bond, as he didn’t want to be committed to a franchise that was very British. So, once Pierce Brosnan’s contract was up, Daniel Craig stepped nicely into a tuxedo. Daniel has left many shaken and stirred by his performances as 007 ever since. But with odds at 10/1 his latest film Spectre will be his last, who’ll replace him? And will anyone turn down the chance to play the famous spy and live to regret it?

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Gravity

NO: Angelina Jolie YES: Sandra Bullock

actors who turned down iconic roles: Angelina Jolie

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It was believed in Hollywood circles that Gravity was a vehicle for Angelina Jolie at one point. However, though the media tried to stir up stories about rivalry between Angelina and Sandra Bullock, it seems Angelina had passed on the role way back in 2010. The film was finally released three years later, with Sandy at the helm (and in the helmet!)

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Matrix

NO: Will Smith YES: Keanu Reeves

actors who turned down iconic roles: Will Smith

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The multi-talented Will has appeared in many a blockbuster, but he turned down the chance to become an original legendary hero in the groundbreaking franchise playing Neo in The Matrix. Will said in an interview that The Matrix was a difficult concept to pitch and he just didn’t see it. Keanu Reeves went on to play Neo and Will says that after seeing Keanu’s performance, although it’s rare for him to say this, but he believes he would have messed it up… We don’t believe that, Will!

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