Actors and Directors who Turned Down Famous Movies

The movie-making business is a fickle industry. Not all great movie ideas are accepted immediately by producers. Many of the beloved and classic movies are actually made by the second or even third directors who finally accept them.



Dustin Hoffman was originally chosen for the role, but eventually, Harrison Ford obtained the part. Phillip K. Dick, the writer of the story, said that Martin Scorsese showed interest in the story, but he didn’t proceed.

The Shining


Robin Williams and Robert De Niro were originally considered for the major role, before he settled on Jack Nicholson. The author of the original book, Stephen King, preferred Jon Voigt or Michael Moriarty for the role.



The iconic space monster movie was originally going to be directed by a different director, Walter Hill. However, he pulled out when the production was delayed. This decision made way for the famous director, Ridley Scott.

The Shawshank Redemption


Kevin Costner and Tom Hanks turned down the role Andy in both films. Tim Robbins got the role.

The Godfather


Sergio Leone, the Italian director turned down the film and it was accepted by Francis Ford Coppola. He was nearly replaced a few times due to disputes with Paramount. It is also originally planned that Orson Welles and Ernest Borgnine played the Vito Corleone role; but Coppola insisted that Brando should have it. Dustin Hoffman, Jack Nicholson and Warren Beatty turned down offer to play as Michael Corleone. Martin Sheen accepted and participated in the audition, but the role was given to Al Pacino, who was relatively unknown at the time.



It was unfortunate for Al Pacino to turn down a part in this fantastic movie. The role was obtained by Robert De Niro, who previously turned down roles in Apocalypse Now as Captain Willard and in Star Wars as Han Solo.

Pulp Fiction


Michael Madsen was originally the primary choice of Tarantino. Daniel Day-Lewis wanted to have a part in the film, but John Travolta got it instead.

Indiana Jones


Raiders of the Lost Ark: Tom Selleck wanted to continue making Magnum P. I., so he turned down the role as Indiana Jones. George Lucas didn’t want to choose Harrison Ford, because to avoid making him the guy that he “put in all his movies”. However, Spielberg p0ersuaded him to choose Ford instead.

The Matrix


Nicolas Cage and Will Smith turned down the role of Neo in this cyberpunk movie. Sean Connery turned down the role as Morpheus. Eventually, both characters were played by Keanu Reeves and Laurence Fishburne.



The role of Maximus was originally offered to Mel Gibson and he turned that down. As a result, Russell Crowe won an Oscar. Previously, Gibson also declined to play as Robin Hood, in Costner’s popular movie Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid


Jack Lemmon declined a role in the famous film. Paul Newman was originally chosen for the role Sundance, but switched to Butch Cassidy, when Steve McQueen was selected as Sundance. However, eventually, the role went to Robert Redford.

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