Top 5 Stars Who Turned Down Iconic Roles

5. Will Smith: Neo in “The Matrix”
Will Smith has starred in some of the biggest moneymaking blockbusters of all time, from “Independence Day” to the “Men in Black” franchise, but he had the opportunity to have another legendary franchise at one point in time.

Smith was originally offered the role of Neo in “The Matrix,” before turning it down to make the notorious flop “Wild, Wild West.” The huge success of the franchise hasn’t seemed to bother Will all that much. Will has said, “You know, ‘The Matrix’ is a difficult concept to pitch. In the pitch, I just didn’t see it. I watched Keanu’s performance—and very rarely do I say this—but I would have messed it up.”

4. Jack Nicholson: Michael Corleone in “The Godfather”
One legendary actor had the opportunity to play one of the greatest characters in cinematic history before another legend was handed the role of a lifetime.

Jack Nicholson, not Al Pacino, was the first one offered the role of Michael Corleone in “The Godfather.” Nicholson turned it down because, as he once said, “I knew ‘The Godfather’ was going to be a great film, but at that time I believed Indians should play roles written for Indians and Italians should do the same.” Considering Jack appeared in the likes of “Easy Rider,” “The Last Detail,” “Five Easy Pieces,” “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” and “Chinatown” within a handful of years of “The Godfather,” he obviously survived passing on the role.

3. Johnny Depp: Ferris Bueller in “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”
This is a hard switch to picture, but it would have definitely changed the face of one of the biggest comedy hits of all time; Johnny Depp was originally offered the lead in “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” before Matthew Broderick ended up landing his career-defining role. Like Smith and Nicholson, Johnny Depp seems to have landed on his feet since then.

2. Sean Connery: Gandalf in “The Lord of the Rings” and Morpheus in “The Matrix”
Screen legend Sir Sean Connery could have had two late-career blockbuster franchises under his belt in addition to his decades of hit movies. Connery was offered both the role of Gandalf in the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy and Morpheus in “The Matrix” trilogy. In the years since turning down the roles, Connery has admitted to regretting his decisions.

1. Tom Selleck: Indiana Jones in “Raiders of the Lost Ark”
It may be hard to wrap your head around it, but Harrison Ford was not the first actor that Steven Spielberg and George Lucas pursued for the role of Indiana Jones in “Raiders of the Lost Ark.” The “Magnum P.I.” star Tom Selleck was offered the genuinely iconic role first, but he had to decline due to scheduling conflicts with his hit TV show.
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