Near Misses: 5 Hollywood Stars Who Almost Got Cast in Your Favorite Movie

With the news today that Tom Cruise and Madonna were originally considered to play the leads in Goodfellas, film fans the world over are once again left with that loaded question: What might have been? In the case of Goodfellas, a crappy movie -- can you imagine Cruise as coked-up Henry Hill? -- but what of other famous Hollywood near misses. Ahead, Movieline chronicles five of the biggest.

· Robert Redford in The Graduate and The Godfather

For you newbies out there, Redford was like the Jeremy Renner of his day; there seemingly wasn't a project that he wasn't rumored to be a part of. In the case of The Graduate, he lost the role to Dustin Hoffman because Mike Nichols famously didn't think Redford would be believable enough as an underdog. Similarly, Robert Evans wanted Redford for The Godfather, but Francis Ford Coppola thought he didn't look Italian enough. Man, whatever happened to this Redford guy; if he could have only caught a break!

· Tom Selleck in Raiders of the Lost Ark

Selleck was Steven Spielberg's second choice for Indiana Jones -- he wanted Harrison Ford, but George Lucas balked (shocking that Lucas was on the wrong end of something). If a deal could have been worked out, however, Selleck would have been the adventurer who hated snakes. Alas, commitments to Magnum, P.I. prevented this from happening. A similar problem arose for Pierce Brosnan, who had to turn down James Bond initially because of Remington Steele.

· Brad Pitt in Almost Famous

Pitt is usually so reliable, it's surprising that he flaked out on Almost Famous. Er. The role of lead guitarist Russell Hammond was originally written with Pitt in mind, but the star wasn't convinced he would have enough to sink his teeth into. Billy Crudup took the part instead.

· Anne Hathaway in Knocked Up

Back when Hathaway dropped out of Knocked Up because of "creative differences" (she reportedly didn't think the film needed to show a vagina) and was replaced by Katherine Heigl, it seemed natural. Now though, it's kinda depressing. Hathaway has shown herself to be a deft comic performer and her personality would have blended much better with Seth Rogen's. Heigl, meanwhile, went on to bash the film and become one of the most hated actresses in Hollywood. Knocked Up is still great, but it really could have been so much better.

· Julia Roberts in The Proposal and The Blind Side

Rarely do you see two decisions blow up so spectacularly, but here you go. Roberts could have starred in both The Proposal and The Blind Side, but turned them both down. Sandra Bullock scooped them up, won an Oscar and became the biggest female star in Hollywood. At least Roberts rebounded with Eat, Pray, Love? Just kidding.


  • Andy says:

    Oh please. Now its in vogue to hate Heigl and bash her in the press at every opportunity suddenly now Knocked Up would have been so much better with someone else. At the time everyone was singing her praises. Sorry but she was fantastic in that movie and couldn't have been better for the role. The fact Hathaway turned it down because she was concerned about some scenes proves she wasn't right for the part. Tired of this media tirade at Heigl who has done very little wrong but is now the movie press punch-bag of the moment.

  • Neo says:

    Um, no. She's still a bitch.

  • zooeyglass1999 says:

    Ms. Katherine Heigl, do you not have better things to do than defend yourself on internet message boards?

  • Nickels says:

    I don't think the hatred is just the whole taking jabs at a high-grossing film that catapulted her movie career since she was mostly known for a tv show. Didn't she also bash the writer's of Grey's Anatomy? Don't mess with the writers I guess. That's a big no-no.
    Remember when she complained twice in one night that an announcer mis-pronounced her last name at the Emmy's (though that truly is annoying. Announcers must get those famous names right!). Once was enough but she brought it up again making herself look really pissy. I found that hilarious.

  • CiscoMan says:

    I think my favorite one of this near-misses is Zemeckis wanting Travolta for Forrest Gump. Travolta turned it down, but hey, he got nominated for an Oscar for Pulp Fiction... only to get beat out by Tom Hanks for Gump. Win-win, I'd say.

  • Tara says:

    Knocked Up is absolutely not great. Anne Hathaway would have fooled you even more than Heigl apparently did, but it would've been an EXTREME case of actor elevating material. Judd Apatow can't write his own wife a decent role.

  • DC says:

    Where did anyone get this idea that Anne Hathaway has any talent? "Deft comic performer"? Seriously?

  • L says:

    Anne Hathaway is twenty times better as an actress. Heigl sucks.

  • NYCcritic says:

    Are you? Go see Eat, Love, Pray again sucker!!!

  • jt19 says:

    Actually (for the 2 people who care) Brad Pitt dropped out of Almost Famous because he only wanted Penny Lane to be played by Sarah Polley. When she dropped out, he did too.

  • morgan says:

    she was funny in Rachel Getting Married

  • Crystal says:

    If she had a problem with a vagina showing, why didn't she have a problem with showing her boobs in another movie that she had done?? I think the movie was called Havoc.

  • Helena says:

    A vagina and boobs are 2 very different things.

  • Matthew DH says:

    I don't think Anne Hathaway would have fit well into Knocked Up. Hence why she dropped out. Heigl was better suited for it.

  • matt says:

    Heigl is hated because she is a b!tch and ALWAYS bites the hand that feeds her.
    It all started with Roswell where she constantly complained about everything, including the network. She even said that she would often show up late for work as it was her way to rebel and show that she didn't like the direction her character was taking. Just google it. How unprofessional is that?!
    Then GA came along and it's the same thing. Complaints, complaints, complaints.
    Then she has a chance at a film career after the success of Knocked Up and again she has negative things to say.
    She just never ever knows when to shut up.

  • M.T says:

    Honestly i LOVE katherine Heigal shes 1 of my favourite actresses and i think its bull**** when a MAN IS OUTSPOKEN and HONEST hes appluaded but when its a WOMAN who has OPPINIONS shes CRISTICISED??????? In my eyes shes still will and always be amazing and 2 lots of other people 2 thats why ALL her movies made 110mill+ worldwide (only 1 made less than 200mill) and shes was the best thing about GA!

  • JP says:

    Keep in mind that none other than Lindsay Lohan was in the running (albeit briefly) for the lead in Alice in Wonderland.
    And yes, Hathaway has a gift for comedy, as she can be very funny if given the right material. It wasn't her fault that she had to carry James Franco during the Oscars.