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Iconic Roles That Almost Went To Another Actor

From Seinfeld's George Costanza to Allie in The Notebook, here's some of the most iconic roles that almost went to someone else!


Forrest Gump

Tom Hanks as Forrest Gump is one of the most defining on-screen roles, but did you know it almost went to John Travolta?

In fact, the studio approached Bill Murray and Chevy Chase for the titular role before offering it to Hanks.


George Costanza, Seinfeld

Paul Shaffer - most famous for being David Letterman's sidekick - claims to have been offered the role of George Costanza by Jerry Seinfeld himself, saying the comedian told him "You don't even have to audition".

Shaffer never returned Seinfeld's call, and so - thankfully - the role went to Jason Alexander, and we couldn't imagine it any other way! 


Neo, The Matrix

"This is one of them stories that I'm not proud of, but it's the truth." Words spoken by Will Smith who admitted, "I did turn down Neo in the Matrix."

Yep, turns out The Wachowski Brothers approached the Fresh Prince for the history-making role of Neo but he turned it down because he wasn't impressed by their pitch.

As bad-ass as Will Smith would've undoubtedly been in The Matrix, there really is no match for Keanu Reeves in that black trench coat.



Buddy, Elf

Will Ferrell as Buddy The Elf is one of those roles that just warms the cockles of your heart, but it almost had fellow comedian Jim Carrey at the centre of it. Carrey was allegedly the man in mind when the part was written, but had to decline being involved after getting swept up in other projects.

But really, can you imagine the Green Grinch from a few years prior starring as Christmas' most festive mascot? I don't think so.


Allie Hamilton, The Notebook

According to the Director of The Notebook, Britney Spears almost starred as the leading lady, Allie Hamilton.

Not only did the 00's popstar do a screen test for the part but it was apparently quite a tight race between her and Rachel McAdams. 


Jack Dawson, Titanic

It's almost impossible to picture Kate Winslet falling for anyone but Leonardo Dicaprio in the 1997 Romantic Drama, however handsome heartthrob Matthew McConaughey was almost Rose's muse.

During an interview with Stephen Colbert, Kate Winslet revealed that she initially read her lines with McConaughey and not Dicaprio, saying it "was completely fantastic [but] it just wouldn't have been the whole 'Jack and Rose, Kate and Leo' thing." 


James Bond, Casino Royale

Now this is one that I'm devastated never eventuated: Hugh Jackman as Bond... James Bond.

After establishing himself as a sexy and powerful leading man in Wolverine, Jackman was put forward for the part of James Bond in 2006's Casino Royale but relinquished his audition after discovering he'd have no say in the script. Thankfully, the soon-to-be-proved perfect 007 agent that is Daniel Craig emerged to fill the void. 


Hagrid, Harry Potter

Robin Williams was so desperate to play Hagrid in Harry Potter, he reached out to J.K Rowling but she was adamant all actors be British and so he didn't get the role. Robbie Coltrane ended up playing the iconic hairy giant.

Image Credit: Netflix