Impress your friends with little-known Hollywood trivia
Awards season has begun, and while out catching up on some of the top movies, you will forever associate the role of each character with the actor who portrays them. What you may not realize is in the course of making a movie, those roles are usually offered to several actors before the one who ends up on screen hits the set.
Take the current Oscar-favorite film, “La La Land.” Emma Stone is charming as Mia, but at one point Emma Watson was given the title role. No word on why the change was made but we do know why Miles Teller isn’t on screen as Sebastian, even though he was given the role that eventually went to Ryan Gosling. According to Teller, he got a call from his agent saying the studio no longer thought he was creatively right for the project, and that they were moving on without him. Ouch.
Molly Ringwald was a top star in the ‘80s and was likely handed many scripts, including one that was called “$3,000.” Ringwald now says she doesn’t specifically remember turning that project down, but admits Julia Roberts is what makes that movie. We know it better as “Pretty Woman.”
John Travolta says turning down this role was a big mistake, even though that same year he starred in “Pulp Fiction,” a film many credit with resurrecting his career. Travolta even competed against the actor, who played the character he rejected, for Best Actor at the Academy Awards. Too bad for him, since Tom Hanks won said Oscar for that role of “Forrest Gump.”
Matthew Broderick is synonymous with the title role of the suave school-skipping teenager in “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” but he was not John Hughes’ first choice for the role. Johnny Depp came close to playing the Sausage King of Chicago, but had to turn it down due to scheduling conflicts.
“Titanic” made Kate Winslet a superstar, but Gwyneth Paltrow came close to being cast as Rose. Paltrow says she was one of the final two considered for the role, but didn’t necessarily turn it down. Maybe she would have given Jack enough space on that piece of wood.
I am a die-hard “Star Wars” fan, having grown up with all the movies. One character who became iconic, so much so he is getting his own movie in the next few years, is Han Solo. Harrison Ford became an international star because of his haphazard charm and skills in that role, and it is hard to imagine anyone else in the pilot’s seat of the Millennium Falcon. However, Ford would never have had the chance to play Princess Leia’s love interest had it not been for this actor turning it down first – Al Pacino! “It was mine for the taking,” Pacino told People Magazine. “But I didn’t understand the script.” Also in line before Ford were Jack Nicholson, Chevy Chase and Bill Murray.
So when you find a new favorite movie, make sure you don’t just learn who the actors and director are. It seems that in the end the casting director can play a far more important role, especially when their first choice thankfully turns them down.
Melissa Carter is one of the Morning Show hosts on B98.5. In addition, she is a writer for the Huffington Post. She is recognized as one of the first out radio personalities in Atlanta and one of the few in the country. Follow her on Twitter@MelissaCarter