Special Report

Actors Who Turned Down Blockbuster Roles

Charles Stockdale

Source: Tim P. Whitby / Getty Images

21. Michelle Pfeiffer
> Role: Clarice Starling
> Movie: The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
> Played by: Jodie Foster

Jonathan Demme originally wanted to cast Michelle Pfeiffer as Clarice Starling — ultimately played by Jodie Foster — but she turned the part down over concerns “about the darkness of the piece,” according to the director.

Source: alan-light / Flickr

22. Burt Reynolds
> Role: Han Solo
> Movie: Star Wars (1977)
> Played by: Harrison Ford

Burt Reynolds expressed his regret in 2016 at having turned down the iconic role of Han Solo in the Star Wars series. The actor also reportedly turned down an offer to play James Bond after Sean Connery had, as well as Michael Corleone in “The Godfather.”

Source: Courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox

23. Molly Ringwald
> Role: Vivian Ward
> Movie: Pretty Woman (1990)
> Played by: Julia Roberts

Following her performances in three successful John Hughes classics — “Sixteen Candles,” “The Breakfast Club,” and “Pretty in Pink” — Molly Ringwald was offered the lead role in “Pretty Woman.” The part would ultimately go to the then-largely unknown Julia Roberts.

Source: Jonathan Leibson / Getty Images

24. Julia Roberts
> Role: Viola De Lesseps
> Movie: Shakespeare in Love (1998)
> Played by: Gwyneth Paltrow

Julia Roberts herself turned down a major role when she was offered a part in “Shakespeare in Love.” The actress made her decision upon hearing that Daniel Day-Lewis also decided not to appear in the movie. “Shakespeare in Love” went on to win Best Picture at the Oscars, and Gwyneth Paltrow, who replaced Roberts, won Best Actress.

Source: dusantos_bh / Flickr

25. Ja Rule
> Role: Tej
> Movie: 2 Fast 2 Furious (2003)
> Played by: Ludacris

According to director John Singleton, Ja Rule turned down half a million dollars to appear in the film. The part ultimately went to Ludacris, who has since starred in four additional movies in the franchise.