Special Report

Actors Who Turned Down Blockbuster Roles

Source: gageskidmore / Flickr

1. Christina Applegate
> Role: Elle Woods
> Movie: Legally Blonde (2001)
> Played by: Reese Witherspoon

Christina Applegate was offered the role of ditzy blonde Elle Woods in “Legally Blonde” following her decade-long stint on “Married… with Children.” Applegate refused the part, fearing the character was too similar to the one she played on television.

Source: alan-light / Flickr

2. Warren Beatty
> Role: Bill
> Movie: Kill Bill (2003)
> Played by: David Carradine

Quentin Tarantino originally wanted Warren Beatty to play the titular Bill in his Kill Bill movies. Warren Beatty turned down the role so as not to spend too much time away from his family, and Tarantino reworked the part to better fit David Carradine.

Source: gageskidmore / Flickr

3. Emily Blunt
> Role: Black Widow
> Movie: Iron Man 2 (2010)
> Played by: Scarlett Johansson

Despite initially being turned down for the part of Russian assassin Natasha Romanoff — also known as Black Widow — Scarlett Johansson was eventually cast when Emily Blunt dropped out of the project. Blunt was reportedly contractually obligated to work on “Gulliver’s Travels,” which was filmed at the same time.

Source: Christopher Polk / Getty Images

4. Jim Carrey
> Role: Buddy the Elf
> Movie: Elf (2003)
> Played by: Will Ferrell

Jim Carrey was reportedly on board when he first read the script for holiday classic “Elf.” But by the time the movie, which was stuck in development, actually made it to production — about 10 years later — he had already starred as the Grinch in “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” and turned down his chance to star in another Christmas flick.

Source: Clive Brunskill / Getty Images

5. Sean Connery
> Role: Gandalf
> Movie: The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)
> Played by: Ian McKellen

Sir Sean Connery was reportedly offered a $10 million per film salary plus 15% of the box office gross to play Gandalf in all three Lord of the Rings movies. Connery refused and later stated, “I never understood it. I read the book. I read the script. I saw the movie. I still don’t understand it.” The trilogy would proceed to gross more than $2.9 billion worldwide at the box office.