Special Report

Actors Who Turned Down Iconic Roles

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Jennifer Connelly
> Role: Vivian Ward
> Movie: “Pretty Woman” (1990)
> Portrayed by: Julia Roberts

Jennifer Connelly has had a very good film career with movies such as “A Beautiful Mind” (for which she won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar) and “Requiem for a Dream” to her credit. Her career might have been bigger had she taken the role of Vivian Ward in “Pretty Woman.” She turned it down because the original script was darker than the frothy love story it became, and in any case director Garry Marshall thought she was too young to play a prostitute.

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Jennifer Hudson
> Role: Precious
> Movie: “Precious” (2009)
> Portrayed by: Gabourey Sidibe

Jennifer Hudson was intrigued by the movie role – about an abused woman of color seeking an education – but she ultimately decided that gaining weight to play Precious wasn’t something she wanted to do. Gabourey Sidibe took the part and received an Oscar nomination.

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Jeremy Irons
> Role: Hannibal Lecter
> Movie: “The Silence of the Lambs” (1991)
> Portrayed by: Anthony Hopkins

Director Jonathan Demme wanted Jeremy Irons to play Hanibal Lecter in his celebrated adaptation of the Thomas Harris novel “The Silence of The Lambs,” but Irons didn’t want to play another dark character after he had just portrayed Claus von Bülow in “Reversal of Fortune.”

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Jodi Foster
> Role: Louise
> Movie: “Thelma & Louise” (1991)
> Portrayed by: Geena Davis

Jodi Foster turned down the role of Louise for “Thelma & Louise” because of production delays. Foster, who had already won a Best Actress Oscar for “The Accused,” would win her second Academy Award a year after “Thelma and Louise” was released for role in “The Silence of the Lambs.”

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Johnny Depp
> Role: Ferris Bueller
> Movie: “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” (1986)
> Portrayed by: Matthew Broderick

In an interview on “Inside the Actors Studio,” Johnny Depp said he was offered the part of Ferris Bueller, but had to turn it down because of scheduling conflicts. The role made Matthew Broderick a star.

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