Originally Starring

Ever wonder how a movie would’ve turned out had the person originally slated for a particular role starred in it? We’ll never know the answer to that question, but we can have fun re-imagining the poster for the film.

Al Pacino

Born on the Fourth of July

A decade before filming commenced with Tom Cruise in the lead and Oliver Stone helming, director William Friedkin was tapped to direct Stone’s screenplay with Al Pacino starring as Ron Kovic.


The Basketball Diaries

Burgeoning star River Phoenix was just nominated for an Academy Award for Running on Empty when MTV asked him about his future plans. He immediately produced a well-worn paperback of “The Basketball Diaries” and said he wanted to play Jim Carroll. River passed away before he could star in author Carroll’s autobiographical film. Instead it was a major coup for the relative unknown Leonardo DiCaprio.


The Godfather

On the television program Hollywood Squares host Peter Marshall stated that Ernest Borgnine auditioned for the Vito Corleone part, which, of course went to Marlon Brando. Robert Evans (production chief at Paramount) wanted Robert Redford to be cast as Michael Corleone, but director Francis Ford Coppola thought he was too WASPy.


The Grifters

Melanie Griffith was on board to portray John Cusack’s mother Lily Dillon, but she became pregnant so the part went to Angelica Huston.




According to Ridley Scott, vying for the Lt. Ellen Ripley role were Sigourney Weaver and Meryl Streep. (It has also been noted that Veronica Cartwright was all set to play Ripley but was instead offered the role of Lambert.)



Man on the Moon

Apparently director Milos Forman couldn’t make up his mind between Edward Norton and Jim Carrey for the role of Andy Kaufman/Tony Clifton, so he left it up to the studio to decide. They went with Carrey’s box office mojo.


One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

Director Milos Forman had no problem deciding who would play the lead role here…and it wasn’t Jack Nicholson.  According to producer Michael Douglas he had his heart set on Burt Reynolds to play R.P. McMurphy.



Pretty Woman

This storybook tale was much grittier in previous iterations. Other actresses who either turned down, or were turned down, for the role of Vivian were: Kim Basinger, Phoebe Cates, Joan Cusack, Bo Derek, Carrie Fisher, Bridget Fonda, Melanie Griffith, Diane Lane, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Kelly McGillis, Michelle Pfeiffer, Elisabeth Shue, Sharon Stone, and Kathleen Turner. Disney flat-out did not want Julia Roberts; their first choice was Meg Ryan.


Shakespeare in Love

Years before filming with Gwyneth Paltrow and Joseph Fiennes, Julia Roberts went overseas to ask Daniel Day-Lewis to play Shakespeare opposite her Viola, but he dropped out in order to do In the Name of the Father.


Star Trek: The Next Generation

A Paramount memo regarding casting for Star Trek: TNG had some interesting choices. As Lt. Tasha Yar: Rosalind Chao (subsequently cast as Keiko O’Brien). Lt. Commander Geordi La Forge: Reggie Jackson (and Wesley Snipes). Captain Jean-Luc Picard: Yaphet Kotto. Lt. Commander Data: Mark Lindsay Chapman.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1222474821 Stacy Borans

    Interesting–tough for me to imagine Meg Ryan as a hooker in Pretty Woman!

  • JUanita Curtis

    So glad Meg Ryan was not in Pretty Woman – could not imagine her having any chemistry with Richard Gere.

  • Rob in L.A.

    I’m not a Burt Reynolds fan, but I can imagine him in the role of McMurphy in “Cuckoo’s Nest.” He wouldn’t have brought the same depth to the character that Nicholson did, but I think he would have captured his rebellious spirit.

  • Rick Hirsch

    Diane Lane could have pulled it off with Richard Gere. It wold have been the firt of their 3 (so far) collaborations an they have great chemistry on the screen.

  • B. Baker

    Al Pacino was indeed hoping to star as Ron Kovic in a film version of BORN ON THE FOURTH OF JULY back in the mid-’70s, but the director most prominently associated with the project was Daniel Petrie.

  • James

    I am surprised you didn’t do the most often rumoured Ronald Reagan in Casablanca…

  • http://www.moviesunlimited.com Jason Marcewicz

    Good suggestion, James. However, even though the studio hinted that Reagan was playing Rick it is unclear whether he was actually offered the role. The (false?) advertising MAY HAVE BEEN a publicity stunt.

  • Rob in L.A.

    Rick Hirsch: Richard Gere and Diane Lane’s first co-starrer was Francis Ford Coppoloa’s “The Cotton Club” in 1984. If they had starred together in “Pretty Woman,” that would have been their second collaboration.

  • Tom Dunham

    I can’t believe you didn’t do a poster of Tom Selleck as Indiana Jones since he was offered the role before Harrison Ford.

  • paskunia

    “Casablanca” was, indeed, supposed to star Ronald Reagan and Ann Sheridan, at least in the early stages of pre-production. But someone (Warner, maybe?) suggested that Rick would be a nice part for their new leading man, Humphrey Bogart, to play. So they upped the movie’s budget, thus changing it from a programmer to an “A” picture.
    Another hypothetical movie poster would have Bogie, in his trenchcoat, holding Michele Morgan, a French actess who was the original choice to play Ilsa, and would have- if only she hadn’t asked for too much money!

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  • Janice

    Melanie Griffith wasn’t going to play the role of “Lily” in “The Grifters”, this is an urban legend.

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    • Sap

      Yum! Those tlpiiaa wraps sound awesome, I’m a sucker for seafood haha and that granola looks delicious too, always reminds me of fall!Happy WIAW!Alexandra recently posted..

  • Laust Cawz

    I saw “Pretty Woman” & thought it sucked & Jennifer Jason Leigh (who’s listed as having “turned down” or “been turned down” for the part) is one of my favorites. Very curious to know which of those listed (including her) turned it down & which were turned down. Also wondering about the earlier, “grittier” version. Would it have been different enough that I’d’ve liked it? One can only imagine.

    Ftr, no idea if anyone ever considered them, but I think “The Addams Family”‘s Gomez & Morticia (in the big-screen versions, I mean) should’ve been played by Mandy Patinkin & Kathleen Turner.