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.
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.
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.
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.
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.