This week we are celebrating the iconic movie Almost Famous turning 20!
While we take a look back, we remember how Brad Pitt, Meryl Streep AND Natalie Portman were meant to be in the hugely successful film.
The movie went on to be a break out role for Kate Hudson, and it also starred Frances McDormand and Billy Crudup.
But there have been a bunch of other stars who have passed on movies that ended up being HUGE Blockbuster films?
BRAD PITT – ALMOST FAMOUS
As mentioned earlier, Brad Pitt was supposed to be in Almost Famous as Russell Hammond, the lead guitarist.
The film’s director Cameron Crowe revealed in an interview that, “Brad Pitt was on my mind because I had a really good meeting with him around the time of Say Anything, and he was just starting out, and he just really had something.”
“So I called him with this to play Russell Hammond, and we spent about four months working on it. He read with Natalie Portman,” added Crowe.
Unfortunately, Pitt bowed out of the role.
“I think he was uncomfortable with the age difference between Russell and Penny Lane,” Croew admitted.
Almost Famous went on to win an Oscar and Golden Globe in 2001 and both Hudson and Frances McDormand, who ended up in the role of the mum Elaine Miller, were also nominated for Oscars. Additionally, Hudson scored a Golden Globe win for her performance and the film took home the Globe honour for Best Motion Picture.
LEONARDO DICAPRIO – BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN
Before Ang Lee directed the critically acclaimed movie, Gus Van Sant was on board to direct. He told IndieWire recently that: “Nobody wanted to do it. I asked the usual suspects: Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Ryan Phillippe. They all said no.”
Brokeback Mountain ended up earning itself seven Golden Globe nominations, winning Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Original Score and Best Director.
EMMA WATSON – LA LA LAND
Emma Stone won an Oscar for her portrayal in La La Land, however Emma Watson was first attached to the movie with fellow actor Miles Teller.
“There was a moment where Emma Watson and Miles Teller were doing it,” the director revealed last year.
“Neither of those casting things wound up lasting or working out.”
Watson explained the situation in March last year.
“It’s one of these frustrating things where names get attached to projects very early on as a way to build anticipation for something that’s coming before anything is really actually agreed,” she said.
CHRISTINA APPLEGATE – LEGALLY BLONDE
Legally Blonde’s Elle Woods seemed to be made for Reese Witherspoon, but it was actress Christina Applegate who could have donned the pink get-up first. Applegate didn’t want to do a similar role to what she had done as Veronica Corningstone in Anchorman, so she passed.
“I got scared of kind of repeating myself,” Christina revealed in 2015. “What a stupid move that was, right?”
Witherspoon was nominated for a Golden Globe.
JOHN TRAVOLTA – FORREST GUMP
John Travolta could have been in Tom Hanks’ shoes when he won an Oscar for the role, but instead he turned the role down to film Pulp Fiction. Not a terrible move!
Both movies were against each other at the 1995 Oscars, with Forrest Gump winning six awards, compared to Pulp Fiction’s one award.
WILL SMITH – THE MATRIX
Not only did Will Smith turn down The Matrix – but Django Unchained as well.
“The Matrix is a difficult concept to pitch,” Smith told Wired in 2004.
“In the pitch, I just didn’t see it. I watched Keanu’s performance – and very rarely do I say this – but I would have messed it up. At that point I wasn’t smart enough as an actor to let the movie be.”
MATT DAMON – AVATAR
Before Australian actor Sam Worthington starred in James Cameron’s Avatar, it was offered to Matt Damon.
“Jim Cameron offered me Avatar,” Damon shared in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter.
“And when he offered it to me, he goes, ‘Now, listen. I don’t need anybody. I don’t need a name for this, a named actor. If you don’t take this, I’m going to find an unknown actor and give it to him, because the movie doesn’t really need you. But if you take the part, I’ll give you 10 per cent.”
Avatar went on to become the top-grossing film of all time at the worldwide box office after grossing $2.78 billion. Most recently Disney and Marvel Studios’ Avengers: Endgame dethroned the movie for its title.
CHARLIE HUNNAM – FIFTY SHADES OF GREY
Hunnam pulled out of the Fifty Shades phenomenon, with hunk Jamie Dornan eventually landing the role. Hunnam blamed scheduling conflicts between the movie and his show Sons of Anarchy as well as film Crimson Peak. Later, he called the Fifty Shades director Sam Taylor-Johnson, to say no.
“We both cried our eyes out on the phone for 20 minutes,” he told V Man.
“There was a lot of personal stuff going on in my life that left me on real emotional shaky ground and mentally weak. I just got myself so f***ing overwhelmed, and I was sort of having panic attacks about the whole thing.”
Originally published as Stars who turned down major movie roles