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Celebrities Who Turned Down Iconic Roles…And Regret Them Terribly

today30 June 2021


Made decisions you wish you could take back? Yeah, we’ve all been there, whether or not those decisions were of this magnitude. But time cannot be reversed (unless someone is hiding a time-travel machine out there somewhere) so we have to make do with the path that we are on.

However, we can’t help but wonder what would have happened had these celebrities taken these roles…


1. Will Smith x Neo

Sony Pictures Releasing/Warner Bros.

Back in the ‘90s, Will Smith was one of the hottest stars around with a series of blockbusters under his belt such as ‘Independence Day’ and ‘Men in Black’. He had the opportunity to add one more hit film to his résumébut he declined…

Smith claims that the movie pitch he received was confusing, so the role ended up going to Keanu Reeves. In an interview, he was asked what he would tell his younger self if he had the chance.

He responded with,


“‘Hey man, don’t do Wild Wild West.’ I would say, ‘Dude, do Neo.'”


2. Dustin Hoffman x Travis Bickle

Embassy Pictures / Columbia Pictures

Robert DeNiro did such a great job playing the frayed taxi driver in the classic film that it’s hard to picture anyone else playing the titular role. However, Martin Scorcese initially had someone else in mind for the character…

Dustin Hoffman said,


 “I remember meeting Martin Scorcese. He had no script and I didn’t know who he was. I hadn’t seen any of his films and he was talking a mile a minute telling me what the movie was about. I thought the guy was crazy!” He then added, “I made so many dumb mistakes. The list is endless.”


In Hoffman’s defence, Scorcese wasn’t a huge name as he is now.


3. Gwyneth Paltrow x Rose DeWitt Bukater

Paramount Pictures

Mega-blockbuster ‘Titanic’ propelled Kate Winslet into a household name, playing the heroine Rose with an air of loss and tragedy around her. But the role could have been Paltrow’s instead.

She lamented in an interview that,


“I look back at the choices I’ve made and think, ‘Why the hell did I say yes to that? And no to that?'”


But hey, they’re all doing just fine despite how everything turned out, so there has to be a reason for everything!


*Cover image via Warner Bros.Glamour

Written by: Farah Qistina

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