Casting - What Might Have Been

Did you hear the news that the late great Tupac Shakur was considered for a role in the Star Wars prequels?  Allegedly, before he died, he was up for the part of Mace Windu, which eventually went to Samuel L. Jackson.  At least that's what Rick Clifford, formerly of Death Row Records, had to say.

Here are some other examples of casting close calls, big names up for characters that later became immortalized by other stars.

By now we all know how close Nicolas Cage came to being Clark Kent in Tim Burton's Superman Lives, but that film never materialized. Years later we saw Brandon Routh in Superman Returns.

Tom Cruise came close to being Tony Stark in Ironman. I'm glad the part went to Robert Downey, Jr., instead.

Freddie Prinze, Jr., tried but failed to win the part of Peter Parker in Spider-man, beaten out by Tobey Maguire.

Many famous actors were almost cast in the lead in Superman: The Movie, the role that would make Christopher Reeve famous, but the most interesting to me was Burt Reynolds.

Dougray Scott could have been a superstar, but he had to drop out as Wolverine in The X-Men, and the rest was history for Hugh Jackman.
Tom Selleck was almost Indiana Jones in Raiders of the Lost Ark, but a conflict with his hit television series Magnum P.I. kept him from doing the movie, so the iconic role went to Harrison Ford.

Believe it or not, O.J. Simpson was a serious contender to play The Terminator. Luckily Arnold Schwarzenegger won out.

Will Smith said no to a few roles that turned out to be huge by others -- Neo in The Matrix (which went to Keanu Reeves) and the lead in Django Unchained (which went to Jamie Foxx).

One of the most famous examples is Eric Stoltz who actually was cast as Marty McFly in Back to the Future and filmed some scenes before being recast by Michael J. Fox.

Shirley Temple was the first choice to play Dorothy Gale in The Wizard of Oz, but she was under contract with another studio so Judy Garland landed the role that launched her career.

Christopher Walken was one of many actors who auditioned to be Han Solo in Star Wars, the character eventually brought to life by Harrison Ford.

There are many more.  I might have to continue this in Part 2 someday.