Paramount wanted Matthew McConaughey for the role of Jack, but James Cameron insisted on Leonardo DiCaprio. Gwyneth Paltrow was also up for the role of Rose Dewitt Bukater but lost to Kate Winslet.
2. Pirates of the Caribbean
Jim Carrey was originally considered for the role of Captain Jack Sparrow. The role later went to the Oscar Nominated Johnny Depp.
3. Die Hard
Richard Gere was considered for the role of John McClane. He ended up not doing the film… Perhaps he was too busy with his gerbil friends.
4. Jerry Maguire
The title role was written for Tom Hanks. As classic as Tom Cruise was in this movie, Tom Hanks would’ve probably done a fine job.
Mel Gibson was offered the lead role, but turned it down because at 43 he felt he was too old to play Maximus… And a little too racist.
The Hollywood Reporter reported that Will Smith was offered to play the role of Cobb, but passed. And we are all very happy it went to Leo. Also, James Franco was in talks with Christopher Nolan to play Arthur, but was ultimately unavailable due to scheduling conflicts.
7. Fight Club
The producers considered both Matt Damon as the narrator and Sean Penn for the role of Tyler, but director David Fincher wanted Edward Norton, having been impressed by Norton’s performance in The People vs. Larry Flynt.
8. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
9. Iron Man
10. Rain Man
Dustin Hoffman was originally cast to play Charlie Babbit, but after being moved to tears seeing a savant play full concertos on the piano by ear, he decided to play the part of Raymond instead. After switching roles, Dustin Hoffman said he wanted Bill Murray to play Charlie. The director happened to disagree.
11. Dumb & Dumber
12. Forrest Gump
Believe it or not Bill Murray, John Travolta and Chevy Chase turned down the role of Forrest Gump. Travolta later admitted that passing on the role was a mistake. Gee, you think?
13. Man on the Moon
Edward Norton and Jim Carrey did so well in auditions for the Andy Kaufman role in Man on the Moon that director Milos Forman told Universal he could not choose between them and the studio would have to make the final choice; they chose Carrey because he was a bigger box-office draw than Norton.
14. The Matrix
Ah, how charming! Sean Connery was originally offered the role of Morpheus. He turned down the role saying he couldn’t understand the script. Johnny Depp was Larry and Andy’s first choice for Neo, but Warner Bros. wanted Brad Pitt or Val Kilmer. After Kilmer and Brad Pitt said no, Warner Bros. was willing to consider Johnny Depp, and then it came between Johnny Depp and Keanu Reeves, who Warner Bros. was pushing. Keanu was always really tuned in to the concept and made a big difference in the casting.
15. Groundhog Day
Director Harold Ramis originally wanted Tom Hanks for the lead role, but decided against it, saying that Hanks was “too nice”.
16. The Bourne Identity
Brad Pitt was offered the role of Jason Bourne, but turned it down to do Spy Game.
Casting Trivia provided by: IMDB