12 Times Actors Lost Out On Roles Specifically Because Of Their Looks

There are a million reasons why an actor doesn’t land a movie or television part, even if they nail the audition. Here are 12 times actors lost out on roles specifically because of their looks.

Perhaps no industry in the world, except modeling, is as looks-obsessed as show business. But imagine being “too attractive” to play a big-screen leading lady. How about being one of the most acclaimed actors in the world, only to overhear a rude director call you ugly?

Find out which DC superhero got called out for not being skinny enough to play James Bond. Revel in the irony experienced by one small-screen star who was deemed too fat to play the Blob. Which Marvel superhero lost out on an early role in his career because he “wasn’t attractive enough”?

  • In a healthy dose of irony, Stranger Things actor David Harbour didn't land the role of the Blob from X-Men Origins: Wolverine because of his weight.

    Harbour revealed during a 2017 interview that when he was a struggling actor, a casting director told him about a role she thought he would be "perfect" for... the Blob. The casting agent described the character as "....like an X-Men, he’s like big, fat, and controls gravity." 

    Harbour went in for the audition. Then, for whatever reason at the end, he lifted up his shirt to show off his stomach. He said, "I got your Blob right here."

    The Hellboy star later met with the director who told him he didn't land the role of the Blob because they were concerned about his health. The twisted logic was not lost on Harbour. "I was like, ‘Wait a minute, dude, pause for one second,'” said Harbour. "You are telling me I’m too fat to play the Blob?"

    Canadian actor Kevin Durand landed the role of the large mutant adversary. Durand, who is extremely fit and muscular, said it took six months of special effects and costume to get the character ready for production. 

  • The future Man of Steel and owner of one of the most impressive six-packs in movie history admits to being a "chubby” kid growing up. When Henry Cavill was 21 years old, the Brit auditioned to be the next James Bond.

    Cavill didn’t get the role. According to The Tudors star, the director (probably Martin Campbell - who directed Casino Royale) told him that he wasn’t skinny enough to play the suave spy with a license to kill.

    The green actor took the director’s opinion to heart and saw it as solid advice, not as a putdown. “It was his tough, amorous way of saying, ‘Look, buddy, you’re at a Bond screen test. The next time you come to a screen test, really focus on making sure you bend over if it’s for something like Bond.'"

    Daniel Craig did have the abs to play Bond. In fact, the Brit made headlines for his head-turning physique in 2006's Casino Royale. Craig went on to play 007 in four additional Bond installments.  

  • Mindy Kaling Says That A Network Passed On Her Sketch Show Because She Wasn't Attractive Enough
    Photo: The Office / NBC

    Mindy Kaling scored a staff writing gig on the American version of The Office when she was 24 years old. The comedy writer and sometimes performer was also offered her very own sketch show. However, the unnamed network did a funny thing and asked Kaling to audition for what was supposed to be her show. 

    Afterward, the network opted to abandon the project altogether. Kaling called the whole experience "humiliating." The actor, director, and producer believes the network ultimately decided to pass on her based upon her looks. 

    "We were not considered attractive or funny enough to play ourselves," said Kaling in 2014. "That network is no longer on the air, and The Office went on to be one of NBC's most hit shows in years. I feel like karmically, I was vindicated, but at the time, it felt terrible."

  • The role of angsty, awkward 15-year-old sophomore Angela Chase, the lead character and narrator on the high school drama My So-Called Life, came down to two unknown actors. The show's developers Ed Zwick and Marshall Herskovitz were hoping to make a "more accurate representation of the teenage experience."

    After Alicia Silverstone auditioned for the part, Zwick immediately wanted to cast the beautiful blond actor, but Herskovitz didn't think Silverstone would be a good fit because she was simply too attractive. The plan was to make My So-Called Life a heavy-hitting, gritty teen drama, as opposed to a shiny, glamorous series like Beverly Hills 90210.

    “Alicia is so beautiful that that would have affected her experience of the world. People would have been telling her she was beautiful since she was six years old. You can’t put that face in what’s been written for this girl,” said Herskovitz.

    Casting director Linda Lowy brought in Claire Danes for an audition, and she immediately knew the actor would be perfect to play Angela. "From the minute she walked in the room, Claire was chilling, astounding, and silent,” Lowy said. “There was so much power coming out of her without her doing much.”

    Both Herskovitz and Zwick agreed with Lowy. “She seemed to have been born fully grown, you know, out of a seashell,” Herskovitz said.

    “What she knows cannot be taught," added Zwick

    My So-Called My Life is widely regarded as one of the best TV series to only last one season. 

  • Well before he became Spider-Man, then-unknown actor Andrew Garfield auditioned for the lead role of Prince Caspian in 2008's The Chronicles of Narnia. According to Garfield, his potential breakthrough part came down to himself and fellow Brit Ben Barnes.

    When the 17-year-old failed to make the final cut, Garfield browbeat his agent to tell him why Barnes got the role over him. “She eventually just broke under my incessant nagging, and she was like, 'It's because they don't think you're handsome enough, Andrew,'” revealed Garfield during a 2022 interview.

    Barnes also reprised his role as Prince Caspian in the 2010 blockbuster follow-up The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.

  • Nia Long tried out for the role of Alex Mundy in the Drew Barrymore-produced girl power big-screen remake, Charlie's Angels. According to the Boyz n the Hood actor, her agent said that she didn't get the part because she looked "too old." Long felt that "too old" may have meant something else entirely. 

    "I love Drew Barrymore, I think she's amazing, but I think that was just a nice way to say you're a little too Black," said Long in 2020. "Personally, that's what I think. Because if you notice, there were no brown skin [actors]. I mean, honestly, I would have been the blackest thing in the film."

    "The feedback that I received from my agent was, 'She just looked too old and sophisticated to be next to Drew Barrymore,'" Long added. "And I'm thinking to myself, it's an actor's choice to walk in the room how they want to look, but it's a director's vision to help create and curate a character. So if you couldn't see beyond the fact that I had on a blazer and a pair of jeans, then that was clearly not the job and opportunity for me. So, no problem, I'll keep it moving."

    For the record, Barrymore is only four years younger than Long. Additionally, the actor who did eventually land the part, Lucy Liu, is two years older than Long.