12 Actors Who Campaigned For A Role - But Didn’t Get The Part

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Vote up the most impressive, if ill-fated, attempts to land a major role.

No one can say these actors who campaigned for a movie role didn’t try their hardest. 

The Hollywood community loudly hears the buzz about potential upcoming roles. Agents and managers typically do the talking in order to land their clients favorable parts. However, sometimes an actor takes it upon themselves to publicly campaign for a big role.

Which former A-list actress just showed up to the Warner Bros. studio lot wearing a Catwoman costume? Which actor hired a makeup artist for an unsolicited Johan Hex audition? Which Emmy-winning actor launched a Twitter campaign to become the first Black Spider-Man?

Vote up the most impressive failed campaigns to land a major movie role.


  • Thomas Jane Hired A Makeup Artist For An Unsolicited Audition For 'Jonah Hex' 
    Photo: Hung / HBO

    Uber-comic book fan Thomas Jane campaigned hard for the antihero title role of Jonah Hex in the 2010 film. He even went so far as to hire a makeup artist and send off an audition tape. 

    “I’ve been a fan of the comic and the character and that whole western world. I’m glad to be voicing the role, and I actually wanted to do the live-action film,” said the Hung actor. “When they were casting the movie, I had a guy come and do my makeup, we took some photos and sent them off to Akiva Goldman. I know some of those photos have leaked out online.”

    Jane later revealed that he was thankful he didn’t land the role that eventually went to Josh Brolin. The movie turned out to be a box office and critical disappointment.  

    "I think I dodged a bullet there," said Jane. "The script that I read was totally different than the movie they ended up doing. I think once Josh Brolin came on board, they changed directors and they changed writers and it turned into a whole different animal. The movie I would've done was a completely different animal.”

    19 votes
  • Idris Elba Auditioned And Even Sang For The Part Of Gaston In 'Beauty and the Beast' 
    Photo: Luther / BBC One

    Does an acclaimed movie star like Idris Elba still have to audition for film roles? Apparently, he does.

    Filmmakers of Disney's live-action musical Beauty and the Beast were looking for someone to take on the detestable villain Gaston for their 2017 adaptation. Elba told People magazine he wanted the part so badly that he contacted casting agents in order to land the role. 

    "I honestly love musicals. I auditioned for Beauty and the Beast," revealed Elba. "I really did, for Gaston. I called and said, 'Listen, I want in!' So somewhere, they have a tape of me singing."

    No word on whether or not the British actor can actually carry a tune. Luke Evans ultimately scored the role of the narcissistic hunter. 

    16 votes
  • Josh Hutcherson Made An Elaborate Choreographed Audition Tape For A Chance To Play Spider-Man 
    Photo: The Hunger Games / Lionsgate

    A couple of years before the world got to know Josh Hutcherson for his role as Peeta Mellark in The Hunger Games, the then-17-year-old actor was on the short list to play Spider-Man in Marc Webb's reboot series The Amazing Spider-Man.

    Hutcherson went all-in to try and nab the coveted superhero role. The actor put together an audition tape filled with acrobatic fight choreography. In the tape, Hutcherson plays the nerdy Peter Parker, who stands up to a group of bullies. The dramatic audition shows off Hutcherson's athletic fighting ability. 

    The role eventually went to Andrew Garfield.

    Just a few years later, Marvel planned yet another Spider-Man reboot series. This time a replacement was needed for Garfield. Hutcherson had become a well-known international star thanks to The Hunger Games. The now-22-year-old actor once again expressed his interest in Spider-Man. "Yeah, of course I’d think about doing it: It’s Spider-Man, that’d be really cool," said Hutcherson in 2015. "There’s not been any conversations about that, but who knows what would happen?"

    Hutcherson's public hinting wasn't enough. British actor Tom Holland plays Spider-Man in the second reboot series. 

    26 votes
  • Ron Perlman Used Social Media And Fan Art To Try And Nab The Role Of Cable In 'Deadpool 2'
    Photo: Sons of Anarchy / FX

    During the post-credits scene of the original Deadpool, filmmakers hinted that the movie's sequel would feature one of the coolest comic book characters ever, Cable. The New Mutant is a time-traveling soldier that defines "tough guy." 

    Many actors expressed interest in playing the scarred warrior. Ron Perlman of Hellboy and Sons of Anarchy fame took to several social media platforms to show the world that he would make a great fit into the MCU. 

    On the actor's Instagram page, Perlman posted a fan art picture of himself donned in military Cable attire. Perlman also posted additional impressive fan art on Twitter. 

    Perlman showed off his confident side on Twitter, as well: "Actually, now that I think about it, #Cable should be wanting to f**king play ME!"

    Despite the convincing images and seemingly spot-on casting, Josh Brolin took on Cable in Deadpool 2

    21 votes
  • Sean Young Showed Up Unannounced To The Studio Lot Dressed In Full Catwoman Attire  
    Photo: Blade Runner / Warner Bros.

    In the 1980s and early '90s, Sean Young was one of the hottest actresses in Hollywood. She landed the coveted role of Vicky Vale in Tim Burton’s first Batman movie. However, the Blade Runner actress had to exit the production after breaking her arm during rehearsals. Burton replaced Young with another popular '80s Hollywood screen siren, Kim Basinger. 

    After the game-changing success of Batman, a sequel became inevitable. Young was so determined to play the sexy vigilante Catwoman in 1992’s Batman Returns that she showed up unannounced to the Warner Bros. studio lot wearing full Catwoman attire.

    The play didn’t work out for Young. Michelle Pfeiffer landed the gig of Selina Kyle/Catwoman. 

    During a 2016 interview, The Hollywood Reporter asked the Wall Street star about Burton’s reaction. “He wasn’t there. I guess he was hiding in the bathroom,” said Young.

    The controversial actress added:  

    If these Warner Bros. executives now were really good businessmen, they’d let me play Catwoman today, and I’d make a smash amount of money. But they’re too stupid. You can lead people to water, but you can’t make them great artists. Nobody wants to take that risk, it’s too scary. If they’re wrong, it can cost them their job. If there were really good businessmen over there, it’d be an obvious no-brainer, but I’m not running the studio.

    19 votes
  • Olivia Wilde Used The Media To Discuss Her Desire To Play Captain Marvel
    Photo: House / Fox

    In 2015, MCU filmmakers were looking to cast the titular heroine for their upcoming blockbuster Captain Marvel. Someone on Twitter threw out Olivia Wilde's name.

    The House actress seemed to like the idea and tweeted, "I'm starting my @Marvel diet immediately. Egg shells and jet fuel only, right? Who says indie kids can't go pro?" 

    Wilde also took to the media to promote her wish to star in the first female-led Marvel superhero movie. "I’m a big fan of superhero films," Wilde revealed during an interview with Cinema Blend. "I have so much respect for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The thing with female superheroes is that, in order to be powerful, they are flawless. The idea of kick-*ss power lacks a certain nuance, at times. There is something to be said for a female director working to create a female superhero that perhaps [has] a little more complexity."

    "I think that the way these Marvel heroes are written, the female superheroes included, [they] do have complexity and flaws," added Wilde. "But I think when they are translated into film, the women can become these ultimate goddesses of perfection, and I would love to create a female Marvel character who is just as unexpected and complex as some of the male characters as Iron Man. I think that would be really cool!"

    Actress Brie Larson ultimately scored the gig as Captain Marvel. However, Wilde, who made her feature film directorial debut with the critically acclaimed coming-of-age comedy Book Smart, closed a deal in 2020 to direct a secret untitled Sony/Marvel movie featuring a female lead. 

    15 votes