fictional characters Stars Who Passed on Iconic Hollywood Roles  

Marc Cuenco
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A list of actors and actresses who passed on iconic roles. The most memorable characters of all time were almost played by stars other than the ones who famously brought them to life on screen. These legendary film and television roles include the greatest action heroes, the most notorious villains, and the sexiest stars in Hollywood. This mind-blowing trivia might even surprise the biggest film buffs and Hollywood experts.

What makes a screen role iconic? These characters have withstood the test of time and generations of audiences have fallen in love (or consistently hated) these famous figures every time they watch them onscreen. Once an actor or actress has embodied a certain role, especially in blockbuster franchises and epic films, they become synonymous with that character. It then becomes hard to imagine anyone else playing such cinematic icons such as Indiana Jones, Michael Corleone, and Carrie Bradshaw. The gallery of celebrities below has some of the most surprising and unbelievable Hollywood casting stories and why certain superstars like Will Smith, Julia Roberts, and even Frank Sinatra either passed on or missed out on playing a legendary part.

Make sure to vote on the list of celebs who turned down famous roles and see how other film fans voted. Be sure to check out this votable list of famous actors who were almost James Bond and 15 amazing roles almost played by Nicolas Cage.

Michelle Pfeiffer is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list Stars Who Passed on Iconic Hollywood Roles
Photo: Featureflash/Shutterstock
Clarice Starling in The Silence of the Lambs seems like a role tailor-made for Oscar winner Jodie Foster (it was), but another A-lister passed on the film because of its violent content: Michelle Pfeiffer.

Also Ranked

#26 on The Best American Actresses Working Today

#31 on The Best Actresses in Film History

#24 on The Best Living American Actresses

#20 on The Greatest American Actresses of All Time

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Al Pacino is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list Stars Who Passed on Iconic Hollywood Roles
Photo: Andrea Raffin/Shutterstock
The role of Han Solo in the iconic film franchise Star Wars was originally offered to Al Pacino, but after he turned it down, Harrison Ford took on one of the greatest movie heroes of all time.

Also Ranked

#12 on The Best Actors Working Today

#8 on The Best Living American Actors

#13 on The Greatest Actors & Actresses in Entertainment History

#2 on The Best Actors in Film History

see more on Al Pacino

Julia Roberts is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list Stars Who Passed on Iconic Hollywood Roles
Photo: Freebase/Fair use
America's sweetheart Julia Roberts missed out on a second Oscar for portraying the tough-loving Leigh Anne Tuohy in The Blind Side, but Sandra Bullock (also America's sweetheart) proved she was just as capable and brought home the golden statue.

Also Ranked

#23 on The Best American Actresses Working Today

#35 on The Best Actresses in Film History

#74 on The Greatest Actors & Actresses in Entertainment History

#26 on The Best Living American Actresses

see more on Julia Roberts

Sean Connery is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list Stars Who Passed on Iconic Hollywood Roles
Photo: Freebase/Fair use
The actor who famously played James Bond could have had another cinematic icon to add to his credits, but Sean Connery simply didn't want to portray the wise and powerful Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings trilogy.

Also Ranked

#52 on The Best Actors Working Today

#32 on The Greatest Actors & Actresses in Entertainment History

#29 on The Best Actors in Film History

#5 on The Coolest Actors Ever

see more on Sean Connery