15 Actors Who Almost Didn't Get Their Iconic Roles For Dumb Reasons

Ashley Hunte
A movie projector that's shining light.
Unsplash | Alex Litvin

There are plenty of reasons why an actor may miss out on a certain opportunity. Maybe they don't get along with the cast or crew. Maybe they have scheduling conflicts that keep them from being around for filming. Or maybe it's a much stranger, dumber reasons.

These actors nearly missed out on some serious hits, all because of the most random reasons. See for yourself!

Sarah Jessica Parker almost missed out on starring in Footloose.

Before Sarah Jessica Parker took on her most iconic role as Carrie Bradshaw in Sex in the City, she played Rusty in Footloose. Which almost didn't happen, because of her refusal to cut and dye her hair.

The then-18-year-old had just finished Annie, and had just grown her hair back.

"I just couldn’t imagine cutting my hair off and dying it red again. And I was never really—being a redhead didn’t really suit me," Parker revealed to People. The role went to Tracy Nelson, but landed back in her lap when scheduling conflicts occurred. No haircut necessary!

Chris Hemsworth's appearance on Australian Dancing With the Stars almost cost him Thor.

A GIF of Thor winking.
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Hemsworth, who had appeared on an Australian version of Dancing With the Stars in 2006, was up for the role of Thor. Kevin Feige admitted to Hemsworth that they thought the public would see this and not want him as the titular god of thunder, and almost passed on him.

Michael Biehn's "Southern accent" wasn't a fit for The Terminator.

The Terminator director James Cameron revealed that Biehn auditioned for the role of Reese with a Southern accent (which he doesn't actually have, but had been reading Cat on a Hot Tin Roof earlier). As it turns out, he was otherwise perfect, so it worked in Biehn's favor!

Quentin Tarantino wrote Jules from Pulp Fiction for Laurence Fishburne.

Samuel L. Jackson eating a burger.

Jules Winnfield, who was famously portrayed by Samuel L. Jackson, was originally meant for Laurence Fishburne, who turned down the role for a number of reasons, including his distaste for the director's glorification of drug use.

Tarantino claims, however, that it was because it wasn't a leading role.

Sam Jackson saying, "Go on."
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Not only did Fishburne deny this, but he also praised Jackson's portrayal, saying that "Sam Jackson walks away with the movie... It's a great part."

Mercedes Varnado nearly missed out on an important DM.

The professional wrestler and actress is known for portraying Koska Reeves on The Mandalorian. But she almost missed her chance to be on the show after not checking her DMs.

But luckily, she caught the message in time.

In an interview, she says, "One day, for some reason, I was going through my Instagram DMs, which I normally don’t go through, and a casting director messaged me and said, ‘Jon Favreau really wants to interview you for something for Disney.'" And the rest is history.

Robert Pattinson may have taken Twilight a little too seriously.

Any Twilight fan might already know that Pattinson's time on set was more than a little difficult. In fact, he almost got fired from the set because he strongly disagreed with how Edward Cullen was portrayed.

Executives didn't think Reese Witherspoon was the right fit for Legally Blonde.

Elle Woods saying, "What, like it's hard?"
Giphy | 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

It's pretty hard to imagine Elle Woods played by anyone but Witherspoon, and yet this almost didn't happen. It's because the executives for the film saw Witherspoon as her character from Election, and decided she was too much of a shrew.

She was even told to "dress sexy" while meeting with executives.

Elle Woods walking down the street as text reads, "I feel comfortable using legal jargon in everyday life."
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"It’s funny to think of all the things we were told to do back then because now you’re thinking, ‘Oh God, if somebody told my daughter to do that, she’d be like, I really hope you’re joking,'" she said. But after countless auditions, she landed the part and launched her career.

Terry Gilliam didn't like the way Bruce Willis's mouth looked.

Bruce Willis saying, "Maybe the human race deserves to be wiped out."
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Bruce Willis is pretty well-known for a lot of roles, including as James Cole in 12 Monkeys. But thanks to director Terry Gilliam thinking Willis had a mouth that resembled a butt hole (I'm not joking), he almost didn't get the part.

Heath Ledger wasn't "macho" enough for Brokeback Mountain.

Diana Ossana, writer and producer of the film, really wanted Heath Ledger, but the studio had other ideas. Apparently, they simply didn't see Ledger as "macho" enough to portray Ennis Del Mar.

The role ended up going to someone else entirely.

Two men in an embrace while out in the wilderness.
Giphy | Maudit

But luckily for Ledger, that other actor dropped out, and he got what's arguably one of his most iconic, well-known roles. It turns out he was just the actor for the job.

Ben Affleck's potty mouth almost cost him Mallrats.

According to Kevin Smith, a producer told him not to cast Affleck because of his "uncontrollable potty-mouth" (which is pretty ironic, considering Mallrats is a movie full of foul language). But Smith went ahead with Affleck after an impressive audition.

Gemma Whelan leaked her involvement in Game of Thrones a little too early.

Theon and Yara Greyjoy shaking hands on a ship.
Giphy | Game of Thrones

The actress, who portrayed Yara Greyjoy, prematurely added Game of Thrones to her acting resume, which almost resulted in her getting fired. That show really loved keeping secrets, after all.

Martin Freeman almost didn't get to play Bilbo Baggins.

Bilbo Baggins running and saying, "I'm going on an adventure!"
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Freeman's Sherlock schedule interfered with filming for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey in 2012. But once Peter Jackson jumped onto the project, they worked the filming schedule around Freeman's and all is well.

Park So Dam thought the offer for Parasite was fake.

Park So Dam revealed that Bong Joon-Ho contacted her, offering her the role, but she assumed it was fake. When he tried again a second time, she decided to take him up on it.

Paul Rudd assumed he didn't get into Clueless, so he shaved his head.

Paul Rudd in Clueless standing next to a wall and smiling
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Rudd assumed his audition didn't go well, and prematurely buzzed his head. Which was a problem when he did get the role, and was originally supposed to have long hair for it. It worked out in the end, though.

Alan Rickman didn't want to be in an action movie like Die Hard.

Alan Rickman as Hans Gruber in Die Hard talking on a walkie-talkie
Giphy | Giffffr

Rickman's first movie role was as Hans Gruber in Die Hard, which almost didn't happen because the actor didn't want to be in an action movie. Lucky for us, his agents convinced him to take it on.