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Robin Williams As Remus Lupin? 10 Times Actors Didn’t Get The Roles They Wanted

Photo Credit: Taylor Hill/ Getty Images, Jason LaVeris/ Getty Images, and ullstein bild/ Getty Images)
Photo Credit: Taylor Hill/ Getty Images, Jason LaVeris/ Getty Images, and ullstein bild/ Getty Images)

It’s so fun to imagine what could have been! Here, we look at celebrities who auditioned for iconic movie roles but ultimately missed out on the gig. Sometimes certain things are just not meant to be…

1. Kurt Russell as Han Solo

Kurt Russell and Harrison Ford
Kurt Russell (left) and Harrison Ford as Han Solo (right). (Photo Credit: Aaron Rapoport / Getty Images and Twentieth Century Fox / MovieStills DB)

We know Han Solo as portrayed by Harrison Ford, but the iconic role nearly went to Kurt Russell. In 2017, Kurt Russell revealed that he was actually one of the finalists for the role of Han Solo, recalling “I was actually in the final running, but I needed to give an answer to ABC to do a Western show. I asked George [Lucas]. ‘Do you think you’re going to use me?’ He said, ‘I don’t know if I’m going to put you with him, or him, or those two guys’… I gotta go to work, so I do the Western.”

Obviously, the rest is history. The original role of Han Solo went to Ford, but luckily Kurt Russell’s audition tape is still floating around the internet.

2. Jennifer Lawrence as Bella Swan

Jennifer Lawrence and Twilight
Jennifer Lawrence at the 2018 Academy Awards (left) and Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart in Twilight, (right). (Photo Credit: Frazer Harrison / Getty Images and Summit Entertainment / MovieStillsDB)

Jennifer Lawrence would have been Bella Swan in the Twilight saga in an alternate universe instead of Katniss Everdeen in the Hunger Games trilogy. Speaking to Howard Stern in 2018, she told him that when she auditioned for the film she “didn’t really know what it was.”

When Stern asked Lawrence if she was upset she missed out on the role of Bella Swan, she told him that she had no hard feelings about it. According to Lawrence, the only role she was “truly devastated” to not get was a role in Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland. The role of Alice ended up going to actress Mia Wasikowska, who Lawrence agreed was “perfect and amazing” for the role.

3. Matthew McConaughey as Jack Dawson

Matthew McConaughey and Jack and Rose from Titanic
Matthew McConaughey at the 2014 Academy Awards (left) and Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet in Titanic (right). (Photo Credit: Jason LaVeris/ Getty Images and Paramount Pictures/ Twentieth Century Fox/ MovieStills DB)

Although we can’t imagine anyone other than Leonardo DiCaprio playing the role of Jack Dawson in Titanicactor Matthew McConaughey thought he had a good shot at landing the role.

During a 2019 interview with Andy Cohen, McConaughey revealed that he had auditioned with Kate Winslet for the role of Jack Dawson, and left thinking that it had gone “really well.” According to McConaughey, the audition went so great that he thought he had landed the role.

Obviously, Matthew McConaughey was never offered the role of Jack Dawson, but Leonardo DiCaprio and McConaughey would go on to work together in 2013 on The Wolf of Wall Street. 

4. Robin Williams as Remus Lupin

Robin Williams and David Thewlis
Actor Robin Williams (left) and David Thewlis as Remis Lupin in The Prisoner of Azkaban (right). (Photo Credit: Caroline Schiff / Getty Images and Warner Bros. / MovieStills DB)

As both Harry Potter fans and Robin Williams fans, this one shocked us. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone turns 20 this year, and director Chris Columbus revealed to Total Film that the comedian had his heart set on playing Remus Lupin.

Williams wasn’t considered for the role because one of the franchise’s early rules was not to cast any American actors, to maintain a certain degree of authenticity. As Columbus explains, “I had a conversation with Robin Williams, who wanted to play Lupin. It was very difficult for me to say ‘It’s all British. There’s nothing I can do.'” The role of Remus Lupin would eventually go to actor David Thewlis.

5. Meryl Streep in King Kong

Meryl Streep and Jessica Lange
Actress Meryl Streep circa 1978 (left), and Jessica Lange in King Kong (right). (Photo Credit: Jack Mitchell / Getty Images and Paramount Pictures / MovieStills DB)

Who could ever imagine turning down iconic actress Meryl Streep? During a 2015 episode of The Graham Norton Show, Streep recalled a terrible audition experience she had for the 1976 King Kong remake, directed by Dino De Laurentiis.

According to Streep, Dino De Laurentiis’s son had seen her in a play and decided to bring her in to audition for the female role in King Kong. However, when Streep got to the audition, De Laurentiis Sr. said to his son “Che brutta” – which in Italian means, “why do you bring me this ugly thing?”

Streep, who understood and spoke Italian, then responded, “I’m sorry I’m not beautiful enough to be in King Kong.” Eventually, the part of the girl in King Kong went to actress Jessica Lange.

6. Robert De Niro as Santino “Sonny” Corleone

Robert De Niro and James Caan)
Robert De Niro in Godfather II (left), and James Caan in The Godfather (right). (Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures / MovieStills DB)

Despite winning an Academy Award for his role as Vito Corleone in the 1974 film The Godfather: Part II, Robert De Niro initially auditioned for the role of Sonny Corleone in the first Godfather film.

The role of Sonny Corleone would end up going to actor James Caan. Luckily, director Francis Ford Coppola liked De Niro’s audition so much that he still landed a role in the sequel.

7. Britney Spears as Allie Calhoun

Britney Spears, Rachel McAdams and Ryan Gosling
Britney Spears at the 1999 Billboard Music Awards (left), and Rachel McAdams and Ryan Gosling in The Notebook. (Photo Credit: ullstein bild / Getty Images and New Line Cinema / MovieStills DB)

Superstar Britney Spears was one of the many actresses who auditioned for the role of Allie Calhoun to star alongside Ryan Gosling in the 2004 movie The Notebook. In 2005, Ryan Gosling told Entertainment Tonight that Spears had auditioned for the role of Allie and that she was “really good. She did a really nice job… she did an excellent job, actually.”

Britney Spears wasn’t the only superstar to audition for the role of Allie Calhoun. Reese Witherspoon, Jessica Biel, and Jessica Simpson were all also considered to play Allie before the role eventually went to Rachel McAdams.

8.  Tom Hanks as Alan Parrish in Jumanji

Tom Hanks at the 14th Annual Academy Awards in 1995 (left), and Robin Williams in Jumanji (Photo Credit: Jim Smeal / Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images and TriStar Pictures / Sony Pictures / MovieStillsDB)
Tom Hanks at the 14th Annual Academy Awards in 1995 (left), and Robin Williams in Jumanji (Photo Credit: Jim Smeal / Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images and TriStar Pictures / Sony Pictures / MovieStillsDB)

The 1990s turned out some really great films, including Jumanji, which famously starred the beloved Robin Williams as a man trapped inside a board game. It might shock some fans of the movie to learn that he wasn’t the first choice for the role of Alan Parrish!

Director Joe Johnston had someone else in mind for the part initially, though: Tom Hanks. However, “America’s dad” turned the role down to appear in Apollo 13 instead. It was all for the best, as both Apollo 13 and Jumanji ended up being huge hits. And now, we can’t imagine anyone other than Robin Williams as Alan Parrish in the movie that led to a franchise of sequels and spin-offs.

9. Mindy Kaling as Lillian Donovan in Bridesmaids 

Mindy Kaling and Maya Rudolph
Mindy Kaling at the 2021 Met Gala (left) and Maya Rudolph in Bridesmaids (right). (Photo Credit: Taylor Hill / Getty Images and Universal Studios / MovieStills DB)

The only way Bridesmaids could have potentially been funnier is by having Mindy Kaling play the role of Lillian Donovan in the 2011 comedy. In 2014, Kaling revealed that “no one ever calls me in to audition for things because I’m so specific. Actually, you know what it was- Bridesmaids, which I loved. They called me in for Maya Rudolph’s part, and I practiced it so much and I was so into it, and I love that whole cast. That one was a heartbreaker.”

The role of Lillian Donovan ultimately went to Saturday Night Live alum Maya Rudolph, who delivered an iconic performance in this role.

10. Reese Witherspoon as Cher

Reese Witherspoon and Alicia Silverstone
Reese Witherspoon in Legally Blonde (left) and Alicia Silverstone in Clueless (right). (Photo Credit: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer/ MovieStills DB and Paramount Pictures/ MovieStills DB)

Ugh, as if! As it turns out Reese Witherspoon auditioned to be Cher in the 1995 movie, Clueless. In a BuzzFeed video filmed in 2020, Reese recalled that she “auditioned so hard for Clueless, and I didn’t get it.” Kerry Washington, who Reese was interviewing with, also revealed that she also had auditioned for Clueless and didn’t get the part.

More from us: Crazy Scenes From Historical Movies That Really Happened

Clueless director Amy Heckerling revealed to Vanity Fair that she “met with Reese Witherspoon because everyone said, ‘This girl’s amazing. She’s going to be huge.’ I saw some movie where she had a southern accent. Maybe it was on TV, a movie of the week. But I did see some scenes of her and went: Wow. She’s amazing. But Alicia [Silverstone] is Cher.”

Madeline Hiltz

Madeline Hiltz is one of the authors writing for The Vintage News