Guillermo del Toro and 9 Others Who Turned Down Big Movies

PHOTO: Writer/Director Guillermo del Toro
Tibrina Hobson/FilmMagic/Getty

Guillermo Del Toro — the Mexican director, producer, and writer known for the dark, fantastical vision he's brought to films like Pan's Labyrinth and Hellboy — is the latest in a string of high-profile filmmakers to pass on directing the new series of Star Wars films. Guillermo called the offer "flattering," but ultimately declined, citing his busy schedule. While it would have been interesting to see what hand print Del Toro might have left on the iconic sci-fi saga, he's far from the first star to turn down a big movie. Here are other big names that turned down big opportunities.

PHOTO: Actor Jack Nicholson
Kevin Winter/Getty
Jack Nicholson: Michael Corleone

Can you imagine the intensity Jack Nicholson would have brought to the role of Michael Corleone? Today, it's tough to picture anyone but Al Pacino — director Francis Ford Coppola's first choice — in the role, but the then-upcoming actor hadn't fared well when he tested for the part, and the studio insisted on hiring a big name — like Nicholson, who, according to some sources, felt that the part should be played by a person of Italian descent.

PHOTO: Johnny Depp 21 Jump Street
Quicheisinsane/Flickr
Johnny Depp: Ferris Bueller

A young Johnny Depp was among several currently famous actors — including Jim Carrey and Tom Cruise — who were originally considered for the role of Ferris.

PHOTO:  Tom Selleck
Eugene Gologursky/Getty
Tom Selleck: Indiana Jones

Indiana Jones could have been the world's most famous mustachioed crusader (after The Rent Is Too Damn High Guy, naturally), but story writer George Lucas wasn't feeling it.

PHOTO: Actor Mel Gibson
Brian To/Getty
Mel Gibson: The Terminator

Mel Gibson as The Terminator? "I'll be back" just wouldn't have had the same oomph. Also, just going to leave this here: "O.J. Simpson was also considered for the role but the producers thought he was 'too nice' to be taken seriously as a cold-blooded killer."

PHOTO:  Actress Sarah Michelle Gellar
Neilson Barnard/Getty
Sarah Michelle Gellar: Cher

Sarah Michelle Gellar had to turn down the role of Clueless' fashion-forward heroine due to her busy "All My Children" schedule. Another big role she passed on? Juliet in Baz Luhrman's Romeo + Juliet. That's ixnay on two modern updates of Shakespeare, for those counting at home.

PHOTO:  John Travolta
TIZIANA FABI/AFP/Getty
John Travolta: Forrest Gump

Still trying to picture this one.

PHOTO: THE GODFATHER
Mueredecine/Flickr
Al Pacino: Han Solo

Speaking of Pacino… the actor turned down the role of Han Solo. As did Burt Reynolds, Christopher Walken, Nick Nolte, and James Caan.

PHOTO:  JJ Abrams
Joi/Flickr
J.J. Abrams: Star Wars

Abrams would have brought a lot to the Star Wars franchise but, alas, he too turned down the opportunity. "I quickly said that because of my loyalty to 'Star Trek,' and also just being a fan, I wouldn't even want to be involved in the next version of those things," he explained.

PHOTO: Sam Mendes
Michael Tran/Getty
Sam Mendes: The Avengers

Skyfall director Sam Mendes was among those courted to direct The Avengers, but was unimpressed with the pitch he received because it announced the superheroes film's release date before even offering a look at the script or story. The job, of course, eventually went to Joss Whedon, and the rest is history. Box office-exploding history.

Join the Discussion
You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...