We always hear about acting roles; celebrities only wish they had snagged, but some actors have earned enough credibility to turn down major movie roles.
So let’s talk about Harry Styles, Selena Gomez & more stars who turned down iconic roles. It may not be easy to imagine another completely different actor playing an iconic lead role. Still, often, multiple equally-as-talented actors were also in talks of taking on the same role.
Although it’s hard not to think about ‘what could’ve been,’ we can’t help but picture what it would’ve been like. For example, if Selena Gomez were to take on the lead role of Mitchie in Disney’s Camp Rock, which eventually went to her fellow former Disney darling, Demi Lovato—shocking to even think about.
According to Disney Channel’s president of entertainment, Gary Marsh, Selena was actually the original pick for the role of Mitchie, but he explained that Selena “…wasn’t ready to explore that part of her talent yet and wanted to build her acting base first.”
Executive vice president of Hollywood Records Abbey Konowitch echoed his sentiment, adding that Selena knew she wanted to perform at sold-out arenas like Demi [Lovato] and the Jonas Brothers did, but she just wasn’t ready yet.
Not to mention, Selena and Nick Jonas reportedly had a short-lived fling between 2008 and 2009, which would’ve occurred around the same time as the movie came out, so maybe it was for the best that Sel didn’t mix business with pleasure.
Back in 2017, Emma Watson turned the page from casting spells to casting some high notes, starring as Belle in Disney’s live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast. But before landing the role, she was up for yet another lead as Mia in the movie musical La La Land starring alongside Ryan Gosling, which ultimately went to another Emma AK Emma Stone.
Ironically enough, Emma Watson couldn’t commit to La La Land solely because she had previously committed to Beauty and the Beast, but we’re thrilled she decided to dive into the world of musicals nonetheless.
Speaking of live-action Disney films, there was a time when we all thought Harry Styles would fulfill all of our fairytale prince dreams and star as Prince Eric in the upcoming live adaption of The Little Mermaid… “Are you ok, miss? I’m sorry if this knucklehead scared you. He’s harmless!” Those dreams were quickly shattered just last week when we realized that Harry makes a MUCH better Ariel than he ever would a prince…
Photos of Harry wearing a mermaid tail, red wig, and a seashell bra from a 2019 SNL promo shoot went viral as fans petitioned for him to at least star as Ariel if not Prince Eric, but in all seriousness, Harry “respectfully declined” the role of Eric to reportedly focus more on his music career.
During a 2019 interview with Roman Kemp on Capital Breakfast, he said of turning down the role, he had a meeting with the director, he thinks it’ll be unique, but it wasn’t in the cards for him.
He said, “I want to put music out and focus on that for a while. But everyone involved in it was amazing. So I think it’s going to be great. I’ll enjoy watching it, I’m sure.” On a positive note, we’re ready to watch Halle Bailey steal the hearts of millions as Ariel in the upcoming film alongside London-based rising star Jonah Hauer-King. On second thought, I think he’ll do JUST fine…
Another one of our favorite rom-com classics wouldn’t be the same without Anne Hathaway, who stars as fashion newbie Andy Sachs, and basically gets torn to threads (literally) by the Devil who wears Prada, Miranda Priestly AKA Meryl Streep. “…When in fact, you’re wearing a sweater that was selected for you by the people in this room from a pile of ‘stuff.’”
No joke, this scene literally still melts the flesh right off my face, but if not Anne, who KILLED the role, Rachel McAdams was considered for the role before Anne. According to Variety at the time, the studio reportedly wanted to cast a bigger star for the role of Andy with the first choice being Rachel McAdams.
Although it’s no question, Rachel is fully capable of portraying any character under the sun, whether it be a villain or the one you’re always rooting for. The Devil Wears Prada cast was *chef’s kiss* and I’m still bitter that neither Meryl nor Stanley Tucci won an Oscar.
And finally, there is genuinely NOBODY but Reese Witherspoon who could’ve brought Elle Woods to life as she did in the 2001 comedy classic Legally Blonde. actress Christina Applegate previously revealed that she turned down the role just before Reese took it and ran with it. “What, like it’s hard?”
This film is arguably one of Reese’s most iconic roles to date, but Christina opened up about turning it down, explaining that she had just received the script for the film after wrapping her show Married… With Children and explained that she didn’t want to “repeat herself” with a similar role. Oh, and get this: Christina admitted she now regrets not taking it, telling Entertainment Tonight, “What a stupid move that was, right?” Welp… maybe it’s true what they say: everything that’s meant to be will be!
But before rejecting roles, many of these actors were forced to face the dark side of child stardom, so be sure to stay here for a full rundown. Then be sure to let us know which of these roles you were surprised to hear that an actor denied right down here in the comments.