Iconic TV and Movie Roles That Nearly Ended up Being Played by Someone Else
Can you imagine Eric Stoltz as Marty McFly? Who? Yeah, chew on that for a minute. You don't even have to imagine it. I've got video of scenes actually being shot with Stoltz wearing the iconic orange vest.
That's not the only thing that'll blow your mind. What about Dirty Harry being played by ol' blue eyes himself, Frank Sinatra. Wow. Just. Wow. John Travolta as Forrest Gump? The list goes on and on. How about Harvey Keitel as Indiana Jones? Really?
Here are the five roles that would have completely altered history if they were played by someone else.
Julia Roberts as the hooker-with-a-heart-of-gold is now etched into our brains, and it's hard to imagine anyone else in that iconic role. However, things very nearly turned out completely different. Molly Ringwald was initially approached to play the role, but she turned it down and producers went a different route. Nowadays Molly Ringwald can't get into a Snickers commercial, but back in the early 90s, Molly was still riding high off the Brat Pack wave of the 1980s. Who knows... if she'd taken the role maybe her career wouldn't be in the "Where are they now" bin at VH1. Personally, I'd love to see this movie rebooted with Courtney Love playing the hooker role. Seems like a perfect fit to me. It might come off more as a documentary with her in the starring role.
Although it seems like a lifetime ago, there was once a time when Eddie Murphy ruled Hollywood. Any movie in the 1980s was guaranteed box office success with the comedian in a starring role. That's why it's so shocking to imagine Axel Foley played by Sylvester Stallone. Yup, Rocky as Axel. After names like James Caan and Al Pacino turned down the role, the studio was desperate enough to allow Stallone to rewrite the script. He wrote a script void of comedy and nothing more than a typical cop-action-flick. Soon thereafter Sly exited, a script was written... again, and Eddie Murphy was brought on to introduce the all-new genre of half-cop-flick/half-comedy.
Ask movie fans to name a Harrison Ford movie and you're likely to hear about his role as "Indy" more than even Han Solo. It almost didn't go down that way, thanks to a fellow with a mustache. Tom Selleck had already signed on to play the title role in a little TV flick called "Magnum, PI". The schedules would have clashed, so Selleck bowed out. As it turns out, filming on "P.I." was delayed, and he could've played both roles. You snooze, you lose.
In real life Frank Sinatra had a dirty side. He hung with the mob. He could have a man's kneecaps broken with the snap of a finger. In the movie world, however, it's difficult to imagine Ol' Blue Eyes playing the iconic Clint Eastwood role in Dirty Harry. An "accident" led to an injured hand for Sinatra and he was forced to withdraw. And by hand injury I mean he pummeled someone for being late on a payment of some sort and was beaten nearly to death. Allegedly.
Nobody was meant to play the role of Marty McFly more than Michael J. Fox. To a kid like me growing up in the 80s I idolized Michael J. Fox. To this day, if any of the three Back to the Future movies comes on TV I'll stop what I'm doing and watch it beginning to end. Fox almost was Marty, however. It was a done deal that Eric Stoltz was going to play the iconic role, but after shooting nearly half the film with Stoltz in the lead, director Robert Zemekis and producer Stephen Spielberg decided it just wasn't working. That's when the young Fox was brought in. Luckily, we don't have to wonder what Stoltz would've looked like as Marty McFly, because there's plenty of film evidence to show us what a travesty it would have been.