Matt Damon

Matt Damon

Over the years a whole host of iconic movies and iconic film characters have hit the big screen.

Of course when you think of these iconic characters the actor who ended up playing them is the only one that you ever think about... but you would be amazed at the roles that were turned down by certain actors.

- Matt Damon - Avatar

Avatar his the big screen back in 2009 and saw James Cameron return to the director's chair.

Avatar really set the standard for 3D movies and it went on to be the biggest grossing movie of all time - not to mention it picked up a string of nominations and awards along the way.

But it was Matt Damon who was Cameron's first choice to take on the central role of Jake Sully

Damon had to turn down the movie because of a scheduling conflict and the role finally went to Sam Worthington.

- Mel Gibson - Gladiator

Mel Gibson was at the height of his acting power in the nineties and picked up a Best Picture Oscar for his work on Braveheart.

Another meaty role that was offered to him a few years later was that of Maximus in Ridley Scott's Gladiator.

However the actor/director decided not to take on the role and it went to Russell Crowe.

Crowe went on to win a Best Actor Oscar for his central performance while Gladiator won Best Picture.

- Sean Connery - Gandalf

Sean Connery has had a very successful career and already has one iconic role under his belt in the form of James Bond.

But Connery was offered another iconic role in the form of Gandalf in Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings trilogy.

Not only was Connery offered the role but he was also offered up to 15% of the worldwide box office - which would have been around $400 million.

But Connery passed on the trilogy and the role went to Ian McKellan.

The Lord of the Ring trilogy went on to be one of the most successful franchises of all time and Return of a King bagged a Best Picture Oscar.

- Al Pacino & Christopher Walken - Han Solo

Han Solo is one of the greatest action heroes of all time and made a star of Harrison Ford.

But Ford was not the first choice for the role with Al Pacino being one of the big names that turned it down.

Christopher Walken, Nick Nolte and Kurt Russell were all also considered before the role went to Ford.

Star Wars remains one of the greatest and most love movie trilogies and it propelled Ford to superstardom.

- Will Smith - Neo in The Matrix

The Matrix was one of the movies of the nineties and was directed by Andy Wachowski and Lana Wachowski.

Will Smith was offered the central role of Neo in the movie but turned it down to go an work on... Wild Wild West - WTF?

The role eventually went to Keanu Reeves. and the movie grossed in excess of $400 million at the global box office.

- John Travolta - Forrest Gump

John Travolta saw his career get back on track in 1994 thanks to his role as Vincent Vega in Pulp Fiction.

But he was also offered another iconic role that decade in the form of Forrest Gump.

Yes Travolta turned down the lead role in the adaptation of the Winston Groom novel and the part went to Tom Hanks.

Hanks went on to win a Best Actor Oscar for his performance while Forrest Gump picked up the Best Picture award.

- Tom Selleck - Indiana Jones

Tom Selleck missed out on the chance to play Indiana Jones rather than turning it down.

He was offered the role in 1981 but was forced to decline due to a contract with another studio.

The role of Jones went to Harrison Ford and the character went on to become one of the most iconic in cinema history.

- Steve McQueen - Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid & The French Connection & Apocalypse Now

Yes Steve McQueen turned down a trio of major roles throughout his career - one would have won him a Best Actor Oscar.

He was offered the role of Sundance in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid but turned it down when Paul Newman wouldn't give him top billing - it is widely regarded as one of the greatest movies of all time.

He also turned down the role of Jimmy Doyle in The French Connection - due to similarities with Bullit - and Gene Hackman went on to take the role and the Oscar.

McQueen was also offered the role of Captain Benjamin L. Willard by Francis Ford Coppola in Apocalypse Now.

But McQueen didn't take on the role and it went to Martin Sheen. Apocalypse Now is one of the greatest war movies of all time.

- Molly Ringwald - Ghost & Pretty Woman

Molly Ringwald was a big star in the eighties with the likes of Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club and Pretty in Pink under her belt.

But her acting career sort of fizzled out into the nineties - but she turned down two roles that really could have made her a superstar.

She was offered the role of Vivian in Pretty Woman - which went to Julia Roberts and made the actress a star.

She was also offered the role of Molly in Ghost but turned that down to. Demi Moore won the role and Ghost went on to be a huge hit.

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