I’ve Made a Huge Mistake: 16 Actors Who Turned Down Roles That Ended Up Being Huge

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Hugh Laurie House Oops


In Ye Olde Actor Land, there's a saying that goes something like, “Your career isn't measured by the roles you get, it's the roles you turn down.” And, like that's really true. Because, say, if you happen to dodge a flaming hot bullet and turn down a role in the forever-in-production movie Fifty Shades of Grey, then your career might live to see another day. But that works both ways, because if you happen to turn down a role that goes on to become iconic, you've got a future full of wiping egg off of your face. How did the egg get there? Is it still edible after you wipe it off? What do you do in the event of an allergic reaction? There are so many questions, which you'll have a lot of time to think about while not starring in some of Hollywood's biggest films.

So, to help them along in their self-discovery, here are 16 celebrities who showed off some impressively bad decision-making skills when they said no to these silver screen gems.

1. Gwyneth Paltrow

Gwyneth Paltrow Thanks for Sharing Los Angeles California Premiere September 16 2013

(Photo: Apega/WENN)

The Role: Rose Dawson in Titanic

Who Took It: Kate Winslet

Gwynnie went on to play one of Hollywood's biggest villains, Gluten-Free Girl, but not before turning down one of cinema's sweethearts. Actually, it depends on who you're asking, because I'm personally in the “Rose Could've Scooted Over” club.

2. Molly Ringwald

Molly Ringwald GBK Kids' Choice Awards Gifting Lounge April 1 2011 Los Angeles California

(Photo: WENN)

The Role: Vivian Ward in Pretty Woman

Who Took It: Julia Roberts

I guess it was something to do with the whole prostitution-as-a-main-plot-point thing. Fun fact: Molly also turned down the lead role in Ghost, which ended up going to Demi Moore. Sucks for her, because she would've been playing opposite one of the hottest ghost dudes of our time.

3. John Travolta 

John Travolta Annabel's London UK June 27 2013

(Photo: WENN)

The Role: Forrest Gump in Forrest Gump

Who Took It: Tom Hanks

I can't even begin to picture what this movie would have been like if John had gotten cast instead of Tom “Greatest Guy Ever” Hanks. Life might have still been like a box o' choco-late, but it would've been a different box entirely.

4. Will Smith 

Will Smith MTV VMAS August 25 2013 New York City NY

(Photo: WENN)

The Role: Django in Django Unchained

Who Took It: Jamie Foxx

Will turned down the title role in Django Unchained because everyone refused to call it Will Smith Is So Great, Don't You Think? Another role Will let slip between his fingers? Neo in The Matrix. A collective “sucks for you” glance is in order, I think.

5. Sandra Bullock

Sandra Bullock Narita Airport Japan December 3 2013

(Photo: Kento Nara/Future Image/WENN)

The Role: Maggie Fitzgerald in Million Dollar Baby

Who Took It: Hilary Swank

Sandy actually initially accepted the role in MDB, only to drop out a few days after filming had begun. Sure, she missed out on the shot at Best Actress that Hilary Swank got, but we still love her anyway.

6. Emily Browning 

Emily Browning Cannes Film Fetival Sleeping Beauty Premiere Cannes France May 12 2011

(Photo: WENN)

The Role: Bella Swan in Twilight

Who Took It: Kristen Stewart

This sort of unknown actress could have been the exact opposite of that, had she only accepted the leading role in the movie that the whole world went on to hate. Yes, I said hate, but as Mother Kardashian says, there's no such thing as bad press.

7. Mark Wahlberg

Mark Wahlberg Screening of The Lone Survivor New York City NY December 4 2013

(Photo: Dan Jackman/WENN)

The Role: Jack Twist in Brokeback Mountain

Who Took It: Jake Gyllenhaal

Mark said no to this iconic role because he was “weirded out” by its homosexual tones. Ummm, Marky Mark (I'll bet he hates it when people call him that), your closed-mindedness is showing.

8. Anne Hathaway

Anne Hathaway Victory Brunch Reception Beverly Hills California October 20 2013

(Photo: FayesVision/WENN)

The Role: Tiffany Maxwell in Silver Linings Playbook

Who Took It: Jennifer Lawrence

This is the role that made me fall in love with J. Law as the versatile actress-potential-BFF that she is. And considering Anne's track record for not being too well-liked, she maybe could've used a scene or two about whether or not ordering Raisin Bran still constitutes a date.

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