Wrong Actor for the Job?

Pitt was lined up to play Jason Bourne in “The Bourne Identity” but pulled out to play another secret agent in “Spy Game,” opening the door for his “Ocean’s Eleven” co-star Matt Damon. “Bourne Identity” director Doug Liman would eventually work with the Pittster on “Mr. and Mrs. Smith.”

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Big Russ was offered the Wolverine role in the first “X-Men” but demanded too much money. Scottish actor Dougray Scott was then cast, but had to pull out when filming went over schedule on “Mission: Impossible II.” So Hugh Jackman stepped in, sticking around for two sequels and a prequel.

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Matt had discussions with James Cameron about “Avatar” but could not accept the role of Jake Sully (eventually played by Sam Worthington) due to a scheduling conflict with “The Bourne Ultimatum.” “He was a gentleman about it,” Matt shrugged later. “Clearly my not participating cost the film a lot.”

Former indie star Jake also had the chance to muscle up and star in action epic “Avatar.” Instead, he chose… er, “Prince of Persia.” Big mistake. “Avatar” went on to be the biggest movie of all time, and put Sam Worthington at the top of Hollywood wish-lists. “Prince of Persia” was, well, “Prince of Persia.”

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Travolta was offered the role of Forrest Gump in Robert Zemeckis’ picture but turned it down as did Bill Murray and Chevy Chase. Tom Hanks ended up playing the part and winning his second Oscar for it, beating Travolta, nominated the same year for “Pulp Fiction,” in the process.

Big Will was handed the “Matrix” script on a platter but promptly passed. “In the pitch, I just didn’t see it,” he says. “I would have absolutely messed up ‘The Matrix’… Keanu was smart enough to just let it be. Let the movie and the director tell the story and don’t try and perform every moment.” Hmm, backhanded compliment there?

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Al turned down the role of Han Solo, leaving the path clear for Harrison Ford. Perhaps “Star Wars” was just a little too otherworldly for “The Godfather” star, who stuck to his gangster guns in movies such as “Scarface,” “The Godfather” series and “Carlito’s Way.” Things could have been very different, in a galaxy far, far away…

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Basic Insinct could have made Kelly Lynch a household name instead of a, “Who?.. oh, the one from Drugstore Cowboy?” But recent interviews claim Lynch turned down the role as it wasn’t a balanced portrayal of bisexual women. She went on to star in lesbian film Three Of Hearts and The L Word. Kelly is married with kids, just in case you’re wondering.

Cage was pumped to play Randy “The Ram” Robinson in “The Wrestler” but pulled out over fears he would not have enough time to hone the necessary physique. His departure was good news for Mickey Rourke, who ended up with a Bafta, a Golden Globe and “Iron Man 2.”

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Roberts was first choice for the real-life do-gooder in “The Blind Side.” But it turned into Sandra Bullock’s very own “Erin Brockovich” when the “serious” role won Sandy her first Oscar. Meanwhile Roberts appeared in the atrocious “Valentine’s Day.” Still, it was Sandy’s turn, right?

Leo expressed an interest in playing Patrick Bateman in “American Psycho” but eventually reconsidered over fears his fan base would never accept him as a yuppie serial killer. His exit enabled Christian Bale – always director Mary Harron’s first choice for the controversial role – to return to the project.

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Rourke and Stallone were both in the frame to play Axel Foley in “Beverly Hills Cop,” originally conceived to be more of a hard-edged thriller than the action comedy it eventually became. When they left the project, the script was hastily rewritten to accommodate new star Eddie Murphy.

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