Iconic Movie Roles That Were Almost Played by Other Actors

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How Nick Nolte almost became our Han Solo, and other stories from the casting couch

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The big movie of the moment, as you well know, is The Hunger Games, while DVD and Blu-ray players have been firing up Fincher's Girl with the Dragon Tattoo since its release last week. The two films have a lot in common: powerful female protagonists, adaptations of bestsellers, probable franchise kick-offs. As such, they were also each objects of carefully considered casting. It's become part of the pre-production process, the bandying about of potential name actors for high-profile roles. Fincher reportedly talked to Carey Mulligan, Keira Knightley, Anne Hathaway, Natalie Portman, Kristen Stewart, and Scarlett Johansson before settling on Rooney Mara as Lisbeth Salander, while Hunger Games director Gary Ross's alternate Katnisses included Hailee Steinfeld, Abigail Breslin, Emma Roberts, Chloe Moretz, and Saoirse Ronan.

Contemplating proxy casting choices is a fun parlor game for movie fans (perhaps second only to considering movies that never came to pass at all). Below, we'll take a look at a dozen iconic movie roles, and the actors who almost, almost filled them.

This post also appears on Flavorpill, an Atlantic partner site.

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Jason Bailey is the film editor at Flavorwire, and has also written for Slate, Salon, and the Village Voice.

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