Iconic Movie Roles That Were Almost Played by Other Actors

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

Lucasfilm

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.

Presented by

Jason Bailey is the film editor at Flavorwire. He is the author of The Ultimate Woody Allen Film Companion.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register with Disqus.

Please note that The Atlantic's account system is separate from our commenting system. To log in or register with The Atlantic, use the Sign In button at the top of every page.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Confessions of Moms Around the World

A global look at the hardest and best job ever

Video

A Stop-Motion Tour of New York City

A filmmaker animated hundreds of still photographs to create this Big Apple flip book

Video

The Absurd Psychology of Restaurant Menus

Would people eat healthier if celery was called "cool celery?"

Video

This Japanese Inn Has Been Open for 1,300 Years

It's one of the oldest family businesses in the world.

More in Entertainment

Just In