A Hanks-Less 'Gump'? Iconic Film Performances That Almost Weren't

By Alison Nastasi

"Life is like a box of chocolates" was originally written for John Travolta, Michael J. Fox thought he was too busy for Back to the Future, and eight other unsettling cinematic almosts

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"Always listen to your mother," turned out to be the right advice for Hunger Games star Jennifer Lawrence. The actress recently chatted with press at the Toronto International Film Festival, where she admitted that she almost turned down the part of the fearless film heroine Katniss Everdeen—a role that has since sent her fame skyrocketing. Up until this year's Hunger Games, Lawrence had been focusing on independent films like Like Crazy and Winter's Bone.

"Just saying yes to this one thing could completely change my life, and I don't know if it's going to be for the better," she thought, as she told USA Today. Lawrence's mother gave her the patented mom wake-up call. "She was like, 'You're being a hypocrite, because you always say you don't care about the size of the movies,'" Lawrence said. "Because when I was doing indies, everybody was always like, 'Why don't you ever do a studio?' I'd say, 'Because I don't care about the size of the movie. I care about the story.' And my mom was like, 'Now you have a story you like, and you're not going to do it because of the size.'"

Lawrence's story reminded us of the many major movie roles that actors almost said no to. It's hard to imagine film classics like The Godfather or Back to the Future without the cast members who captivated audiences with their memorable performances. Find out which stars almost turned down iconic film roles below.

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

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2012/09/a-hanks-less-gump-iconic-film-performances-that-almost-werent/262362/