Auditions Gone Wrong: 10 Actors Who Lost Career-Defining Roles

Image credit: Legion-Media

Can you picture Robin Williams in Harry Potter or Daniel Radcliffe as the new Spider-Man?

Jennifer Lawrence as Alice

We know Jennifer Lawrence for her firm and strong-willed character in The Hunger Games, but the actress always wanted to play more feminine roles.

In 2009, she auditioned to play Alice in Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland, but eventually, the Australian actress Mia Wasikowska was cast for the role.

Lawrence agreed that Mia was a more suitable choice for portraying the fragile girl from Lewis Carroll's fairytale, but she admits that it was the one time she was really upset about missing out on a role.

Daniel Radcliffe as Peter Parker / Spider-Man

Daniel Radcliffe's greatest cinematic success was also his curse. As the years go by, audiences still see him as the young wizard Harry Potter.

But Daniel tries to land himself a role that would surpass his previous acting merits. It turns out that it was one of the actor's dreams to play his favorite superhero, Spider-Man, in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Radcliffe is genuinely upset that the role went to Tom Holland and hopes to one day star as Peter Parker if the Spider-Man story gets another reboot.

Jim Carrey as Jack Sparrow

Few people know that the prominent actor and comedian was once interested in portraying Captain Jack Sparrow in the famous franchise.

What's more, he was almost approved for the role but then turned it down and starred in Bruce Almighty instead. While Carrey proved to be a brilliant God and Johnny Depp was terrific as a pirate, we cannot but wonder what Pirates of the Caribbean would look like if things played out differently for the two actors.

Robin Williams as Remus Lupin

The sensational detail came out during the 20th anniversary celebration of the Harry Potter franchise: director Chris Columbus revealed that Robin Williams was interested in playing Professor Remus Lupin — but was rejected the role because of his nationality.

This was J. K. Rowling's condition for the Harry Potter adaptation: only actors native to the United Kingdom were allowed to star in the film series, so the novels' British authenticity was preserved.

Jake Gyllenhaal as Frodo

Today, it's hard to imagine the charming hobbit Frodo portrayed by anyone else but Elijah Wood.

But in fact, many other actors tried out for the role, including Jake Gyllenhaal. The actor was so nervous, he failed the audition, and director Peter Jackson said Gyllenhaal was the worst actor he'd ever seen.

Jake later recovered and gained much acclaim for his roles in Donnie Darko, Brokeback Mountain, The Day After Tomorrow, and other fine films.

Emily Watson as Amélie

The British actress Emily Watson was keen to play the leading role in the French masterpiece Amélie.

Director, Jean-Pierre Jeunet also thought she was perfect for the role even though the actress couldn't speak any French (she was meant to have a French voiceover). The initial plan didn't work out because Watson was busy acting in Robert Altman's Gosford Park.

At the last minute, the role was taken over by Audrey Tautou, who gave a charming performance as Amélie.

Keanu Reeves as Wolverine

Keanu didn't take part in the auditions for the first X-Men movie, which he now terribly regrets: the actor revealed that Wolverine was actually his dream role.

Hugh Jackman did a wonderful job portraying the mutant superhero, but if Keanu could make it to the auditions, the two actors could well compete for the role.

Matthew McConaughey as Jack Dawson

In 2019, McConaughey revealed that, once upon a time, he auditioned to play the lead in James Cameron's legendary Titanic.

The actor nailed the audition and was confident he'd get the job, but the director was more captivated by another candidate, Leo DiCaprio. There's also another version to this story: the Titanic crew members say it was Matthew who refused to participate in the project because he was never interested in the role.

Though we'll never know whose version is more accurate, we can surely say McConaughey must be very disappointed he missed out on the opportunity.

Robert De Niro as Sonny

Robert De Niro's audition for the part of Sonny in Francis Ford Coppola's The Godfather has been preserved in the studio's archives and is available on Youtube for all fans to admire.

The actor was denied the role in the first movie, but he was later cast as Vito Corleone in the second part of the mafia series and won the Best Actor Academy Award for this role.

Kurt Russell as Han Solo

In a 2017 interview, Kurt Russel revealed that he had once successfully made the final casting call for Star Wars and was almost appointed to play the role of Hans Solo.

However, director George Lucas couldn't make up his mind on casting, while Russell had another film project to participate in. So he dropped out of the competition, and the role went to Harrison Ford.