Posted on Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010 by Peter Sciretta
I always love learning which actors were offered and turned down roles in films. Did you know that Sean Connery was originally offered the role of Morpheus in The Matrix? He supposedly turned down the role saying he couldn’t understand the script.
Years later, he said that he chose to do The League of Extraordinary Gentleman despite not understanding the project, because he regretted turning both The Matrix and Lord of the Rings down. It is fun to wonder — “what if?” and imagine what the movie would have been with the filmmaker’s original choices.There is a whole website dedicated to this trivial information called notstarring.com.
Today the Los Angeles Times has printed information about who turned down a role in James Cameron‘s Avatar. Who turns down a lead role in a James Cameron movie, really? Apparently Matt Damon and Jake Gyllenhaal. Both actors were approached about playing the role of Jake Sully in the film and turned down the offer. The most interesting part of the story is that Sam Worthington, an unknown actor at the time, was Cameron’s first choice for the role, but he was forced to offer the role to some bigger marketable stars “to placate the studio chiefs at Fox.” Cameron admits that he doesn’t know why Damon and Gyllenhaal turned down the role, but admits that he really didn’t “go out and try to woo them”.
Discuss: Would Avatar have been better or worse with Gyllenhaal or Damon in the lead role?