Rachel McAdams Passed On The Devil Wears Prada, Casino Royale, And Iron Man

There are near-countless stories of actors passing on roles that ended up looking like extremely poor decisions in hindsight. Rather famously, Will Smith passed on starring as Neo in "The Matrix," for example. Nicolas Cage also could have starred in "The Lord of the Rings." But Rachel McAdams, the star of "Mean Girls" and "Spotlight," among many other things, has entered the all-time pantheon of actors who passed on big roles. She passed on not one – but five huge movies in a row. Between 2006 and 2008, McAdams passed on "The Devil Wears Prada," "Casino Royale," "Mission: Impossible III," "Iron Man," and "Get Smart."

The impressive streak of turning down eventual hit films was revealed in a profile of the actress by Bustle in anticipation of her new movie, "Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret." It's explained that McAdams took a break from 2006 to 2008 and moved back to Canada, after starring in movies like "Wedding Crashers" and "Red Eye." She was on a hot streak, and the offers came pouring in. "There's certainly things like 'I wish I'd done that.' I step back and go, 'That was the right person for that,'" McAdams explained. Speaking a bit further, the actress said that there was a looming sense of guilt that loomed in passing up on these golden opportunities at the time.

"I felt guilty for not capitalizing on the opportunity that I was being given, because I knew I was in such a lucky spot. But I also knew it wasn't quite jiving with my personality and what I needed to stay sane. There were definitely some anxious moments of wondering if I was just throwing it all away, and why was I doing that? It's taken years to understand what I intuitively was doing."

A great career on her own terms

For the record, McAdams ended up doing just fine for herself, having starred in a string of very successful movies following her break. Some highlights include "Sherlock Holmes," "About Time," "Doctor Strange," "Game Night," and the Best Picture winner "Spotlight," among many others. It's a resume any performer would be lucky to have. That having been said, there's no denying that she passed up on some huge winners.

All five of the movies McAdams could have starred in went on to become hits in their own right. "The Devil Wears Prada" ($326 million box office/$35 million budget), "Mission: Impossible III" ($398 million box office/$150 million budget), "Casino Royale" ($616 million box office/$150 million budget), "Get Smart" ($230 million box office/$80 million budget), and "Iron Man" ($585 million box office/$140 million budget) all did exceedingly well financially. But, in several cases, these franchises were ignited, which could have meant big things beyond a single role for McAdams.

That said, at the time, it would have been impossible to know. "James Bond" was in an odd place following Pierce Brosnan's run and nobody knew Daniel Craig's era would kick off with such a bang. Similarly, "Mission: Impossible 2" is still considered a low-point for the series, and J.J. Abrams had never directed a movie before, so that didn't seem like a safe bet. And "Iron Man" kicked off the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but it was so far from a sure thing at the time that it probably seemed like an unsafe bet, if anything. Still, to pass on all five? That's one heck of a streak.