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People who turned down Oscar nominated/winning roles

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    Aunt Peg
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    #1203433117

    Last week I saw The Goodbye Girl. I read the trivia and I found out Robert De Niro was supposed to starred but was fired and refused to explain the reason why. And also Dustin Hoffman was also interested since it was based on his life as an actor but the role eventually goes to Richard Dreyfuss.

    I forgot about that one. They actually started rehearsals or maybe even filming and it was clear De Niro wasn’t working out. At the time Neil Simon said something like ‘Bobby doesn’t do comedy easily’. Of course all these later De Niro has excelled at comedy but back in the 1970s he was so intense as a dramatic actor that the combination of De Niro and lightness was impossible to even imagine.

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    Aunt Peg
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    #1203433119

    On the DVD of Terms of Endearment James L. Brooks says an actress turned down the Debra Winger role because of an oral sex joke in the film.

    I always wondered who that could have been.

    Thanks interesting and it could have been Mary Steenburgen. I think originally Jennifer Jones owned the property which then ended up in the hands of James L. Brooks. Brooks wanted to cast Elizabeth Taylor but she declined and that is when Shirley MacLaine stepped in and didn’t work for a couple of years because she wanted to ensure she played the role. Spacek was also cast as her daughter because they really do look like mother and daughter. By the time production started Spacek dropped out because she had recently had a baby and wanted to spend time devoted to motherhood. I know Mary Steenburgen was offered according to one of Shirley MacLaine’s books but I have no idea why she declined. Anyway, that is how Winger ended up with the role.

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    Aunt Peg
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    #1203433121

    I always thought it was Nicholson but only because I remember someone saying it on E

    Wow. Thanks for that. I’ve always been curious so know but Todd Field has remained tight-lipped about it. I’d have guessed either Jeff Bridges, Robert De Niro or William Hurt myself. Never imagined Nicholson.

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    Stank83
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    #1203433990

    Jack Nicholson turned down Gordon Gekko’s role in Wall Street.

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    RobertPius
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    #1203434350

    It was just on TCM so it reminded me. I forget who but quite a few people turned down Peter Finch’s role. Dumb move. One of the greatest roles ever.

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    Emmyfan
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    #1203434374

    I copied this from Wikipedia about the role that Peter Finch won his Oscar for Network:

    In his notes, Chayefsky jotted down his ideas about casting. For Howard Beale, who would eventually be played by Peter Finch, he envisioned Henry Fonda, Cary Grant, James Stewart and Paul Newman. He went so far as to write Newman, telling him that “You and a very small handful of other actors are the only ones I can think of with the range for this part.” Lumet wanted Fonda, with whom he had worked several times, but Fonda declined the role, finding it too “hysterical” for his taste. Stewart also found the script unsuitable, objecting to the strong language. Early consideration was given to real-life newscasters Walter Cronkite and John Chancellor, but neither was open to the idea. Although not mentioned in Chayefsky’s notes, George C. Scott, Glenn Ford and William Holden reportedly also turned down the opportunity to play Beale

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    RobertPius
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    #1203434390

    I copied this from Wikipedia about the role that Peter Finch won his Oscar for Network:

    In his notes, Chayefsky jotted down his ideas about casting. For Howard Beale, who would eventually be played by Peter Finch, he envisioned Henry Fonda, Cary Grant, James Stewart and Paul Newman. He went so far as to write Newman, telling him that “You and a very small handful of other actors are the only ones I can think of with the range for this part.” Lumet wanted Fonda, with whom he had worked several times, but Fonda declined the role, finding it too “hysterical” for his taste. Stewart also found the script unsuitable, objecting to the strong language. Early consideration was given to real-life newscasters Walter Cronkite and John Chancellor, but neither was open to the idea. Although not mentioned in Chayefsky’s notes, George C. Scott, Glenn Ford and William Holden reportedly also turned down the opportunity to play Beale

    Walter Cronkite’s daughter interestingly plays the Patty Hearst type character. Thanks for the info!

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    BICTH
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    #1203435272

    Natalie Wood turned down both Mrs. Robinson and Elaine in The Graduate

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    vlaxym
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    #1203435292

    ‘James Coburn”s part in Affliction was first turned down by Paul Newman and then James Garner, both turned it down because they felt that it would be very tiring to play such a dark, awful character. Both actors were friends of Coburn, and Garner suggested him for the part.

    Emma Thompson turned down Jackie Weaver role in Silver Linings playbook.

    According to Billy Crystal, Charles Bronson turned down the role of Curly in City Slickers in an unseemly way which he reveals in his 2013 book “Still Foolin’ Em”

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    JayDF
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    #1203435320

    The rest of the actresses who turned down ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO’S NEST is amazing!!!

    Anne Bancroft (already mentioned)
    Ellen Burstyn
    Colleen Dewhurst
    Faye Dunaway
    Jane Fonda
    Audrey Hepburn
    Angela Lansbury
    Jeanne Moreau
    Geraldine Page
    Lily Tomlin (Did Nashville instead in the role intended for Fletcher)

    Sorry to say I believe any single one of them would have been more interesting than Louise Fletcher.

    Marsha Mason & Faye Dunaway also turned down Norma Rae.

    Sissy Spacek, Terms of Endearment (had just had a baby);
    Anne Bancroft and a bunch of other actresses turned down One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest;
    Christina Raines, Coal Miner’s Daughter (the original director wanted Raines but Loretta Lynn wanted Spacek so the director walked off the project);
    Paul Newman, Missing;
    Sean Young, Rosanna Arquette & Sigourney Weaver, The Piano;
    Jessica Lange, Gorillas in the Mist;
    Burt Lancaster, Kiss of the Spider Woman (had to step down due to health issues – he is thanked in the credits);
    Sylvester Stallone and a host of others for Coming Home;
    Anthony Hopkins, Gandhi (he didn’t think he was right for the role);
    Michelle Pfeiffer & Jeremy Irons, Silence of the Lambs;
    Richard Dreyfus, All That Jazz (dropped out due to personal issues).

    I’d love to know who was cast for the Tom Wilkinson role in In the Bedroom and backed out at the last minute. All I know is the actor is American and I’ve never been able to find that out who it was.

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    JayDF
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    #1203435334

    Before Ellen Burstyn was cast these ladies all turned down Chris in THE EXORCIST.

    Anne Bancroft (pregnant at the time), Jane Fonda (not interested in the story), Audrey Hepburn (only wanted to film in Europe), Shirley MacLaine (Friends w/ Blatty who modeled the character after her. MacLaine’s manager convinced her it was a bad move to participate.), Geraldine Page (said the script made her ill), Barbra Streisand (no notes).

    Notes I found on those considered but not offered. Carol Burnett, Lee Remick, Debbie Reynolds, Raquel Welch. Welch seems like a very odd consideration.

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    RobertPius
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    #1203435971

    I saw Friedkin speak on the film at a TCM Festival. He said Fonda was pretty nasty and said she thought the film was capitalistic garbage. (not sure why she thought that.)

    He said years later she was shocked and apologetic that she had said that. I guess those were here real angry radical days.

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    Aunt Peg
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    #1203436370

    Debra Winger, Peggy Sue Got Married – not sure if it was to pregnancy or scheduling conflicts.

    Al Pacino had been pegged for Born of the Fourth of July in the late 1970s but by the time it was made was too old for the role.

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    SORA
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    #1203436533

    I just know emma watson turned down la la land. Emma Roberts was first choice of Harley Quinn that could have a key role in her career maybe.

    Can say also that Brandon Lee in 1993 the year of his death , when he was alive refused to play his father in ”Dragon : The Bruce Lee Story” that was played by Jason Scott Lee, and Brandon was the first choice to play Neo in the matrix triology.

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    JayDF
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    #1203436721

    Copy that. At that point she was more interested in making films with a political statement of some kind. She probably later regretted it. Just thinking again about Raquel Welch…although I never saw it mentioned my guess is her consideration would likely be Warner Bros. and none by Friedkin or Blatty.

    I saw Friedkin speak on the film at a TCM Festival. He said Fonda was pretty nasty and said she thought the film was capitalistic garbage. (not sure why she thought that.)

    He said years later she was shocked and apologetic that she had said that. I guess those were here real angry radical days.

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