While most actors love to play superhero roles in movies, there are some actors who shy away from these coveted acting pieces.
Jon Hamm Just Isn’t Into Superhero Movies
When Marvel was trying to decide who to cast for Green Lantern, their first choice was Mad Men star Jon Hamm. The studio called the actor personally to ask (more like beg) him to star in the film, but Hamm said no simply because superhero flicks “aren’t the kind of movies” he likes to watch.
Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic/Getty Images
Marvel ended up casting Ryan Reynolds in the role and the film completely tanked. Hamm dodged a bullet by turning down the role.
Matt Damon Was Supposed To Be Daredevil
Noam Galai/WireImage/Getty Images
Long before the 2003 superhero film was released starring Ben Affleck, his longtime buddy Matt Damon was the first choice for the role. Damon told New York Daily News that he’d always been a fan of the Marvel character, but that he didn’t know much about the director’s work, so he passed on the project.
Look, Daredevil as a whole was a huge failure. Affleck has stated on numerous occasions that he regretted taking the role, so maybe Damon passing on it wasn’t such a bad idea.
Marvel Keeps Trying To Cast Joaquin Phoenix
Dominique Charriau/WireImage/Getty Images
Apparently, Marvel tried many times to get their hands on actor Joaquin Phoenix, but he kept sliding out of their grasp. The producers first wanted Phoenix to play The Hulk/Bruce Banner, but as we all know, the part when to Mark Ruffalo instead. Marvel then tried to cast Phoenix as Dr. Stephen Strange, but once again he turned it down.
When asked why he avoided the Marvel universe for so long, Phoenix said the films “never felt like they’d really be fulfilling.”
Next, see what role Aquaman was originally offered.
Jason Momoa Originally Had A Different Character
Now we know Jason Momoa as the hunky Aquaman from the DC Universe. Years before he landed the aquatic role, he was invited by Marvel to play Drax the Destroyer in Guardians of the Galaxy. While the role was tempting, Momoa turned it down because he said the role was too much like other ones he’d played.
DC eventually decided to snatch him up for the role of Aquaman. Momoa later commented that it was ironic because once again he was playing a role where he doesn’t wear a shirt or have many lines. Hey, we’ll still take it.
Rachel McAdams Was The Original Pepper Pots
Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images
Not too long ago, Gwyneth Paltrow announced that after 13 years she was retiring from the role of Pepper Pots. It’s hard to imagine anyone else playing Tony Stark’s secretary and love interest, but Paltrow wasn’t even the first choice. Rachel McAdams of The Notebook was the top choice by Marvel.
McAdams eventually had to decline because of scheduling conflicts at the time. Luckily, she got her second chance at being part of the MCU when she landed her role in Doctor Strange.
Bryan Cranston Was Supposed To Be An X-Men Mutant
John Phillips/John Phillips/Getty Images
The role of mutant Sebastian Shaw was initially offered to fan favorite Bryan Cranston. Cranston was riding high off the success of Breaking Bad and seemed like the perfect person to play the mutant in X-Men: First Class.
Unfortunately, Cranston turned the role down and instead chose to star opposite Ryan Gosling in Drive. There’s no hard feeling though because we got to see the incredible Kevin Bacon take on the role instead.
There’s A New, Smaller Star Lord In Town
Rich Fury/Getty Images
We can’t imagine anyone but Chris Pratt playing the goofy character of Peter Quill AKA Star Lord in Guardians of the Galaxy, but what about Joseph Gordon Levitt? Yep, Levitt was the first choice by producers, but due to conflicting schedules with Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, Levitt turned down the role.
The Marvel producers then offered the part to Pratt who interestingly enough also turned it down. Pratt thought he was too out of shape for the MCU, but luckily, he changed his mind and hit the gym.
Emily Blunt Said “Yes” To Playing Black Widow
Munawar Hosain/Fotos International/Getty Images
Back in 2009, British actress Emily Blunt was a star on the rise. Her profile was growing so big that Marvel actually reached out to her personally to offer her the role of Black Widow and she accepted immediately! The only problem was, Blunt was already on contract for the film Gulliver’s Travels.
The conflicting contracts and time frame meant Blunt had to call Marvel back and turn down the role. They opened up the role to auditions and found Scarlett Johansson to be the perfect fit.
Matthew McConaughey Was Not Alright, Alright, Alright With The MCU
Tim Warner/Getty Images
Both Marvel and DC have been trying to get their hands on Matthew McConaughey for years. The closest they ever got to casting the memorable actor was when he was supposed to play Ego the Living Planet in Guardians of the Galaxy 2.
Not only did McConaughey turn the part down, but he had some not-so-nice words. The actor said he felt the part was “an amendment” just because Marvel wanted to add a big name to the cast. Yikes.
Coming up, find out what TWO roles Leonardo DiCaprio passed up.
Mel Gibson Was Supposed To Be Odin
Gregg DeGuire/WireImage/Getty Images
When Marvel introduced the character of Odin in Thor, they wanted to cast a big name with an intimidating presence. With those guidelines, Mel Gibson was initially the top pick to play the King of Asgard. In an interview with The Guardian, Gibson simply explained he “didn’t do it.” No rhyme or reason why.
The role ended up going to Anthony Hopkins, who might not seem as intimidating, but definitely did a great job as the character.
Gamora Was Originally Set Aside For Olivia Wilde
Vivien Killilea/Getty Images
Casting the character of Gamora in Guardians of the Galaxy wasn’t easy and it took a few tries for Marvel. When it came to finding the perfect person to play a deadly alien assassin, Olivia Wilde was the first choice. With her talent and good looks, she would have been a shoo-in, but unfortunately, scheduling conflicts forced her to decline.
It appears that Marvel had a really tough time casting for Guardians of the Galaxy but it seems to have worked out alright in the end.
Tom Cruise Was Our Original Iron Man
James Devaney/Getty Images
Yep, you read that right. Tom Cruise was the original actor slated to play the one and only Tony Stark. He was all signed up and ready to go, but eventually backed out because Marvel took too long to get the rights for the character and Cruise “lost interest.”
When they did finally gain the rights back in 2005, Marvel turned to Robert Downey Jr. who audiences know was the perfect actor for the part.
Leonardo DiCaprio Turned Down Multiple Superhero Roles
During an interview with ShortList, DiCaprio said that he’s been on the radar of both DC and Marvel to play superheroes. DC tried to get him to play Robin in Batman Forever but DiCaprio said he wasn’t interested. Years later Marvel tried to take a swing at him and cast the actor as Peter Parker in the original Spider-Man trilogy. Again, he declined.
When he was asked why later on, DiCaprio said he felt that at the time, they weren’t “complex characters.”