We all know that Tom Selleck was nearly Indiana Jones, that Winona Ryder was supposed to be Mary in The Godfather Part III, and that Paul Blart was originally to be played by a children's sock puppet full of dead hamsters. In most cases, the new actors make the characters their own -- Harrison Ford didn't try to act like Tom Selleck, and Steven Spielberg didn't slap a mustache and an uncomfortably revealing pair of shorts on him to make him more Tom Selleck-like.
Then, there are other films with roles so clearly meant to be played by different actors that they don't even bother to hide their disappointment at having to settle for someone else, like ...
7Skyfall Conspicuously Features An Old, Bearded Scotsman (That Isn't Sean Connery)
Skyfall found Daniel Craig's 007 battling a former agent hellbent on destroying Judi Dench, a scheme which strains even the credibility of a franchise full of jetpacks and invisible cars, because she is a goddamn treasure. The mysterious term "Skyfall" is revealed to be the name of a frumpy old house in Scotland where Bond grew up.
Like Hogwarts' sad, depressing brother.
In one of the worst plans in the history of plans, Bond whisks M away from London and takes her to his titular childhood home, which they promptly outfit with crazy booby traps, as if they're expecting the Wet Bandits and not an elite squad of professional killers. And who helps them in this Kevin McCallister-like endeavor? Kincade, an old, bearded Scotsman -- you know, like the old, bearded Scotsman who played James Bond back in the 1960s.
Columbia Pictures/Eon Productions
The Finding Forrester hat is a dead giveaway.
It turns out that, yup, the filmmakers originally wanted Sir Sean Connery, the 007 of yesteryear, to cameo as Kincade. Because seemingly every franchise these days has to fashion its story as a meta allegory for the making of the movie, Connery would be playing the gamekeeper who helped raise James Bond and make him who he is. Get it? It would literally be James Bond returning to his roots. They even drive there in a goddamn Aston Martin.
According to director Sam Mendes, he opted not to bring Connery back because it would "take you out of the movie." Plus, it's doubtful they'd ever be able to coax Connery out of retirement, and even more doubtful they'd be able to convince him to take a role where he tries to save a woman's life, instead of smacking her in the mouth for talking back to him.
6The Beatles Were Supposed To Be In A Disney Movie (And Kind Of Still Are)
While a lot of modern animation seems to consist of lavishly constructed computer graphics voiced by a random cast of '90s comedians, legendary British actors, and American television stars assembled at the last minute, older animated features used to pay way more attention to their voice casts. For example, a lot of animated characters actually resemble their respective actors, from the highs of Robin Williams' Genie in Aladdin, to the lows of Rover Dangerfield.
"Hey everybody, I'm gonna get paid."
However, this can backfire hugely when you've spent a year and a half animating characters only to have the casting ultimately not work out. For example, Disney's The Jungle Book inexplicably features four mop-topped vultures with Liverpool accents who are distinctly not voiced by the actual Beatles (even more baffling is the fact that one of the vultures is bald, presumably because Walt Disney thought Ringo had alopecia).
At least they got his nose right.
You see, Disney wanted The Beatles to be in the movie. And apparently they almost were, but the agreement fell through, either because of "scheduling problems" or because John Lennon said, "I don't wanna do an animated film." True to his legendary integrity, this is an area in which Lennon never compromised.
"No, I meant I don't want to do an animated film unless it's exclusively about us."
By the time The Beatles officially backed out, too much work had been done animating them into The Jungle Book to start all over again, so Disney just left them in there and had some sound-alikes record the voices.
And the title character in Shrek was famously supposed to be voiced by Chris Farley, until Farley died and left the weight of the cartoon ogre on the shoulders of Mike Myers. By that point, the character's design had more or less been finalized, and it's pretty easy to see that it more closely resembles Beverly Hills Ninja than The Love Guru.
However, after 16 years of sequels, all three films are equally unwatchable.