One of the more fascinating things, at least to me, is finding out that a famous or even iconic movie/TV roles might have gone to another actor or actress who was first pursued for that role.
In the following link, you have a group of TV roles that were originally considered for other actors/actresses:
Perhaps the one that intrigues me the most of those mentioned in this article is Matthew Broderick, Mr. Ferris Beuller himself, was originally considered for the title role that went to Bryan Cranston on Breaking Bad. But, thinking about it a little…I can kinda see where the producers of the show were going. After all, the character of Walter White, as originally presented in the show, was originally presented as a meek, innocent man who decided to take a very dark path. I suppose Mr. Broderick could have pulled that off, but what a different show it probably would have been!
By the way, a couple of my favorite movie role “what ifs”:
Clint Eastwood’s iconic turn as Dirty Harry was originally targeted for…Frank Sinatra?!
Harrison Ford’s iconic turn as Indiana Jones in Raiders of the Lost Ark was originally meant for…Tom Selleck!? In fact, the only reason that Mr. Selleck wound up not getting the role was because the producers of Magnum P.I., the TV show he was doing at the time, wouldn’t allow him the time off to make the Steven Spielberg film!
Of course, sometimes an actor takes on a role for tragic reasons. I’ve always wondered, for instance, what type of career Paul Newman would have had if James Dean hadn’t died back in 1955. The next two movies Mr. Dean was supposed to act in before his untimely death were Somebody Up There Likes Me and The Left Handed Gun. Both movies were made, with Mr. Newman in the title role. In the case of Somebody Up There Likes Me more than The Left Handed Gun, that role proved a great success for Mr. Newman, and may well have given his then very early career a much needed boost. Mr. Newman’s only previous feature film, indeed, his film debut, was 1954’s The Silver Chalice. This film was a huge flop, and when the film was aired years later on TV an embarrassed Paul Newman famously paid for and published a full page apology and request for people not to see the film in a trade magazine!