Another fascinating article, this one from Huffington Post and written by Treye Green, focusing on one of the more intriguing things about well-known films: Actors who were almost given a very famous role that went to someone else:
One of the more famous ones mentioned in this article is Tom Selleck for the role of Indiana Jones in Raiders of the Lost Ark. According to the article, George Lucas wanted Selleck and Steven Spielberg wanted Harrison Ford. I’ve heard that there was a little more involved than just that. At the time, Tom Selleck was under contract for his hit TV series Magnum P.I. and the show’s schedule and his inability to take time off from filming it was ultimately the reason Mr. Selleck couldn’t do Raiders. I suspect the only thing that remains of Mr. Selleck’s involvement in the role is this screen test for the role along with Sean Young in the Marion role:
My all time favorite “could have been” (and which was not listed in this article) has to be the role of Dirty Harry. Originally, the role was intended to be for Frank Sinatra but he apparently turned it down because, among other things, an old hand injury made it difficult for him to wield the large handgun the character used. The role then was offered to, among others, John Wayne, Robert Mitchum, and Burt Lancaster before settling on Clint Eastwood.
The rest, as they say, is history. Ah, but what might have been!