Actors Who Declined Iconic Movie Roles in Favor of Terrible Ones

Will Smith — Wild, Wild West instead of The Matrix

Late 2021 saw the release of The Matrix Resurrections, picking up where the series left off nearly two decades ago. Set 60 years after the events of the previous film, Resurrections takes us back inside the Matrix with main character Neo (played by Keanu Reeves). Reeves first played Neo in The Matrix back in 1999, but he wasn’t the first choice for the role back then.

Fresh off of Men in Black and Independence Day, Will Smith was beginning to establish himself as one of Hollywood’s top action stars. Smith was offered the role, but turned it down because he felt the film would be too “unrealistic.” Instead, Smith starred in Wild, Wild West which absolutely tanked in the box office. This is one decision Smith would like to have back.

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Christina Applegate — Just Visiting instead of Legally Blonde

Is it possible to envision anybody playing the iconic role of Elle Woods other than the great Reese Witherspoon? Well, the studio had somebody completely different in mind when first casting the role. Christina Applegate gained notoriety playing the airheaded sister Kelly for 259 episodes of Married…with Children. Instead of joining the Blonde universe — which spawned three movies and a Broadway musical — Applegate turned her attention elsewhere.

In 2001, Applegate starred in Just Visiting, an American remake of a French film called Les Visiteurs. Just Visiting had double the budget of Legally Blonde, yet the latter made over ten times as much at the box office. You win some, you lose some. Applegate lost big time in this scenario.

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