In today’s time, playing a superhero is really a big deal. Marvel and DC movies have helped to boost the careers of many actors, like Chris Hemsworth and Chris Pratt.
But that doesn’t mean every actor in Hollywood wants to be associated with these characters. Whilst most actors are champing at the bit for a role in these movies, there are some incredibly famous actors who have straight up said no way when Marvel or DC came knocking.
Let’s have a look at the actors who turned down roles in Marvel and DC Comics’ movies.
1- Joaquin Phoenix
Having won the Oscar for playing the Joker last year, it’s not surprising this talented actor was sought after by the MCU. Marvel has tried more than once to get Joaquin onboard, but the actor rejected both the offers. He was first offered the role of Hulk and later, Dr. Strange.
2- Tom Cruise
Even though it’s now impossible to imagine the role of Iron Man being played by anyone other than Robert Downey Jr, but he was not the first choice. Acting legend Tom Cruise was the top pick, but he turned down the part because Marvel was unwilling to accept his conditions.
3- Pierce Brosnan
Before he played James Bond, Brosnan was asked to play Bruce Wayne in the 1989 Batman film. About his choice of rejecting the role, he told,
“I just couldn’t really take it seriously, any man who wears his underpants outside his pants just cannot be taken seriously. That was my foolish take on it. It was a joke, I thought. But how wrong was I?”
4- Sandra Bullock
Before Gal Gadot donned the red, white, and blue, Lynda Carter — Wonder Woman in the ’70s TV show — admitted she’d love to see real-life wonder woman Bullock play the hero as rumors suggested. This didn’t happen.
“There’s other people much better suited to play Wonder Woman than me. I’ll just do it at home, at night, in my little Underoos,” Bullock had told MTV.
5- Oprah Winfrey
As a rare standout of the neon catastrophe that was Suicide Squad, Viola Davis brought the no-nonsense Amanda Waller to life like never before. While Davis seems expertly cast, there was at one time talk of Oprah Winfrey playing the team’s overseer. Why she didn’t end up playing it onscreen remains a mystery.
6- Emily Blunt
The actress was the first choice to play the Black Widow in Iron Man 2. But the actress turned down the role of Black Widow because the schedule of Iron Man 2’s shoot was conflicting with Gulliver’s Travels.
7- Leonardo DiCaprio
James Cameron’s Spider-Man movie is now pretty infamous. Back when it was on the cards, Cameron wanted Leonardo DiCaprio for the lead. He even skimmed through the screenplay before turning it down. Leo doesn’t regret his choice.
8- Matthew McConaughey
It is quite strange but Matthew was offered the role of Ego the Living Planet in MCU’s Guardians of the Galaxy. He refused the role and it eventually went into Kurt Russell.
9- Robin Williams
Just imagine Robin Williams being a part of Heath Ledger starrer Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight. Not only the role of Riddler in Batman Forever (1995) but he was also offered the role of Joker in Tim Burton’s Batman (1989). It wasn’t Williams who rejected them, he said both opportunities got “screwed.”
10- Russell Crowe
Before Hugh Jackman came along and defined the role of Wolverine, Russell Crowe was wanted for the role. It’s not hard to picture a younger Crowe as the iconic mutant, but he didn’t want to do it. Instead, he recommended Jackman. And the rest is history.
11- Will Smith
Will Smith was the first black actor who was supposed to be cast as Superman in Superman Returns. He did not accept the role because he was already facing criticism for Wild, Wild West.
“The script came, and I was like, ‘There is no way I’m playing Superman!’ Because I had already done Jim West [of ‘Wild Wild West’], and you can’t be messing up white people’s heroes in Hollywood,” Smith told MTV.
12- Anthony Hopkins
Anthony Hopkins may be a legend of the silver screen, but he is also one of the few actors to miss out on a Batman movie (twice). Not only did he miss playing the role of Mr. Freeze in Batman & Robin, but he was also in the running for Alfred in Nolan’s Dark Knight.
13- Matt Damon
Daredevil was a colossal flop, and it literally left a bad mark on Ben Affleck’s career. What’s interesting is that the role of Matthew Murdock was offered to Ben’s best friend Matt Damon, but he did not take it. The actor thought the role didn’t have much to offer.
14- Bryan Cranston
Bryan Cranston was offered the role of mutant Sebastian Shaw in X-Men: First Class, but he chose Ryan Gosling’s Drive instead.
15- Rachel McAdams
The Notebook actress, Rachel McAdams was the first choice for Pepper Potts and not Gwyneth Paltrow who has recently retired from the role.
16- Joseph Gordon Levitt
Marvel Comics’ first choice to portray Star-Lord was not Chris Pratt. The comic giant first approached Joespeh Gordon-Levitt, but he was not able to accept the offer because he had already made a commitment to play Johnny in Sin City: A Dame to Kill For.
17- Heath Ledger
Can you imagine Heath Ledger portraying the role of Batman in The Dark Knight instead of Joker? Well, Christopher Nolan first went to Heath Ledger for portraying the role of Caped Crusader but he had no interest in playing a superhero. However, when Nolan decided to make the trilogy, he signed up for the part he was offered, even before the script was even completed.