A strong antagonist makes for the most compelling stories. Especially in the world of superpowered heroes, a villain needs to work on many different levels or the movie falls flat. It is not easy to crack audition and if one does, then there is no way you will always get your desired role. All the actors audition or screen-test for their respective parts. Though they didn’t get the part they initially wanted, they got the part they deserved, and gave audiences performances to remember.
Here are 8 Hollywood actors who were up for the role of a hero in a movie or television series, but were ultimately cast as the villain.
1- Iwan Rheon Auditioned For Jon Snow
Most characters on Game of Thrones don’t tend to enjoy much longevity, as Westeros is a treacherous and backstabby place. However, Kit Harington managed to prolong his character Jon Snow’s demise until Season 5, and then got resurrected so that he could see things to the bitter end.
As the evil Ramsay Bolton only made it to Season 6, Iwan Rheon, the actor who played him but who also read for the part of Snow, may have wished he had landed the part of the hero instead. But the savagery and toxicity that Ramsay had, was seen more in him than in Kit Harington.
2- Heath Ledger Auditioned For Batman
The comic book world owes a lot to Heath Ledger, the one who played the most iconic role of Joker and totally nailed it. He bagged an Oscar award for Best Supporting Actor. And it was the first Oscar that a comic book movie ever won. Initially, Ledger was not ready to play the role but then he stepped up to it and then rest is the history. Before he was signed as the Joker in The Dark Knight, Ledger was approached for the lead role of Batman but was refused by the director.
3- Tom Hiddleston Auditioned For Thor
It’s hard to imagine anyone else but Chris Hemsworth as the God of Thunder in Marvel’s Thor and Avengers franchises. And it’s even harder to think of the guy who played his nemesis, Loki, wielding the mighty Mjolnir. Yet Tom Hiddleston did nearly get the part, he never actually tried out for the role of Loki, but impressed the filmmakers enough to be hired as the God of Mischief.
4- Sam Rockwell Auditioned For Tony Stark
Before Robert Downey Jr. became the person everyone on Earth associates with the MCU character Tony Stark, Sam Rockwell was approached by Iron Man director Jon Favreau as a possible choice for the billionaire playboy superhero in question. While he didn’t get to become a comic book icon to billions, he did manage to make it into Iron Man 2 as the jerky industrialist Justin Hammer.
5- Alexandar Skarsgard Auditioned For Bill
Before being cast as the over 1,000 year-old vampire Eric Northman, the bad boy in the True Blood love triangle, Alexander Skarsgard auditioned for the part of Bill Compton. Stephen Moyer would go on to be cast as Bill on the HBO series.
6- James Franco Auditioned For Spider-Man
The American actor and filmmaker, Jame Franco, played Harry Osborne in the 2002 Spider-Man movie. But he initially auditioned for Peter Parker, dubbed as Spider-Man, which was later played by Tobey Maguire.
7- Clancy Brown Auditioned For Superman
Since Superman the Animated Series, Clancy Brown has become the quintessential Lex Luthor, voicing the character in countless other DC animated series, films, and video games. Before landing the role of the Metropolis Mogul, Brown auditioned for Superman, a.k.a Clark Kent. After the audition, Bruce Timm felt Brown’s menacing yet charming voice would be better suited for Lex Luthor. Wings star Tim Daly would go on to voice Superman/Clark Kent instead.
8- Sean Bean Auditioned For James Bond
Sean Bean is great at perishing onscreen (he’s done it over 20 times), which unfortunately isn’t a skill that lends itself to playing a superspy who has been in 26 films and counting. That may or may not have been the reason he wasn’t chosen as the next James Bond over Pierce Brosnan for 1995’s GoldenEye, but at least he received the runner-up prize of being able to play rogue MI6 agent Alec Trevelyan (and croak, of course).