Harry Potter wouldn’t be the same without Ron Weasley. I mean, Rupert Grint. And the lovable naif Forrest Gump wouldn’t exist without Tom Hanks.
You see, most exceptionally strong characters become almost inseparable from the actors who played them. Like, Twilight and the official heartthrob of the 2000s, Robert Pattinson, will forever stay as the pale, charming vampire with a slow voice in a movie of otherwise questionable quality.
But it turns out, our all-time favorite roles could have been played by entirely different actors. So Bored Panda has compiled a list of pics of two actors, the original one versus the current one, placed side by side for an uncanny question of “what if?”
Let your imagination run free, and just think how different it would have been if Neo was Will Smith. It’s almost like history would also have to be rewritten, but who knows, maybe it’d have been for the better?
#1 Tim Roth Turned Down The Role Of Severus Snape In “Harry Potter”, Eventually Played By Alan Rickman
#2 Will Smith Turned Down The Role Of Neo In “The Matrix”, Eventually Played By Keanu Reeves
#3 Thomas Brodie-Sangster Auditioned For The Part Of Ron Weasley In “Harry Potter”, Rupert Grint Was Cast
There’s something about the strong characters we like that makes us feel deeply attached to them. Like, genuinely attached as we feel their pains and joys just like they were our close friends or relatives.
The topic is no stranger to academic scholars and Howard Sklar, a postdoctoral researcher in the English Philology Unit at the University of Helsinki, has his own theory. Turns out, our bond with fictional characters reflects our bond with people in the real world.
“We’d have no way of processing a character cognitively if we didn’t have experiences with people outside of the fictional world,” he explains. “The experiences with fictional characters resonate with us because of the fact that we’ve had deep experiences with people throughout our lives.”
#4 John Travolta Turned Down The Role Of Forrest Gump, Eventually Played By Tom Hanks
#5 Sean Connery Said No To Playing Gandalf In “The Lord Of The Rings”, Ian Mckellen Took The Part
#6 Ian Mckellen Turned Down The Part Of Albus Dumbledore In “Harry Potter”, Michael Gambon Was Cast
And as we invest our attention, time, and empathy in the characters of a particularly engaging film or novel, we begin to respond to them as though they were real individuals. Even if we cannot truly connect with their circumstances, e.g. we have never been in a war, our ability to feel emotionally for fictional beings can transcend these details and make them unimportant. This is what powerful filmmaking and the art of storytelling do to us.
#7 Tom Cruise Was Considered For The Part Of Iron Man, But Robert Downey, Jr Was Cast
#8 Robin Williams Wanted To Play Rubeus Hagrid In “Harry Potter” But Was Rejected, Robbie Coltrane Got The Part
#9 Jim Carrey Was Considered To Play Edward Scissorhands, Johnny Depp Got The Part
#10 Russell Crowe Turned Down The Role Of Aragorn In “The Lord Of The Rings”, Eventually Played By Viggo Mortensen
#11 Bette Midler Turned Down The Part Of Sister Mary Clarence In “Sister Act”, Eventually Played By Whoopi Goldberg
#12 Eddie Redmayne Auditioned For The Part Of Star-Lord In “Guardians Of The Galaxy”, But Chris Pratt Was Cast
#13 Al Pacino Turned Down The Part Of Han Solo In “Star Wars”, Eventually Played By Harrison Ford
#14 Matthew Mcconaughey Auditioned For The Role Of Jack Dawson In “Titanic”, Eventually Played By Leonardo Dicaprio
#15 Christina Applegate Was Considered For The Role Of Elle Woods In “Legally Blonde”, Eventually Played By Reese Witherspoon
#16 Ryan Gosling Was Considered For The Role Of Doctor Strange, Eventually Played By Benedict Cumberbatch
#17 Paul Giamatt Declined The Role Of Michael Scott In “The Office”, Steve Carell Got The Part
#18 Emily Blunt Was The First Choice To Play Black Widow, But Scarlett Johansson Got The Part
#19 Hugh Grant Was Considered For The Part Of Gilderoy Lockhart In “Harry Potter”, But Kenneth Branagh Was Cast
#20 Gwyneth Paltrow Turned Down The Role Of Rose Dewitt Bukater In “Titanic”, Kate Winslet Got The Part
#21 Emilia Clarke Turned Down The Role Of Anastasia Steele In “Fifty Shades Of Grey”, Eventually Played By Dakota Johnson
#22 Liam Aiken Was Offered The Role Of Harry Potter, But Daniel Radcliffe Got The Part
#23 Joanne Rowling Was Asked To Play Lily Potter In “Harry Potter”, But She Declined, Geraldine Somerville Got The Part
#24 Hugh Jackman Turned Down The Role Of James Bond, Eventually Played By Daniel Craig
#25 Henry Cavill Was The First Pick To Play Edward Cullen In “Twilight”, Robert Pattinson Was Cast For The Role
#26 David Thewlis Was Considered For The Role Of Quirinus Quirrell In “Harry Potter”, Eventually Played By Ian Hart
#27 Britney Spears Auditioned For The Part Of Allie In “The Notebook”, Eventually Played By Rachel Mcadams
#28 Jennifer Lawrence Auditioned For The Role Of Bella Swan In “Twilight”, But Kristen Stewart Was Cast Instead
#29 Emma Watson Turned Down The Part Of Mia In “La La Land”, Emma Stone Was Cast
#30 Jack Nicholson Passed On The Role Of Michael Corleone In “The Godfather”, Eventually Played By Al Pacino