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October 2010

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Actors Who Turn Down Hit Roles — The Occupational Hazard

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JOHN TRAVOLTA — Richard Gere might want to send John Travolta a bouquet of flowers for his career. Gere snatched up four major roles  Travolta turned down. Those include: An Officer and a Gentleman, Days of Heaven, American Gigolo, and Chicago. Travolta was once asked if regretted turning down those roles, and he said, “not every movie I make has to be a hit.” If I were Travolta, I might say, “yes, and if you notice that my manager mysteriously disappeared, don’t come looking for me.”

ROB LOWE — Rob Lowe turned down Patrick Dempsey’s role in Grey’s Anatomy, and unlike John Travolta, Lowe willingly admits his mistake. He said, “I coulda been McDreamy! It’s an occupational hazard. It happens to everybody. The great thing is that Patrick Dempsey is so great in that part and he’s such a great actor. If I’d have done that I wouldn’t be doing this great part and having this fun on Brothers And Sisters. It all works out.” The irony of that quote is that Lowe eventually left Brothers And Sisters amidst speculation that he hoped to be more of a leading man. He also left The West Wing during the height of its success, in favor of The Lyon’s Den, which was canceled after just six episodes. Perhaps the ensemble cast is the way to go, after all.

MARY LOUISE PARKER — Mary Louise Parker turned down Teri Hatcher’s role in Desperate Housewives. While promoting Weeds on The View, the panel of yentas asked Parker if she regrets her decision, and she simply said, “no, it wasn’t my role.” She was then accosted with the same question fifty more times. Parker held firm, and repeated that “it wasn’t [her] role.”  The truth is, this really did work out for everyone involved. What would Weeds be without Mary Louise Parker?

DENZEL WASHINGTON — Denzel’s career has taken a bit of a beating in recent years. But then again, so has Hollywood in general. He admitted in an interview that he turned down the role in I, Robot, which later went to Will Smith. Personally, I didn’t like the film, but it made a killing at the box-office.

WILL SMITH — I’m closing this post with Will Smith, who might be guilty of the worst choice in movie history.  He turned down the role of Neo in The Matrix, in favor of Wild Wild West.  Enough said.