Last updated: April 21, 2012

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Top movie role reversals

TO QUOTE 80s popstar Tiffany: "Could've been so beautiful, could've been so right".

Then again, it could have been a bloody disaster.

Have you ever wanted to go back in time and right the wrongs of a movie classic? Or do you cringe at the thought of your favourite film being played by a totally different cast? If you were directing, what changes would you have made?

Through the beauty of hindsight (and considerable help from imdb.com) NEWS.com.au has compiled a list of movies that might have turned out quite differently had the original stars that were cast for the roles not passed on them.

In pictures: How the cinema hits could have looked »

Charlie's Angels
Thandie Newton turned down the role played by Lucy Liu because she wanted to work with her husband Oliver Parker on a low-budget British film instead.

Lord Of The Rings
Matthew Newton was considered to play Frodo, but passed. The role was snapped up by Elijah Wood. Daniel Day Lewis was offered several times and turned down the role of Aragorn (Strider), which eventually went to Viggo Mortensen. Kate Winslet was offered the role of Eowyn, played in the final film by Miranda Otto. Sean Connery turned down the role of Gandalf because he didn't want to film down in New Zealand for 18 months, and could not understand the novels. Sir Ian McKellen took over.

Little Miss Sunshine
Bill Murray turned down Steve Carell's role, which reportedly became one of the few choices in his career that he regretted.

The O.C. (TV)
Chad Michael Murray was originally up for the role of Ryan Atwood, but turned it down for One Tree Hill.

Star Wars
Nick Nolte, along with Christopher Walken (second choice), were both considered for the role of Han Solo. Al Pacino turned down the role, as did Burt Reynolds. Harrison Ford took the part. Ryan Phillippe turned down the role of Anakin Skywalker because of the age difference between Natalie Portman and himself. Leonardo Di Caprio was also considered. The role went to Hayden Christensen instead.

Raiders of the Lost Ark
Nick Nolte turned down the role of Indiana Jones, which eventually went to Harrison Ford. Steven Spielberg originally wanted Tom Selleck to play Indy, but he was still under contract for Magnum, P.I.

Ghost
Buce Willis turned down the role of Sam Wheat in Ghost (the role played by Patrick Swayze opposite Willis's now ex-wife Demi Moore) "because he didn't think the plot would work and that playing a ghost would be detrimental to his career". Ironically, he played a ghost in The Sixth Sense. Molly Ringwald turned down Moore's role.

Speed
Halle Berry turned down the role of Annie, which was later picked up by Sandra Bullock. Stephen Baldwin turned down the role of Jack - which went to Keanu Reeves.

Saving Private Ryan
Edward Norton passed on Private Ryan. Matt Damon got the gig.

Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles
Julian Sands was novelist Anne Rice's choice to play Lestat, but producers wanted a bigger box-office drawcard, hence Tom Cruise was cast. Christian Slater won the role of the interviewer after the death of friend and fellow actor River Phoenix, who had been cast in the role. Kirsten Dunst beat out Christina Ricci for her role.

Shakespeare in Love
Kate Winslet turned down Gwyneth Paltrow's Oscar-winning role, as did Julia Roberts.

Man On The Moon
Edward Norton was considered for the role of Andy Kaufman in Man on the Moon. Director Milos Forman could not decide between him and Jim Carrey and left the decision up to the studio. The studio decided to go with Carrey.

The Blue Lagoon
Matt Dillon had been the original choice for the role of Richard, but turned the role down because of the nudity. Christopher Atkins dutifully obliged. Lori Loughlin had the lead role as Emmeline, but turned it down. John Travolta's wife Kelly Preston was turned down for the role of Emmeline. This was Preston's first film audition. It went to Brooke Shields.

American Psycho
Producers wanted Edward Norton to play Patrick Bateman. Leonardo Di Caprio
Was set to star, but had to drop it due to scheduling conflicts. Christian Bale won the role.

The Passion of the Christ
Jason Patric turned down the role of Jesus in the Mel Gibson epic. Jim Caviezel put his hand up.

Fatal Attraction
Miranda Richardson turned down the role, subsequently taken by Glenn Close.

Minority Report
Samantha Morton was actually the third choice to play Agatha; Cate Blanchett and Jenna Elfman both turned it down.

Carrie
Melanie Griffith auditioned for the title role that eventually went to Sissy Spacek.

The Horse Whisperer
Natalie Portman turned down a role to act in The Diary of Anne Frank on Broadway. The film gave Scarlett Johansson her start on the way to superstardom.

Silence of the Lambs
Michelle Pfeiffer was offered the role of Clarice, which went to Jodie Foster.

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
Michelle Pfeiffer turned down the role of the White Witch - she was reportedly the only major Hollywood star to be offered the role. Tilda Swinton took up the role.

The Patriot
Ryan Phillippe was considered for Heath Ledger's role.

Pretty Woman
Daryl Hannah turned down the role of Vivian because she felt it was denigrating to women. She later appeared in Dancing at the Blue Iguana as a stripper. Molly Ringwald also passed. Vivian's role was snapped up by Julia Roberts and the rest is history. Al Pacino turned down Richard Gere's role.

Lolita
This was a pretty volatile role, eventually falling into the path of Dominque Swain. But not before Melissa Joan Hart (Sabrina, The Teenage Witch) auditioned, Jennifer Love Hewitt and Claire Danes were both considered, Natalie Portman turned it down due to her feelings about young adult actors/actresses being exposed to sex in films and Christina Ricci Was turned down four times for the role.

Apollo 13
Brad Pitt turned down a role as an astronaut to accept his role in Se7en. John Travolta passed too. John Cusack turned down Bill Paxton's role.

Thelma & Louise
Brad Pitt was the third choice for J.D. in Thelma & Louise. William Baldwin, the first choice, left to star in Backdraft. George Clooney auditioned five times for Ridley Scott for Brad Pitt's role. Cher was offered the part of Thelma (played by Susan Sarandon), while Melanie Griffith turned down Geena Davis's role.

The Matrix
Brad Pitt was considered for the lead. Will Smith turned down the role of Neo. Keanu Reeves did the honours. Chow Yun-Fat turned down the role of Morpheus, later played by Laurence Fishburne. Sean Connery turned down the role of the Architect in The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions.

The Graduate
Robert Redford turned down the role of Ben Braddock because "he didn't feel he could project the right amount of naivite". Dustin Hoffman didn't have that problem.

The Godfather
Francis Ford Coppola suggested Warren Beatty, Alain Delon and Burt Reynolds to play the role of Michael Corleone (which went to Al Pacino). Paramount production chief Robert Evans had suggested Robert Redford at the time, becaude he could be perceived as "northern Italian."

Romancing the Stone
Superman's Christopher Reeve turned down the role of Jack T. Colton, which eventually went to Michael Douglas.

American Gigolo
Richard Gere had to settle for second best after Superman's Christopher Reeve passed on the part. Or maybe thrid best, considering John Travolta was offered the role too, but passed.

The Terminator
Director James Cameron orginally wanted Arnold Schwarzenegger for the role of Kyle Reese, but when Arnie walked into the restaurant to meet Cameron about the role, Cameron reportedly took one look at him and said "You're a machine!" Famke Janssen was offered the lead role in Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, but declined.

Die Hard
Bruce Willis made this movie his own. But not before Richard Gere, Sly Stallone, Burt Reynolds and Arnold Schwarzenegger had all passed on the role.

Wall Street
Richard Gere turned down the role of Gordon Gekko, as did Warren Beatty. Gere has since said that was the role he regrets passing on the most. Michael Douglas went on to star. Sean Connery turned down the role of Simon Gruber in Die Hard: With a Vengeance (1995) "due to the diabolical nature of the character".

X-Men
Can you imagine Mel Gibson as Wolverine instead of Hugh Jackman? Someone thought it was a good idea at the time. Thankfully, Mel passed. Russell Crowe, too was offered the part of Logan/Wolverine, but he declined. Rachael LeighCook was considered for the role of Rogue, but turned it down due to having work with CGI costumes and effects. The role went to her co-star from She's All That, Anna Paquin.

Girl, Interrupted
British actress Samantha Morton turned down the role of Lisa, which later went to Angelina Jolie who went on to win the Oscar.

Spider-Man
Kate Hudson turned down the part of Peter Parker's girlfriend Mary Jane Watson for the role of Ethne Eustace in The Four Feathers. Kirsten Dunst stepped into the breach.

Romeo + Juliet
Natalie Portman was the first choice to play Juliet, but turned it down because of the scenes and the age difference between her and Leonardo DiCaprio. Jennifer Love Hewitt lost the role of Juliet to Claire Danes because the director felt she wasn't "modern" enough.

Basic Instinct
Good on Sharon Stone for taking a role that nobody wanted (Meg Ryan, Kelly Lynch, Kim Basinger, Melanie Griffith and Julia Roberts all passed) and forging a career out of her infamous Britney Spears flash scene.

Buffy, the Vampire Slayer (TV)
Katie Holmes auditioned for the role as Buffy Summers, but she was too young. Sarah Michelle Gellar took the role.

As Good As It Gets
Helen Hunt got the lead after Holly Hunter turned it down. Melanie Griffith was unable to star because she was pregnant at the time.

Grease
Susan Dey (The Partridge Family, LA Law) turned down the role of Sandy (won by Olivia Newton-John).

Batman
Tim Curry was director Tim Burton's second choice for the role of the Joker (played by Jack Nicholson). Kim Basinger replaced Sean Young for the role of Vicki Vale. Marlon Brando was considered by director Tim Burton for the role of The Penguin in Batman Returns and Mel Gibson had been considered for the role of Batman/Bruce Wayne in the original Tim Burton film.

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