Sometimes, a director simply looks at a script and he instantly knows what actor he wants to cast as a character. However, other times, a long casting process is undertaken, where the film crew test out several actors to see which actor suits the role the best. Sometimes, looking back on films before they hit the cinemas, it is laughable, or plain interesting, to see which actors nearly took the jobs that made other actors famous. In the cases below, the casting decisions completely changed the way the movie played out, although we cannot help, but express curiosity at what might have been.


Before Nolan went with Aaron Eckhart for the role of Harvey Dent, because Eckhart had “that kind of chiselled, American hero quality”, Hugh Jackman was briefly considered to play the part. Jackman had that hero and showman quality, as seen in films like ‘Prestige’, which would have worked well for the role. Eckhart beat Jackman to the post on this one, however (probably, so it didn’t mirror Nolan’s earlier work, Prestige, by having Jackman and Bale share the lead again).

Ironically, it came down to heads or tails.

Ironically, it came down to heads or tails.

It is interesting to think of the character under Jackman’s control however. Aaron Eckhart hasn’t been my favourite actor (although I cannot fault his performance in this film), so I would have welcomed Hugh Jackman as Two-Face. When the transformantion to the villanious Two-Face finally happened, then Jackman would have stood apart from Eckhart, showing off the dark, grizzled character that we partially get with Wolverine. However, seeing as Two-Face is more of an after-thought and the focus is mainly on Dent, I think Eckhart would have been, ultimately, the better choice.


This one is one of the biggest changes of the three examples here.

OK, Keanu Reeves is not the best actor in the world, but his bland features really worked with Neo for some reason. Maybe it was the fact that Neo was meant to be a novice, when it came to the Matrix, or the fact that he was the unlikely hero. Whatever the reason, his bad acting talents weren’t too painful here (obviously, there was the occasional cringe moment). Which is why I must admit that having Will Smith take the role of Neo would have ruined the films.

Why? Because it would become the Will Smith show. Look at the Men In Black franchise. If Smith wasn’t such a hit in that role, it would be possible to contemplate carrying on the movies, without the actor, changing the heroes every time the films started getting old. The Matrix works, because it has several interesting characters, but Will Smith would have taken the spotlight from them, the second he walked on screen. Will Smith is also the kind of actor, amazing as he is, seems unable to hold back the comedy in his performances. All it takes is a raised eyebrow or corny line and we are thrown back to ‘the Fresh Prince of Bel Air’ and all of the hard character development in the script gets thrown out the window.


Now, you are either the type of person who looks at that heading and says: ‘That would have ruined the film’ or ‘That would have been awesome.’

If I was a Nazi, I would be terrified.

If I was a Nazi, I would be terrified.

I can understand the criticism at Quentin Tarantino for even entertaining the thought of putting Sandler in this movie. It is fun, yes, but Sandler’s comedic style would have killed the dark World War Two theme of the movie. Not to mention, his track records with films haven’t been doing too great. ‘Jack and Jill’ and ‘That’s My Boy’ (also ‘Grown Ups’, although I quite like that film), flopped at the cinema and have been harshly criticised by almost everyone.

However, if anyone could have made it work, it’s Tarantino. He is masterful when it comes to managing his actors and it would have thrown Sandler into a new light. For once, he could act without this need to be funny hanging over him. He had the right build, complexion and accent for the part. Out of all of these examples, this is the one where I actually think the role went to the wrong guy.

One thought on “3 Casting Choices We Missed Out On (That Would Have Totally Changed the Film)

  1. I think I may have cried if Adam Sandler was in Inglourious Basterds! I can’t watch any film that he is in without cringing, although I do agree with you that Tarantino would have probably made it work, and only using ironic comedy. I just don’t know if I could have taken the film seriously with him in it. Plus I love Eli Roth

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