What Might Have Been: 5 Alternate Movie Castings

Roles that could have been.

A 3D, Blu-ray version of Titanic hit stores this week, containing more than two and a half hours of never-before-seen footage. But perhaps the most interesting addition is Kate Winslet’s first screen test, not with Leonardo DiCaprio, but Jeremy Sisto of Clueless fame.

Can you imagine if DiCaprio never said “I’m the king of the world!” and it became Sisto’s signature line instead? What if Robert Redford had donned blue tights and red cape as Superman instead of  Christopher Reeve? Here are some other interesting alternate castings you might not have known about:

Marlon Brando as Jim Stark in “Rebel Without a Cause”: Brando was a contender for the classic tale of youth in revolt, but the role ultimately went to James Dean, who became a cultural icon. Check out footage of Brando’s “Rebel” screen test below.

Robert De Niro as Santino ‘Sonny’ Corleone in “The Godfather“: Even though James Caan wound up landing the role of Sonny, De Niro probably wasn’t too upset. Two years later, De Niro landed the role of the young Vito Corleone in “The Godfather: Part II,” a role that earned him his first Oscar.

Kurt Russell as Han Solo in “Star Wars”: It seems like every actor in Hollywood in their 20s and 30s auditioned for Han Solo, but it was Harrison Ford who eventually got the role. George Lucas originally hired Ford as a carpenter to build cabinets for his home, and later to read lines opposite actors auditioning for Star Wars. It was during those auditions that Ford won over the director.

Michelle Pfeiffer as Clarice Starling in “The Silence of the Lambs”: Pfeiffer was originally offered the role of FBI agent Starling, but turned it down. And before Jodie Foster was cast, Meg Ryan, Geena Davis and Melanie Griffith all expressed interest in the role.

For more alternate castings, check out this list of roles rejected by other stars.

Reader's Digest
Originally Published in Reader's Digest