It can’t be easy for movie stars to make career choices when they’re madly in demand and everybody wants them. (And don’t I know it! Attention, producers: Stop inundating me with scripts! My house has become a cluttered nightmare!) They have to rely on a combination of intelligence and instinct while praying the project that looks so good on paper doesn’t end up winning Golden Razzies—and conversely, that the stinkbomb they’re rejecting doesn’t turn into something that reels in dozens of trophies at the Oscar podium. And sometimes mistakes are made.
Some of the most infamous turndowns in history:
Doris Day said “No, thanks” to the role of Mrs. Robinson in 1967’s classic generation-gap comedy The Graduate to instead do a musty mod romp called Caprice. Well, she didn’t want to tarnish her 45-year-old virgin image and besides, her weird husband called the often self-defeating shots in her career. As a result, instead of still working today, Doris is practically in hiding.
Gwyneth Paltrow turned down the female lead in Titanic. She didn’t want to work with all that water. Instead she worked with subway cars in Sliding Doors, a movie about how one little seemingly arbitrary moment can change your entire life! (At least she also turned down the abysmal The Avengers. Lose some, win some.)
Katie Holmes rejected the chance to recreate her Batman Begins role in The Dark Knight. That is if you believe the official version of things. Katie suposedly had scheduling conflicts and was too busy to do the biggest movie of all time. Whatever the case, at least she wasn’t replaced by Angelina Jolie like Tom just was on Edwin A. Salt!
Bridget Fonda pooh-poohed the title role of the hit show Ally McBeal. But Fonda (whom I’m fonda) openly admits that it wouldn’t have been as good with her in the part. Honesty and self-deprecation in Hollywood? Straitjacket this nutjob immediately. She’ll be in good company.