15 Movie Roles Offered To Just One Actor

POSTED BY Tayyab Khalil, UPDATED ON February 21st, 2024
Movie Roles Offered to Just One Actor

Casting roles are the quintessential aspects of a successful movie. While Hollywood conducts dozens of auditions and considers a few actors who can potentially star in a major role, there are a few exceptions when only one actor is pre-ordained for a specific part. Take a look at the 15 movie roles offered to just one actor:


15. Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds)

Deadpool Ryan Reynolds

When the X-Men character Deadpool refers to himself as “Ryan Reynolds crossed with a Shar-Pei” in a comic book storyline, the actor became immensely enthusiastic about portraying him in the foreseeable future. When the character was in movie development in 2004, only Reynolds was considered for the role.

Even New Line executive Jeff Katz thoroughly believed that he was the only actor suitable to play Deadpool. Despite the mishandling of the character in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Reynolds was still the only actor considered to star in the stand-alone movies of the rebooted Deadpool.


14. Henry Jones (Sean Connery)

Henry Jones Sean Connery

It is no secret that James Bond was one of the inspirations behind the creation of archeologist Indiana Jones. So it only made sense to rope in Sean Connery to play the latter’s father in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.

As a fan of Connery’s iconic portrayal as Bond, Steven Spielberg solely offered the role of Professor Henry Jones to the legendary actor. As stated by the director’s biographer Joseph McBride, Connery was already Indiana’s father since the initiation of the Indiana Jones franchise.


13. Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson)

Nick Fury Samuel L. Jackson

Believe it or not, Nicky Fury was originally a Caucasian character. However, that was soon altered when he was remodeled and based on the likeness of actor Samuel L. Jackson for the Ultimate Marvel edition of Marvel Comics.

With the new design of the character receiving immensely positive reviews and the Marvel Cinematic Universe on the verge of production, Jackson was the only obvious choice for the role of Nick Fury and he signed a nine-picture deal to star as the character.


12. Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone)

Rocky Balboa Sylvester Stallone

Arguably the best sports drama movie ever made, Rocky stands out as an emotional rollercoaster and is responsible for making its leading star Sylvester Stallone a household name. The actor wrote the screenplay by himself and offered it to United Artists Corporation on the condition of allowing him to star in Rocky. The studio refused on the grounds of Stallone not being an established actor yet.

When negotiations for Stallone to play another role in the movie fell through, the studio was forced to offer him the role of Rocky Balboa at the price of lowering the movie’s budget to a mere $1 million. Despite the monetary hurdles, the movie became a triumphant success and even won an Academy Award for Best Picture.


11. Batman (Ben Affleck)

Batman Ben Affleck

When Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Trilogy concluded, there were no second thoughts about Christian Bale being the definitive Batman as far as feature films were concerned and even Zack Snyder desired the actor to reprise his role for Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice.

Since his movie takes place in an entirely different universe, Snyder had to cast someone else and his eyes were set on only one actor for the part – Ben Affleck. The casting was met with harsh criticism but Snyder justified his decision by explaining that he envisioned Batman being played by an older and bigger actor.

“I really wanted an old Batman–not, like, decrepit! I wanted a world-weary Batman… someone who has had experiences, and Ben has really hit that,”

states Snyder.

“He’s a big person. He’s 6’4”, and in the boots, he’s 6’6”. I don’t like a small Batman…I like my Batmen bigger!”


10. Alex DeLarge (Malcolm McDowell)

Alex DeLarge Malcolm McDowell

It seems impossible to visualize anyone other than English actor Malcolm McDowell portraying the psychotic maniac Alex DeLarge in Stanley Kubrick’s dystopian crime movie A Clockwork Orange.

The director perfectly understood that casting is decisive to any movie and after witnessing McDowell’s performance in the British drama movie If…., Kubrick had made up his mind to offer him the leading role of Alex.


9. Hellboy (Ron Perlman)

Hellboy Ron Perlman

It was a career-defining role for Ron Perlman and director Guillermo del Toro was certain that the former would be an exceptional Hellboy on the silver screen. Both had previously collaborated in the Mexican horror movie Cronos and the actor had a rich history of portraying characters that had to undergo hours of makeup and prosthetics.

The director was so bent on having Perlman as Hellboy to the point of declining a bigger budget, several well-established actors, and even two studios that were eager to have a Hellboy movie made.


8. Ultron (James Spader)

Ultron James Spader

Image Source: mashable.com

The long-awaited Avengers movie was a game-changer in the superhero movie genre and the sequel had to raise the bar even further. For the villainous role of Ultron, director Joss Whedon selected actor James Spader and made it clear that he was his first and only choice.

Spader’s acting prowess can be judged by the fact that he was not just hired for a voice role. Additionally, his face and body were motion-captured and transitioned into the CGI character of Ultron.


7. Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman)

Black Panther Chadwick Boseman

As shocking as it may sound, Chadwick Boseman was not only the first but also the only actor considered for the role of T’Challa aka Black Panther in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Furthermore, the actor did not even audition for the role whereas the rest of his leading co-stars such as Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, and Chris Pratt had to audition for their respective superhero roles.


6. Rubeus Hagrid (Robbie Coltrane)

Rubeus Hagrid Robbie Coltrane

When director Christopher Columbus asked J. K. Rowling if she had any actors in mind for her characters in the Harry Potter novels, she quickly suggested Scottish actor Robbie Coltrane for the portrayal of Rubeus Hagrid.

The producers would subsequently call the actor and say,

“You’re playing Hagrid, and we’re having no arguments about it.”

Coltrane, who was already a fan of the novels and described as a perfect casting choice by Rowling herself, happily accepted the part.


5. Beatrix Kiddo (Uma Thurman)

Beatrix Kiddo Uma Thurman

The character of Beatrix Kiddo was mutually created by director Quentin Tarantino and actress Uma Thurman on the set of the 1994 crime movie Pulp Fiction. Nine years later, the character had been well-developed enough to have a movie of her own and Tarantino immediately offered the role to Thurman.

Though the actress accepted the offer, she became pregnant mere days before the shooting began and instead of recasting the character, Tarantino delayed the shooting.

“If Josef Von Sternberg is getting ready to make Morocco and Marlene Dietrich gets pregnant, he waits for Dietrich,”

he states.


4. Drax the Destroyer (Dave Bautista)

Drax the Destroyer Dave Bautista

As explained by former professional wrestler and actor Dave Bautista, he has much in common with Drax the Destroyer apart from the bulky physique. Both are riddled with tattoos and are victims of family tragedies. Among the handful of actors considered for the role, Jason Momoa was remarkably close to bagging the role and even auditioned for it.

However, Momoa has clarified that he willingly removed himself from consideration before an official offer was presented on the table. Eventually, Bautista was the only actor offered the role as he was indeed destined for it.


3. Nikola Tesla (David Bowie)

Nikola Tesla David Bowie

Leading actors Christian Bale and Hugh Jackman were certainly the stars of the psychological thriller The Prestige but musician David Bowie was not too far behind despite his minimal screen time.

Bowie elegantly portrayed historic inventor Nikola Tesla but he had initially declined the part. Director Christopher Nolan was so adamant about having Bowie as Tesla that he flew to New York to personally offer him the role. Upon their encounter, Bowie accepted the role within a few minutes.

“David Bowie was really the only guy I had in mind to play Tesla because his function in the story is a small but very important role,”

reveals Nolan.


2. John Nada (Roddy Piper)

John Nada Roddy Piper

Directed by John Carpenter, the science fiction horror movie They Live stars late professional wrestler “Rowdy” Roddy Piper as John Nada, a drifter who kills aliens that are secretly living in the society. Piper was trying to crack his way open to Hollywood and merely had two movies to his credit as a leading man yet Carpenter zealously offered him the role and no one else.

Rumors persist that Carpenter’s frequent collaborator Kurt Russell was initially offered the role but that is false. As the former recalls, he desired a working-poor guy instead of an upper-middle-class. Since Roddy was “absolutely perfect” for a down-and-out character, Carpenter never thought of anyone else for the part.


1. The Joker (Heath Ledger)

Heath Ledger in The Joker Movie

Though several actors such as Henry Cavill, Hugh Dancy, Joshua Jackson, Cillian Murphy, and Jake Gyllenhaal auditioned, were considered, or either expressed interest in the role of Batman, only one actor was considered and offered the role of The Joker by the director Christopher NolanHeath Ledger.

The casting choice was initially met with displeasure from fans and even from the executives of Warner Bros. who were doubtful about Ledger’s acting abilities being suitable for the intense role of the Joker. Once the trailer of The Dark Knight was released, Ledger made everyone realize that Nolan was not introducing the Joker played by an actor the fans wanted, but played by the actor the fans did not know they wanted.

Hope you enjoyed reading our list of movie roles offered to just one actor. Feel free to share your views in the comments below!

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