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Actors Saved Their Careers By Turning Down These 7 Roles

Photo: Featureflash Photo Agency / DFree / Andrea Raffin / Shutterstock
Leonardo DiCaprio, Drew Barrymore, Matthew McConaughey

Landing a role that is good enough to propel your career forward is a hard feat in Hollywood.

Making a successful movie that doesn't flop in the box office can be difficult, which makes it even worse for actors when figuring out if they should sign on to a movie or not.

While some actors have reached mounds of success from starring in movies, there have been some whose careers have suffered from taking a role they thought would launch them into stardom.

Then, there are the actors who have luckily dodged a bullet from passing roles in movies that have ended up not doing so well — or would've greatly hindered their careers.

Here are actors who saved their careers by turning down these 7 roles:

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1. Russell Crowe turned down a role in 'Cutthroat Island.'

According to Forbes, the 1995 film 'Cutthroat Island' was one of the biggest box office bombs, only making $10 million worldwide from a $100 million budget.

Russell Crowe had been offered to play the lead role of William Shaw, according to What Culture, which ended up going to Matthew Modine.

It seems Crowe made a wise decision in passing up the role considering how lackluster the movie ended up performing.

2. Jack Black turned down a role in 'Son of the Mask.'

The film 'Son of the Mask,' had the potential to be a big blockbuster hit, acting as a sequel to the 1994 movie, 'The Mask,' which starred Jim Carrey and Cameron Diaz.

During the casting for 'Son of the Mask,' Jack Black had begun to make a name for himself in Hollywood and was offered a role in the sequel, according to The Things.

Black ended up turning down the role in favor of moving on to something else.

The production team ended up casting Jamie Kennedy to step in and take the lead role, but the film ultimately didn't perform as well as its predecessor.

3. Matthew McConaughey turned down a chance to make another rom-com.

According to IndieWire, McConaughey turned down one of the biggest offers of his career: a $14.5 million paycheck in 2010 to make another rom-com.

The actor didn't reveal which rom-com he rejected, but made it very clear he was not interested in starring in a film he didn't actually want to do.

McConaughey famously starred in some of the best romantic-comedy movies of the early 2000s, including 'The Wedding Planner' and 'How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days.'

“I declined the offer,” McConaughey wrote in his memoir, 'Greenlights.' “If I couldn’t do what I wanted, I wasn’t going to do what I didn’t, no matter the price.”

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4. Drew Barrymore turned down a role in 'Showgirls.'

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Drew Barrymore had been one of several actors offered the lead role of Nomi Malone in Paul Verhoeven’s erotic drama 'Showgirls.'

Barrymore wasn't interested in the role because of the excessive nudity involved, according to Cheat Sheet.

However, just three years earlier, Barrymore had played a seductive teen in the erotic thriller 'Poison Ivy.'

5. Charlie Hunnam backed out of his role in '50 Shades of Grey.'

Just a year before Hunnam would finish filming 'Sons of Anarchy,' which ran for six seasons, the actor had signed on to play Christian Grey in the film adaption of '50 Shades of Grey.'

However, just a few months after signing on to play the character, Hunnam backed out of doing the film and was ultimately replaced with actor Jamie Dornan, according to The List.

In an interview with Moviefone in 2014, Charlie Hunnam explained his decision to withdraw from '50 Shades of Grey,' saying that he had felt overwhelmed at the time, according to Insider.

"I just said, 'I can't, I can't. Fifty's going to be massive, it's going to be huge. I really didn't want to fail on such a grand scale and I just couldn't transition from Jax Teller to Christian Grey in 48 hours," Hunnam said.

"I bit off more than I could chew and it was painful. I loved the character and I wanted to do it ... It was one of those damned if you do, damned if you don't situations."

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6. Kim Basinger turned down 'Boxing Helena.'

The 1993 film 'Boxing Helena' which was the directorial debut of David Lynch's daughter, Jennifer, ended in flames after Kim Basinger backed out of her role.

This led to Basinger being sued for pulling out, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Basinger testified that she had felt the script was the strangest piece she had ever read.

She told the court that it was a story about a woman with no arms and no legs, a character who basically was “just a head.”

The judge ended up ruling that Basinger had to pay $8.1 million in damages to the production.

7. Leonardo DiCaprio passed on starring in the ‘Star Wars’ prequels.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Leonardo DiCaprio had been in talks to play Anakin Skywalker in the 'Star Wars' prequels, but DiCaprio passed on the opportunity.

In an interview with ShortList, DiCaprio felt that he wasn't the right fit.

“[I] just didn’t feel ready to take that dive, at that point,” DiCaprio said, remembering how he did have a meeting with George Lucas about the role.

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Nia Tipton is a writer living in Brooklyn. She covers pop culture, social justice issues, and trending topics. Follow her on Instagram.

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