10 actors who missed out on truly iconic movie roles

10 actors who missed out on truly iconic movie roles

Some movie parts are so iconic, that you struggle to imagine anyone else in the lead role. Think about it: what would Taxi Driver look like without Robert De Niro? Or The Terminator without Arnold Schwarzenegger? They'd be a pale imitation of themselves. But the fact is that casting directors look everywhere for the right person to attach to a big project, and they often consider a wide range of actors and actresses before finally picking the right one.

Yes, if just a few people's schedules had been different, then we might have seen very different movies portrayed by very different actors. With that in mind, it's fun to look at some of the alternative choices in Hollywood's history, and ponder what might have been. Scroll down to check out which actors were meant to play the lead role in iconic Hollywood movies.

1. John Travolta - Forest, Forest Gump

Actor John Travolta. Credit: Getty

2. Henry Winkler - Danny Zuko, Grease

Actor Henry Winkler. Credit: Getty

3. Michelle Pfieffer - Clarice Starling, Silence of the Lambs

Actress Michelle Pfieffer. Credit: Getty

4. Mel Gibson - Maximus Decimus Meridius, Gladiator 

Actor Mel Gibson. Credit: Getty

5. Molly Ringwald -Vivian Ward, Pretty Woman

Actress Molly Ringwald. Credit: Getty

6. Jack Nicholson - Michael Corleone, The Godfather

Actor Jack Nicholson. Credit: Getty

7. Leonardo DiCaprio - Patrick Bateman, American Psycho

Actor Leonardo DiCaprio Credit: Getty

8. Will Smith - Neo, The Matrix

Actor Will Smith. Credit: Getty

9. Sean Connery - Gandalf, The Lord of the Rings

Actor Sean Connery. Credit: Getty

10. Tom Selleck - Indie, Indiana Jones

Actor Tom Selleck. Credit: Getty

One performer you'll notice is conspicuously absent in this list is the late, great British actor Alan Rickman; that's because we've already penned an article about how he almost turned down one of his biggest movie roles.