Emma Watson reveals why she turned down the role of Cinderella before signing on to play Belle

Find out which other Hollywood stars were almost cast as some of our most beloved characters.

Did you know that Emma Watson was almost cast as the leading actress in La La Land? Or that David Bowie almost accepted a major role in Lord of The Rings? How about the fact Gwyneth Paltrow almost starred opposite Leonardo DiCaprio as Rose in Titanic? And that’s just the tip of the iceberg (pun intended). Scroll down to see what other Hollywood blockbusters would have been a whole lot different with the original casting.

Cinderella


We can’t wait to see Emma Watson take on the role of Belle in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast later this year, but did you know that the Harry Potter actress was originally approached to portray a totally different Disney princess? Yes, apparently Watson had previously been offered the role of Cinderella in Kenneth Branagh’s (Professor Lockhart just FYI) 2015 remake but turned it down as the character wasn’t the role model she wanted to portray.

‘I didn’t know they were going to make Beauty and the Beast at the time I turned down Cinderella,’ she told Total Film magazine. ‘But when they offered me Belle, I just felt the character resonated with me so much more than Cinderella did. She remains curious, compassionate and open-minded. And that’s the kind of woman I would want to embody as a role model, given the choice.’

La La Land

films la la land

It was recently announced that the Golden Globe award-winning duo, Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, weren’t the original two cast in the film’s leading roles. In fact it turns out that Miles Teller and Emma Watson were originally cast. La La Land writer and director, Damien Chazelle, told Uproxx: ‘The casting of this movie during the six years it took to get made went through lots of permutations, and it’s true there was a moment where Emma Watson and Miles Teller were doing it.’

The Lord of the Rings

And everyone went crazy for all his amazing vintage photos

David Bowie was almost in Lord Of The Rings – yes, you read that right. As the first instalment of The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, celebrates its 15 year anniversary, the film’s casting director, Amy Hubbard, has revealed that they actually wanted David Bowie to play Gandalf (before they got in Ian McKellen): ‘We approached him. I’m pretty sure it was Peter Jackson’s idea in the first few weeks that we got going. It was one that he’d always wondered about, and we rang Chris, and [Bowie] was far too busy.’

Superman Returns


Jude Law made a surprising confession on late night telly this week, when he revealed that he was almost cast as Superman way back in the year 2006. Alfie star went as far as trying on the costume before officially turning down the role. But once he tried on the famous blue and red suit, he realised there was ‘no way’ he could take on the role, explaining: ‘I was always worried about the outfit and I just didn’t fancy it.’ Christopher Reeves look-a-like Brandon Routh would go on to play the character, ultimately being recast himself with Henry Cavill became the Man of Steel.

Gone Girl


It’s hard to imagine Gone Girl without the dynamic between Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike – but according to news this week, Jon Hamm was originally up for the lead role of Nick Dunne. Hamm pulled out of the running because of contractual obligations to shoot Mad Men, and apparently he wasn’t happy about it. ‘Jon was really upset about it at the time – and is still upset, because he’s thinking about the future of his career as Mad Men comes to a close,’ a source told Page Six.

So what would Gone Girl have been like if things had gone his way? Where Affleck brings a cocky, laddish quality to the role, and excelled at playing the thoughtless husband caught out by an expert manipulator, Hamm is the king of brooding darkness. In his hands, Nick might have been more of a dangerous match for Pike’s Amy. And call us superficial, but we would have liked to see him in that shower scene.

Titanic


Rumour has it that Gwyneth Paltrow turned down the part of Rose in Titanic, leaving it to 19-year-old almost-unknown actress Kate Winslet. Claire Danes was also in the running, but could either of them have brought Winslet’s wholesome innocence to the part? We think not. Even at 19, she was a costume-drama pro after roles in Sense and Sensibility and Hamlet – and we wouldn’t have Titanic any other way.

Elf


No, no, no, NO. This one is just wrong: when Elf was originally being developed back in 1993, Jim Carrey was attached to play Buddy. By the time the film was actually made, a decade later, he had moved on from the role – leaving us with Will Ferrell. Carrey may be a comedian, but we can’t imagine he would have been as sweetly silly as Ferrell.

The Blind Side


Julia Roberts apparently turned down the lead role in The Blind Side, which ended up earning Sandra Bullock an Oscar for Best Actress. Bullock was undeniably good, but we can definitely see Roberts playing the privileged-but-tough matriarch Leigh Anne – after all, there’s something of the Erin Brockoviches about her.

Clueless


Two years before we met Buffy the Vampire Slayer, we met Cher Horowitz in Clueless – but if it hadn’t been for schedule clashes, she would have been played by Sarah Michelle Gellar too. Gellar had to turn down the role as it conflicted with filming for the soap opera All My Children, so Silverstone stepped in to deliver such iconic lines as ‘Isn’t my house classic? The columns date all the way back to 1972.’

Grease


Can you imagine Danny Zuko being played by anyone other than John Travolta? If there’s one obvious candidate, it would have to be the Fonz. Henry Winkler was offered the part in Grease but turned it down because he didn’t want to be typecast: ‘But what I didn’t realise was that I already was [typecast],’ he explained later. ‘That’s why John Travolta went on to buy his own plane and I just went home.’

Pretty Woman


Having become a household name in the 1980s, Molly Ringwald was too inundated with offers to accept the lead role of Vivian in a 1990 romcom about a prostitute and a businessman. It’s almost impossible to imagine her fanning out condoms or singing Prince in the bath with the same panache as Julia Roberts. Then again, Pretty Woman was also supposed to be a gritty drama – who knew?

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off


We must have been living in different times indeed when someone imagined Johnny Depp as twinkly, fresh-faced prankster Ferris Bueller. Depp turned down the role because it clashed with another job, and the rest, thankfully, is history. Side note: is it just us, or does Matthew Broderick still look about 18?

Silver Linings Playbook


Anne Hathaway was originally slated to play the offbeat Tiffany in Silver Linings Playbook, but had to drop out. Jennifer Lawrence auditioned at the last minute via Skype, and scooped the role that would go on to win her an Oscar. ‘We didn’t know she had all that in her!’ said director David O. Russell. ‘She came in at the eleventh hour and just stole it.’ Tell us something we don’t know.

Showgirls


If you can remember when Drew Barrymore played an adorable little girl in ET, you’ll be as relieved as we are that she didn’t take the lead role in 1995’s soft-porn boob-fest Showgirls.

Barrymore declined the role of ‘dancer’ Nomi, which infamously went to Saved By The Bell’s Elizabeth Berkley. Good thing too, because we can’t bear the idea of her doing all that splashing about with Kyle Maclachlan.

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