Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Roles Everyone In Hollywood Wanted To Play

Some characters are destined to steal the show. But when it comes time to cast roles, crazy things can happen, and it's impossible to predict who will end up in front of the cameras when they start rolling. It may be hard to imagine, but some of your favorite movies and TV shows almost featured someone else entirely in the leading role. Here's a list of roles everyone in Hollywood wanted to play.

Han Solo in Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope

Even though 1977's "Star Wars" wasn't the massive cultural juggernaut it is now — because it didn't exist yet -– there was still a lot of buzz around its production. This was mainly due to the fact that young George Lucas — the writer-director of "Star Wars" — was just coming off the success of his 1975 period teen dramedy "American Graffiti," which made a lot of money at the box office and even earned some awards (via Vox). 

Although "Star Wars" was seen by the studio execs at the time as a bomb in the making, due to the dubious failures of many recent sci-fi films (via Vanity Fair), Lucas' early auteur status still got actors interested in working with him.

One of the roles that got the most attention -– as it would years later with the ill-fated "Solo: A Star Wars Story" from 2018 — was the smug, devil-may-care space smuggler, Han Solo. The actors who showed up to audition were the who's who of the era, including Christopher Walken, Al Pacino, and –- probably most famously –- Kurt Russell (via Time). 

While many of those actors could've pulled off a good Han, we're lucky that Harrison Ford –- who had also worked on George Lucas' "American Graffiti" -– got the gig in the end. Who knows if "Star Wars" would've worked as well without his patented salty but still soft-at-heart charm?

Young Han Solo in Solo: A Star Wars Story

Casting the original Han Solo was nearly as tough as making the Kessel Run in 12 parsecs, so when Lucasfilm and Disney announced they'd be expanding the "Star Wars" universe with a full slate of standalone films including a "young Han Solo" prequel directed by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, every 20-something male actor in the galaxy lined up to audition. Among the big names: "Whiplash's" Miles Teller (via Entertainment Weekly), Ansel Elgort from "The Fault in Our Stars", "Neighbors" star Zac Efron, and "Brooklyn's" Emory Cohen. Sources claim over 2,500 actors either met with casting or submitted tapes (via The Hollywood Reporter) before "Hail, Caesar!" breakout Alden Ehrenreich was ultimately cast in the hotly anticipated film, which flew into theaters in 2018. Just don't get cocky, kid.

Wonder Woman

Hollywood tried and failed for decades to bring Wonder Woman to the big screen. Along the way, quite a few of the film industry's biggest stars have expressed interest in donning the iconic bracelets including Sandra Bullock (per Variety), Christina Hendricks ("Mad Men"), former Bond Girl Olga Kurylenko (per Variety), and even Katie Holmes (via Broadway World) — who's no stranger to the DC Comics universe. 

When Warner Bros. finally decided to cast Wonder Woman for "Batman v. Superman," the casting description read: "tall, brunette, athletic and exotic," according to Variety. Israeli actress Gal Gadot won the role and worldwide stardom with "Wonder Woman," which hit theaters in 2017. 

Scarlett O'Hara in Gone with the Wind

It may very well be the most famous casting search of all time. In an effort to build anticipation for the 1939 big-screen adaptation of Margaret Mitchell's epic novel, "Gone with the Wind" producer David O. Selznick decided to make his hunt for spunky heroine Scarlett O'Hara a national obsession while he waited for the screenplay to be finished. Fans wrote impassioned letters on behalf of their favorite actresses while Selznick conducted a whistle-stop tour of the South looking for unknown talent. 

MGM spent two years trying to cast the role, seeing 1,400 actresses and testing the likes of Katharine Hepburn, Tallulah Bankhead, Bette Davis, Paulette Goddard, and Joan Crawford, according to Turner Classic Movies. Filming had already begun on the burning of Atlanta scene when relatively unknown British actress Vivien Leigh was cast just days before principal photography was set to begin, ending a search nearly as melodramatic as Scarlett herself.

Rose Dawson in Titanic

The 1997 epic romance-drama "Titanic," directed by action-maestro James Cameron ("Avatar: The Way of Water") turned out to be one of the most successful films of all time, and one of the only non-franchise films in the top 10 highest-grossing movies of all time (both domestically and globally, via Box Office Mojo).

Even before "Titanic" earned historic box-office rankings, James Cameron was standing on top of the world due to his back-to-back-to-back blockbuster successes — the "Alien" sequel, "Aliens," and the first two (and still the only worthwhile) "Terminator" films. Despite skepticism about the director working outside of his comfort zone with a period romance, Cameron was able to earn back his inflated budget at the box office (over $200 million in '90s money, via The Washington Post), as well as push CGI technology to its limit for the time.

Still, none of that would matter without a good human connection at the center of the spectacle. Without characters to care about in the midst of the disaster, it would end up just being empty eye candy. Because of that, James Cameron spent a long time to find the perfect (fictional) couple to help anchor the lumbering epic. This meant a lengthy audition phase, including offers to then-heavy hitters like Claire Danes ("Romeo + Juliet") and Gwyneth Paltrow ("Great Expectations"), via The Hollywood Reporter. After seeing a lot of other prospective actresses, Kate Winslet got the part, with her talent (and persistence) paying off.

James Bond

Betting on who will become the next 007 has become a national pastime for bookies in the U.K (per The Sun). Six actors have portrayed the world's most famous spy on the big screen, but every time the role is vacated, a new crop of hot British actors hopes to fill James Bond's perfectly-tailored suits. 

Among those over the years who've wanted their martinis shaken and not stirred: Michael Caine, Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes, Colin Firth, and Clive Owen. After Daniel Craig stepped down from the role in 2021 — after five massively successful films — a host of hopefuls stepped up to the plate. A few favorite candidates have emerged as Craig's possible successor: Idris Elba ("Luther), "Thor" baddie Tom Hiddleston, Tom Hardy, and Damien Lewis ("Homeland"), according to GQ. Even "X-Files" star Gillian Anderson wants to put her spin on the role, according to The Guardian. Who will be the next with a license to kill? Only time will tell.

Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele in Fifty Shades of Grey

When it came time to cast the big-screen adaptation of erotic bestseller "Fifty Shades of Grey," fans of the series as well as author E.L. James had plenty of opinions regarding who should play Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele. Fans campaigned especially hard for Matt Bomer (via Variety), Alexis Bledel (via Newsweek), and Ian Somerhalder, among others. James was partial to Shailene Woodley, according to Bustle, who passed because of her commitment to "Divergent." 

Other names entered seriously into the mix: Oscar winner Alicia Vikander, "True Blood" star Alexander Skarsgard (via Variety), Cara Delevingne, and Oscar nominee Felicity Jones, according to Digital Spy. Charlie Hunnam ("Sons of Anarchy") was originally cast as Grey opposite Dakota Johnson before dropping out and being replaced by Irish actor Jamie Dornan, according to People. Guess Hunnam got too tied up to play the BDSM-loving Lothario.

Harry Potter

To cast the Boy Who Lived, Warner Bros. put out an open call on the internet for Harry Potter lookalikes, and over 40,000 kids sent in audition materials in hopes of being chosen, per the Telegraph. Author J.K. Rowling's one stipulation was the cast be British, eliminating "The Sorcerer's Stone" director Chris Columbus' initial first choice: Liam Aiken (via Huffpost). But plenty of other young American actors expressed interest, including Haley Joel Osment ("The Sixth Sense") and Jonathan Lipnicki of "Jerry Maguire" fame. Though he wound up as Draco, Tom Felton even initially auditioned for both Harry and Ron, according to MTV. Of course, now it's impossible to imagine anyone but Daniel Radcliffe as the boy wizard.

Clarice Starling in Silence of the Lambs

Hannibal Lecter may have said "hello" to a very different Clarice in "The Silence of the Lambs" had late director Jonathan Demme had his way. Though Jodie Foster campaigned heavily to get the role (per EW), she wasn't anywhere on Demme's shortlist. Michelle Pfeiffer was the first choice, according to Bustle, having just worked with Demme on "Married to the Mob," but she was uncomfortable with the subject matter and ultimately passed. Meg Ryan was also considered thanks to her popularity coming off a string of hits (via CinemaBlend), but she too passed, apparently "offended" Demme even thought of her for such a gruesome project. Laura Dern gave such an impressive audition, Demme said she was "it," but studios weren't comfortable with the then rather unknown actress carrying such a big project, so he gave the role to Foster — who went on to win an Oscar for it (via IMDB).

Anakin Skywalker in Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones

Springing from the mind of writer-director George Lucas, "Star Wars" is a cultural phenomenon, an epic space opera merging elements of science fiction and fantasy to create one of the most successful and lucrative franchises of all time. From toys to books to cartoons — and even live-action TV series — "Star Wars" is seemingly omnipresent. 

This was especially true in the late '90s to mid-2000s, when the prequels reigned supreme at the box office. Despite the varied critical consensus on the prequels then and now (via Rotten Tomatoes), they were extremely popular and profitable (via Box Office Mojo).

This was especially true for the then-upcoming "Episode II – Attack of the Clones." Apparently, over 700 young, hopeful actors were lining up for a chance to play the hunky, pre-Darth Vader Anakin Skywalker (via Entertainment Weekly). According to an insider source at the time, Lucasfilm "want[ed] to see everybody ... [a]nd unlike other casting calls, everybody gets a shot." The Anakin hopefuls included Chris Klein, Ryan Phillippe, Christian Bale, Heath Ledger, and Leonardo DiCaprio.

Ultimately, Hayden Christensen, best known at the time for his role in the 2001 drama "Life as a House," infamously nabbed the role. The casting choice was initially met with cautious optimism (via NY Times), but the fans quickly soured on his portrayal upon the film's release in 2002. Luckily, fans seemed to have warmed up on Christensen — and the prequels in general — since then.

Rey in The Force Awakens

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, Lucasfilm decided to make a third "Star Wars" trilogy and needed a brand new heroine to anchor it. Director J.J. Abrams and the casting team launched an extensive search for the right person to play Rey, the mysterious Jakku orphan at the heart of "The Force Awakens." 

Oscar nominee Saoirse Ronan auditioned, apparently having a blast "pretending to take out a lightsaber," according to Empire. Elizabeth Olsen and Shailene Woodley were rumored to have auditioned for the part as well (via Marie Claire), but Abrams was dead set on casting a fresh face. Newcomer Daisy Ridley nabbed the role after five auditions (per The Guardian), including one tearful screen test that blew Abrams away, according to EW. The Force is strong with that one.

Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games

After the massive success of the "Hunger Games" book trilogy, there was no shortage of actresses looking to score the highly coveted lead role of Katniss Everdeen. Emily Browning, best known for her role in "Sucker Punch" and "The Uninvited," was a top contender for the part, according to Bustle. Saoirse Ronan, who starred in "Hanna" with Cate Blanchett, was also a strong choice with her background in hand-to-hand combat and penchant for athletic roles (via Huffpost). Shailene Woodley was also in the running for the role of Katniss (per IndieWire) but eventually focused her energy on winning the lead role of Tris in the "Divergent" series. Also on the list were Abigial Breslin from "Little Miss Sunshine" and Hailee Steinfeld of "True Grit." Of course, Katniss went to Jennifer Lawrence, and it's hard to imagine anyone else in the role.

Amy Dunne in Gone Girl

Anyone who read "Gone Girl" knew the casting for the character of Amy Dunne had to be perfect. This highly sought-after part was actively pursued by Natalie Portman (via Deadline), Charlize Theron (via Vanity Fair), and Olivia Wilde (via Variety). Portman, the Oscar-winning actress best known for her turn in "Black Swan," would have brought a multi-layered performance, while Charlize Theron's stunningly disturbed turn as Mary Ann Lomax in "The Devil's Advocate" with Keanu Reeves proved she could have nabbed this role alongside Ben Affleck. Finally, Olivia Wilde, no stranger to carrying a film as the deranged Zoe in "The Lazarus Effect," had the looks and the chops for the role of Amy. It ultimately went to Rosamund Pike, who was spot on.

Vivian Ward in Pretty Woman

For awhile, it seemed like every actress in Hollywood was clamoring to play the hooker with a heart of gold in what many consider to be Gary Marshall's masterpiece. Meg Ryan was initially offered the part opposite Richard Gere (per Variety), but had to decline the offer as she had scheduling conflicts. A string of other actresses nearly took the opportunity to play Vivian but had concerns with the subject matter, including Michelle Pfeiffer (via Vogue) and Daryl Hannah (according to Cinema Blend). Julia Roberts ultimately landed the career-making part.

Liu Kang in Mortal Kombat

Live-action video game movies have had a rough go of it ever since Hollywood started making them. In fact, the first few adaptations — 1993's "Super Mario Bros.," and 1994's "Double Dragon" and "Street Fighter" — were all critical and commercial disappointments (via Box-Office Mojo). This trend generally continued until the recent success of the "Sonic the Hedgehog" films and "The Last of Us" TV show on HBO Max (via Rotten Tomatoes).

Despite that, 1995's "Mortal Kombat" was an early outlier, with a good box-office showing and decent reviews, including a "thumbs up" from Gene Siskel. It had amazing fight scenes, showing Hong Kong wire-fu stunts years before "The Matrix." It also got a fun script, slick direction from Paul W.S. Anderson, and a fun cast. This includes the lead, Liu Kang, played by Hong Kong-American actor Robin Shou, who was a great center of the film — bringing the role a sense of strength, integrity, and true leadership. But it wasn't easy.

Shou recalled the arduous and grueling audition experience: "It was the toughest casting process ... I read seven times. My agent friend had never heard of anyone who had to read seven times. I had to read for the producers, the director, the casting director, the line producer and then my final reading was with New Line" (via The Hollywood Reporter). Shou even considered giving up. Luckily he didn't, because "Mortal Kombat" wouldn't be the same without him in the lead role.

The Power Rangers

It cannot be understated just how popular the "Mighty Morphin Power Rangers" TV series and its various sequels — such as "Power Rangers: Turbo" and "Power Ranger in Space" — were in the 1990s. Debuting in 1993, the original show was created by Haim Saban, who bought the rights to the Japanese tokusatsu show "Super Sentai," which depicted a group of heroes in colorful helmets and spandex fighting off evil kaiju monsters. Saban's crew filmed cheap English-language interstitials with young American actors between fighting scenes, creating a hodgepodge mess of style and tones that somehow still worked. Or at least, worked enough to sell merchandise to impressionable kids.

The show inspired two Power Rangers films in the 90s, each starring the TV cast — The first was released in 1995, with a sequel, "Turbo: A Power Rangers Movie," released in 1997. Then, after over 20 Power Rangers spin-off shows, Lionsgate decided to produce a "gritty reboot" of the initial "Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers" in 2017 — an epic, big-budget feature film starring an all-new cast of "teenagers with attitude."

Despite the ultimate critical and commercial disappointment of the 2017 "Power Rangers" reboot (via Box-Office Mojo), the hype for the film before its release was palpable. Many young actors and actresses who were in their teens or early 20s gave it a shot, including up-and-comers such as KJ Apa, Austin Butler, Mitchell Hope, Stefanie Scott, and Ross Butler (via Variety).

Michael Corleone in The Godfather

Believe it or not, Paramount Pictures' first choice for the compelling Godfather franchise was not Al Pacino. It's hard not to picture him in the leading role, but at one point Jack Nicholson was wanted to play Michael Corleone, according to The Guardian. Dustin Hoffman (via Independent) and Warren Beatty also expressed interest in playing the role and made it far in the casting process. Meanwhile, director Francis Ford Coppola nearly pulled out of the project as he fought Paramount executives over casting Marlon Brando as Don Vito Corleone, according to Vanity Fair

Batman in Tim Burton's Batman

As far as Batman movies go, Tim Burton's first Batman flick is legendary. In the '80s, every leading man in Hollywood actively sought an audition to be a part of what was undoubtedly going to be a hit franchise with a stellar paycheck. Can you imagine your favorite Scrooge as Batman? That's right: Bill Murray was reportedly considered for the batsuit. Mel Gibson was rumored too, as were Charlie Sheen and Alec Baldwin (via CBS). After all that, Michael Keaton was the lucky guy who eventually donned the cape and cowl.

Batman in Batman Begins

Batman is a resilient character. He first debuted for DC Comics in 1939, and the caped crusader has since appeared in many different forms — from a moody, violent vigilante based on the Shadow (via Comics Alliance), to a goofy and campy comedic crime fighter who has a red phone to the police.

Batman's first movie (unless you count the extremely racist '40s serials) came out in 1966 and was based on the Adam West-led TV series. But the hero's first big blockbuster was the 1989 Tim Burton-directed version mentioned in the previous entry. Although Burton agreed to helm the sequel, filmmaking duties were later handed over to Joel Schumacher, whose Batman sequels were more campy and reminiscent of the Adam West series.

Whatever fans think of those movies now, many at the time felt Schumacher poisoned the franchise, leading to a full reboot. Ironically, Schumacher himself suggested doing a darker, more serious Batman movie before "Batman & Robin" flopped (via The Hollywood Reporter). Luckily Warner Bros. saw the value. British director Christopher Nolan — who had just helmed the twisty neo-noir "Memento" from 2000 — was brought in as director based on his pitch of a gritty, realistic take on the material. Many actors auditioned, including Jake Gyllenhaal and Cillian Murphy, who would later get cast as the scarecrow (via Variety). Fortunately, Christian Bale — hot off his role as the lead of "America Psycho" — nabbed the role.

Ferris Bueller in Ferris Bueller's Day Off

John Hughes reportedly wrote "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" with Matthew Broderick in mind, according to Mental Floss, but other actors had to be considered. Johnny Depp was initially offered the role but ultimately turned it down (via US Magazine). Jim Carrey was also rumored to be in the mix (via Total Film), but after conducting his studio-mandated search, Hughes returned to Matthew Broderick, the guy he'd wanted for the part all along — and in hindsight, it's pretty obvious he had the right idea.

Dr. Evil in Austin Powers

Who doesn't get a kick out of this super '60s-themed spy comedy? Up until a scheduling conflict with the production of "Liar, Liar," comedy superstar Jim Carrey was set to play Dr. Evil in "Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery." Stuck for an actor to fill the crucial role, star and creator Mike Myers decided to don the bald cap and play Austin Powers' nemesis himself.

Rachel on Friends

Easily one of the most popular sitcoms of all time, "Friends" catapulted every actor involved to fame, most notably Jennifer Aniston, who played Rachel Green. Many young hopefuls auditioned for the role that would eventually inspire one of the most imitated hairstyles of all time, and at first, the producers expressed strong interest in actress Tea Leoni (via Elle). Aniston passed on an opportunity at "Saturday Night Live" to sign on for the sitcom, according to AV Club, and the rest was must-see TV history.

Aragorn in The Lord of the Rings

The quest to find the perfect actor to play the future King of Gondor was almost as long as Frodo and Sam's journey to Mordor. When Peter Jackson and his team set out to adapt J.R.R. Tolkien's fantasy epic "The Lord of the Rings" for the silver screen, they launched an exhaustive worldwide casting search that included quite a few of Hollywood's heaviest hitters — many of whom were eyed for the role of Aragorn.

Nicolas Cage turned it down, telling Newsweek he couldn't "be away from home for three years." Three-time Oscar winner Daniel Day-Lewis also famously said no, citing fears of boredom, according to MTV. Russell Crowe considered joining the fellowship, but budget constraints caused him to pull out (via Telegraph). Stuart Townsend, 27, was finally cast and trained for over two months, but was replaced with Viggo Mortensen just before filming began, as Jackson felt Townsend was too young for the role.

Frodo Baggins in The Lord of the Rings

Aragorn (aka Strider) wasn't the only one sought far and wide in Peter Jackson's "Lord of the Rings." The very heart of the entire trilogy rests on the tiny shoulders –- and big, hairy feet –- of one Frodo Baggins, a humble and noble hobbit of the Shire. Unfortunately, Jackson had trouble finding the perfect Frodo, a character who had to embody so many different attributes in one person, most notably a real sense of kindness and purity of heart.

In an interview with Charlie Rose, Jackson said he'd seen over 200 would-be Frodos at one point, and almost none of them seemed quite right for the role. This included star Jake Gyllenhaal, who — after his historically disastrous audition — was coldly told by Jackson that he was the worst actor he'd ever seen (via Vulture).

Fortunately, former child star Elijah Wood ("North") –- who was a fan of "The Hobbit" novel and Peter Jackson's early horror work, such as "Dead Alive" and "Meet the Feebles" –- jumped at the chance to audition. He even hired a dialect coach and videotaped himself on VHS (this was before high-quality video on cellphones, apparently) to ship to Jackson himself (via GQ). That tape was apparently enough to convince Jackson that Wood was the guy to take the more than three year journey to film the epic trilogy. 

Young Lara Croft in Tomb Raider

Origin stories are all the rage these days, so it's not surprising that MGM, Warner Bros., and GK Films decided to reboot the "Tomb Raider" film franchise nearly 15 years after Angelina Jolie last donned the popular video game heroine's infamous hot pants. According to director Roar Uthaug, this new film incarnation features Lara Croft as a "young woman who hasn't yet found her way and her place in the world," according to GQ.

Not long after the project was announced, a host of Hollywood's hottest young female talent lined up to try to snag the part, including Saoirse Ronan and Emilia Clarke (via Deadline). "Star Wars" heroine Daisy Ridley was in serious talks with the casting team at one point (via The Hollywood Reporter), but ultimately, the producers went with Oscar winner Alicia Vikander, according to EW.

Christian and Satine in Moulin Rouge

It's hard to imagine anyone but Ewan McGregor and Nicole Kidman as the ill-fated lovers in Baz Luhrmann's hypnotic movie musical "Moulin Rouge," but the visionary Aussie director saw tons of actors during a lengthy audition process. Luhrmann was particularly impressed by Jake Gyllenhaal, telling MTV the actor has a "great voice, tremendous voice." Interestingly, it was during these auditions when Gyllenhaal met his future "Brokeback Mountain" costar Heath Ledger, who was also being considered, according to Huffpost

Ledger even went so far as to read scenes with Nicole Kidman, but Luhrmann went with McGregor when they changed Christian's age, making Ledger too young. Though Kidman wound up as Satine, "Hole" frontwoman Courtney Love also auditioned for the consumptive courtesan. Luhrmann found her "beguiling," and though she wasn't cast, Love helped him obtain the rights to her late husband Kurt Cobain's song "Smells Like Teen Spirit" for the film.

Cole Sear in The Sixth Sense

M. Night Shyamalan's critically-acclaimed breakthrough horror film "The Sixth Sense" made Haley Joel Osment a star and landed him a best supporting actor Oscar nomination at the ripe old age of 11 (per The Chicago Tribune). Cole Sear, the little boy who can communicate with the dead, was a plum role, and lots of Hollywood's youngest actors were eager to see dead people in the 1999 flick.

Liam Aiken, the star of "Stepmom" and later "A Series of Unfortunate Events," auditioned for Shyamalan (per NY Mag). He wanted the role badly, but his mother declined due to his age (he was only 8 at the time) and the dark subject matter. While he's mostly now known as a comedic actor, Michael Cera also auditioned to play the sensitive, troubled Cole. In an interview with Esquire, Cera recalled not knowing the character sees dead people and instead playing the serious, emotional audition scene "very optimistically." Needless to say, Cera's shot at the role was dead too.


Superman is perhaps the most iconic superhero in the history of the genre, as well as the first superhero to star in his own comic book in 1938 (via Britannica). Because of that, he is the platonic idea of a superhero. His costume and abilities — super-strength, super-speed, and laser vision, among others — are the source of many parodies, from Homelander on Amazon Prime's "The Boys" to Omni-Man in the animated series "Invincible." While Superman wasn't the first superhero to get his own film (that was Captain Marvel in 1941's "The Adventures of Captain Marvel," a movie serial by Republic Pictures), he was the first superhero to get the big-budget treatment that's standard today.

In the late 1970s, producer Alexander Salkind got the rights to Superman and tapped "The Omen" director Richard Donner to helm the superhero epic (via Empire). Salkind was looking to get an A-lister to wear the iconic spandex tights and cape — courting the entire who's who of '70s Hollywood at one point, including Nick Nolte, Clint Eastwood, Robert Redford, Sylvester Stallone, Harrison Ford, and others, according to Esquire. Donner, on the other hand, advocated for an unknown actor to play Superman so the character could shine without being bogged down by a star persona (can anyone say, "Black Adam?"). The producers initially disagreed, but cooler heads ended up prevailing. 

Ultimately, they went with the relatively unknown 24-year-old Julliard-trained actor Christopher Reeve, who turned into the ideal Superman — even to this day.

Spider-Man in the Marvel Cinematic Universe

Despite being one of the most recognizable comic-book superheroes of all time, Spider-Man had a hard time getting his Hollywood debut. Originally, the film rights went to schlockmeister B-movie studio Cannon Films — the studio behind the infamous "Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo." Tobe Hooper ("Texas Chainsaw Massacre") was hired to direct a horror movie version of the story (via Digital Spy). After rewrites and budget cuts, the project was shut down and the rights shuffled around before eventually reverting to Marvel, who sold them to Sony Pictures Entertainment in 1999. 

The success of "Blade" in 1998 and "X-Men" in 2000 piqued the studio's interest in superhero movies and eventually led to Sam Raimi's iconic Spider-Man trilogy, which later inspired the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). After "Spider-Man 3," there was uncertainty about if Spider-Man would ever join the MCU (Sony Pictures owned the rights to the character and all his proprietary villains). Luckily, Disney and Sony reached an agreement, with Spider-Man making his first MCU appearance in 2016's "Captain America: Civil War." 

Almost every major young star aged 15-25 came in to read for the MCU version of Spider-Man, including "Dune" star Timothée Chalamet (via The Hollywood Reporter), Asa Butterfield (via Collider), and "Ms. Marvel" co-star Matt Lintz (via Insider). The casting web was spread so wide that the actor who ended up sticking was relatively unknown theater star Tom Holland, who at the time was best known for the stage musical version of "Billy Elliot." 


One of the most disappointing cinema trends in recent years is the dreaded Disney live-action remake, such as 2017's banal "Beauty and the Beast," 2019's "The Lion King" (whose "live-action" distinction is dubious at best), 2021's misbegotten "Cruella," and many more. This includes director Guy Ritchie's 2019 "Aladdin" live-action remake, which — while being one of the better films in this depressing genre (via Rotten Tomatoes) –- still isn't saying much.

One of the bright spots of the "Aladdin" film, however, is its casting. According to Julie Ann Crommett — Disney's vice president of Multicultural Engagement –- casting took half a year and demanded travel to over a dozen countries to find just the right actors to authentically portray the eponymous thief with a heart of gold, as well as his love interest Princess Jasmine (via Entertainment Weekly). Luckily, they landed on the Egyptian-Canadian actor Mena Massoud to play Aladdin and Naomi Scott (from the previous entry "Power Rangers") as the aforementioned Princess Jasmine. They were joined by Will Smith as The Genie, previously (and famously) voiced by late comedian Robin Williams.

Everyone –- in the cast at least –- was able to take their animated counterparts and do them justice, while also adding their own flair and personalities to them. If only the film around them could do as well ...


"The Addams Family" — that idyllically kooky and spooky goth family — have been around for decades, debuting in a 1938 issue of The New Yorker as a macabre and hilarious single-panel comic written by the aptly named Charles Addams. They were meant to be a parody of "normal" families, focusing on dark things rather than suburban ideals, like using guillotines to chop off doll's heads or dropping hot oil on Christmas carolers. 

The family has been featured in multiple TV and movie adaptations, most notably the 1960s black-and-white sitcom, as well as the 1991 live-action feature film. In 2022, Netflix took its own shot at portraying the family in "Wednesday," a spin-off series created by "Smallville" showrunners Alfred Gough and Miles Millar. Not only that, but the spooky patron saint of Hot Topic himself, Tim Burton, helped produce and direct five episodes.

As the title suggests, this particular series focuses solely on the stoic and sadistic Wednesday. However, unlike pretty much every other iteration of the character, including the film version famously played by Christina Ricci (who appears in "Wednesday" as a different character), this Wednesday is a teenager rather than a child. 

According to casting director John Papsidera, finding the right Wednesday to helm the show was "daunting," because so many factors had to align to make the character, and the show, successful (via CNN). That was, until he found Jenna Ortega ("X" and 2022's "Scream"), who nailed her audition while covered in blood (via Wired).