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The Iconic Role Kevin Costner Handed To Harrison Ford

Almost every Hollywood movie goes through some casting trials and tribulations. Directors may consider any number of actors, creating a real "Sliding Doors" situation with regards to what could have been. Often, we don't know who almost played Iron Man or who turned down being one of Charlie's Angels. But there are some famous almost-castings: Eric Stoltz was cast as Marty McFly in "Back to the Future" and actually shot part of the film before producers decided to get the kid from "Family Ties." Will Smith has gone on his YouTube channel to discuss why he passed on "The Matrix" to do — brace yourselves — "Wild Wild West."

Harrison Ford has been on the receiving end of many of these "What if?" casting scenarios, and he's benefitted from each one. Kurt Russell was in serious contention for Han Solo but eventually went to Ford. Then, when George Lucas and Steven Spielberg were casting Indiana Jones, they thought Tom Selleck was the guy. Lucas offered the part to Selleck, who had to turn it down to keep doing "Magnum P.I." (per IGN). Who was there to scoop up Selleck's sloppy seconds? Harrison gosh dang Ford.

By the late 1990s, it got to the point that actors started handing parts over to Ford. In fact, that's how the "Indiana Jones" star got to play the president.

Kevin Costner gave Harrison Ford Air Force One

In a 1997 Los Angeles Times profile, Harrison Ford explained that he got the role of President Marshall in "Air Force One" because Kevin Costner specifically passed it on to him. "This was a script that Kevin Costner originally had, and he gave it to me," he said. "Kevin knew this was a big commercial movie, and his schedule didn't allow him to do it." He went on to reveal that Costner specifically told the producers of the late '90s action movie that he would step away from the role if it was certain that the "Star Wars" alum could have the part.

"Air Force One" became a defining role for Ford, who got to extend his action movie leading man status by another decade after playing a butt-kicking president at the age of 55. In later years, the actor eventually got the chance to reprise the iconic roles of his youth, like Indiana Jones and Han Solo, in sequel installments to legacy franchises.

One might assume that Costner and Ford were besties in order for one actor to do such a solid for another. Turns out, that wasn't the case. Ford went on to tell the LA Times, "Now Kevin and I are not intimates. I've met him on a number of occasions, and I like him very much. I like him a lot more now because he really threw a winner my way."