When writing anything its important to picture it in your mind's eye which means that screenwriters usually have an idea of the archetype of actor they want for each character. Whether they write the role with them in mind specifically from the off, or it happens to go that way after time, sometimes writers can't detach a character from their ideal casting.
But these men and women don't get to make the final call. Casting directors and production studios have a much greater influence over the stars that sign on to bring to life the character that exists on the page.
Now and then, first consideration actors are approached but pass on projects due to scheduling or general disinterest. When you're a big star, you can be picky about the scripts that you actually take on board.
This list will focus on surprising character roles that were either written for specific stars or at the very least had them in mind, approaching them early, before being taken on by the actor who we eventually saw on screen.
10. Will Smith As Django - Django Unchained
Whilst it remains popular film trivia that the role of Neo in The Matrix was originally offered to Will Smith before Keanu Reeves was eventually cast, it’s hardly the only film that Smith has been kept in mind for during the early stages.
With a back catalogue like the Fresh Prince’s, as well as the generational appeal, it’s not all that shocking that directors big and small wanted to work with him. Quentin Tarantino has worked with a lot of the biggest names in cinema over the last several decades, but he's yet to pen anything for Will Smith... unless you count the fact that Smith was offered the role of Django in 2012 Western thriller Django Unchained.
Rumour stated that Smith was uncomfortable with staring in such a violent movie and a story that centred on slavery. However, the Academy Award winner said that he simply passed on it because he wanted to play the lead and didn’t think Django was the true protagonist.
Sure enough, in the film’s conclusion, King Schultz (Christoph Waltz) kills the picture’s villain (Leonardo DiCaprio) rather than Django himself, and Smith, in his words, “wanted to kill the bad guy”. Coincidentally, Waltz did win Best Supporting Actor for the role, whereas the final casting of Django, Jamie Foxx, whilst praised walked out of the process without any new awards.