10 Strangest Reasons Actors Turned Down Famous Movie Roles

Tom Cruise couldn't understand how Edward Scissorhands would go to the bathroom.

Tom Cruise Edward Scissorhands
Warner Bros/Deepfake

Hollywood is an incredibly fickle place - careers can be made and shattered in an instant, and the sheer amount of leg-work that goes into making even the most mediocre movie is absolutely mind-boggling.

As such, the film we end up watching is never exactly the one the director imagined: it is a product of compromise, luck, and at least a little skill.

Casting is often one of the major sticking points in the pre-production period, especially if the director and studio can't agree on an actor, or the desired actor ends up turning the project down.

Case in point, these 10 beloved movies all saw beefy parts declined by famous and on-the-rise actors for reasons you wouldn't ever expect.

Beyond the usual excuses - namely the blandly uninformative "scheduling conflicts" and "creative differences" - these actors had specific, pointed, and uncommon reasons for saying "thanks, but no thanks" to these parts.

From having bizarre misgivings with the script to facing personal discord at home, battling their own insecurities, or even deciding to step aside so another actor could take the part, these sure aren't your garden variety rejections...

10. Laurence Fishburne Thought It Glorified Heroin Use - Pulp Fiction

Tom Cruise Edward Scissorhands
New Line Cinema & Miramax

The Role

Jules Winnfield, the smooth-talking, no-nonsense associate of crime boss Marsellus Wallace (Ving Rhames), as was ultimately played by Samuel L. Jackson to iconic, Oscar-nominated success.

But Quentin Tarantino's original choice was none other than Laurence Fishburne - in fact, Tarantino wrote the part entirely with him in mind, while Jackson was his second choice.

Why He Turned It Down

Though Tarantino claimed at the time that Fishburne declined the role because he didn't see it as a starring role, the actor clarified in a recent interview that he actually had misgivings with how the film depicted heroin use.

Namely, he felt that Tarantino's script effectively glamorised the drug, which made him uncomfortable. In his own words:

"I just had a problem with the way the heroin use was dealt with... I just felt it was a little cavalier, and it was a little loose. I felt like it made heroin use attractive... It was about the way in which the heroin thing was delivered. And the whole f**king thing with the hypodermic and the adrenaline shot? No."

Fishburne added that the size of the role had nothing to do with him turning it down, and that he has no qualms about Jackson taking the part and making it his own: "Sam f**king sticks the movie in his pocket and walks away from it, walks into a f**king leading-man career."

While no movie reads exactly the same on the page as it does on the screen, it's still tough to appreciate that Fishburne could come away from Tarantino's script thinking it was in any way making heroin use look sexy or aspirational. Just no.


Stay at home dad who spends as much time teaching his kids the merits of Martin Scorsese as possible (against the missus' wishes). General video game, TV and film nut. Occasional sports fan. Full time loon.