With the release of Black Adam on October 21, Pierce Brosnan will don the superhero Doctor Fate, but, once upon a time, the Irish actor was offered a different DC role than Batman – only to turn it down! Brosnan shared this revelation in a Reddit AMA back in 2014, and it’s an example of when an actor doesn’t have the passion for a superhero role back in the day.
Brosnan isn’t the only actor to have felt this rumination where later the actor either changed his mind or found the role in a comic book movie – hero or villain – that suited him. From Tom Hardy to Joaquin Phoenix, these actors will take on roles in the ever-expanding Marvel Cinematic Universe, the DC Extended Universe, or even original superhero movies.
The talented Tom Hardy has been blessed with being in two different superhero franchises. He was Bane in The Dark Knight Rises and currently portrays Venom in the Sony-Verse of Marvel movies.
However, between those two terms, Tom Hardy nearly joined the DC Extended Universe. According to Collider, Tom Hardy was really excited to play Rick Flag in David Ayer’s Suicide Squad, but due to a shooting schedule conflict with The Revenant, Hardy had to turn down the role. Joel Kinnaman replaced him while, years later, Hardy continued to shine as anti-hero Eddie Brock/Venom in his own titular series.
According to a report from SlashFilm, Jessica Chastain twice refused to star in the MCU. She was originally supposed to play Maya Hansen in Iron Man 3, but she had to leave because she was working on other projects. After that, Chastain turned down another role as Christine Palmer in Doctor Strange, and while she was available she wanted to have a comic book role that would allow her to use her ballet training.
In a twist of events apparently, Jessica Chastain finally got to play a comic book character as Vuk in 2019’s Dark Phoenix, which was one of the most maligned X-Men movies. Perhaps another day will come when Jessica Chastain will once again consider joining the worlds of Marvel or DC.
A long list of actors was considered for Tim Burton’s Batman before Michael Keaton landed the role. Potential actors who almost became Batman included Kurt Russell, Willem Dafoe, and even Bill Murray. And Burton approached none other than James Bond actor Pierce Brosnan.
The superheroes weren’t the Hollywood goliath they are today, so it’s understandable that some actors dropped out of the role. In 2014, Brosnan confirmed meeting Burton on a Reddit AMA and revealed that he originally disliked the idea of the costumes, considering them too silly. However, Brosnan has changed that mindset as he now joins the DCEU as Doctor Fate in Black Adam.
From Cillian Murphy to Henry Cavill, many actors have attempted the role of Batman in Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins. According to NME, Nolan confirmed that Heath Ledger was a candidate, but he turned down the opportunity because he had no interest in superhero movies.
The success of Batman Begins seemed to make Ledger think twice as he would end up giving an Oscar-winning performance as the Joker in the sequel. Sadly, this would be Heath Ledger’s last role before his tragic passing shortly before the film’s release, but people still remember his legacy as the Joker, even recalling the character’s greatest quotes.
In the late 90s, Will Smith was a rising mega-star, which involved him in several giant blockbusters. He also turned down many roles, including the chance to play Superman in Superman Returns. Via Comicbookmovie.com, he said he turned down the role due to possible backlash from a black actor playing Superman.
Will Smith went on to have a role as Superman in the underrated original superhero movie, Hancock. After that, Smith joined the DCEU as Deadshot in David Ayer’s Suicide Squad.
Jude Law is another actor who was considered playing Superman. Law was tested for the role, but in the end, Brandon Routh became the titular superhero in 2006’s Superman Returns.
What happened was that Law ended up turning down the opportunity to don the red cape costume – literally! According to Variety, Law didn’t care how he looked in the costume and just decided it wasn’t for him. More than a decade later, he rejoined the superhero world with the role of Yon-Rogg in the MCU’s Captain Marvel.
According to Deadline, it’s become fairly well known that Josh Brolin was almost cast as the former Batman in Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice. However, he simply lost that role to Ben Affleck rather than decline. However, according to NME, Zack Snyder offered Josh Brolin to play Lex Luthor instead, only for Brolin to turn her down.
Brolin would later join two different Marvel Universes right after the failed attempt at the DC Universe. He debuted as the Mad Titan known as Thanos in Guardians Of The Galaxy and became the big bad for the rest of the Infinity Saga. After that, Josh Brolin played Cable in the Deadpool franchise, which even ended up parodying the DC Universe.
From secret agents to international treasure hunters, Angelina Jolie has played many action hero roles, but surprisingly, it wasn’t until 2021 that she joined the superhero world. As Thena in the MCU’s Eternals, Jolie portrayed an elegant warrior who inspired the likes of Athena.
While it seems baffling that Jolie hasn’t appeared in any superhero movies before, she spilled the tea that she had been offered a role long before becoming Thena. However, Jolie never specified which character, as she kept the details under wraps so as not to distract from the actor. Nonetheless, some people started speculating what role it was, with rumors being that she almost took on the role of Amazonian warrior Wonder Woman (via MovieWeb).
Jason Momoa helped redeem Aquaman after shows like Super Friends made the hero the subject of ridicule. Before Aquaman, however, Jason Momoa was wanted for the role of Drax The Destroyer in Guardians of the Galaxy.
According to IGN, the role did not sit well with Jason Momoa, so he turned it down because the character was too similar to his other past roles. It worked really well as Dave Bautista ended up becoming the definitive new Drax who steals the movies in every scene he’s in, while Jason wowed DC fans with his charming portrayal as the ruler of Atlantis. .
It’s no secret that Joaquin Phoenix isn’t exactly a great franchise actor even though he has nothing against them. But, when Marvel was looking for their Doctor Strange, Phoenix at some point offered to play the wizard. Many fans would agree that he probably would have nailed the character, but according to CinemaBlend, Phoenix turned him down, which opened the doors for Benedict Cumberbatch to land the role.
Phoenix would enter the superhero universe with 2019’s Joker, playing the titular villain in its genesis. After playing the anti-hero, Phoenix’s opinions have changed, as not only is the Joker his best and only Oscar-winning role, but he’ll also be reprising the role for an upcoming sequel – the first time he’ll appear there. .
Similar to Joaquin Phoenix, Edward Norton rarely makes it into major franchise films, but that hasn’t stopped studios from trying to cast him. Before Ben Affleck was hired, Edward Norton was offered to play Marvel’s main hero and lawyer, Matt Murdock, in the 2003 film Daredevil.
According to IGN, Norton declined the role to focus on his writing and directing efforts. Five years later, Edward Norton attempted to play a superhero as the titular character in 2008’s The Incredible Hulk, the second cinematic entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Unfortunately, his stint as Bruce Banner/Hulk was short-lived and he was replaced by Mark Ruffalo, who has since assumed the role.
After the first Rocky exploded in theaters, Sylvester Stallone was an instant Hollywood star, so much so that when Superman: The Movie began production, the studio was targeting Stallone for the lead role. In the end, Sylvester Stallone felt that playing Superman just wasn’t his style and declined.
Since then, Stallone has appeared in three different superhero movie roles. He had a brief role in Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2, he stole scenes and hearts as King Shark in James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad, and now stars as a retired superhero in Samaritan on Prime Video. Ironically, his role in Samaritan is reminiscent of Superman’s strength and powers, so full circle.