Would you turn down the chance to play a superhero in a movie? I know I probably wouldn’t (can you imagine the money?!), but there are plenty of very good actors that have. There are many reasons someone could do something like this: they don’t like the script, they’re not a fan of superheroes, they’re busy working on another movie, etc.
Here are 14 actors who refused to play superheroes!
Joaquin Phoenix (Doctor Strange)
Joaquin Phoenix is acting as the Joker now, but back in the day he actually turned down the role of Doctor Strange in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It all turned out great for us (the fans), because we got Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange, but in a parallel universe that role was played by Joaquin Phoenix. The reason he turned down the role hasn’t been made public, but according to Joaquin himself, everyone involved with the negotiations ended up being happy with the end result.
Jon Hamm (Green Lantern)
When Christian Bale retired from being Bruce Wayne, the speculations about who’d play the next Batman started. I didn’t really care, but when someone suggested Jon Hamm I started paying attention! Hamm himself has said that he’d be happy to act as the caped crusader, but he also revealed that in the past he’s been less enthusiastic about playing superheroes. As a matter of fact, he turned down the role of Green Lantern! I don’t blame him. I bet his agents could feel that the movie would be a catastrophe, and that Hamm’s career wouldn’t survive the blow. He doesn’t have the same level of self-irony as Ryan Reynolds.
Tom Cruise (Iron Man)
What is it with short people being offered the role of Tony Stark? I mean, I can’t possibly imagine Tom Cruise in the role of Iron Man, but turns out he got offered the role and turned it down. He even said yes at first, but then changed his mind. And that’s how we got the absolute perfect Tony Stark by way of RDJ being cast for the role.
Matt Damon (Daredevil)
In 2003 Matt Damon chose not to play Daredevil because he was a big fan of the movie and the script for the film didn’t live up to his high expectations. But Ben Affleck didn’t turn the role down. In the end, the movie was kinda disappointing (by no fault of Ben, who was great!).
Amandla Stenberg (Shuri)
Some actor’s reasons for turning down roles are very socially-conscious. For example Amandla Stenberg turned down the role of Princes Shuri in Black Panther because she felt that the role should go to someone who has darker skin. She later told Vanity Fair that it was a “really challenging, to make that decision, but I have no regrets. I recognize 100 percent that there are spaces that I should not take up.”