We’re not saying they were physically afraid to take a role…OK, maybe a few of these people were physically afraid. Pause. Rewind. Let’s reset the stage. Actors turn down roles for a variety of reasons. Sometimes the script doesn’t speak to them, and sometimes they may not trust that the director can execute the vision. Whatever the case, these valid concerns often manifest into legitimate fears for actors and actresses who are considering big roles. Here are eight well known names, and their fears–both legitimate and misplaced–that kept them from taking iconic roles.
8. Mel Gibson – Batman in Tim Burton’s Batman
“I’m Batman.” Can you imagine the words uttered by Mel Gibson? He was Tim Burton’s first choice for the role of Bruce Wayne/Batman in the 1989 release that eventually starred Michael Keaton. Setting aside any personal feelings, Mel Gibson is a great actor who would have easily pulled off the role. There is nothing Mel has done that he hasn’t done expertly. Even offending people, he has done it expertly. So, why didn’t Mel take the role of Batman? He was afraid the film would flop. He didn’t see how it could be well-executed during that time period, and felt that kids would see it and it would soon be forgotten. It wasn’t the first, nor the last time Mel missed the mark with his thought process. The film went on to enjoy wild success, spawn a sequel and some iconic performances by Michael Keaton and Jack Nicholson.Broadimage/REX ©Warner Bros./courtesy Everett Collection