- Andrew Schofield, Sid and Nancy, 1986. Refused to be Johnny Rotten - “the history is too recent.” The real Rotten (aka John Lydon) said the film was too fantasy. “The Peter Pan version.”
- Michael Madsen, Reservoir Dogs, 1991.
- Ralph Fiennes, Schindler’s List,1993.
Steven Spielberg considered Roth for Schutzstaffel Unterstumfuhrer Amon Goeth, the evil SS officer running the Płaszów concentration camp. Spielberg spent ten years growing up before makingthe Holocaust film. Indeed, hekept offering the directing job to others:Sidney Lumet(he’d dealt with the Holocaust in The Pawnbroker in 1963), Roman Polanski(“too soon”: he made his WWII film, The Pianist, in200l),Sydney Pollack, Martin Scorsese (“a Jew should make it”). Finally, Spielberg felt mature enough at 47 to handle such a personal story. Seeing any salary as “blood money,” he made it for free.. Result: his first Oscar on March 21, 1994.
- John Travolta, Pulp Fiction, 1993.
- Hugh Grant, Four Weddings And A Funeral, 1994. Roth would have been responsible for the funeral... “They sent me the script. I don’t know if that was the director’s intention, obviously not! [Laugh] It was not something that appealed to me. Phoebe Cates was going to do it and wanted me to do it with her. I like Phoebe. She's a great comedienne. But it all turned around.” Alan Rickman was later on the list for Charles.
- Tom Sizemore, Natural Born Killers, 1994. Most of auteur Quentin Tarantino’s Dogs said no to director Oliver Stone. With good reason. He had stoned Quentin’s script
- George Clooney, From Dusk Till Daw, 1996. Steve Buscemi, Michael Madsen, John Travolta and Tim - all the Tarantino fans were booked...
- John Hawkes,From Dusk Till Dawn, 1996. ...As well as Seth Gecko, Roth (and Steve Buscemi) were too busy for the liquor store clerk Pete Bottoms
- Jeremy Davies, The Million Dollar Hotel, 1999. The first choice of German director Wim Wenders for Tom Tom only had time to accept the shorter role of Izzy.
- Mark Wahlberg, The Yards, 2000. Obviously interested in the second script of his Little Odessa maker, James Gray.
- Anthony Hopkins, Hannibal, 2000. After Jodie Foster and Jonathan Demme quit (after 15 re-writes), Hopkins was reluctant to re-play his Oscar-winning Lecter, Roth was announced as successor. Hopkins rushed back to Hannibal the cannibal and indeed, for a third time in Red Dragon, 2002.
- Robert Caryle, The 51st State, 2001. Financing his writing by working in a liquor store, Stel Pavlou sent his first script to Roth - who loved it but was booked. He passed it to his Pulp Fiction bro’ Samuel L Jackson - who produced it - and co-starred with Carlyle .
- Alan Rickman, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, 2001. Passed on Professor Severus Snape and the whole Harry Potter franchise to work with Tim Burton on a new (but not improved) Planet of the Apes. Bum move.
- Vinnie Jones, The Condemned, 2006. The first choice gave McStarley away to the surprise second choice - an ex-Welsh international footballer opposite a WWE wrestler. Neither one could act their way out of a paper bag, much less this ridiculous “script.”
- Michael Fassbender, Inglourious Basterds, 2008. Tarantino’s (inevitable) first choice as Lieutenant Archie Hicox. Next? Simon Pegg.