- Ralph Machio, The Karate Kid, 1983. Thanks, but no thanks said Charlie when passing on the titular Daniel LaRusso.
- Johnny Depp, A Nightmare On Elm Street, 1984. Charlie was very keen on playing Glen, but Wes Craven’s horror squad could not afford Sheen’s shine. So this became Depp’s debut. He’d simply accompaned pal Jackie Earl Haley to the auditions and the producer’s daughter found him dreamy. Ohio auteur Wes Craven agreed after seeing Nicolas Cage, John Cusack, C Thomas Howell, Brad Pitt and Kiefer Sutherland for the heroine’s boyfriend.
- Michael J Fox, Back To The Future, 1984. For producer Steven Spielberg, the ideal Marty McFly was Fox. But he could hardly quit his hit Family Ties series. So director Robert Zemeckis looked over the usual young suspects: Sheen, John Cusack, Johnny Depp, and C Thomas Howell, signed Stoltz, fired him after five weeks for not being enough of a screwball and Fox worked around the clock daily on his series and his breakthrough movie. And lived to make two sequels!
- Andrew McCarthy, Pretty In Pink, 1985. Sheen - and James Spader – tested for Blane… described on the casting call sheet as “a hunky, square-jawed jock. ” Not my type, moaned the third-time John Hughes star, Molly Ringwald. After the McAudiiton, she told Hughes: “That's the kind of guy I would fall in love with.”
- Michael Keaton, Batman, 1988.
- Tom Cruise, Born on the Fourth of July, 1989.
- Andy Garcia, The Godfather: Part III, 1991.
- Gary Oldman, JFK, 1991.
- Val Kilmer, The Doors, 1991. Despite their Platoon/Wall Street films, it was not scenarist-director Oliver Stone, but others seeing Sheen as Jim Morrison during the decade long history of the film.
- Keanu Reeves, Point Break, 1991. UK director Ridley Scott's choice of FBI man into mind games with a surf cowboy, when due as Riders of the Storm.
- Michael Douglas, Basic Instinct, 1991.
- Keanu Reeves, Bram Stoker's Dracula, 1992. William Baldwin, Johnny Depp, , Christian Slater were also seen for the mild-mannered. Jonathan Harker. The Columbia suits voted Reeves. He was hot, the others were not. D’oh! Slater famously fled, opining: “If you’re not going to play Dracula in Dracula, why bother? I'd already been Robin Hood's brother.”
- Woody Harrelson, White Men Can't Jump, 1992. "I didn't feel it would be any fun. I don't feel connected to basketball. When I do a baseball movie, I know I'm gonna have a good time."
- Tom Cruise, The Firm, 1992.Sheen and Jason Patric were both on the wish-list for Mitch McDeere,author John Grisham’s latestyoung lawyer hero.This one discovers his law firm is run by the Mafia.
- Woody Harrelson, Indecent Proposal, 1993. "I didn't want to have my wife in the movie snatched by Robert Redford. Besides, to show, in the end, that the million dollars didn't mean anything to the guy by having him buy an elephant, or whatever the fuck it was... I mean, the millionaire's already jammed your wife, man, keep the cash!"
- Oliver Platt, The Three Musketeers, 1993. He turned down Porthos - he had the humour, just not the build anymore. Slim enough for Aramis. Platt was offered Porthos in two of the three Dumas frolics jockeying for a complete quartet. And Sheen just hated horses.
- Tim Robbins, The Shawshank Redemption, 1993. Also in the frame (up) for Stephen King’s prisoner #37927, were: Jeff Bridges, Nicolas Cage, Kevin Costner, Johnny Depp, And both Toms. Cruise and Hanks. Charlie’s Dad, Martin Sheen, had filmed another King novel, The Dead Zone, ten years previously - and the writer directed Charlie’s elder sibling, Emilio Estevez, in Maximum Overdrive, 1985.
- Peter Greene, The Usual Suspects, 1994. Jeff Bridges, Johnny Cash, Tommy Lee Jones, Al Pacino, James Spader, Christopher Walken were also seen for Redfoot, the LA fence. The New Jersey actor got the part - but no credit.
- Woody Harrelson, The Cowboy War, 1994. He who once called himself “a high-priest Vatican assassin warlock,” passed three in a row to Woody...
- Sean Penn, Carlito's Way, 1994. When Charlie passed, Sean grabbed it - he needed money for his second film as a director, The Crossing Guard, 1995.
- Matthew Modine, Cutthroat Island, 1995. All the guys (Jeff Bridges, Daniel Day-Lewis, Michael Douglas, Ralph Fiennes, Michael Keaton, Liam Neeson, Keanu Reeves) loved the idea of playing pirates - just not with the leading lady Geena Davis’ husband, Renny Harlin, directing. Who was gonna getthe best looking close-ups!
- Val Kilmer, Wings of Courage, 1995. French realisateur Jean-Jacques Annaud had to search elsewhere for his Imax movie lead when Sheen refused a drug test.
- Patrick Swayze To Wong Fu, Thanks For Everything, Julie Newmar, 1995. Matt Dillon, Robert Downey Jr, Rob Lowe, Wesley Snipes, James Spader - they also entered the drag race. Only Snipes won a role.
- Christian Slater, Murder in the First, 1995. Director Marc Rocco decided to thank Slater for his uncredited cameo in Rocco's breakthrough, Where The Day Takes You, 1992.
- Guy Pearce, Memento, 1999. After Alec Baldwin foolishly passed on the hero with massive short-term memory loss, director Christopher Nolan (adapting his brother Jonathan’s short story)looked at Sheen, Aaron Eckhart, Thomas Jane, Brad Pitt. None could have matched the moving work of Pearce, who also had the advantage of being lesser known and, therefore, more credible as Leonard...forever htalking fast to stop forgetting what he’s talking about!
- Michael C Hall, Dexter, TV, 2006-2013. Everyone from Charlie and his brother Emilio Estevez to - quite stupidly, - Tom Cruise, Sean Penn, Ben Stiller, were listed for TV’s most unlikely hero. Dexter Morgan was the Miami PD’s blood-splatter expert moonlighting as a serial killer... of other killers. Charlie was busy enough earning the TV’s biggest salary - $1.25 million per episode of Two And A Half Men, 2003-10.
- François Arnaud, The Borgias, TV, 2010. The Italian Caligula director Tinto Brass told me he offered Cesare Borgia to Sheen... long before Irish director Neil Jordan got his film off the ground - as a TV series.