- Mark Patton, A Nightmare On Elm Street Part 2: Freddy’s Revenge, 1985. Robert Englund has a new victim. But it’s not Slater, John Stamos... or Brad Pitt.
- John Cusack, Say Anything, 1989. Turned down the lead in scenarist-director Cameron Crowe’s third movie. “I had a different interpretation than his. I wasn’t in a simple frame of mind. Anyway, John Cusack nailed it perfectly.”
- Brad Pitt, Thelma & Louise, 1990.
- Patrick Dempsey, Mobsters, 1991. Once Matt Dillon quit, Slater moved his young buns into Lucky Luciano’s suits leaving Meyer Lansky to Irishman Dempsey.
- Val Kilmer, The Doors, 1991. Writer-producer-director Oliver Stone’s casting director Risa Bramon Garcia recalls Slater’s discomfort with the bold language of the erotic test scene.
- Gary Oldman, Bram Stoker's Dracula, 1992. Director Francis Coppola decided to make the old legend "younger, very erotic, very romantic and very horrific." Losing his favourites - Jeremy Irons, Daniel Day-Lewis - Francey looked at everyone else, mainly during auditions at his Napa Valley estate… Slater, Armand Assante, Antonio Banderas, Nick Cassavetes, Nicolas Cage, Rupert Everett, Colin Firth, Andy Garcia, Hugh Grant, Ray Liotta, Kyle MacLachlan, Viggo Mortensen, Dermot Mulroney, Michael Nouri (a long way from Flashdance), Adrian Pasdar, Jason Patric, Aiden Quinn, Keanu Reeves, Alan Rickman and Sting.
- Keanu Reeves, Bram Stoker's Dracula, 1992. Slater was later offered Lucy’s guy, Jonathan Harker. No way! “If you’re not going to play Dracula in Dracula, why bother? I’d already been Robin Hood's brother.”
- Woody Harrelson, Indecent Proposal, 1993. He preferred UK director Adrian Lyne (“a really cool guy”) to the script - “a little strange and Honeymoon in Vegas covered it pretty well.”
- Tim Robbins, The Hudsucker Proxy, 1993. “I sort of screwed that one up. Probably an error on my part. C’est la vie.”
- Brandon Lee, The Crow, 1993. Also listed for the titular Eric Draven: Johnny Depp, Michael Jackson, River Phoenix. Lee won - and died in a terrible accident with a gun shooting blanks while filming the hero’s murder on March 31, 1993. “It is not without irony that the story involves a hero who returns from the dead,” noted Chicago critic Roger Ebert, “just as, in a sense, Lee has with the release of this film.”
- Tim Roth, Pulp Fiction, 1993.
- Emilio Esevez, Judgment Night, US-Japan,1993. Hardly an A List movie. So, Tom Cruise also passed. As did so many others that Lionsgate got worried and desperate. Good news for Emilio - winning a higher salary than usual. He also arrived complete with a favourite line from his 1986 Stakeout: “Lucy, I’m home!You’ve got some explaining to do.”
- Kevin Bacon, Murder In The First, 1994. Asked to be the Alactraz prisoner, Slater told his director pal, Marc Rocco, that he’d prefer the lawyer, a more mature role after playing so many odd-balls.
- Antonio Banderas, Assassins, 1995. You’re a young Hollywood star and you havethe choice of working withone of two legends: Sylvester Stallone or Hong Kong directorJohnWoo...No contest! Slater voted for Woo’s second Hollywood venture,Broken Arrow.
- Keanu Reeves, The Devil's Advocate, 1997. Among the many chased to be the lawyer finding out thathis client was...Satan.
- Robert Sean Leonard, The I Inside, 2003. A new brother for the man who died for two minutes... and now hasno memory for the past two years...
- John Cusack, Igor, 2007. The first choice for the titular voice only had time for a cameo as one of “the other Igors.” Also lending their voices were voices John Cleese, Steve Buscemi, Eddie Izzard and Jay Leno.