- Pete Petrrella, Raging Bull, 1980. Auditioned with his pal Michael Badalucco. "We got these '50s haircuts and clothes. [Director Martin] Scorsese is looking at us like - who are these guys? But they were our heroes. So we were in there, acting our hearts out and De Niro is smiling. I mean, you could see we'd touched him in some way." Six months later, they were hired. As extras. Almost. (They later co-starred in Spike Lee films and Turturro's directing debut, Mac - winner of ther Camera d'Or for Best First Film at Cannes, 1992.
- Nicolas Cage, Moonstruck, 1987. Canadian director Norman Jewison's first choice was rejected by Cher. "If you're dark, you're a bad guy. That's it. I turned down a million bad guy things."
- Richard Edson, Do The Right Thing, 1989. "Spike Lee gave me the choice of the brothers. Vito was the nice guy, Pino was full of hate and racism." He voted Pino. John and his true sibling, Nicholas, played the brothers Flatbush in Spike's next film, Mo' Better Blues, 1990.
- Joe Mantegna, The Godfather: Part III, 1991.
- Sean Penn, Carlito's Way, 1994. Also up for it: Turturro and the Aussie De Niro, Anthony LaPaglia.
- Paul Sorvino, Nixon, 1995. He didn't have Henry ednrfy HKissinger's build - Sorvino did. Besides Turturro was waiting for his Italian film to be greenlit.
- Harvey Keitel, Clockers, 1995. Spike Lee wanted Turturro as the cop, Rocco Klein (Robert De Niro's when Martin Scorsese was due to direct; they split for Casino) The studio did not want John. Scorsese, now producing only, suggested Keitel - and John replaced Michael Imperioli as Larry Mazilla.
- Wesley Snipes, To Wong Fu, Thanks For Everything, Julie Newmar, 1995. "As a girl, he's just not happening," said scenarist Douglas Carter Beane. He watched all the actor s' drag tests in a room full of New York drag queens. “Wesley's asking for tips from Girlina and Lady Bunny... What have I done to America's #1 action hero?"
- Vincent D’Onofrio, Men In Black, 1996. Other gigs got in the way for Turturro and Bruce Campbell when offered the hill-billy with an alien uncomfortably inside him - like Orson Welles in a suit of armour, suggested critic Roger Ebert. D’Onofrio based Edgar on John Huston-George C Scott’s voices, Peter Sellers’ mopvementds as Dr Strangelove and… bugs.
- Stephen Baldwin, Crimetime, 1997. A decreased budget dented much of Dutch film-maker George Sluizer's original line-up. "But once I've chosen the best people I can get for the money available, I stand behind every choice."
- Frank Patto,, Ocean's Eleven, 2001. Steven Soderbergh offered him the rather unimportant Lockbox Carrier in the re-make of the 1960 Frank Sinatra caper. John was later asked to play Sinatra in...
- Dennis Hopper, The Night We Called It A Day, 2002. Based on Ole Blue Eyes' 1974 Australian tour getting off to a bad start as he spat on a woman journo and called her breed, hookers. The blockhead was immediately blockaded - no room service, no phone, no water - by the union led by future Prime Minister Bob Hawke.
- Kern Sereyvuth, City of Ghosts, 2002. Matt Dillon tries directing - and succeeds - in Cambodia.
- Adrien Brody, Manolete, 2007. Back in 1998, it was Turturro for auteur Menno Mayjes' bio of the ultimate matador: Manuel Rodríguez Sánchez aka Manolete.
- Mark Ryan, Transformers : Revenge of the Fallen, 2008. John offered to voice Jetfire – and director Michael Bay gave him Agent Simmons. Yorkshifre’s Ryan was the real hero of the franchise. As well as improivising various characters, he was the stand-in for all tyhe CGI Transformers, giving the other actors something to react to… or against.
- Tony Shalhoub, Pain & Gain, 2012. For the film, flash-bang director Michael Bay had been trying to make for a dozen years (the Transformers kept getting in the way), Albert Brooks couldn’t get the deal his people wanted. John Turturro took over Victor Kershaw only to hit scheduling problems. Enter: TV’s Monk!