- Steve Sandvoss, Latter Days, 2002. Blacklisted US director Michael Gordon’s grandson - Tommy in 3rd Rock From The Sun, 1996-2001 - auditioned to be Elder Aaron Davis. And became Elder Paul Ryder - in an account of Mormons, crises, clichés, catastrophes…
- Josh Hartnett, Hollywood Homicide, 2002. The LAPD tecs, Gavilan and Calden, became Harrison Ford and Hartnett, in place of John Travolta and JGL. A vast improvement.
- Emile Hirsch, Speed Racer, 2007. Also close to occupying Speed’s driving seat: JGL and Shia Labeouf. The problem was the director. He kept changing. From British Julien Temple to Mexican Alfonso Cuarón to Gus Van Sant. Finally, the Wachowski siblings voted fort Zac Efron before signing Hirsch, a long time fan of the 1967-1968 Japanese anime series series.
- Andrew Garfield, The Amazing Spider-Man, 2010.
- Sam Riley, On The Road, 2011. During the long gestation period - 54 years since the Beat Generation opus came out! - Johnny Depp was first choice for Sal Paradise - alias the narrator and protagonist and author Jack Kerouac. Next choices included JGL, Billy Crudup, Colin Farrel, Ethan Hawke.
- Ryan Gosling, Gangster Squad, 2012. The City v Public Enemy #1, circa ’49. Apart from Sean Penn’s uproarious make-up as Mickey Cohen (befitting his worst rôle), Gosling won LAPD sergeant Jerry Wooters from JGL, Adam Brody, Joel Edgerton, Luke Evans.
- Jonah Hill, The Wolf of Wall Street, 2012. Auditioned for Danny Porush, pal of Leonardo DiCaprio’s titular eco-criminal - his fifth collaboration with Martin Scorsese. And nothing to do with the 1929 film with the same title - first US film, as Scorsese would tell you, to have one actor (Paul Lukas) dubbed by another (Lawford Davidson). Hill collected an Oscar nomination.
- Chris Pratt, Guardians of the Galaxy, 2013. He preferred Sin City: A Dame To Kill For to joining the Guardians and Godzilla. In the (crowded) battle of new Hollywood guys for Peter Quill/Star Lord were the usual prerequisites… Six TV finds (Cam Gigandet, Jack Huston, John Krasinski, James Marsden, Lee Pace, Aaron Paul), three science fiction favourites (Jensen Ackles, Garrett Hedlund, Michael Rosenbaum), a couple of triples (JGL and Logan Marshall-Green), two hot Brits (Eddie Redmayne, Jim Sturgess), a brace of Aussies (Joel Edgerton, Sullivan Stapleton), two total outsiders (Glenn Howerton, Chris Lowell). And an ex-hottie on the comeback trail (Wes Bentley)..
- Aaron Taylor-Jones, Godzilla, 2013. Used to be the girls having three names. Not anymore. JGL was already busy inheriting the Sin City sequel - A Dame To Kill For - from Johnny Depp. The Texan Caleb Landry-Jones was booked for Tom á la ferme. Oh, and the most stupid idea was Henry Cavill - Superman v Godzilla! - was, decidedly, nolo contendere.
- Henry Cavill, The Man From UNCLE, 2013. After securing the 60s’ TV series rights in 1993, producer John Davis went through 20 years, 14 scripts, four directors (letting slip Soderbergh and Tarantino!), plus 19 Napoleon Solos. From George Clooney in 2010 to Tom Cruise three years later. By way of the early-21st century era suspects: JGL, Christian Bale, Bradley Cooper, Matt Damon, Leonardo DiCaprio, Joel Edgerton, Michael Fassbender, Ryan Gosling, Jon Hamm, Joel Kinnaman, Ewan McGregor, Robert Pattinson, Chris Pine, Ryan Reynolds, Alexander Skarsgård (he switched to Tarzan), Channing Tatum. Even Russell Crowe, surely a better bet at 50 for old Waverly, the UNCLE boss. Poor Davis never got it right! Cavill had also auditioned for Solo’s partner, Ilya Kuryakin. So did…
- Armie Hammer, The Man From UNCLE, 2013. JGL was also in the mix for Napoleon Solo’s Russian partner, Ilya Kuryakin. So were Ryan Gosling and Alexander Skarsgard. Director Steven Soderbergh quit in November 2011 when understanding Warner wanted a new franchise (like his Ocean’s 11 trilogy)… but didn’t want to pay for it! (Guy Ritchie showed ’em how).
- Channing Tatum, Jupiter Ascending, 2013. JGL was tied to the Sin City sequel - and editing his directing debut, Don Jon. Try as they might, the Wachowski siblings (Andy and Lana at the time, now Lana and Lilly) couldn’t spring him loose… For any one of of three possible roles. Tatum took over as Caine Waise. One-dimensional work in a 3D film - released (or escaped) in 2015.
- Eddie Redmayne, Jupiter Ascending, 2013. And so, after My Week with Marilyn and Les Miserables, the young Brit became Balem Abrasax in the siblings’ universe… where humans were zeros.
- Douglas Booth, Jupiter Ascending, 2013. The latest Pip in Great Expectations, 2011, took over as Balem’s brother, Titus, in a spaceship channeling a cathedral and the Playboy Mansion.
- Paul Rudd, Ant-Man, 2014. The micro-superhero had been rolling around Hollywood ever since New World’s 1988 plan was tossed because Disney was into Honey, I Shrunk The Kids. Well, now Disney was Marvel and, started prepping in 2006 with the great (Ant Man fan) Edgar Wright writer-directing. By 2013, the script was done, effects tests made and Paul Rudd beat JGL, Adrien Brody and Ewan McGregor to the on-off little hero. Then, Marvel maven Kevin Feige shook Film City by replacing Wright (for being Edgar Wright!) with the obedient Peyton Reed. Rudd was the second transfer from TV’s Parks and Recreation to the Marvel Cinematic Universe - after Chris Pratt in Guardians of the Galaxy.
- Benedict Cumberbatch, Doctor Strange, 2015. Discussed, planned, written, re-spun since 1986, always dropped despite scripts from Alex Cox, Wes Craven, Bob Gale, etc, until chosen as the portal into the supernatural side of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Among those flown up Marvel’s 21st Century flagpole were JGL, TV doctor Patrick Dempsey, Colin Farrell, Ryan Gosling, Jake Gyllenhaal, Jon Hamm, Ethan Hawke, Jack Huston, Oscar Isaac, Jared Leto, Matthew McConaughey, Ewan McGregor, Joaquin Phoenix (too strange!), Vincent Price (in 1986), Keanu Reeves (listed but never approached - how wise), Justin Theroux. Finally, the production waited until after Cumberbatch’s Hamlet stage triumph in London. If Iron Man is Mick Jagger, Strange is Jim Morrison… and should head the MCU when Robert Downey pawns his ironmongery.