- Francis Perrin, Le mille-pattes fait des claquettes, France, 1980. “I am not like those people who automatically or haughtily refuse this or that. Well, I did once... because I felt I’d be out of place. It was a kind of humour that did not correspond to my generation.”
- Thierry L’hermitte, La Banquière, France, 1981. Confined to his stage contract, he could not go to Yugoslavia for three months - “for a real film with great actors!” - and had to settle for a smaller role in Paris.
- Thierry L’hermitte, La Femme de mon pote,France, 1983. The wonderfully abrasive director Bertrand Blier wrote it for Patrick Dewaere, and had great difficulty re-assigning it.after his suicide. All the more so when Auteuil refused all comedies... and was out of work for a year!
- Gérard Klein, Les Cavaliers de l’orage, France-Yugoslavia, 1983. For Jean Giono’s grand romance of the Grande Guerre, 1914-18, realisateur Gérard Verges first aimed too high. He wanted Gérard Depardieu and Hanna Shygulla as the peasant smuggler involved with an officer’s widow turned military medico. When they passed, their usual rivals were seen: Auteuil, Nathalie Baye, Bernard Giraudeau, Gérard Lanvin - before Klein and Marlene Jobert nailed it.
- Eddy Mitchell, A mort l'arbitre, France, 1984. One of the rare films where the hero is... a football referee!
- André Dussollier, Trois hommes et un couffan, France, 1985. Already booked for Jean de Florette/Manon des Sources. He made realisatrice Coline Serreau's next forgettable film, Romauld et Juliette.
- Jacques Dutronc, Van Gogh, France, 1991. “Of course, I regret it.” Delayed during a year of three projects marking the centenary of Van Gogh’s suicide. Daniel did everything but the film - toiling hard with painter-turned-realisateur Mauric Pialat for nine “extraordinary” months. Then, he was invited to play Scapin at the theatre festival in his home town of Avignon. His then-lover (Manon des Sources, herself) Emmanuelle Beart, also quit.
- Jean-Francois Balmer, Madame Bovary, France, 1991. The worst role - le wimp, M'sieur Bovary! He would win better parts… François Pignon, Ugolin, De Sade, Lagardère.
- Gérard Desarthe, Uranus, France, 1991. Gérard Depardieu and Philippe Noiret swiftly agreed to Claude Berri's idea of filming Marcel Ayme's book. Auteuil was apparently tired of ensembles. Or, of Depardieu.
- Jean-Pierre Marielle, Tous le matins du monde, France, 1991. No one, he says, is irreplaceable, simply interchangeable. And so, the Auteuil-Depardieu return match was postponed again (and for ten years), as Auteuil swopped films with Marielle, taking his riole in La Fille sur le pont.
- Richard Bohringer, Une équipe formidable, France,1991. Offered two comedies - one social, one stupid -he voted the wrong way and played Satan in Ma vie est un enfer with Josiane Balasko. Epoque was a formidable winner.
- Didier Ferney, Toto le heros, Belgium, 1991. Auteuil was touring Belgium in the Double Inconstance play when a young chap gave him a script. Jaco Van Dormael. “I passed -but after seeing the film, I called Jaco to say: “I’ll do your next, whenever you want.” The next was La Huitieme Jour - and Daniel shared the 1995 Cannes Best Actor award with his mongoloid co-star Pascal Duquesne.
- Jean-Marc Barr, La Peste/The Plague, France, UK, Argentina, 1993. What is worse than a Euro pudding? A Euro-Latino pudding!
- Francois Cluzet, L’Enfer, France, 1994. For a film where jealousy destroyed a couple, Chabrol started dangerously, by deciding upon a real couple: Auteuil and Emmanuelle Beart or Cluzet and Marie Trintignant. He split the difference: Beart and Cluzet.
- Bernard Giraudeau, Caprices d'un fleuve, France, 1996. Daniel was busy, Harvey Keitel and William Hurt could not handle the vital French text - and so the dir-actor played it, himself.
- John Bluthal,RPM, 1997. Tarantino compadre Roger Avary wrote the script - for Auteuil, Yun-Fat Chow, Matt Dillon, Tcheky Karyo, Nastassja Kinski, Dolph Lundgren, Vanessa Paradis, Tom Savini, Terence Stamp - and Avary’s Killing Zoe stars: Jean-Hugues Anglade and Eric Stoltz. He then decided against directing. The producer hired Ian Sharp “and the two guys who did Grumpier Old Men [?!] to rewrite my script.” Actually, Donald Cammell (using the pseudonym Franklin Brauner), helped out in the year before he died. Avary removed his name from the ensuing mess.
- Christian Clavier, Asterix et Cleopatra,France, 1997. The success of Le Huitieme Jour meant Auteuil could finally make what he wanted.He was no longer obliged to be Asterix and backed out of a film with Depardieu, as he had done, consistently, until Le placard, 2001, by spending 18 months in London. To master ze Engleesh.
- Charles Berling, L’Ennui, France, 1998. Bored. With himself. “Anyway, it’s good to refuse roles and give the youngsters a break.”
- Jacques Gamblin, Au coeur du mensonge, France, 1998. Gave up being Sandrine Bonnaire’s painter-husband as he was snared between films for Michel Blanc, Claude Chabrol and Chris Menges.
- Emil Kusturica, La veuve de Saint-Paul, France, 1999. Considered for Neel when one of his previous directors, Patrice Leconte, inherited the film from realisateur Alain Corneau. Instead, Daniel took over the lead role of The Captain when ean Reno quit. And Neel became the Sarajevo film-maker, one of just four who have twice won the Cannes festival’s Palme d’Or.
- Stéphane Rideau, Loin, France, 2001. Auteur André Téchiné’s original plans were more ambitious. Such as Auteuil as the troubled international lorry driver in love with Lubna Azabal.
- Fabrice Luchini, Confidences trop intimes, France, 2003. Quite simply, realisateur Patrice Leconte changed his mind. “I’d worked very well with him before. But then, in spite of his enormous talent, I realised how wrong the idea was. He’d already worked together with Sandrine Bonnaire on Quelqes jours avec moi and I wanted actors who’d never worked together before. Also, Auteuil often plays those interiorised, almost autistic characters who are quietly observing without participating. With Luchini, however, you have a surprise effect. You expect him to be this talkative, extrovert character. And maybe he is - until Sandrine knocks on his door, and his character changes completely.”
- Jean-Pierre Bacri, Les Sentiments, France, 2003. Instead, he made Apres vous... by swopping roles (withBacri). Dittowith Jean-Pierre Marielle in 1991.
- Gérard Depardieu, 36 Quai des Orfevres, France, 2004. On the advice of their auteur Olivier Marchal (an ex-cop) ,the stars swopped their cops pushing to head the CUD at the Paris police HQ. In their third teaming, Auteuil became decent, if law-bending boozer Vrinks of the Search and Action squad, totally ruined by Depardieu’s Klein, the drunken, corrupt Anti-Crime unit brute. Not that their story ended there… The Guardian critic Philip French rightly called it the best slice of French cop art since Bob Swaim's La Balance, as far back as 1982.
- Clovis Cornillac, Astérix aux jeux olympiques, France-Belgium-Germany-Italy-Spain, 2007. As usual, he avoided Derpardieu - firmly set in the role of Obélix. Almost proudly (certainly stubbornly), Auteuil calls himself the champion of lost roles -" losing 60m ticket buyers" by turning down Astérix, Ch’tis and Untouchables.
- Kad Merad, Bienvenue chez lesCh’tis, France, 2008. Split Dany Boon’s Northern France comedy. Well, the flop of their earlier “comedy” together, Mon meilleur ami/My Best Friend, 2006, warned him off another Boon venture. Except… this grime Boon’s film became the #1 film in French box-office history - scoring 20m tickets in a matter of months, dethroningthe 20-year-old champ, La Grande Vadrouille. (Will Smith bought the re-make rights). (And did ab-so-lute-ly nothing with them).
- François Cluzet, Le derniere pour la route, France, 2009. Realisateur Philippe Godeau had a tough time making the story of the Capa news agency chief Hervé Chabalier’s battle against alcoholism. Danny Boon, Christian Clavier were also seen, keen, agreed and quit.
- François Cluzet, Intouchables, France, 2011. Not the first film Cluzet inherited from Auteuil. And given Daniel’s later taste for directing, probably not the last. One gig Auteuil didn’t refuse was when Steven Spielberg cast him in… his 2013 Cannes festival jury.