These Actors All Went On To Win An Oscar For Their Starring Turn In A Horror Film…But Unbelievably, They Weren’t The Director’s Original Choice!
By Dean Round â‹… Posted on February 15th, 2016 at 5:43am
As the Academy Awards approach, lets take a look at some actors who decided to turn down a horror movie role, and which actor got cast…going on to win an Oscar for it, and don’t forget to sound off in the comments section below!
Anjelica Huston, Barbra Streisand, Bette Midler and Debra Winger all turned down the role of…
…Annie Wilkes in Misery, played by Kathy Bates
Anjelica Huston (Transparent 2014 â€“ , Smash 2012â€“2013, American Dad! 2005 â€“ ) was originally given the opportunity to take the leading role, and was apparently interested in accepting it, but ultimately she had to turn it down due to her commitment to The Grifters (1990). This shouldn’t have come as such a big disappointment for the actress, as she had already won an Oscar for her turn inPrizzi’s Honor (1985).
In 1990, she was nominated for an Oscar for Best Actress in a Supporting forEnemies: A Love Story (1989), and coincidentally, her role in 1990’s The Griftersearned her another Oscar nomination for Best Actress in a Leading Role.
Bette Midler has previously been nominated for two Oscars, both of which were for Best Actress in a Leading Role. These nominations came from For the Boys(1991) and The Rose (1979) .
When reflecting on her decision to reject the role of Annie Wilkes, she said:
I turned that down because I didnâ€™t want to saw off someoneâ€™s foot, even though the role won an Oscar.
It was stupid to say no to those pictures. As an actor youâ€™re supposed to take jobs that will challenge you or force fans to see you in a different light. By the â€™90s I wasnâ€™t really an actor anymore. I was someone who went on the road with these gigantic concerts. I got so far away from what they told you in acting class: Do something different. Producers kept offering me the â€˜Sister Actâ€™ movie, but I said, â€˜My fans donâ€™t want to see me in a wimple.
Barbra Streisand (Modern Family 2009â€“ ) is also reported to have turned down the role of Annie Wilkes. She probably doesn’t care that much as she has been nominated for an Oscar five times, and winning twice (Best Music, Original Song for A Star Is Born, 1976 and Best Actress in a Leading Role for Funny Girl, 1968) .
Debra Winger (Boychoir 2014) was also considered for the role of Annie Wilkes, but turned it down. This role may have been the icing on the cake for the actress, however, as she has been nominated for three Oscars, but has never won (Best Actress in a Leading Role for Shadowlands 1993, Terms of Endearment 1983 andAn Officer and a Gentleman 1982).
Irene Dunne and Hedy Lamarr both turned down the role of…
…Paula Alquist in Gaslight, played by Ingrid Bergman
Gaslight (1944), follows the story of Paula Alquist (Ingrid Bergman), a young entertainer who lives with her aunt Alice. Following her aunts murder, Paula is sent away to school. A decade later, Paula returns with her new husband Gregory Anton (Oscar nominated Charles Boyer). Setting up a new life in her aunts home, which she has now inherited, Paula starts to feel isolated by her husband, and as a result, she becomes closer to an admirer named Brian Cameron ( Joseph Cotten).
The film was originally bought by Columbia Pictures so they could use it as a vehicle for their main star Irene Dunne, who ended up turning the role down. Unfortunately for Dunne, this may have been the ultimate role that won her an Oscar, having been nominated five times, but never winning. She was nominated for Best Actress in a Leading Role in I Remember Mama (1948), Love Affair (1939),The Awful Truth (1937), Theodora Goes Wild (1936) and Cimarron (1931).
After Columbia Pictures sold the rights of the film to MGM, they wanted to cast Hedy Lamarr as the lead Paula, but she also turned the role down. This may have been the worst decision by an actor/actress on this list, as the most prestigious award that she won was a Golden Apple Award for Least Cooperative Actress, ouch.
Emma Thompson, Geena Davis and Michelle Pfeiffer all turned down the role of…
…Clarice Starling in The Silence of the Lambs, played by Jodie Foster.
Director Jonathan Demme (Ricki and the Flash 2015, Line of Sight 2014, The Killing2011â€“2014) had previously worked with Michelle Pfeiffer on Married to the Mob(1988). Having collaborated with the actress prior to the film being made, Pfeiffer was Demme’s original choice to play Clarice, but she decided to turn the role down, stating that:
(It was) a difficult decision, but I got nervous about the subject matter.
At the time, Pfeiffer was hitting the heights of her acting fame, having been Oscar nominated for Love Field (1992), The Fabulous Baker Boys (1989), and Dangerous Liaisons (1988).
Geena Davis (When Marnie Was There 2014, Grey’s Anatomy 2005â€“ ) was also given the opportunity to take the role, as did Emma Thompson (Beauty and the Beast2017, Alone in Berlin 2016, Burnt 2015, A Walk in the Woods 2015) but both shared Pfeiffer’s concerns about the subject matter.
Emma Thompson was nominated for an Oscar for Best Actress in a Leading Role for Sense and Sensibility (1995) and The Remains of the Day (1993) plus Best Actress in a Supporting Role for In the Name of the Father (1993). Had she accepted the role of Clarice, she may have won back-to-back Oscars after winning a Best Actress in a Leading Role award for Howards End (1992). Thompson’s success does not stop there, as she won an Oscar for Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published for Sense and Sensibility (1995)
Davis was already an Oscar winner, having won an award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role for The Accidental Tourist (1988). But when the 1992 Oscars came around, she lost out for the title of Best Actress in a Leading Role for her turn inThelma & Louise (1991) to none other than…Jodie Foster for her role The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
Apparently, over 300 actresses applied for the prestigious role of Clarice Starling, some of whom included Meg Ryan and Melanie Griffith. However, Ted Tally, who wrote the screenplay for the film (for which he won an Oscar for Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published) had been lobbying Foster to be considered for the role.
Having read the novel herself, Foster intended buying the rights after being so impressed with what she saw, only to be beaten by Gene Hackman. After Pfeiffer turned down the role, Demme later agreed to meet Foster in person and she was awarded the role following a single meeting with the director. Witnessing the strength, determination and attitude that encompassed the character, Demme realized that Foster was indeed the right choice to play the lead female role.
Jeremy Irons and Sean Connery both turned down the role of…
…Hannibal Lecter in The Silence of the Lambs, played by Anthony Hopkins
Can you see the iconic role of Hannibal Lecter being played by Sean Connery? Well believe it or not, he was Demme’s original choice to take the lead. The Oscar-winning star for The Untouchables (1987) turned down the role, and Demme’s attentions soon went to Jack Nicholson, who ultimately never got back to him about being cast.
Soon after, Jeremy Irons (Assassin’s Creed 2016, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice 2016), was approached to play the villain. However, he had not long finished starring in Reversal of Fortune (1990) playing the role of Claus von BÃ¼low, and thought otherwise to step straight into another dark role. A year before 1991’s The Silence of the Lambs was released, Irons had picked up an Oscar for his role in Reversal of Fortune (1990).
Having approached several actors, Demme later considered Anthony Hopkins for the role of Hannibal Lecter after seeing his performance in The Elephant Man(1980). Wondering whether Hopkins could turn his good character into a bad one for his new film, Demme contacted his agents to begin negotiations.
During this time, Hopkins was away in London performing in a stage play following some less than successful movies.
As he began reading through the script, Hopkins was delighted with what he saw. Contacting his agent, he requested that an offer was put forward to him to star in the movie, otherwise he would not finish reading it. This paid off, and despite reservations from the studio about casting Hopkins, an offer was made, and the rest is history.
Incidentally, Hopkins’ performance in the movie, at 24 minutes and 52 seconds, is the second shortest in history to ever win an Oscar for Best Actor in a Leading Role. The number one spot is taken by David Niven for his role in Separate Tables(1958), which is a full one minute shorter.