Many actors have an iconic character that defines their movie career. Mention their name in a conversation and the name and image associated with that character immediately spring to mind. It is difficult to picture anyone else filling that role. In reality, several of those actors were not the original choice for that part.
If not for a few twists of fate, these eight classic characters would have been brought to life by a different actor:
Indiana Jones: Playing a globe-trotting archeologist who tangles with Nazis and other villains to obtain mystical artifacts turned Harrison Ford into an action superstar after his earlier turn as Han Solo in “Star Wars.” Ford was a last minute replacement after Tom Selleck was forced to turn down the role. Selleck was under contract with “Magnum P.I.” when he was cast to play Indiana Jones in “Raiders of the Lost Ark.” Selleck was unable to get out of his contract in time to shoot the movie, so director Steven Spielberg went with Ford in his place.
Michael Corleone: Al Pacino became a household name after playing the son of a Mafia don who takes over the family business in “The Godfather.” and its two sequels. The fact Pacino was cast at all was a minor miracle. Francis Ford Coppola met huge resistance from studio executives when he insisted on Pacino playing Corleone. He was a virtually unknown actor at the time and producers wanted a star in the role. Robert Redford and Ryan O’ Neal were their initial choices and James Caan nearly had the part before executives relented after Coppola threatened to quit as director.