That Time Tom Selleck Almost Became Indiana Jones

Tales of actors that almost got the role of a lifetime, only to have it go to someone else, have always fascinated me. So, just having a little fun with Photoshop, here are five actors who almost got the iconic roles that turned other actors into household names.

Meryl Streep as Ripley

Meryl Streep as Ripley

Meryl Streep was reportedly one of two actresses who were considered for the role of Ripley in the Alien franchise. Unfortunately, Streep’s husband, actor John Cazale, passed away shortly before the movie was to begin, and the role went to the other actress on the short list–Sigourney Weaver.

Molly Ringwald as Vivian

Molly Ringwald as Vivian Ward

Pretty Woman is one of the highest grossing romantic comedies of all time, and made a household name out of Julia Roberts, but Molly Ringwald was originally offered the part. At the time, the script was called “$3,000,” and the story was reportedly much darker. Ringwald turned it down (she says she doesn’t remember turning it down,) and the part went to Roberts.

Sylvester Stallone as Axl Foley

Sylvester Stallone as Axl Foley

Sylvester Stallone was offered the part of Axl Foley in the Simpson and Bruckheimer smash Beverly Hills Cop but allegedly turned it down because he was interested in doing a straight action movie, not an action comedy. Eddie Murphy got the part and shot straight to superstardom.

Johnny Depp as Ferris Bueller

Johnny Depp as Ferris Bueller

John Hughes said he wrote Ferris Bueller’s Day Off with Mathew Broderick in mind, but the studio wanted a bigger star. Johnny Depp was offered the role but had to drop out due to scheduling conflicts. Broderick got the role in the end, and today we remember him as the Ferris that knows how to twist and shout, and never took a single lesson on the clarinet.

Tom Selleck as Indiana Jones

Tom Selleck as Indiana Jones

Selleck was the first choice to play Indiana Jones in Raiders of the Lost Ark. He was on Magnum PI at the time, and the show’s producers were reportedly reluctant to let their star take time off from the show to do the movie. Selleck had to pass. For added sting, a writers’ strike sidelined Magnum PI for six months and Selleck would have had the time to do the movie after all, but had to watch Harrison Ford ride the franchise to even greater stardom.

Troy Larson is a father, author, and photographer from Fargo, North Dakota.

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1 Comment

  1. Lawrence Keesler

    I discovered your work via Tunbridge Lutheran Church in Pierce County. The photos are so poignant I’ve been unable to forget them. I find it amazing that neither building nor contents have been vandalized. The pump organ is of particular interest to this organist-choirmaster. I wish I could see if it is still playable. Thank you for taking the time to cover the basement area as well, including the gas cookstove I’d love to have, and the ancient furnace. I presume there were restrooms of a sort, not seeing an outhouse. Your photography—so beautiful some frames could be paintings—makes me long to visit the church.

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