Overnight success takes time. Before they made it, many of Hollywood's most iconic actors stood in long lines of fresh-faced hopefuls vying for movie roles. Others lost out on plum roles even after they became famous. Here's a look at the unsuccessful screen-tests of aspiring and established stars and the roles they might have played.
In December 1950, Monroe did this screen test with actor Richard Conte for a Fox gangster picture called "Cold Shoulder." The film was never made. Her first starring role, in "Don't Bother to Knock," would come two years later.
In 1947, Brando, 23, tested for an adaptation of Robert M. Lindner's book "Rebel Without a Cause: The Hypnoanalysis of a Criminal Psychopath." In the early '50s, the studio lifted the title for Nicholas Ray's movie about troubled youth. Brando would find big-screen success in 1951 with "A Streetcar Named Desire," the film version of the Tennessee Williams play that had made him a Broadway star.
George Lucas and Steven Spielberg actually offered the part of Indiana Jones to Selleck after this test. But the actor had just filmed a pilot for CBS—"Magnum P.I."—and the network would not let him out of his contract.
Selleck: "The more they held out the offer and talked to the network, the more the network said no … so I had to kind of move on." He would go on to win an Emmy for his work as Thomas Magnum.
Many actresses auditioned for the role of Lois Lane in 1978's "Superman." In the end, it came down to Margot Kidder and Stockard Channing.
Creative consultant on the film Tom Mankiewicz said: "The reason we hired Margot was that she paired better with Chris Reeve when we found him. He was so young-looking, and there was a kind of goofy quality to Margot, whereas Stockard looked like she could have had Chris for lunch." Channing would go on to appear in "Grease" the same year.
Newman was a stage and TV actor with no big-screen credits in 1954 when he screen-tested opposite James Dean for "East of Eden." The role of Dean's brother ended up going to Richard Davalos. Newman would make up for that four years later, in 1958, when he starred in three movies: "The Long, Hot Summer," "The Left Handed Gun" and "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof."
This one is unique. Garland was cast in the 1967 adaptation of Jacqueline Susann's "Valley of the Dolls" when she did this costume test. After production began, however, she was fired (reportedly for showing up on the set drunk) and was replaced by Susan Hayward.
Robert De Niro
OK, see if you can keep all this "Godfather" lore straight:
De Niro is seen here testing for the role of Sonny in "The Godfather." He also was in contention for the role of Michael. But James Caan won the former and Al Pacino dropped out of "The Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight" to play the latter. In conflicting statements, director Francis Ford Coppola said he signed De Niro to play either Carlo (the brother-in-law) or Paulie (the driver). But then De Niro was offered the role in "The Gang" that Pacino had vacated , so he asked Coppola to release him from his "Godfather" contract.
It all came full circle when Coppola was planning "The Godfather Part II," which was originally going to bring back Marlon Brando in the role of Vito Corleone. When Brando dropped out because of a financial dispute with Paramount, Coppola asked De Niro to play young Vito.
Coppola: "I got Bobby in 'Godfather II,' which I couldn't have done if I'd held him to his commitment in Part I."
A year after "Gone With the Wind," the actress who played Scarlett O'Hara tested for the female lead in Alfred Hitchcock's adaptation of Daphne du Maurier's "Rebecca." Leigh acts opposite her then-fiancé Laurence Olivier, who was set to play the male lead.
Olivier: "When they called to say someone named Joan Fontaine had been given the role opposite me, I can't say I was thrilled. I'd certainly never heard of her ... Vivien thought I didn't try hard enough for her with Hitchcock for the part in 'Rebecca.' Well, I didn't. I hadn't felt she was right for that part, truth be told."
Testing for the Part of Scarlett O'Hara
She may have lost the part of Rebecca, but Leigh had Scarlett O'Hara—one of the most indelible characters in film history. Thirty-two actresses tested for the role, including Tallulah Bankhead, Lana Turner, Jean Arthur and Paulette Goddard. This clip goes behind the scenes of the film's casting. Check out the first minute, in which a series of aspiring Scarletts deliver the line "I love you" in dramatically different ways.
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