9 Stars Who Turned Down Memorable Roles


Will Smith

Actor Will Smith started as the MC of the hip-hop duo DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince, winning the first ever Grammy in the Rap category in 1988. Smith was nearing bankruptcy in 1990 when he was hired to star in the sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, which became a huge success. His movies include Independence Day (1996), Men in Black (1997), and Ali (2001). He was also offered the lead role in The Matrix (1999). Despite the film's phenomenal success, Smith later said that he didn't regret turning down the role because Keanu Reeves "was brilliant as Neo." Smith also originally passed on Men in Black, but his wife convinced him to reconsider.