Hollywood is a crazy world. And, as many know, roles fall through all the time. People are cast, recast, cut, and drop out of films regularly. So, imagine some of the most iconic roles cast with completely different actors.[brightcove:5339536949001 default]
Well, from A Different World to Set It Off, there have been quite a few casting changes and considerations for iconic characters and roles in Black films and TV shows.
We’ve rounded up just a few — trust us, there are plenty more — of the characters we’ve come to love and the actors who almost landed the part.
The iconic film earned Angela Bassett an Oscar nomination for Best Lead Actress as Tina Turner, but Halle Berry and Whitney Houston may have been the ladies nominated had they landed the role. Both Berry and Houston were in the running to play the singer in the outstanding biopic.
Bassett turned down the role of Leticia Musgrove in Monster’s Ball due to the nudity and was considered for the part of Oda Mae Brown in Ghost, which went to Whoopi Goldberg.
At this point, it’s hard to imagine anyone other than Laurence Fishburne playing Ike Turner in What’s Love Got to Do With It, but did you know that Charlie Murphy actually auditioned for the part?
Smith was initially interested in the role of Cleo, which went to Queen Latifah, but producers were set on having her play Stoney.
Smith was also considered for Love Jones. The iconic role of Nina Mosley was actually written for the actress before Nia Long stepped in to bring the character to life.
Brandy was offered the role of T.T., played by Kimberly Elise, but declined.
John Singleton originally wanted Sidney Poitier to play Prof. Maurice Phipps in the 1995 film. His second choice for the role was Samuel L. Jackson, but the studio preferred Laurence Fishburne.
Elba auditioned for the role of Kelby in Brown Sugar, the fiancé of Sanaa Lathan’s Sidney, but the role went to Boris Kodjoe.
Robin Stokes, the film’s high-powered exec and mistress of Leon’s Russell, was played by Lela Rochon, but Halle Berry and Robin Givens both auditioned for the role.
Boyz n the Hood may have been a bit different if Will Smith had taken the role of Tre. However, the actor was too busy with The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and had to turn it down.
LL Cool J as Blade?! Yep, it almost happened, filmmakers original considered the rapper and actor for the role.
The film was Tyra Banks’ movie debut, but the role of Deja almost went to Vivica A. Fox, who was considered for the ill-fated character.
The role of Malik was actually written for Tupac. Writer and director John Singleton told Vibe, “I wrote Higher Learning for him. He was playing the Omar Epps role. The original cast to Higher Learning was supposed to be Tupac, Leonardo Dicaprio, Gwyneth Paltrow and Juliette Lewis. ‘Pac ended up getting in trouble and then all that stuff happened in New York. It was logistically impossible.”
Houston was attached as a producer, but was also in talks to star in the now iconic update to the fairy tale classic. However, she eventually decided that Brandy would make a better Cinderella, earning the Moesha star her film debut.
Were not sure anyone other than Omar Epps could have played Quincy, but the role in the beloved romantic drama was originally offered to Mekhi Phifer, who dropped out due to scheduling conflicts.
Tre’s father, Jason ”Furious” Styles, was played by Laurence Fishburne in the 1991 film. However, Eddie Murphy was initially considered for the part.
Love Jones star Larenz Tate was considered for the role of Dre in Brown Sugar and Harper in The Best Man, but the actor turned down both roles.
Can you imagine anyone else playing Whitley Gilbert? Jasmine Guy was flawless in the role, but the actress didn’t set out to be the bougiest girl at Hillman. Guy originally auditioned to play Jaleesa, which is something we can’t even begin to imagine.
Marisa Tomei’s Maggie may have been everyone’s fave white friend on A Different World, but Meg Ryan was initially considered for the role. However, Ryan turned down the part to work on her film career.