9 Movie Roles Harrison Ford Turned Down

Harrison Ford is one of the most recognizable actors working today, and he’s responsible for so many iconic movie characters, but the actor will soon, surprisingly, be making the jump to television. The celebrated actor will be starring in the Jason Segel-led AppleTV+ series Shrinkingmeaning that he may take on fewer movie roles.

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Between Indiana Jones, Han Solo, and Deckard, so many famous characters wouldn’t be half as memorable if it wasn’t for Ford’s portrayal of them. But as he was the most in-demand actor of all time at one point, he could have made tons of other movie characters iconic too, only he chose to turn them down. And some characters have become iconic thanks to other actors, but those roles were first offered to Ford.


Oskar Schindler (Schindler’s List)

Schindler's List

Ford and Steven Spielberg have had a great working relationship over the decades, and they bring out the best in each other. The Indiana Jones Movies wouldn’t be as good if it wasn’t for Ford’s iconic performance, and Ford wouldn’t be where he is now if not for Spielberg.

However, that doesn’t always mean Ford will accept every offer Spielberg throws at him. Spielberg offered Ford the lead role in Schindler’s List, but Ford quickly turned it down. But the reason why is so commendable and it makes fans only respect the actor more. Ford turned down the lucrative offer because he thought his star power would distract from the importance and lessons of the real-life story.

Dr. Alan Grant (Jurassic Park)

Jurassic Park Alan Grant and kid pic

Along with Schindler’s ListSpielberg wanted Ford for Jurassic Park Too, which is interesting given that both movies, as different as they are, were released in the same year. It isn’t hard to believe, as the character seems almost like it was written for Ford in the way that he acts and moves in the film. And Spielberg could have been directing Neill in a particular way to get that Ford-like touch. Even Grant’s get-up is familiar with Indiana Jones’s attire.

According to Slash Filmin a conversation between the actor and director, Ford blamed Spielberg for only casting him in Indy movies. But Spielberg quickly reminded the actor that he was the one who turned down Jurassic Park. Unfortunately, Ford quickly moved the conversation along before fans could find out why.

Frank William Tyne Jr. (The Perfect Storm)

the-perfect-storm-george clooney

In 2000, George Clooney played the captain of a fishing vessel in the mediocre disaster movie The Perfect Storm. But according to Mental Floss, the studio wanted Ford instead. While the movie was a huge hit at the time, mostly thanks to its leading role from Clooney, it has quickly been forgotten.

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A $328 million worldwide box office gross was fairly impressive at the time, but it isn’t exactly a movie that’s making millions of dollars a year from syndication sales like other films from the year 2000. With Ford in the role, given that he’s such a bankable actor, especially 22 years ago, The Perfect Storm would likely have had the exact same trajectory.

Gay Perry (Kiss Kiss Bang Bang)

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang

The last things audiences think of when it comes to Harrison Ford is humor. His approach to certain problems and his befuddled reactions in the Indy Movies are definitely funny at times, but those are just tiny moments. And while he was in the out-right comedy Anchorman 2: The Legend Continueshe essentially played a caricature of his real-life self.

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang is one of the cleverest and funniest postmodern noirs of the 21st century, and the comedic moments mostly come from Gay Perry, a camp but also very masculine private detective. According to Slash Filmdirector Shane Black initially wanted Ford in the role, but for as great as the character is, it’s no wonder the actor wasn’t interested.

Gordon Tall (The Thin Red Line)

According to Orlando SentinelFord turned down the role of Gordon Tall in the epic war drama The Thin Red Line, a role that eventually went to Nick Nolte. But director Terrence Malick is notorious for cutting entire roles out of his movies, even ones that were initially the lead characters.

And Malick was especially trigger-happy when it came to cutting actors out of the 1998 three-hour war epic, so who knows if Ford would have even made the cut. The actor saved Malik and himself a lot of trouble and time. However, as so much was edited out of the movie, a Thin Red Line director’s cut could be out there.

Robert Wakefield (Traffic)

Traffic It might seem like a simple drama about drugs and the effects it has on the addicts, police, and politicians, but it’s actually one of the most ambitious and biggest movies of the 2000s. The movie has 135 speaking parts and is shot in eight different countries, and that means that everyone’s screen time is limited.

That may have been why Ford initially turned down Traffic, as he did eventually end up working with director Steven Soderbergh to develop the character. However, it’s like Ford was playing “Red Light, Green Light” with the director, as once the character was developed, he pulled out yet again.

Curtis McCabe (Vanilla Sky)

An image of Tom Cruise and Penelope Cruz standing in front of an ocean in Vanilla Sky

According to Trends CatchersFord was in-demand for the 2001 sci-fi movie, Vanilla Sky. The role eventually went to Tom Cruise, and at that point in time, if it was going to go to anyone but Ford, it was going to the Mission: Impossible actor. Cruise was starring in everything at the time, and he was the most bankable actor in the world, so it’s no surprise that the studio went with him, even despite having such a different style of acting from Ford.

RELATED: 10 Ways Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade Is The Best Raiders Follow-Up (By Far)

While Blade Runner 2049 is science fiction Star Wars is sci-fi fantasy, and even the last Indiana Jones movie has aliens in it, it’d be great to see Ford in a non-franchise sci-fi flick. Vanilla Sky has a truly original concept and it’s easy to envision Ford as Curtis McCabe.

Bob Barnes (Syriana)

It seems as if Clooney was picking up a lot of Ford’s scraps in the 2000s. Along with The Perfect StormClooney played the leading role in Syrianbut according to Film Ink, it was originally offered to Ford. Interestingly, it’s the second Stephen Gaghan-written movie that the actor has turned down, as the Academy Award-winning writer also penned Traffic.

However, though Ford hasn’t admitted this about any other role that he’s turned down, he has mentioned that it was one of the few career choices he made that he later regretted. Ford explained, “I didn’t feel strongly enough about the truth of the material, and I think that I made a mistake.”

Terry Thorne (Proof Of Life)

Proof of Life is an action thriller in the style of the Burne movies, and the movie’s screenplay was even written by Tony Gilroy, who penned all of the Burne films. And it could have been a perfect vessel for the Star Wars actor.

According to Eighties Kids, Ford turned down the main role, giving way to Russell Crowe nabbing the job instead. However, Ford dodged a bullet, as the movie was a massive box office bomb when it was released in 2000. With a production cost of $65 million, the film failed to even make back its budget, making just $62 million worldwide.

NEXT: Star Wars – 9 Ways Han Solo Is Harrison Ford’s Most Iconic Character


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