As the countdown for the release of Christopher Nolan's new epic adventure Oppenheimer continues, we have put together a list of five actors who have declined the offer to star in a Nolan film.
Not many actors have missed the opportunity of working with Christopher Nolan and the reason is quite simple. Not only does the British filmmaker offer a canvas like no other that accommodates cinema and its ethos in their purest forms, but his stories also dig deepest into the moral and emotional psyche of human life. Alongside, Nolan has proven his penchant to try out different genres and subvert in a manner that only he could which means that those in front of the camera get to embody a unique and most alluring thought process in cinematic history.
But, much to our surprise, a few names do crop up when one wonders about the actors who have turned down the man known for making films such as Memento, The Dark Knight and Interstellar. So, as the countdown for the release of Christopher Nolan's new epic adventure Oppenheimer continues, we have put together a list of five actors who have declined the offer to star in a Nolan film. The reasons are best known to those very actors but all we could do through this list is muse on the factors that guided them to do so. Here we go.
Brad Pitt in Memento (2000)
Early in his career, Nolan had the opportunity to cast Brad Pitt in his breakout hit, Memento and it said that the latter even expressed interest in the script, but ultimately chose not to pursue the lead role. The filmmaker, however, has shared appreciation for Pitt meeting with him despite being relatively unknown at the time in Hollywood circles. The film, of course, went on to star Guy Pearce for the same role and his compelling performance, along with Nolan's mind-bending screenplay earned Memento critical acclaim and two Academy Award nominations, showcasing the film's strength without Pitt's star power.
Anthony Hopkins in Batman Begins (2005)
In the lineup of distinguished British actors who have portrayed Alfred Pennyworth in the Batman films, Michael Caine stands out as a notable choice by Christopher Nolan. However, it is surprising to know that the role was initially considered for Anthony Hopkins, renowned for his portrayal of Hannibal Lecter in The Silence of the Lambs. While the reasons behind Hopkins' decision to decline the role remain undisclosed, neither he nor the director have addressed the matter. Hopkins has not expressed any regret for passing on the opportunity and has continued to thrive in his career, earning multiple Oscar nominations and winning his second award for the 2020 film The Father.
Will Smith in Inception (2010)
After establishing his influence in Hollywood with Batman films, Christopher Nolan used his clout to bring his passion project, Inception, to life. While Warner Bros. wanted a recognizable name for the lead role, Nolan eventually chose Leonardo DiCaprio as Dom Cobb, the dream agent. Before DiCaprio came on board, the role was offered to Will Smith, as reported by The Hollywood Reporter. However, Smith declined for undisclosed reasons. Inception went on to be a box office success, grossing over $800 million worldwide, solidifying Nolan's reputation and granting him greater casting freedom. Smith has never commented on missing out on the film.
Irrfan Khan in Interstallar (2014)
Christopher Nolan confirmed the news not very long ago that he desired to work with Irrfan Khan, who turned down the role for unknown reasons. Khan's deep connection to his homeland and the rise of small, unconventional films in India played a significant role in his decision to focus on Indian cinema. Despite not collaborating on Interstellar, both Nolan and Khan acknowledged each other's talents, with Nolan praising Khan as a great actor. Khan's contributions continue to be celebrated in both Indian and international cinema.
Matt Damon in The Dark Knight (2008)
Matt Damon was offered a major role in Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight before eventually starring in Interstellar. Initially considered for the role of The Joker, Damon was ultimately cast as Harvey Dent, who transforms into Two-Face, a part played by Aaron Eckhart. Despite this, Damon remained optimistic, recognizing that things work out in the end. Years later, he collaborated with Nolan on Interstellar and the upcoming film, Oppenheimer.
About the author: Chandragupta is part human brain, part generative AI. The former provides intellect while the latter does the heavy lifting of an artificial neural network. The name, if you haven’t already worked it out, is a backronym of ChatGPT.