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Laurence Olivier
 Roles turned down by Laurence Olivier:

8 1/2
For one of his greatest masterworks, maestro Federico Fellinni seriously considered Olivier for the role of the film director suffering a creative crisis.
Actor who got the part: Marcello Mastroianni

Around The World in 80 Days
Olivier was offered the cameo role of Phineas Fogg's valet at the beginning of the film, but declined the invitation.
Actor who got the part: John Gielgud

Being There
Offered the role of the powerful, elderly, ailing billionaire "Benjamin Rand" but turned it down because he objected to the sexual content.
Actor who got the part: Melvyn Douglas

Cleopatra
Lord Laurence turned down the role of Julius Caesar when the mammoth production was restarted in Rome with a new director, Joseph L. Mankiwecz.
Actor who got the part: Rex Harrison

Cyrano De Bergerac
Laurence Olivier declined a British movie offer in 1948 to play the title role. It was made in America 2 years later.
Actor who got the part: Jose Ferrer

A Double Life
The role of the great, troubled and insecure stage actor "Anthony John" in this George Cukor-director character study was written for Olivier who was unavailable when the film finally went into production.
Actor who got the part: Ronald Colman

Fahrenheit 451
Considered by the filmmakers to play "The Captain".
Actor who got the part: Cyril Cusack

The Garden of Allah
Producer David O. Selznick considered him for the role of the renegade monk.
Actor who got the part: Charles Boyer

The Godfather
Considered for the role of Vito Corleone.
Actor who got the part: Marlon Brando

I Confess
Warner Bros. rejected director Alfred Hitchcock's idea of Olivier to play a Catholic priest who hears the confession of a murderer.
Actor who got the part: Montgomery Clift

Judgment at Nuremberg
Originally cast as the defendant judge "Dr. Ernst Janning" in the shattering Stanley Kramer-directed drama about the court trial of Nazi war crimes.
Actor who got the part: Burt Lancaster

Kiss Me Kate
Singing movie star said that Olivier was among MGM's top choices to star in the movie version of Cole Porter's hit musical.
Actor who got the part: Howard Keel

Lawrence of Arabia
Over the many years it took to launch a movie version, Olivier was one of the actors considered for the role of complex, heroic T. E. Lawrence.
Actor who got the part: Peter O'Toole

The Leopard
Was wanted for the leading role by maestro Luchino Visconti but the producers insisted on a big box-office name.
Actor who got the part: Burt Lancaster

Lolita (1962)
Laurence Olivier refused the role of Humbert Humbert.
Actor who got the part: James Mason

Macbeth
Olivier was going to direct and play the title role in a film of one of his greatest stage roles, but the project fell through after the death of the project's financier Michael Todd.

A Man for All Seasons
Executives at Columbia Studios wanted Olivier to play Sir Thomas More, but director Fred Zinnemann was adamant that Paul Scofield recreate his stage performance in the film.
Actor who got the part: Paul Scofield

The Night of the Hunter
Laurence Olivier was considered for the role of the phony preacher which eventually went to Robert Mitchum.
Actor who got the part: Robert Mitchum

The Paradine Case
Director Alfred Hitchcock hoped to sign Olivier to the play the role of a London lawyer who disgraces himself by falling in love with his beautiful, murderous client.
Actor who got the part: Gregory Peck

The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex
Star Bette Davis wanted Olivier to play Lord Essex, insisting that Errol Flynn could not read blank verse well.
Actor who got the part: Errol Flynn

Queen Christina
Garbo had requested that Laurence Olivier play opposite her, as Antonio, but he was replaced when it was realised in rehearsals that they had no chemistry.
Actor who got the part: John Gilbert

Seconds
Director John Frankenheimer wanted to cast Lord Laurence in the film, but Paramount turned him down in favor of Rock Hudson, claiming Olivier wasn't "box-office."
Actor who got the part: Rock Hudson

Waterloo Bridge
Olivier wanted to perform opposite his wife Vivien Leigh in the movie, but MGM head Louis B. Mayer insisted that an MGM contract player play the role.
Actor who got the part: Robert Taylor






Did you know that Laurence Olivier was not the only choice for these movies? (click to learn more)
» Henry V
» Rebecca
» Wuthering Heights (1939)






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