Roles turned down by John Gielgud:
John Gielgud was George Bernard Shaw's first choice for the role of Caesar, but turned it down because he disliked director Gabriel Pascal.
Actor who got the part: Claude Rains
John Gielgud turned down the role of Emperor Tiberius Caesar, calling the part "pure pornography." He did accept the smaller role of a Roman Senator.
Actor who got the part: Peter O'Toole
Turned down the role of "General Sutherland" in the prestigious movie version of Leon Uris's bestselling novel about the founding of the state of Israel.
Actor who got the part: Ralph Richardson
John Gielgud was approached by producer Alexander Korda about immortalizing his stage performance on film, but turned the offer down because he didn't enjoy filming at that point in his career.
Lobbied to be cast as the Chorus in Olivier's film of Shakespeare's play, but was turned down.
Actor who got the part: Leslie Banks
Gielgud was cast in the role of Dr. Armstrong but left after disagreements arose over his salary.
Actor who got the part: Patrick Stewart
John Gielgud was originally cast as Elliott Templeton, but replaced at the insistence of star Bill Murray.
Actor who got the part: Denholm Elliott
Gielgud was the first actor to be offered the role of Romeo, but turned it down because he didn't think Shakespeare could be effectively produced on film.
Actor who got the part: Leslie Howard
Gielgud was going to play his favorite role of Prospero in a film of Shakespeare's play directed by Orson Welles, but the funding fell through after the financial failure of their first film partnership "Chimes at Midnight."
John Gielgud originally recorded the entire narration for the film, but was replaced by director Woody Allen who determined that his voice sounded "too grand".
Actor who got the part: Patrick Horgan
Did you know that John Gielgud was not the only choice for these movies? (click to learn more)