9 Roles You Didn’t Know Ryan Gosling Almost Played – From Marvel To Fifty Shades

The Barbie actor can be seriously picky when it comes to deciding which projects to say yes to – and he was also fired from one film, too.
Ryan Gosling
Ryan Gosling
Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

From cult indie hits to blockbuster releases, Ryan Gosling has shown impressive range over the course of his decades-long career in the film industry.

With a schedule as busy as his, tough decisions have to made, and for every hit film Ryan has starred in, there’s another that he has said no to.

There have also been a handful of occasions where casting directors have turned down the Barbie actor – opting for the likes of Mark Wahlberg and Matthew McConaughey instead.

Here are nine shows and movies that Ryan almost appeared in, but ultimately missed out on for one reason or another...

Gilmore Girls

Gilmore Girls' Alexis Bledel and Lauren Graham
Gilmore Girls' Alexis Bledel and Lauren Graham
Variety via Getty Images

Long before cementing his place as the ultimate romantic lead in The Notebook, Ryan auditioned for a small part in TV series Gilmore Girls.

Casting director Jami Rudofsky shared what happened during a panel at a festival dedicated to the show in 2016.

Jami explained that she first met Ryan while casting for another teen drama, and brought him in to audition to play “a football character” in the Alexis Bledel and Lauren Graham-fronted series.

Unfortunately, his audition fell “flat” and the casting director’s coworkers were left asking her (via Vulture): “Really, Jami?”

Jami, was, of course, onto something, though. By the time the final episode of Gilmore Girls aired in May 2007, Ryan had landed lead roles in indie movies such as Lars And The Real Girl and Half Nelson, as well as starring as Noah in The Notebook.

Suicide Squad

Jared Leto as Joker in Suicide Squad
Jared Leto as Joker in Suicide Squad

Ryan and Margot Robbie could have been co-stars long before Barbie if the Suicide Squad casting directors had stuck with their initial plan.

The Blade Runner 2049 actor was widely rumoured to be in the running to play the Joker, but bosses eventually went with Jared Leto instead.

The 2016 movie received mixed reviews from critics but it spawned several spin-offs anyway, including 2020’s Harley Quinn-centred Birds of Prey and the 2021 sequel (which was, confusingly, simply titled The Suicide Squad).

Doctor Strange

Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange
Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange

While Warner Bros. were allegedly courting Ryan for the Joker role, studio execs over at Disney were reportedly hoping he’d make his superhero debut in the then-forthcoming Doctor Strange film.

In 2014, The Hollywood Reporter claimed Ryan had met with Marvel to discuss the role after talks with Joaquin Phoenix (who would go on to win an Oscar for his portrayal of the Joker in 2019) fell through.

Ultimately, Ryan didn’t sign up either, and the part went to Sherlock actor Benedict Cumberbatch.

Benedict has since reprised the role for one full sequel, Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness, and for smaller appearances in other Marvel movies such as Thor: Ragnarok, Avengers: Infinity War and Spider-Man: No Way Home.

Green Lantern

Ryan Reynolds and Ryan Gosling
Ryan Reynolds and Ryan Gosling
Jeff Kravitz via Getty Images

Are you sensing a theme here? While plenty of Hollywood stars are making serious money thanks to DC and Marvel, it seems Ryan really isn’t interested in doing a superhero movie.

He made a particularly wise choice back in 2009, when he turned down the role of Green Lantern, which Ryan Reynolds then said yes to. Unfortunately for the Deadpool actor, Green Lantern wasn’t exactly a smash hit and the actor himself has even admitted it’s not his finest work.

Shortly after he was first linked to the role, the Barbie star shed some light on why he’s never been too keen on donning a superhero costume.

He told MTV: “When you see these big CGI movies, I just think that’s really hard.

“Those guys are really great actors to convince you that there’s a big monster there that’s not really there.”

It’s also been rumoured that Ryan Gosling prefers to avoid signing up for franchises which require stars to commit to multiple films – and this seems true enough, as he’s still yet to agree to a multi-movie deal.

The only sequel he’s starred in is Bladerunner 2049, which doesn’t really count as he didn’t appear in the original.

Fifty Shades Of Grey

Fifty Shades Of Grey
Fifty Shades Of Grey

Although the film version of Christian Grey was inspired by Ryan (according to the Hollywood Reporter, at least), that didn’t stop the actor delivering a swift “no” when offered the part.

The filmmakers, including the trilogy’s writer EL James (who was heavily-involved in the movies) and director Sam Taylor-Johnson, eventually settled on Charlie Hunnam as their Mr Grey with Dakota Johnson signing up as Anastasia Steele in September 2013.

Just one month later, Fifty Shades was thrown into chaos when Sons Of Anarchy actor Charlie dropped out citing a “schedule conflict” and as the release date loomed, they scrambled to find another actor prepared to take on the raunchy role – which is where Jamie Dornan came in.

While the trilogy didn’t exactly thrill critics, the films did pull in huge crowds in cinemas, resulting in an impressive $1.35 billion (£1 billion) in box office takings.

The Lovely Bones

Mark Wahlberg in The Lovely Bones
Mark Wahlberg in The Lovely Bones

Cast and crew were mere days away from filming The Lovely Bones when director Peter Jackson fired Ryan.

The Canadian stra had been due to star as grieving father Jack Salmon (who was ultimately played by Mark Walhberg) and gained over four stone for the part.

However, he hadn’t told to the director about his vision for Jack. Ryan told The Hollywood Reporter: “We had a different idea of how the character should look. I really believed he should be 210 pounds.

“We [Peter and I] didn’t talk very much during the pre-production process, which was the problem.

“It was a huge movie, and there’s so many things to deal with, and he couldn’t deal with the actors individually. I just showed up on set, and I had gotten it wrong. Then I was fat and unemployed.”

Beauty And The Beast

Dan Stevens starred as the Beast opposite Emma Watson as Belle
Dan Stevens starred as the Beast opposite Emma Watson as Belle
Jesse Grant via Getty Images

Emma Watson said yes to playing Belle fairly early on, but it took Disney a little while to find the Beast for the 2017 live-action remake.

In an interesting twist, Emma turned down another movie to make her Disney princess debut, saying no to Damian Chazelle’s La La Land.

Meanwhile, Ryan made the opposite decision, and said yes to Chazelle and no to Disney – and yet again, it looks like he made the right choice.

Beauty And The Beast was a hit with fans but La La Land became one of the most critically-acclaimed films of 2016.

The musical managed a clean sweep at the Golden Globes, winning seven awards from seven nominations, while Ryan nabbed his second Oscar nomination for his star turn as the jazz-loving Sebastian Wilder (his first was in 2007 for the lesser-known movie Half Nelson) and co-star Emma Stone triumphed in the Best Actress category.

Of course, we can’t mention La La Land without taking a second to acknowledge the gaffe that spawned a thousand memes: Faye Dunaway accidentally announcing it as Best Film winner at the Academy Awards, when Moonlight had actually triumphed. We still cringe just thinking about it.

28 Days Later

Cillian Murphy in 28 Days Later
Cillian Murphy in 28 Days Later
Peter Mountain/Dna/20th Century Fox/Kobal/Shutterstock

Danny Boyle’s post-apocalyptic horror film gifted us Cillian Murphy in the lead role, but the Irish star was actually the third choice.

The first actor lined up to play bicycle courier Jim was Ewan McGregor (who Boyle had worked with on Trainspotting) and when he bailed out, Ryan was next on the list.

Unfortunately (or fortunately, for Cillian fans), Ryan also turned the project down thanks to the classic reason, ‘scheduling conflicts’.

Dallas Buyers Club

Matthew McConaughey in Dallas Buyers Club
Matthew McConaughey in Dallas Buyers Club
Focus Features

It’s hard to imagine anyone but Matthew McConaughey as Ron Woodruff in this 2013 biopic, but it’s another movie that could have looked a lot different if Ryan had said yes.

The script for Dallas Buyers Club, a drama about a group of real-life people with HIV who smuggled unapproved drugs into the States to treat symptoms in the mid-1980s, had been doing the rounds in Hollywood for many years when Ryan was lined up for the part in 2011.

He had been set to reunite with his Lars And The Real Girl director Craig Gillespie (who went to direct Margot Robbie in I, Tonya) but the duo ended up leaving the project before it got off the ground.

In 2011, Dallas native Matthew was sent the script and he soon signed on the dotted line, with Jared Leto then joining in a supporting role within months. The duo won the Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor Oscars respectively, and the movie also took home the Best Picture award at the 2014 ceremony.


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