15 Iconic Film Roles Tom Cruise Turned Down

Tom Cruise in Mission: Impossible - Fallout

Hollywood may not rely on as frequently on the weight movie stars bring to their respective projects, but there are still certain actors whose presence in a cinematic tale is enough for people to check it out. Tom Cruise is unquestionably one of those actors, having built an impressive resume over his nearly 40 year-long career, from Risky Business and Top Gun to Edge of Tomorrow and the Mission: Impossible movies. As is often the case with high profile actors, there have been times when Cruise has passed on certain roles, but as you'll see below, a lot of them were for movies that are fondly remembered.

Iron Man - Tony StarkFootloose - RenEdward Scissorhands - EdwardThe Shawshank Redemption - Andy DufresneGhost - Sam WheatWall Street - Bud FoxThe Curious Case Of Benjamin Button - Benjamin ButtonThe Talented Mr. Ripley - Tom RipleyA Beautiful Mind - John NashIndecent Proposal - David MurphySpeed - Jack TravenJohn Carter - John CarterI Am Legend - Robert NevilleEnemy Of The State - Robert Clayton DeanSalt - Edwin Salt (later changed to Evelyn)

Assembled by IMDB's Casting Calls, this lineup is one hell of a 'What if?' when it comes to Tom Cruise's career. Granted, not all of these will movies will go down as all-time classics (I'm looking at you, John Carter), but it's still fun to think about what might have been. Imagine him languishing in prison alongside Morgan Freeman in The Shawshank Redemption instead of Tim Robbins, or him learning from Michael Douglas on Wall Street instead of Charlie Sheen. Cruise has already established an impressive mark in the acting world, but if he'd taken just one or a few of these roles, his star power would be even more impressive.

Alas, life doesn't always go the way we plan, and there were different circumstances that led to Tom Cruise opting not to join any of the above films. For example, in Iron Man's case, the actor wanted to be more involved in the production saying he needed to be able to make decisions. It ultimately didn't work out, and Robert Downey Jr. was hired instead to play Tony Stark in the 2008 superhero movie. A decade later, that casting decision has paid off for Marvel and then some, and Cruise acknowledged earlier this year that he can't imagine himself playing Tony Stark. All this being said, while Cruise has had his fair shares of misses over the years (cough The Mummy cough), the successes far outweigh the failures, and it doesn't look like he'll be stepping away from the camera anytime soon.

You can currently see Tom Cruise reprising Ethan Hunt in Mission: Impossible - Fallout, and he'll next return to the role of Pete "Maverick" Mitchell in Top Gun: Maverick when that flies into theaters on July 12, 2019. If you're interested in what movies are coming out later this year, scan through our 2018 release schedule.

Adam Holmes
Senior Content Producer

Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.