8 Famous Characters That Were Originally Played by Other Actors

  • March 05, 2014
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Lance Henriksen was the Terminator

Arnold Schwarzenegger has played a lot of big roles in his very long career, but the one that truly made him an international superstar was that of the Terminator, the ultimate killing machine sent back to kill Sarah Connor and prevent her from birthing humanity’s savior. However, when James Cameron wrote the script, he had a very different image of the terminator in mind: Lance Henriksen. Cameron wanted the terminator to look a little more average, though considering how creepy Henriksen can be he may have been even more terrifying than Arnold ever was.


Sylvester Stallone was Axel Foley

Hey, you know the wise cracking, fast talking, street savvy and just flat out hilarious cop role that was played by Eddie Murphy in Beverly Hills Cop? Well we’d like you to imagine some of the funniest scenes, but this time insert Sylvester Stallone into them. Kind of a different movie, right? Stallone, believe it or not, was actually attached to play Axel Foley, but some disagreements about the tone of the movie led to him leaving the project. Of course that also allowed Murphy to slide into the role that made him a superstar, and Stallone took his concept of what the film should have been and made Cobra instead.


Frank Sinatra was John McClane

Let’s start things off by pointing out that, what a lot of people do not realize is the fact that Die Hard was actually based on a novel called Nothing Lasts Forever, by an author named Roderick Thorp. The character of John McClane, made famous by Bruce Willis, was actually named Joe Leland in that and several other books in a series. As it happens, Die Hard was not the first book in the series to make it to the big screen, as The Detective, starring the same Joe Leland/John McClane character, was released in 1968. Playing the lead role in that film, and thus becoming the original portrayal of McClane, just under a different name? Frank Sinatra.


Frank Sinatra was Harry Callaghan

Yep, it’s Old Blue Eyes again. While Sinatra actually sort of played one badass detective in John McClane, he almost tackled another in the form of “Dirty” Harry Callaghan. This isn’t some sort of speculation or a guy going out for a part of anything, either. Warner Brothers bought the script to Dirty Harry specifically for Sinatra, and he was all set to play the role until one minor thing got in the way: a .44 Magnum handgun. Sinatra had broken his wrist years earlier, and because of the lingering gimpiness of his wrist he couldn’t really hold that gun. So Sinatra bowed out, and Clint Eastwood slid right into what would become his most iconic role.

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