Think of every one of your favorite movies and the actors that made the roles iconic, now replace that actor with Clint Howard.
"You want me to be Batman?"
The way that Hollywood works, this could actually be a reality. Due to conflicting schedules, pressures from studio heads, and even the occasional, but rare, the actor is demanding to much money, some of our favorite characters could have been very, very, different. How different you ask?
John Travolta as Forrest Gump
The man who brought raw emotion to Mr. Kotter's class as Vinny Barbarino was originally cast to play the plucky manchild who, despite his mental deficiencies, went on to quite the amazing life. You know what, maybe it was the role he was born to play.
Shown here; raw emotion
After seeing Tom Hanks play the role of Forrest it is admittedly hard to conceive of anyone else bringing the heart wrenching portrayal, especially the man who brought us Battlefield Earth. I admit I like Travolta in some of his roles, Pulp Fiction anyone, but can't seem to get past the thought that he would have gone full retard.
You never go full retard!
Bill Murray as Batman
We've all learned growing up that "Bill Murray is the shit." That was the first sentence I ever spoke, and my overly conservative parents decided that was the first time I would know the taste of soap. Take Mr. Murray and any shitty comedy script, put them together, and you have gold. Don't believe me, go watch The Man Who Knew To Little. Exactly.
Alas, as much respect I have for him, he would make a terrible Batman. Not the old school Adam West Batman, which is what they wanted him to be, but the Tim Burton Dark Knight, which is why he lost out on the role. Michael Keaton would be cast to replace him and rightfully so, because we all know that Burton has no sense of humor.
Joel Schumacher however...
This is a twofer. Originally cast in the role of Don Corleone, was Sir Lawrence Olivier, and his son Michael was to be played by none other than Robert DeNiro. This entry is a little different because both actors are well acclaimed and rightfully so.
They used to be acclaimed, anyway.
Had Olivier not been sick, and Coppola not been so insistent, we would have never seen Kleenex become the most ingeniously used prop, outside of porno, ever. As for DeNiro, he would have torn up the role of Michael, probably earning and Oscar, just like he did by playing a younger version of the Don in Part Two. Which only leads to the question, who would have played the young Don had Robert been cast as Michael?
"I can learn to speak Italian."
This is a hard one because it's really easy to replace great actors from one genre with great actors from that same genre. But what happens when you try to replace a robot with a tool in a sci fi film?
Will Smith as Neo
The fresh prince in all his cocky swagger was the one. Who is the one you ask, go back a few posts and read my review of the Matrix. It's a mix between The Chronicles of Narnia and the Terminator where the Jesus allegory Neo fights the machines for the fate of the human race.
"I'm playing Jesus? Whoa!"
Thankfully, this concept was a little to hard for Will Smith to understand. I can not picture Smith, using his swagger and smarmy street talk, pulling of the doubtful disbelief that is required of the character. The movie is all about a man being told he is Jesus and not believing it, and requires a humble robot to enforce this fact. But don't worry about Will Smith, he filmed another blockbuster instead.
This was a hit right?
Neil Diamond as Travis Bickle
Wait, what the fuck. Really?
OK I guess I see it.
I must state that I am not making this shit up. Neil Diamond the multi platinum recording artist was staged to cock block Robert DeNiro in one of his most iconic roles. Diamond, instead, filmed The Jazz Singer, according to IMDB, his only starring role, and then fell back into what he does best, making music that when I sing, gets me picked on by the cool kids. As for DeNiro, who ended up with the role, nothing else became of him and he floated away into the flotsam that is Hollywood, rumor has it he ended up doing porn.
Terrible actor, fucking great musician.