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What kind of roles have big actors turned down - and missed out on

01:00 Mon 22nd Apr 2002 |

A.� Hugh Grant is the latest actor to turn down a role which could be an enormous hit. He has decided not to star alongside Julia Roberts in the film adaptation of journalist Toby Young's autobiography, How to Lose Friends and Alienate People.

Grant is alleged to have refused the role out of loyalty to ex-girlfriend Liz Hurley, who was upset by Young when he used nude pictures of her in the magazine Modern Review, of which he was editor.

Grant has turned down several plum roles in his career so far, even though he has achieved success in Notting Hill, Four Weddings and a Funeral, and Bridget Jones's Diary.

He rejected the role of Professor Gilderoy Lockhart in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets in order to appear in a comedy with Sandra Bullock. The second Harry Potter, with Kenneth Branagh starring as Gilderoy, will be one of this year's biggest hits when it's released in the autumn. The Sandra Bullock film is unlikely to match its success.

Gwyneth Paltrow turned down the lead in Titanic. The role went to Kate Winslet - and the film was one of the biggest grossing box office hits of all time.

Daniel Day Lewis was offered the role of Shakespeare in Shakespeare in Love after Julia Roberts, tipped to play the female lead, requested him. He turned it down and she dropped out. Roberts was replaced by Gwyneth Paltrow and Joseph Fiennes won the male role.

Helena Bonham-Carter turned down the lead in Breaking the Waves, for which Emily Watson was Oscar, Bafta and Golden Globe nominated. Emily Watson, however, was offered the lead in Amelie, the most successful French film ever. The part was apparently written for her, but she passed it by and Audrey Tautou has been launched onto the international screen.

Tim Roth is said to have turned down the chance to play Professor Snape in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone in order to appear in Tim Burton's Planet of the Apes. Alan Rickman instead played Snape in the film, which has been a huge success, meanwhile Apes is deemed to have flopped.

Q.� What about mistakes which could have changed stars' careers

A.� Tom Selleck was initially picked for Indiana Jones in Raiders of the Lost Ark, but he rejected the script to film another series of Magnum PI. Harrison Ford won the role.

Oscar winner Jim Broadbent turned down the role of 'Del Boy' Trotter in Only Fools and Horses. David Jason took the part and Broadbent appeared as a detective in one episode.

John Travolta turned down the role in The Green Mile, subsequently played by Tom Hanks.

Catherine Zeta-Jones turned down a �3.5 million offer to star in Charlie's Angels, alongside Cameron Diaz and Drew Barrymore. Lucy Liu subsequently won the role.

Bridget Fonda was originally offered the role of Ally McBeal. She said no and the then unknown Calista Flockhart got the part of thje dippy lawyer in the show watched around the world.

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By Katharine MacColl

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