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Feminist Icons Who Turned Down Roles in Our Now Favourite Movies

How turning down roles has acted as a feminist protest to the movie industry.

Credit: Paramount Pictures

Can you imagine Gwyneth Paltrow at the front of Titanic as her dress ripples in the arctic wind? No, I thought not. That role seems to exist only exclusively for Kate. And boy, hasn’t she risen in her fame because of it?

Even Paltrow told Howard Stern, “I look back at the choices I’ve made and think, why the hell did I say yes to that and no to that?”. Of course, this was said in spite of her mother, who would say such a thing as holding onto roles is “not ladylike.” But since when did she care for upholding patriarchal gender norms, anyway. 

Another one of our women who was originally sought after to play Rose was The Homeland star, Claire Danes. Unlike Paltrow, however, she had no regrets. “There was strong interest, but honestly, I’d just made this romantic epic with Leo in Mexico… and (it) felt like a repeat.” Clearly, she was desperate to not be branded as a certain type of actress only to be conveyed in romance settings, because we all know how reputation sticks in Hollywood. 

The same goes for so many other movies that, today, we just couldn’t imagine being played by anybody else. For starters, there’s Gloria Estefan as Daisy Arujo in mystic pizza. I mean, what? Estefan brought this gem up in a September show of Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen, when she was asked whether she had turned down songs that are now huge hits. Clearly this regret resounded larger than any of her musical ones. “I thought, one day,” she said, “I will do acting, but I’m not going to throw myself into this and not be good at it.” Turning down a role because the backlash she would have gotten from it, as a female, overtook her desire to become an actress. Don’t worry, Estefan, we get it.  

And how much did we all love Julia Stiles as the quirky, bruh-girl Kat Stratford, in 10 Things I Hate About You? To think that this role almost went to Katie Holmes! It seems, as well, that Kate Hudson was considered to play the part, too. She was ruled by her mother, though, Goldie Hawn who decided that “didn’t like the script for her, so she passed.” Mad respect for the powerful women pushing for more, here. 

Credit: Touchstone Pictures

Another one who passed a role was Emma Watson, having the chance to play Mia in La La Land. As we all know, Emma is a fierce advocate for feminism, and had been working with the team of Beauty and the Beast to ensure Belle was being portrayed in the best way possible. She even refused to wear a skirt while riding the horse. Iconic. Naturally, she turned down the chance of winning a Best Actress Oscar in March 2017, by staying with her original commitment. 

Credit: Summit Pictures

To round this up, how different would Christina Applegate been as Ella Woods in ‘Legally Blonde?’. This role made Reese Witherspoon’s career, and gave her the platform to go on and create her own movie company which centred around portraying strong, independent women who don’t need a male to get places in life, just like Elle. I mean, who knows what Christina would have done with it. Either way, she claims that she “got scared of kind of repeating… (herself).”

If you were inspired by these wonderful women who have empowered the movie industry, go take a look at how you can become one of them. 

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