10 rock stars who missed out on their dream film role

Rock Stars’ Missed Acting Opportunities

Over the years, numerous rock stars have tried their hand at acting, with varying degrees of success. From John Lennon to Mick Jagger, many musicians have made the transition to the big screen. However, there are also instances of roles that these rock stars desired but never got the chance to portray. Let’s delve into some of these missed opportunities.

David Bowie’s Near-Misses

Elrond or Gandalf in The Lord Of The Rings

David Bowie, known for his iconic music career and eclectic personas, had a number of memorable roles in films like The Man Who Fell To Earth and Labyrinth. However, he narrowly missed out on the opportunity to play a half-elven Lord in Peter Jackson’s The Lord of The Rings trilogy. There were rumors that Bowie had auditioned for the role of Elrond, though the collision of a beloved character and a famous star was deemed slightly uncomfortable.

Rorschach in Watchmen

Author Alan Moore shared that Bowie was considered for the role of morally ambiguous anti-hero Rorschach in a planned Terry Gilliam version of the Watchmen graphic novel. This happened years before Zack Snyder’s movie adaptation came to fruition.

Lou Reed’s Unfulfilled Roles

Pontius Pilate in The Last Temptation of Christ

Lou Reed, a long-time friend and artistic rival of David Bowie, was considered for the role of Pontius Pilate in Martin Scorsese’s controversial film The Last Temptation of Christ. However, Bowie ultimately secured the role. Scorsese revealed that Reed auditioned for the role but lost it to his old friend Bowie.

Blackie Lawless’ Robot Dream

T-1000 in Terminator 2: Judgment Day

Blackie Lawless, the frontman of the rock band W.A.S.P., had an intriguing opportunity to play the time-travelling, shape-shifting killer robot T-1000 in Terminator 2: Judgment Day. However, concerns about the height difference between Lawless and Arnold Schwarzenegger led to this potential role being scrapped.

John Lydon’s Almost Appearance

Jimmy in Quadrophenia

Former Sex Pistols singer John Lydon, also known as Johnny Rotten, was reportedly Pete Townsend’s first choice to play Jimmy, the lead character in the film adaptation of the band’s rock opera Quadrophenia. However, the role went to Phil Daniels, which led to a street altercation between Lydon and Daniels.

Billy Idol’s Lost Opportunity

Tom Baker in The Doors

Billy Idol, the former Generation X singer, had a chance to appear in Oliver Stone’s The Doors as the actor Tom Baker and friend of Jim Morrison. However, due to a serious drug habit and a motorcycle crash, Idol’s part was significantly reduced.

Courtney Love’s Alternate Roles

Nancy Spungen in Sid and Nancy

Courtney Love, before her music career took off, auditioned for the role of Nancy Spungen in Sid and Nancy, the biopic about Sex Pistols bassist Sid Vicious and his tumultuous relationship. Although she auditioned for the lead role, she ended up playing Spungen’s friend Gretchen.

Kay Lake in The Black Dahlia

Love was also in the running for the role of Kay Lake in the murder mystery The Black Dahlia. However, the part ultimately went to Scarlett Johansson, as Love felt that the character was quite different from her persona.

Anthony Kiedis’ Missed Opportunity

Unspecified Role in My Own Private Idaho

Red Hot Chili Peppers frontman Anthony Kiedis had the chance to be a part of the independent hit My Own Private Idaho. However, dealing with addiction and mental health issues at the time, his audition did not go as planned.

Tom Waits’ What-If Moment

Reservoir Dogs

The gravel-voiced singer Tom Waits has appeared in various movies with bit-part credits. He might have also been a part of Quentin Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs, specifically as Mr. Pink. Waits had read lines from the script, but Tarantino eventually took on the role himself.

Gwen Stefani’s Casting Near-Misses

Jane Smith in Mr. and Mrs. Smith

Gwen Stefani, the lead singer of No Doubt, auditioned for the role of Jane Smith in Mr. and Mrs. Smith. However, Angelina Jolie secured the role, and Stefani joked that it could have been a different story.

Kay Lake in The Black Dahlia

Stefani was also in the running for the role of Kay Lake in The Black Dahlia. Although she felt the character was quite different from her own persona, the role ultimately went to Scarlett Johansson.

Henry Rollins’ Close Encounter with TV

Negan in The Walking Dead

Henry Rollins, known for his punk rock background, almost landed a role in the massive TV show The Walking Dead. He auditioned for the role of Negan, but the role eventually went to Jeffrey Dean Morgan.

Additional Missed Opportunities in Rock Star Acting Careers

While these examples showcase some of the notable instances of rock stars missing out on acting opportunities, there are other instances worth exploring:

Axl Rose’s Bid for Terminator

T-800 in Terminator 2: Judgment Day

Guns N’ Roses frontman Axl Rose reportedly expressed interest in playing the iconic T-800 Terminator role in Terminator 2: Judgment Day. However, Arnold Schwarzenegger ultimately reprised his role in the sequel.

Mick Jagger’s Absence from A Clockwork Orange

Alex in A Clockwork Orange

Mick Jagger, known for his dynamic presence on stage, was considered for the role of Alex in Stanley Kubrick’s film adaptation of A Clockwork Orange. However, the role eventually went to Malcolm McDowell.

Johnny Cash’s Unfulfilled Dream

Superman in Superman: The Movie

Johnny Cash, the legendary country musician, expressed a desire to play the role of Superman in the 1978 film Superman: The Movie. However, Christopher Reeve secured the iconic role and became synonymous with the character.

Jim Morrison’s Acting Aspirations

Peter Fonda’s Role in Easy Rider

The Doors’ lead singer Jim Morrison was interested in acting and had aspirations beyond music. He expressed interest in playing the role of Wyatt in the film Easy Rider, a part that eventually went to Peter Fonda.


The world of entertainment is full of missed opportunities and what-ifs, and rock stars transitioning into acting is no exception. From David Bowie’s near-miss with The Lord of The Rings to Mick Jagger’s potential role in A Clockwork Orange, these instances provide a glimpse into the parallel universe where these iconic musicians could have left their mark on the silver screen. While some of these missed opportunities may be tinged with regret, they remain a part of the fascinating tapestry of rock stars’ careers in the realm of acting.

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Mohammad Mo
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