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Robert De Niro: Roles He Missed That Other Actors Made Famous

By    |   Wednesday, 03 February 2016 06:16 PM

Robert De Niro is an actor's actor, one who trained at the Stella Adler Conservatory and the American Workshop, and first gained fame with his role in "Bang the Drum Slowly," followed that same year, 1973, by "Mean Streets."

Although often typecast as a portrayer of roughs, toughs, and psychos, De Niro doesn't always play rage-filled nut jobs, though his long association with director Martin Scorsese tends to keep bringing him roles as punks and gangsters. Still, his screen credits include a few sensitive films as well.

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Among his credits are "Taxi Driver," "The Deer Hunter," "Raging Bull," "The Untouchables," "Goodfellas," "The Godfather Part II," and "Frankenstein" (as the monster), but also include "Meet the Parents," "New York, New York," "1900," and "Once Upon a Time in America."

All in all, De Niro has played in 104 productions, but there's a smaller number of parts that he might have played but didn't. Here are a few of the roles he didn't get, made famous by other actors.

1. "The Warriors"
De Niro was considered for the role of Cowboy in this 1979 cult classic, but the director wanted all unknown actors, according to NotStarring.com. The part went to Tom McKitterick.

2. "Silence of the Lambs"
Hannibal Lecter would have been right up De Niro's dark alley, and he was considered, but the role in the 1991 thriller was played, of course, by Anthony Hopkins, who won a Best Actor Oscar for the film.

3. "The Pope of Greenwich Village"
According to Christopher Heard, author of "Mickey Rourke: High and Low," De Niro was wanted for the role of Charlie in this 1984 dark comedy, but the part went to Rourke. The film would have been the first pairing of De Niro and Al Pacino, but Eric Roberts was cast instead of Pacino.

4. "The Last Temptation of Christ"
Scorsese considered De Niro to play Jesus in this 1988 film, but the actor wasn't on board. "'Last Temptation' was something I was never interested in doing," De Niro said, according to the book "Untouchable: Robert De Niro: Unauthorised" by Andy Dougan. "But I did tell [Scorsese],'If you really have a problem, if you really want to do it, and you need me, I'll do it. If you're against the wall and have no other way, I'll do it as a friend.'" Willem Dafoe eventually got the gig.

5. "Great Balls of Fire!"
Scorsese originally wanted De Niro to play Jerry Lee Lewis in this 1989 biopic, but went with Dennis Quaid in the end, according to NotStarring.com.

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6. "Big"
It's hard to imagine anyone but Tom Hanks in this 1988 role, but De Niro was offered the part and accepted it after Hanks initially turned it down, according to "Casting Might-Have-Beens: A Film by Film Directory." The book says De Niro spent months working with director Penny Marshall and even practiced skateboarding. However, the studio apparently refused to pay De Niro his price, and after Hanks heard De Niro was involved, lending credibility to the film, he took the job when De Niro dropped out.

7. "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory"
De Niro was one of a long list of actors considered to play Willy Wonka in the 2005 remake of "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory," but Johnny Depp got the call. It was the fifth time Depp worked with director Tim Burton in a span of 15 years.

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Robert De Niro has played in 104 productions, but there's a smaller number of parts he might have played but didn't. Here are a few of the roles he didn't get, made famous by other actors.
robert de niro, roles, missed, actors, famous
Wednesday, 03 February 2016 06:16 PM
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