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Iconic Horror Roles Actors Regret Turning Down

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While a handful of actors turned down horror roles they later regretted not accepting, others have no regrets. Again, this is somewhat specific to the horror genre; some actors and viewers alike don’t want anything to do with it, and understandably so.

Director Jordan Peele asked Tiffany Haddish to audition for a role in 2017’s “Get Out.” Haddish and Peele had worked together in “Keanu” (which Peele also co-wrote and produced) and “The Last O.G.” (which Haddish starred in and Peele co-created and executive produced). Haddish swiftly and definitively declined. “I’m cool on that,” she said with a laugh on “Late Night with Seth Meyers” in 2018 (via People). “I’ll watch it, in the daytime. I’m not gonna be in it.” While Haddish may have had hesitations being in a film so viscerally of the horror genre, she seems to be open to supernatural-adjacent roles to some degree, having starred in 2023’s “Haunted Mansion” as a psychic named Harriet.

In another decision that didn’t garner any remorse, Bette Midler passed on portraying Annie Wilkes in 1990’s “Misery,” directed by Rob Reiner. “I just couldn’t. It was too violent,” Midler told Variety in 2023. “The character was so not funny, so without any qualities of redemption. She cut off his foot. Come on. Who does that?” Kathy Bates ultimately played Annie in the film, and it remains one of her best performances. 

Haddish, Midler, and others may have been wise to know their boundaries and not cross them, avoiding the pitfalls of actors who were changed forever by horror roles. But we’ll always wonder what some of these movies would have been like with these alternate cast members. 



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