Denzel Washington didn’t get where he is today without making some hard choices — but some roles the actor has turned down in the past might surprise you. In an interview with Phase 9, he revealed that he was initially offered the lead role in I, Robot: a part that would later to go to Will Smith.
“I was […] offered I, Robot but I was worried about the robots if they got them wrong,” he said of the ‘2000s movie. “But actually, I would have done it but it came down to a choice between that movie and The Manchurian Candidate.” In The Manchurian Candidate, a 2004 thriller movie, Washington played Major Bennett Marco, a US soldier who is kidnapped and experimented on in the midst of the Gulf War for nefarious political purposes.
While a vastly different role to I, Robot, the drama movie received a number of accolades and was well-received by critics. Meanwhile, Smith was able to establish further his position as one of the best actors in the action movie genre.
So, in a lot of ways, it worked out well for both of them — but in the same interview, Washington also revealed some other surprising roles he’d turned down in the past, including Brad Pitt‘s role in detective movie Seven.
In the ‘90s movie, Pitt starred opposite Morgan Freeman as David Mills: a newly-transferred police detective tasked with stopping a serial killer before they continue their string of murders based on the Seven Deadly Sins.
Still, Washington’s best movies might be ahead of him yet, as he’s set to appear in highly-anticipated new movies like Gladiator 2 and The Equalizer 3. For more on these films, check out our guides to the Gladiator 2 release date and the Equalizer 3 release date.
Or, see what we thought of Smith’s latest Oscar-winning performance in our King Richard review as we wait to hear more on the Bad Boys 4 release date, in which he will be returning alongside Martin Lawrence.