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Michael Clayton( Myles Aronowitz / Warner Bros. Pictures )
By John Horn and Patrick Day, Los Angeles Times Staff Writers
Fishermen love to tell stories about the big ones that got away.
Actors are less willing to talk about the life-changing roles they lost.
Yet Hollywood is filled with tales of career-making parts that somehow slipped through another performer's fingers. Some couldn't make the movies because of schedules. Others grew nervous about the material or the director. And some were canned on the eve of -- or, in a few cases, days into -- production.
Matt Damon fell out of "The Fighter," a movie about Boston boxer "Irish" Mickey Ward. But Paramount isn't exactly slumming in recasting the part -- Brad Pitt is set to fill Damon's gym trunks.
Here's a look at some defining performances, and the actors who had a chance to play them first.
George Clooney's "Michael Clayton," opening Oct. 5, could bring another Oscar nomination Clooney's way. But the titular role of a troubled corporate lawyer was previously offered to...