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10 Actors Who SAVED Their Careers By Turning Down Movie Roles

In the mid-'90s, Russell Crowe was on the cusp of his big Hollywood breakthrough, largely due to the international attention he received for his acclaimed performance in the 1992 skinhead drama Romper Stomper.

And so, as MGM was putting together their 1995 swashbuckling blockbuster Cutthroat Island, Crowe was offered the lead role of William Shaw, as was originally written for Michael Douglas.

Crowe ultimately passed on the part, which instead went to Matthew Modine, who hoped it would be his breakthrough into lead actor roles.

Sadly, production on Renny Harlin's tentpole was a disaster from the jump, with the budget quickly spiralling wildly out of control. But the real issue came with its actual release, where the film grossed a pathetic $10 million worldwide against a $98 million price tag.

Cutthroat Island's failure caused Hollywood to leave pirate-themed movies well alone until Pirates of the Caribbean in 2003, while the careers of stars Modine and Geena Davis were irreversible irradiated.

Modine unfortunately never reached that high-gear he was hoping for and has largely been a supporting player ever since. And so, it's fair to say that Crowe likely wouldn't have been cast in L.A. Confidential two years later if he had auditioned as "the Cutthroat Island guy."

Given that L.A. Confidential effectively put Crowe on the A-list, turning down Cutthroat Island was the smartest decision of his entire career.