22 Actors Who Have Revealed Their Dream Roles

Spoiler alert: Everyone loves Broadway and musicals, and Broadway musicals.


Viola Davis dreams of playing Nora, the main character in Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House, in a Broadway production.

During an interview with Vulture, Davis said about playing Nora, “It’s a beautiful role. It’s tremendous… Anything where I can fail greatly I would love to do because here’s the thing, and this is where I show my shortcoming — I’ve always wanted to be great.” Davis is the recipient of two Tony Awards, along with a veritable gaggle of other major acting accolades, so maybe Nora will be lucky number three.

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Daniel Radcliffe became famous for his portrayal of the Chosen One in the Harry Potter films, but he had his eye on another teenage hero: Spider-Man. In 2016, Radcliffe said, “I would’ve been a good Spider-Man, but the boat has sailed on that. and I’m very happy to watch Tom Holland do it. He’s fantastic.”

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He’s such a fan of the character that in 2014, he attended Comic-Con “disguised” in a Spider-Man costume. The mask allowed him to explore the convention anonymously.

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For Tom Holland, getting the chance to play a “younger James Bond” would be “an actual dream come true.”

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Holland noted that he has to “remind myself that I’m lucky enough as it is,” since “Spider-Man is an absolute delight and privilege to play.” That being said, if the folks behind Bond came calling, “you best believe” Holland would be all over it.

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Then, in 2018, Johnson was cast as Kamehameha in the “epic-sized film” The King. It was supposed to start filming 2020, but there hasn’t been much news about it since, though its IMDb page says it’s in pre-production.

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Scarlett Johansson would love to play a Disney princess. In a 2016 interview with the New York Times, Johansson said that she and her young daughter “share the dream.”

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However, Johansson noted, “it’s probably not going to happen,” since she’s been “asking for that job for the past 20 years, and nobody has booked me.”

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Will Ferrell wants nothing more than to play Simon Cowell, whom he thinks of as a “long-lost twin” to one of his iconic characters, Anchorman’s Ron Burgundy.

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According to Ferrell, Cowell is his “dream role” because he became “a legend in five years.” Plus, Ferrell relished the thought of getting into character, saying he could “go to a concert and shout out to the artist, ‘Never gonna happen.'”

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In the Bridget Jones film series (with the first installment released in 2001, the second in 2004, and the third in 2016), the title role is played by Renée Zellweger. Lawrence noted that while she loved the movies so much that they were what she put on when she “want[ed] a movie that you’re never bored of watching,” she would never want to “replace” Zellweger in the role.

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Halle Berry’s dream role is the political activist Angela Davis.

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Drake is ready to play Barack Obama, and even better, he has the former president’s personal blessing. When asked about the possibility of Drake taking on the title role in his eventual biopic, Obama replied, “I mean, that is a talented, talented brother. So if the time comes and he’s ready…Drake has, more importantly, I think, my household’s stamp of approval. I suspect Malia and Sasha would be just fine with it.”

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Drake first expressed interest in the role in a 2010 interview, saying that he watched all of Obama’s addresses to “slowly but surely” learn how to mimic the sound of his voice, so that “when the day comes I’m not scrambling to learn how to speak like him.”

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Dave Bautista (aka Drax of Guardians of the Galaxy fame) has two dream roles, and they’re as different as two gigs could possibly be: Bane in the DC Universe, and famed author Ernest Hemingway.

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But if he were offered both simultaneously, it sounds like Bautista would go with Hemingway, because “I think I could do him justice.” Bautista said that Hemingway’s life, work, and ideas were deeply fascinating to him.

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Chris Evans wants to be in a musical “so badly,” and specifically, he’d like to take on the role of Orin Scrivello, the evil dentist from Little Shop of Horrors.

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As of February 2020, Evans was in “early negotiations” to play Scrivello in Greg Berlanti’s remake of Little Shop of Horrors.

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Constance Wu is another actor who dreams of starring in Little Shop of Horrors, though her role of choice would be Audrey.

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Speaking to The Cut in 2016, Wu said, “It would be so interesting to have an Asian Audrey because it’s all about achieving the American dream in a sinister, success-driven way.” When Lindsay Peoples, the writer of the profile, told Wu she should try to nab the “groundbreaking” role, Wu candidly replied, “I’ve already talked to some people about it…I don’t think they think I’m famous enough for that yet — or white enough yet for that part.”

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When Emma Corrin met with their agent for the first time, they were asked what their “dream role” would be. Corrin replied, “A series like The Crown.”

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Sure enough, even though Corrin said that they thought it was a “very distant…unreachable goal,” they ended up portraying Princess Diana of Wales in the fourth season of the very same show they discussed with their agent.

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While she was promoting Enola Holmes, Millie Bobby Brown revealed that she’d love to take on the role of Amy Winehouse in her biopic.

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Brown is a fan of Winehouse’s work and explained that Winehouse is “an icon to R&B, blues, and basically the whole culture of music.” The Stranger Things actor went on to say, “I really was impacted by her whole story. And so, I always say that I would love to play her.”

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Before Hugh Jackman stepped into the role, Keanu Reeves dreamed of playing Wolverine. During a SiriusXM appearance, Reeves said that while he wished he could’ve gotten the chance to portray the superhero, it’s “too late” and he’s “all good with it now.”

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That being said, Marvel now owns the rights to the X-Men (of which Wolverine is a part), and Kevin Feige (the president and chief creative officer of Marvel Studios) once said that they “talk to [Reeves] for almost every film we make,” so he may find his way into the MCU regardless.

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Jessica Lange has two dream roles: Blanche DuBois in A Streetcar Named Desire and Mary Tyrone in Long Day’s Journey Into Night. But here’s the thing…

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…she’s already played both! When asked about her dream role, Lange replied that she’d have to “wait a while and see if something else comes up,” because “off the top of my head there’s nothing that I’m as passionate about as I was about those two.”

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Speaking of actors who checked their dream roles off of their bucket lists, John Lithgow always wanted to play King Lear, and he did just that in a 2014 Shakespeare in the Park production.

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In an interview with Playbill the following year, Lithgow said that while he “kick[ed] himself that I never got to play Hamlet…Lear has always been the one. It’s really the only thing on my bucket list when anyone has asked what parts you want to play before you retire.” When the interviewer marveled that he had a “clean” bucket list, Lithgow replied that “other people have much more creative ideas for you than you have for yourself… People often see you in ways you can’t imagine yourself.”

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Jane Krakowski wants to play Dot, the female lead of Sunday in the Park With George, and added that she would like to “grow into Mama Rose,” the domineering stage mother from Gypsy.

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Krawkowski went on to say that the dream roles she wished she had played but couldn’t anymore included Cabaret’s Sally Bowles and Gypsy’s Louise.

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Dante Basco (aka Rufio from Hook and the voice behind Prince Zuko) has “always wanted to play Robin” in an animated Batman TV show or film.

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Ironically, his Avatar: The Last Airbender costar Jack De Sena (who played Sokka) beat him to the role. De Sena played Robin in 2014’s JLA Adventures: Trapped in Time, a DC animated film that was directed by Giancarlo Volpe, who directed multiple episodes of Avatar. During a 2021 episode of the Avatar: Braving the Elements podcast, Basco revealed, “I’ve auditioned for Robin so many times, on camera and on mic, and guess what? I lost it one time to guess who?” To which De Sena replied, “Yeah boy!” For his part, Sena wants to play Batman himself someday.


British artist Joe Simpson’s 2020 exhibition ACT was composed of photorealistic portraits of actors in their “dream role.” One of his subjects was Gugu Mbatha-Raw, who aspires to play Cleopatra.

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Mbatha-Raw chose the ancient Egyptian pharaoh because her first acting gig was as a “background character in the stage play of Cleopatra at Manchester Royal Exchange Theatre,” and ever since it’s been “her ambition to play the lead role.”

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Christopher Lee absolutely adored the Lord of the Rings series before he was cast as Saruman the White in their film adaptations, but that wasn’t the character he originally had his eye on. Instead, Lee was certain he would be the perfect fit for Gandalf the Grey.

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However, the creative team behind the film were already trying to get Ian McKellen to accept the role of Gandalf. After a lot of convincing (and an impromptu Gandalf audition), Lee ultimately accepted the role of Saruman, and LOTR director Peter Jackson reflected that the “bittersweet reality” of Lee was that “while he regarded his cinematic history with a certain amount of disdain, everyone around him had the opposite opinion.”

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And finally: LaKeith Stanfield’s dream role is a chair. Like, just a chair.

This one is pretty clearly a joke (…or is it?), but it’s too good not to include.

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