Steven Spielberg Explains The Strange Reason Mel Gibson Was Denied A Role In ‘Schindler’s List’


Leena Nasir Entertainment Reporter
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One of the most legendary movies ever made might have been dramatically different, if Mel Gibson had his way.

Agent to the stars Michael Ovitz and Hollywood giant Steven Spielberg revealed during a recent interview with Hollywood Reporter that Gibson had been angling for the lead role in “Schindler’s List.” Despite his interest, Gibson was turned away, and the role of Oskar Schindler ultimately went to Liam Neeson.

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“Schindler’s List” won the Academy Award for Best Picture and went on to become one of the most consequential movies ever made about the Holocaust.

Ovitz, who was involved in casting decisions for the 1993 film, shed light on what was happening behind the scenes at the time.

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Ovitz revealed that Gibson had expressed interest in playing Oskar and was shortlisted for the role, according to Hollywood Reporter.

“Mel Gibson’s name came up. He was interested. His agent put him forward,” the agent said. “But it wasn’t going to happen. Steven wanted a non-movie star for the part.”

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“A lot of people were interested in playing Schindler, and a lot of them were movie stars,” Spielberg told the outlet. “[A]nd to all of them I promised never to divulge any of their history with me, so I’m not saying those names are accurate.”

“I’m saying there were a number of people, even more than the names you gave me,” he added.

By that time, Gibson was already an established Hollywood star, having completed the third installment in the “Lethal Weapon” franchise. (RELATED: Tarantino Names ‘Greatest Movie Ever Made’)

Neeson was eventually cast, and the movie went on to win seven Academy Awards.

Ironically, by 2006, Gibson had gone on his infamous antisemitic rant, which would have added an ironic twist to the film’s legacy.