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4 Iconic Movie Roles That Were Originally Written for Men

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Patti Perret

Who run the world? Girls!

While women have been given the short end of the stick when it comes to salary (among other things) in and out of Hollywood, Queen Bey’s anthem actually rings true among screenwriters and producers – specifically when it comes to casting.

In October, Sandra Bullock’s newest film Our Brand Is Crisis hits theaters. While its plot, which sees Bullock’s character (a “devious” political consultant) help get an unpopular Bolivian president reelected, has Oscar contender written all over it, it’s a behind-the-scenes detail that first snagged our attention.

“Initially, it was written with George Clooney in mind,” Bullock told Entertainment Weekly. “About two-and-a-half years ago I just put out the feelers saying, ‘I’m not reading anything I’m excited about. Are there any male roles out there that they don’t mind switching to a female role?'” The interest paid off, leading to the creation of her tough-as-nails role as “Calamity” Jane Bodine.

But that isn’t the only case of a character gender swap: earlier this year, actress Emily Hampshire took the role of mental patient Jennifer Goines in the Syfy series 12 Monkeys. The TV show draws inspiration from the 1995 film by the same name, which starred Brad Pitt as a mental patient named Jeffrey Goines. “It’s the same character, but I’m not doing an impression of his performance – it’s totally new,” Hampshire told InStyle.

This gender-bending actually happens more often than you think. Keep scrolling to see the most notable character switch-ups.

Angelina Jolie – Salt (2010)


Originally meant for Tom Cruise, Jolie ultimately took on the role of the film’s titular character.

Jodie Foster – Flight Plan (2005)


Although the screenplay called for a leading man, Foster was brought on to play aircraft engineer Kyle Pratt.

Sigourney Weaver – Alien (1979)


Man or woman, we can’t see anyone else but Weaver kicking major butt as Ripley in Alien.