John Bender (The Breakfast Club)
Judd Nelson biggest role was John Bender, the bad boy that defined 80's coolness. Before the casting directors decided on Nelson for the part, though, they entertained the idea of Nicolas Cage to play the bad boy of detention. If he got the role, his career would definitely have skyrocketed much earlier.
Tony Stark (Iron Man)
As early as 1997, more than 10 years before "Iron Man" was released, Cage had expressed his interest in portraying the Marvel superhero. Cage is a huge Marvel fan, and he even chose his stage name after the Marvel character Luke Cage. Of course, the role went to Robert Downey Jr. instead, but Cage still got to play a Marvel hero later on in "Ghost Rider."
Aragorn (Lord Of The Rings)
The "Lord of the Rings" films are beloved by so many, and a big reason for that is the strong and brave character of Aragorn. Before Viggo Mortensen took the part, Peter Jackson actually offered it to Nic Cage. Cage turned it down because it required a 3-year stay in New Zealand, and he wanted to spend time with his family instead.
Joel Goodsen (Risky Business)
Cage was looking for his break in the '80s, and he came very close to it when he was considered for the protagonist in "Risky Business." Cage was a frontrunner for the part, but the casting directors decided on Tom Cruise instead.
Willy Wonka (Charlie & The Chocolate Factory)
When remaking the famous 1971 musical "Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory," a ton of actors were being considered for the iconic role of the zany chocolatier originally portrayed by Gene Wilder. Cage was one of the actors in talks to play the role that wound up going to Johnny Depp.
Joel Barish (Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind)
Jim Carrey proved his dramatic acting chops in the sci-fi drama "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind." But it was almost Nicolas Cage chasing Kate Winslet through his mind.
Neo (The Matrix)
Cage has mentioned in interviews that he was offered the lead role in "The Matrix" saga, but passed on it simply because he didn't want to go to Australia to film it. The part went to Keanu Reeves instead, and became is most famous film role.
Superman ("Superman Lives")
In the late 1990's, Tim Burton was working on a Superman film that would revive the franchise from the 1970's Christopher Reeve movies. The film never came to be due to a fight between Burton and screenwriter Kevin Smith, but set to play Superman and Clark Kent in the film was none other than Nicolas Cage. Since then, Bryan Singer and Zack Snyder have both rebooted the franchise, without Cage.
Harry Dunne (Dumb And Dumber)
Jeff Daniels played Jim Carrey's dim-witted best friend in the classic comedy "Dumb and Dumber," but Carrey's partner in crime for the film was almost Nicolas Cage! Carrey and Cage had been trying to work together at the time, and Carrey specifically asked for Cage to play the part. However, Cage passed to film "Leaving Las Vegas" instead, which did wind up winning him an Academy Award for Best Actor.
Vincent Mancini (The Godfather: Part III)
When Francis Ford Coppola was making his third installment of his famous "The Godfather" films, he definitely had family on his mind. Not only did he cast his daughter Sofia in the film, but he also wanted to cast his nephew Nicolas Cage. Cage was considered for the role of Vincent, but the role ultimately went to Andy Garcia instead.
Brad Hamilton (Fast Times At Ridgemont High)
Fans of the 1982 film "Fast Times at Ridgmont High" know that Cage was in the movie as Brad's friend, but he was actually supposed to play Brad himself. Cage was cast as Brad Hamilton, but since he was only 17 at the time and couldn't work nights, they recast him as one of his friends instead.
Green Goblin (Spider-Man)
Once again, we almost saw Cage in a major superhero movie, but he turned it down. Cage was offered the role of the Green Goblin in "Spider-Man," but he decided against taking it and Willem Dafoe took it instead.
Randy Robinson (The Wrestler)
Mickey Rourke was the perfect fit for the protagonist in "The Wrestler," and proved it by earning a Golden Globe and an Oscar nomination for his performance. However, director Darren Aronofsky first offered the role to Cage, and Cage accepted it! Some say that Cage was dropped from the movie, but Cage himself contends that he realized he couldn't achieve the look of a steroid-abusing wrestler believably.
John Constantine (Constantine)
When Cage learned that Warner Brothers was adapting the comic book "Hellblazer" to the big screen, he excitedly signed on the play the protagonist John Constantine. Unfortunately, director Tarsem Singh began feuding with WB, and the project was put on hiatus. The film was eventually made with Francis Lawrence as the director and Keanu Reeves in the lead part that was originally Cage's.
Scarecrow (Batman Begins)
Joel Schumacher's Batman films are famously reviled, but somehow, after creating "Batman Forever" and "Batman & Robin," Warner Brothers still wanted him to create a third Batman film, which would be called "Batman Triumphant." Schumacher sought out Nicolas Cage to play Jonathan Crane/Scarecrow, but thankfully Christopher Nolan took over the franchise to create "Batman Begins" instead, and cast Cillian Murphy in the villainous role.
Charlie Chaplin (Chaplin)
The 1992 biographical film "Chaplin" portrays the life of the legendary actor. Nicolas Cage was considered for the titular role, but it was ultimately given to Robert Downey Jr.
Bobby Shatford (The Perfect Storm)
"The Perfect Storm" was a huge film in 2000, and featured a big name cast including George Clooney and Mark Wahlberg. Cage was actually originally cast in Wahlberg's role, but had to back out of the film.