Thelma and Louise is a perfect movie, made so by its casting. Geena Davis is perfect. Susan Sarandon is perfect. Brad Pitt—extremely, supremely perfect. Close your eyes for a second and imagine with me an alternate reality in which Robert Downey Jr. plays J.D.
Per Vulture, this is what almost happened. According to Off the Cliff: How the Making of Thelma and Louise Drove Hollywood to the Edge, a book about the making of the film, Hollywood auditioned all of the hot men they could think of for the role—George Clooney, a young Mark Ruffalo, Dylan McDermott, Dermot Mulroney—but somehow eventually gave the role to William Baldwin. Before Baldwin signed the contract, he took a role in Backdraft, and the producers were left scrambling.
The one person that was available to take the role was....Robert Downey Jr., a fine man and actor who was probably kind of handsome in his time, but is entirely unimaginable as J.D. Please try to picture him in this scene. Just try.
You can’t! It’s impossible! Who would J.D. be if he weren’t a smooth-skinned, sandy-haired Brad Pitt, all innocence and guile? It turns out Downey Jr. didn’t even get a chance because Ridley Scott, the director, decided that he was too short. No offense to Robert Downey Jr., but thank God.