Woody Harrelson spills on the classic movie he passed on

Woody Harrelson giving the peace sign
Woody Harrelson (Image credit: Lionel Hahn/Getty Images)

Just about everyone has some regrets throughout their life, even well-known actors like Woody Harrelson. In fact, Harrelson has one particular regret about a movie he turned down that would go on to become a classic from the 1990s.

This all came up when Harrelson sat down with Ben Mankiewicz for CBS News. The actor is quite the busy man at the moment — he hosted Saturday Night Live for the fifth time on February 25, he has a new movie, Champions, coming out on March 10 and he stars in the Oscar Best Picture-nominated movie Triangle of Sadness (making its streaming debut on Hulu on March 3).

Of course, ever since Harrelson made his debut on Cheers he's been pretty busy in both TV and movies, starring in well known titles like White Men Can't Jump, Natural Born Killers, Kingpin, No Country for Old Men, Zombieland, The Hunger Games franchise, True Detective, Venom: Let There Be Carnage and more. But like many actors and actresses, he has said no to a few movies he probably wishes he could get a mulligan on. The one in particular he brought up in this CBS interview was Jerry Maguire.

The 1996 Cameron Crowe movie about a sports agent who has a crisis of conscience in his work and struggles in his personal relationships was both a box office hit and critical/awards darling, nominated for five Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Actor for star Tom Cruise. It seems like before Cruise, Harrelson was apparently a candidate to play Jerry.

When Mankiewicz asks Harrelson about passing on the movie, the actor says: "Yeah, yeah, that was a blunder. And then like two days later I hear Tom Cruise is doing it, and I'm like, 'Oh, I might have f***ed that up.'"

The role is definitely one of Cruise's most iconic, but Harrelson has a number of his own throughout his career, including three Oscar-nominated performances in The People vs Larry Flynt, The Messenger and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.

The rest of the CBS interview sees Harrelson talk about how he got the acting bug, his start on Cheers, as well as his well-documented affinity for weed and how he is turning that into a business. Watch the full interview on the CBS website

Michael Balderston

Michael Balderston is a DC-based entertainment and assistant managing editor for What to Watch, who has previously written about the TV and movies with TV Technology, Awards Circuit and regional publications. Spending most of his time watching new movies at the theater or classics on TCM, some of Michael's favorite movies include Casablanca, Moulin Rouge!, Silence of the Lambs, Children of Men, One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest and Star Wars. On the TV side he enjoys Only Murders in the Building, Yellowstone, The Boys, Game of Thrones and is always up for a Seinfeld rerun. Follow on Letterboxd.