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Shaquille O'Neal Claims He Was Offered Starring Role In The Green Mile

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Shaquille O'Neal Claims He Was Offered Starring Role In The Green Mile

Shaquille O'Neal has claimed he was offered the role in The Green Mile, for which Michael Clarke Duncan was nominated for an Academy Award.

The Los Angeles Lakers and NBA legend does admittedly have some previous acting experience, having starred in films such as Kazaam and Steel, but a role in the 1999 fantasy prison film based on a Stephen King novel would have represented a significant step up for him.

We're obviously using 'step up' fairly loosely there, are Shaq is - as you're no doubt aware - absolutely massive.

However, we digress.

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O'Neal was discussing his life and career on the Marchand and Ourand sports media podcast when he made the revelation.

Michael Clarke Duncan as John Coffey. Credit: Warner Bros.
Michael Clarke Duncan as John Coffey. Credit: Warner Bros.

One of the hosts asked him about a role in Hollywood that he'd been offered but turned down, and he responded: "That was my role in The Green Mile. I turned it down."

He explained: "I didn't want to play the down-South African American guy during slavery,

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"I didn't want to play that role.

"But the guy who played it, Michael Clarke Duncan, did an excellent job.

" I think I made the right decision because he did way better than I could have done, but I got offered that role."

Of course, that whole production has a lot to thank Shaq for in turning the role down.

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Shaquille O'Neal. Credit: PA
Shaquille O'Neal. Credit: PA

Not because he wouldn't have been good - we'll never know how good he could have been - but because of how excellent Michael Clarke Duncan was.

His turn as death row prisoner John Coffey - who seems to be imbued with the power to perform miracles - has gone down in film history as one of the finest.

However, at the 2000 Oscars, where Clarke Duncan was nominated in the Best Supporting Actor category, he lost to Michael Caine and the film lost to American Beauty in the Best Picture category.

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In total, the film was nominated for four awards but left the ceremony empty handed.

Clarke Duncan sadly died in 2012 at the age of 54, but that performance remains as a fitting legacy to this very day.

Shaq did alright out of his own career, don't worry. Credit: PA
Shaq did alright out of his own career, don't worry. Credit: PA

We'll never know how well Shaq might have played it, but he'd have been hard-pressed to top that.

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Interestingly, the casting for the film took place in 1996, which is the same year that Shaq signed for the Lakers.

Perhaps Shaq's decision to turn down The Green Mile was also a decent decision for basketball fans, too?

Well, LA Lakers fans, anyway.

Featured Image Credit: PA/Warner Bros.

Topics: SPORT, TV and Film, Celebrity, Interesting, US Entertainment, Weird

Tom Wood
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