If you’re someone who watches television, you’ve likely seen NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal acting in one, or many, commercials. It seems the former four-time NBA champion has taken many spots he has been offered, but we just learned there is one role he declined.
On “Marchand and Ourand” sports media podcast, Shaq revealed that he was offered the role of John Coffey in the 1999 film “Green Mile,” but declined.
“That was my role in ‘Green Mile,’ I turned it down,” O’Neal said.
When asked why, O’Neal revealed the role was not someone he wanted to be cast as.
“I didn’t want to play the down south African-American guy during slavery. 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.”
Duncan, who ended up playing Coffey, was nominated for best supporting actor at the 2000 Academy Awards for his work in the film. That year “The Green Mile” was nominated for Best Picture.
O’Neal had acted previously when he was offered the role. He was in “Kazaam” and “Steel” in the 1990s.