Ben Stiller turned down an offer to direct Good Will Hunting because it starred then-unknown actors Ben Affleck and Matt Damon.
The Zoolander star made his directorial debut in 1994 with romantic comedy/drama Reality Bites, and soon became an in-demand filmmaker, but the one project that he dismissed went on to become one of the biggest hits of the 1990s.
When asked what he would change about his career, Stiller tells Vulture.com, “I remember my agent sent me the script for Good Will Hunting to direct, and I was like, ‘Who are these guys, Affleck and Damon? And why are they attached to this project? No, thank you!’ I mean, maybe I’d change that.”
Good Will Hunting received two Oscars for Best Supporting Actor Robin Williams and Best Original Screenplay for Damon and Affleck, and the man who eventually took the directing job, Gus Van Sant, earned a nomination for Best Director.