While it's hard to imagine some of these iconic film and TV roles being played by another actor, parts like Carrie Bradshaw and Thelma and Louise were almost given to other stars, a new book reveals.
In Powerhouse: The Untold Story of Hollywood Creative Artists Agency, author James Andrew Miller takes a look behind the scenes at one of the world's leading entertainment agents, revealing what happens behind closed doors to make your favourite films and TV shows come to life.
As E Online reveals, the results are fascinating.
Sarah Jessica Parker didn't want to be Carrie Bradshaw
Parker herself is quoted in the book admitting she had huge reservations about signing on for the sexually frank HBO hit Sex and the City.
"There were a couple concerns that I had - like I really wasn't keen on doing nudity and language issues," she says.
Her agent convinced her to shoot the pilot, but when the show was picked up for a full series, Parker again wanted to back out. Again, her agent, Kevin Huvane, convinced her to stay.
"I loved every single solitary day of that experience, and I am fully aware that I would have never done it had it not been for Kevin," she admits.
Goldie Hawn was dying to be in Thelma and Louise
But director Ridley Scott didn't want her in the female revenge road movie, with the iconic roles going to Geena Davis and Susan Sarandon.
It was left to her agent, Ron Meyer, to deliver the news as diplomatically as possible.
"I didn't want to hurt her feelings, [so] I ate it: I told her that I didn't think the movie was right for her and talked her out of it.
When the movie came out and was a hit, she told me she regretted not going it, but she didn't dwell on it, and it never affected our relationship," he says.
Cher got tricked into accepting her Oscar-winning role
The singer and sometime actress landed her sole Academy Award for the 1987 romantic comedy Moonstruck, but she initially didn't want to take the part.
Her agent, Ron Meyer, told her that if she didn't want to be in the movie, she'd have to take a meeting and tell them face-to-face.
Cher reluctantly attended the meeting:
"The only thing I can remember is waving goodbye to them in the elevator after the meeting saying, 'I'm so excited, too! I can't wait till we start'," she reveals.
Matthew Broderick wasn't keen on Ferris Bueller
Much like his wife Sarah Jessica Parker and the role of Carrie Bradshaw, Ferris is Broderick's best-known role - but he didn't want to do it.
"I wasn't sure about Ferris, thought it wasn't right and I should do something dramatic," Broderick says.
His agent and manager urged him to take the part, and "they were absolutely right," he says. "I probably have a few movies that I wish I hadn't been in, but Ferris was a good one."
Tom Cruise almost didn't land his breakout role
Risky Business from 1983 was the film that put Cruise on the map - but his handful of previous roles worked against him at the time.
"It turned out people thought, based on his earlier roles, that Tom was too blue collar to play an upper-middle-class kid from the Midwest," the book reveals.
His agent, Paula Wagner, wouldn't take no for an answer and insisted he be brought in for a screen test.
"If Paula Wagner hadn't been as persistent and as supportive of Tom, he quite simply wouldn't have been in Risky Business," producer Steve Tisch says.