It has been 30 years since Meg Ryan had her breakout role, orgasming her way into our hearts as Sally in the rom-com classic When Harry Met Sally.
After that she became a constant fixture of the romantic comedy film scene through the '90s, with starring roles in Sleepless in Seattle (1993), You've Got Mail (1998) and City of Angels (1998).
But it is the roles Ryan turned down that might come as the biggest surprise — roles that could have led her down a vastly different career path; not to mention changing the face of some of the most iconic films of our time.
SHELBY EATENTON LATCHERIE IN STEEL MAGNOLIAS
The 1989 drama based on a Susan Harling play explores a group of close-knit friends and their emotionally heartbreaking experiences.
The film is an ensemble of Hollywood's finest female actors, Oscar winners and nominees, among them Sally Field, Dolly Parton, Shirley MacLaine and Julia Roberts.
And it was for Roberts' character, Shelby, that Ryan was originally cast.
When Ryan was also offered the title role of Sally in When Harry Met Sally, she asked to be let out of her Steel Magnolias contract in order to play her. The role of Shelby was then offered to Roberts, who went on to secure an Oscar nom for her performance.
VIVIAN WARD IN PRETTY WOMAN
It is hard to imagine anyone else but Roberts donning the thigh-high black boots held up by a safety pin to play the role of everyone's favourite prostitute Vivian Ward, but it turns out the role was offered to LOTS of other stars before Roberts was given the part, including Molly Ringwald, Demi Moore and a then-unknown Sandra Bullock.
Ryan also turned down the role despite being director Garry Marshall and the studio Disney's first choice.
This decision proved serendipitous for Roberts: This was the second time she went on to score an Oscar nomination from a role Ryan had turned down. Roberts earned a Best Actress in a Leading Role nomination for her work, and she also won a Golden Globe for her performance.
MOLLY JENSEN IN GHOST
The 1990 drama Ghost propelled Moore's acting career and created one of the most iconic movie scenes (yep, that pottery scene) and soundtracks (Righteous Brothers' Unchained Melody, anybody?). It also secured five Oscar nominations and two wins.
The role of Molly, the grieving partner of murdered banker Sam, and the recipient of his undying love in ghost form, is rumoured to have been offered to Nicole Kidman, Roberts and, of course, Ryan who all turned it down.
It's hard to envision Megs and Patrick creating the same pottery magic.
CLARICE STARLING IN THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS
Possibly one of the biggest regrets of Ryan's career was turning down the role of Clarice Starling in the multi-Academy Award-winning film The Silence of the Lambs.
The 1992 thriller ultimately starred Jodie Foster as the innocent, yet determined, FBI cadet. Her performance earned her an Oscar for Best Actress in a Leading Role.
But in an interview at the Austin Film Festival, the film's director Jonathan Demme revealed Foster hadn't initially been on his radar at all for the role of Clarice. Instead, Laura Dern, Michelle Pfeiffer and Ryan were his top choices, but none wanted the role.
In fact, Ryan was reportedly "offended" a script for such a grim and ghastly film could come her way.
I wonder if the five Academy Awards and two nominations the "ghastly" film earned changed her mind?
SUZANNE STONE IN TO DIE FOR
1995's To Die For was a critically acclaimed film directed by Gus Van Sant and a true career breakthrough for Aussie Nicole Kidman.
The film is loosely based on the real-life case of Pamela Smart, a woman who allegedly seduced her 15-year-old lover to murder her husband. In the film, the seductress is Suzanne Stone, a beautiful aspiring television personality played by Kidman.
Before Kidman was confirmed for the role, Ryan had been cast and was offered $5 million for the job. Ryan ultimately changed her mind and left the project.
Kidman then took it on — and went on to win a Golden Globe and secure a BAFTA nomination for her performance, while taking home $3 million less than Ryan would have been paid for the role.
Without any Oscar nominations to her name, or any hit films in nearly two decades, perhaps Ryan regrets saying no to some of these successful and iconic female characters.
I dare say Hannibal Lecter may also not be looking so ghastly after all.