Shaquille O’Neal Reveals Why He Turned Down Michael Clark Duncan’s Role in ‘The Green Mile’

by Evan Reier

Look, we know that movies and Shaquille O’Neal haven’t always blended super well. We’re looking at you, Shazam.

The larger-than-life NBA icon and entrepreneur has made a few sojourns into the world of cinema. Besides Shazam, he also starred in Blue Chips and Steel while at the height of his NBA career.

And if you didn’t know, just about all of his film work wasn’t exactly lauded by critics. Basketball fans flocked to see Shaquille O’Neal act, but it obviously wasn’t his number one talent. However, no one could have ever guessed that he was a preferred choice for The Green Mile.

In a recent interview on Marchand and Ourand, the 7-foot legend revealed the film wanted him for Michael Clark Duncan’s legendary part in the film. Shaq didn’t go to the film’s producers, they came to him.

“That was my role in ‘Green Mile,’” O’Neal said. “I turned it down.”

What could have been. The then-Los Angeles Laker said that his primary reason for not taking the gig was due to the optics of the situation.

“I didn’t want to play the down-South African American guy during slavery,” he added. “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.”

All of that may be the understatement of the year. While The Green Mile is a renowned film for many reasons, Duncan’s acting in the role stunned audiences. Sadly, Duncan passed away in 2012.

In fact, Duncan was nominated for the 2000 Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. We love Shaq, but it seems a given that he wouldn’t have performed up to Oscar standards.

Shaquille O’Neal Making His Kids Earn Their Money

When a celebrity or athlete makes it big, we all assume that their children are coasting. With millions and millions to your name, it’s hard to imagine a scenario where the kids aren’t getting whatever they want.

Shaquille O’Neal doesn’t live by that notion. In fact, he opened up and revealed that his kids are probably still a little mad at him for his approach. Because the Inside the NBA star doesn’t just give them whatever cash they want.

“My kids are older now,” Shaq said. “They kinda upset with me. Not really upset, but they don’t understand… We ain’t rich. I am rich.”

He’s basically created a process for his kids to receive major financial support as they’ve gotten older. First? Get your degree.

“You gotta have bachelor’s or master’s [degrees],” Shaquille O’Neal said. “And then if you want me to invest in one of your companies, you’re going to have to present it. Boom, boom, boom. Bring it to me. I’ll let you know. I’m not giving you nothing.”