Back in July 2009, when it was first reported that Ryan Reynolds (Deadpool) had landed the then-coveted role of Hal Jordan/Green Lantern in Warner Bros' live-action film based on the DC Comics superhero, The Hollywood Reporter reported that the studio also screen-tested Bradley Cooper (Guardians of the Galaxy), Justin Timberlake (Friends with Benefits), and Jared Leto (Suicide Squad) for the title role. In the following years, Cooper and Timberlake have acknowledged auditioning for the role and nearly snagging it, but as far as I can recall, Leto has never confirmed his runner-up status.
On Friday evening, at the 30th Annual American Cinematheque Award Ceremony, before Bradley Cooper presented Sue Kroll, the president of worldwide marketing and distribution for Warner Bros., with the Sid Grauman Award, he included a few tidbits in his speech about his close-call with Green Lantern, according to THR's Borys Kit, mentioning Kroll is the one that informed him that he didn't get the gig, his "asymmetrical face" wasn't a good fit for the mask, and Leto was indeed one of his competitors.
Bradley Cooper talks GREEN LANTERN audition: Sue Kroll called him to give the bad news he wasn't going to get the job.— Borys Kit (@Borys_Kit) October 15, 2016
He knew that his asymmetrical face and the mask were issues. But he appreciated the call. And it started a long relationship with her.— Borys Kit (@Borys_Kit) October 15, 2016
Cooper also mentions that Jared Leto was one of those that auditioned for Green Lantern with him and Reynolds.— Borys Kit (@Borys_Kit) October 15, 2016
Green Lantern wasn't the only superhero role Leto missed out on. When a scheduling conflict initially prevented Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock) from playing Doctor Strange, director Scott Derrickson had Leto — as well as Ryan Gosling (The Nice Guys) and Joaquin Phoenix (Gladiator) — audition for the part. Trusting his instincts, Derrickson patiently waited for Cumberbatch's schedule to clear up. We'll see if Derrickson's patience will be rewarded when his Marvel film hits theaters this November.
In a universe as vast as it is mysterious, an elite, powerful force has existed for centuries. Protectors of peace and justice, they are called the Green Lantern Corps. When a new enemy called Parallax threatens to destroy the balance of power in the Universe, their fate and the fate of Earth lie in the hands of their newest recruit, the first human ever selected: Hal Jordan (Ryan Reynolds). Hal is a gifted and cocky test pilot, but the Green Lanterns have little respect for humans, who have never harnessed the infinite powers of the ring before. But Hal's humanity is one weapon no member of the Corps has ever had, and if--with willpower, determination and the encouragement of fellow pilot and childhood sweetheart Carol Ferris--Hal can quickly master his new powers and find the courage to overcome his fears, he will save the Earth and all of mankind from certain destruction.