Michael Corleone (The Godfather)
Paramount wanted popular actors (Warren Beatty, Robert Redford) to star in this film, but they all refused. Dustin Hoffman, who already was a well-known actor, didn’t want to try to be a mobster either.
But Francis Coppola thought Al Pacino was brilliant and tried to promote him even though he wasn’t famous. The movie studio was against it, but a contract was signed 3 weeks before filming.