According to ET, Michael Fassbender was up for the role of Rafe McCawley in “Pearl Harbor” and had even completed the audition process. As noted in Fassbender’s 2013 interview with GQ, his audition was unsuccessful and Ben Affleck was cast instead. The Irish star did say in the interview that Disney sent him “a really nice note” to tell him he didn’t get the part, which he thought was a kind gesture.
Fassbender auditioned for “Pearl Harbor” at the very beginning of his career and had only appeared in theatre productions up until that point, per Time Out. Even though his American debut in the WWII drama didn’t work out, Fassbender found his own level of success that same year thanks to his portrayal of Burton P. Christenson in the popular “Band of Brothers” series (via IMDb). The actor steadily built his career from there and eventually made his way to the silver screen after being cast in Quentin Tarantino’s 2009 film “Inglourious Basterds.”