Iconic roles almost played by another actor

Stars Who Missed the Cut

Can you imagine anyone else playing the role that led to one of the biggest pop culture controversies of the early aughts, Brangelina? How about the other famous Hemsworth brother taking on a certain Marvel superhero? Honestly, we can’t either. Ahead, find out which of your favorite stars could have played your favorite movie characters — some may surprise you. 

Cate Blanchett in Closer

Julia Roberts played the role of Anna, one of the drama’s many philandering characters, but during a 2018 interview for her EW cover story, the actress revealed to EW that she wasn’t the first person director Mike Nichols sought. 

“Now it has to be said he thought of Cate Blanchett,” she explained. “But then she had a baby — thank you, Cate. Really my relationship with him changed my life.” 

Millie Bobby Brown in Logan

Though Millie Bobby Brown broke through Hollywood with her fan-favorite role as Eleven on Stranger Things, she recently revealed she auditioned to play another young girl with superpowers: X-23 from Logan (2017). The part went to newcomer Dafne Keen, though Brown asserts it was her “best audition.”

Scarlett Johansson in Jumanji

Back in 2011, an audition tape of a young Scarlett Johansson reading for Kirsten Dunst’s role as Judy in 1995’s Jumanji made the rounds on the internet. In the 22 years since it’s release, Johansson has become a bonafide star and well-respected actress, but Dunst was already known for Interview with the Vampire, where she starred opposite had already starred opposite Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt, and other smaller roles.

Gwen Stefani in Mr. & Mrs. Smith

We wonder if the world would’ve blown up back in 2005 if Gwen Stefani had landed the role of Jane in Mr. and Mrs. Smith (2005)? Would there have been “Team Gwen” T-shirts? Who knows! “[It was] very competitive and I wanted to do it, but I wanted to do music more,” Stefani told Howard Stern back in 2016. We obviously can’t imagine anyone else other than Angelina Jolie in this now-famous role that introduced her to her now ex-husband Brad Pitt, but Stefani could be a close second.

Eddie Redmayne in Star Wars

Last year, the lovable Oscar winner revealed that he auditioned to play Han and Leia’s Sith-loving son, Kylo Ren, in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. “I was trying again and again with different versions of my kind of ‘koohh paaaah’ [Darth Vader breathing sound] voice. And after like 10 shots [casting director Nina Gold] was like, ‘You got anything else?’ I was like, ‘No,’” said the actor of his less-than-successful audition. Although, we think he’s doing pretty well for himself with a different — and fantastic — franchise of his own right now…

Ben Affleck in Clueless

A 2015 Vanity Fair piece revealed that Ben Affleck was a major frontrunner for the leading man role of Josh in Clueless (1995). Though Paul Rudd stole Cher’s heart as the moody academic who we’re majorly, totally, butt-crazy in love with, casting director Carrie Frazier said, “I thought [Affleck would be fabulous for it.”

Emma Watson in La La Land

Though Emma Stone swept the 2017 awards season for playing La La Land‘s Mia, another Emma was originally eyed to portray the leading lady. But Emma Watson’s commitment to Beauty and the Beast meant she couldn’t take on the demanding production schedule for La La Land. “This wasn’t a movie I could just kind of parachute into. I knew I had to do the work, and I had to be where I had to be,” Watson said during a SiriusXM Town Hall with EW. “So scheduling conflict-wise, it just didn’t work out.” 

Miles Teller in La La Land

Another star who was originally tied to La La Land is Miles Teller. When the actor got cut from the movie, he allegedly sent a text to director Damien Chazelle saying, “What the f—, bro?” according to Esquire. But Teller recently clarified, saying the situation “played out much differently than people think.” Teller had previously starred in Chazelle’s acclaimed and Best Picture-nominated film Whiplash (2014). 

John Krasinski in Captain America: The First Avenger

Although Chris Evans won hearts as Captain America, Jim Halpert very well could’ve been donning the red, white, and blue — he was even asked to audition in costume. Although, as soon as a certain Australian walked by in Thor’s suit John Krasinski told a Conan audience, “I went, ‘I’m good. This is stupid. That’s okay, I’m not Captain America.’” 

Tom Hiddleston in Thor

Hiddleston has since wowed audiences with his performance as Thor villain Loki, but the Brit originally auditioned for the title rol. “They were always looking for Loki as well, and I think — the closer I got, they were like, ‘Actually, you should play the bad guy,’” he told Chelsea Handler back in 2013. 

Liam Hemsworth in Thor

Who else auditioned for the blonde, swole god? The other Hemsworth, of course! Although Liam found fame in another franchise with The Hunger Games, Chris said that it was his brother’s success in the audition process that motivated him. “I came in kind of with a little, I guess, motivation and maybe frustration that my little brother had gotten further than me,” shared the Thor star with W. “It’s a little family, sibling rivalry sort of kicked up in me.”

Mindy Kaling in Bridesmaids

The queen of the modern rom-com was almost cast in one of the best comedies of the past decade. Kaling was up for Maya Rudolph’s role Lillian in the 2011 hit Bridesmaids, telling Andy Cohen on What What Happens Live that she “loved the whole cast” and the movie. “That was one that was a heartbreaker,” she admitted. 

Matthew McConaughey in Titanic

McConaughey was almost King of the World, according to the actor in a 2016 Playboy interview. “It was one of those auditions where I left and thought I had it,” shared the Oscar winner. “I really enjoyed it. Kate Winslet really enjoyed it. That was a huge opportunity. But [James] Cameron liked Leonardo DiCaprio better.” To be fair, we’ll never let go of the idea of anyone besides Leo playing Jack. 

O.J. Simpson in The Terminator

In EW’s 2014 oral history of The Terminator, director James Cameron revealed that O.J. Simpson was a name brought up to play the lead role (which famously went to Schwarzenegger). [Orion chief Mike] Medavoy came to me and [producer Gale Anne Hurd] and he said, ‘Are you sitting down? You must sit down. I want O.J. Simpson for the Terminator,’” recalled the director. “Gale and I just looked at each other and thought, ‘You’ve got to be f—ing kidding me? How do we get out of this?’” The idea was never really more than an idea, though, as Cameron was reportedly, and ironically, turned off by Simpson’s “pleasant persona.”

Jennifer Lawrence in Twilight

Lawrence became a household name thanks to a different, blockbuster franchise but the actress originally auditioned to lead the Twilight films. Lawrence later said that she didn’t think she would have been able to handle the Twilight masses. “I remember when the first movie came out, seeing Kristen Stewart on the red carpet and getting papped wherever she went,” explained the actress. “For me, and assuming for her, it was just another audition. Then it turned into this whole other thing.”

Jennifer Lawrence in Easy A

Lawrence revealed in November 2017 that she actually auditioned for the lead role in the film that made BFF and fellow Oscar winner Emma Stone’s career: Easy A. During The Hollywood Reporter‘s annual actress roundtable that included Stone, Lawrence said she “wanted [the role] so bad.” Stone lovingly retorted, “You didn’t get it. You didn’t get it because you suck!”

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