A few weeks ago, we had a look at how some of the most famous films and series could have been very different, if different casting decisions that were actually considered and deemed likely at some point, would have ended up in a different actor playing the key role. This week, we are looking into the same, but this time involving actresses. So, here are a few roles that could have led to much different movies, had other actresses been cast.
Claire Danes starred in Baz Luhrmann’s ‘Romeo + Juliet’ alongside Leonardo di Caprio back in 1996, and always wanted to do another film with Leo. But it seems that it was just too soon after the Shakespearian drama, as she turned down the role of Rose in 1997’s Titanic. Although it became a global phenomenon, with Kate Winslet ultimately playing the role of Rose, Claire Danes mentioned several times that she has no regrets about turning down the role, as she simply didn’t feel ready for it at the time.
The Notebook is one of the most famous and loved romantic comedies out there, and who was going to play the lead role was a key consideration throughout the casting process. Apparently, Kate Beckinsale was being considered initially, only to ultimately be taken off the list due to a perceived lack of chemistry that was needed for the role. Another actress who was seriously considered for the role was Britney Spears – with her 2002 audition alongside Ryan Gosling was more recently discovered and sold for a million dollars. Ultimately, however, the role went to Rachel McAdams, which led to The Notebook’s success, and made a previously pretty anonymous actress a big star.
Damian Chazelle’s post-Whiplash film ended up as one of the most recognizable musicals of the past decade, and the entire casting, shooting and editing process was likewise quite recognizable, as it took a full six years. In this entire time, there were a lot of changes in who was going to play the main roles – at one point, it seemed set that it would be Emma Watson and Miles Teller partnering up. However, in the end the duo featured a different Emma – Emma Stone – and Ryan Gosling, whereas Emma Watson went on to take the main role in The Beauty and the Beast.
Julia Roberts starred in many great films, such as Pretty Woman, Erin Brockovich and My Best Friend’s Wedding to name just a few – but she could have also played a key role in Sleepless in Seattle, which she ended up turning down. Meg Ryan ended up joining Tom Hanks for that project, whereas Julia Roberts ended up doing Pretty Woman together with Richard Gere around the same time in the early 1990s.
When Hollywood purchased the rights for the story and started to turn Breakfast at Tiffany’s into a movie project, it was widely regarded that Truman Capote’s vision was of Marilyn Monroe playing the role of Holly Golightly. She knew Capote well, was raised in California, and shared physical characteristics, as well as some of her actual background, with the character that she had been meant to play – certainly when compared with Audrey Hepburn, who had next to none of these characteristics. And yet, it was the latter who eventually played the part, received an Academy Award nomination, and great success.
Game of Thrones’ pilot was shot all the way back in 2009, and since then, many things were changed, altered and reshot. What a lot of people do not know, however, is that the actress originally meant to play Daenerys Targaryen was Tamzin Merchant, who had just been handed the role and starred in the pilot. Of course, this is not very unusual – actors playing roles in pilot episodes are quite often replaced once the actual series gets going – but it must have been difficult for Tamzin Merchant to see her initial role develop into one of the most recognizable characters in recent television, in the hands of Emilia Clarke.