How different would your favorite shows and movies be without the actors that made them great? They’d at least be totally different — and maybe in some other universe they are! That’s weird to think about! Anyway, here are some original casting choices and the people that could have had certain roles but alas, it was not meant to be! Watch the videos. So bizarre!
1. Different Willow (Buffy)
Above is the unaired Buffy pilot, with a totally different Willow played by Riff Regan. Also Buffy has brown hair. It’s not shown here but Sarah Michelle Gellar was also going to play Cordelia because Charisma Carpenter was planning on auditioning for Buffy, but when both actresses were cast, they switched around the roles.
Buzzfeed unearthed this original 30 Rock pilot featuring Rachel Dratch as Jenna, and a totally different Cerie. As much as I love Rachel Dratch, they were probably right to replace her with Jane Krakowski, who absolutely murdered that role and left it for dead — like Mickey Rourke did to her in the desert, or something.
3. John Cusack as Walter White (Breaking Bad)
John Cusack was originally supposed to play notorious anti-hero Walter White in Vince Gilligan’s Breaking Bad but luckily the part ultimately went to Bryan Cranston. Cranston is amazing in the role and I can not see Cusack pulling it off. Matthew Broderick also turned down the role. I think both he and Cusack look too “nice guy” to play the meth dealer with the nuance Cranston gives it. Sorry, guys!
4. Eric Stoltz as Marty McFly (BTTF)
Stoltz was fired and replaced with Michael J. Fox after five weeks of work as Marty McFly. The two actors actually look pretty similar but the director and producers felt that Stoltz didn’t have the comedic sensibility needed to get the laughs they wanted from the script. Fifth-grade-me and my MEGA crush on MJF thanks them for this.
5. Kurt Russell as Han Solo (Star Wars)
Here’s his audition tape. He was super close to getting the role, until Harrison Ford was cast. Thank the force.
6. Britney Spears in The Notebook
That’s right. It was almost Britney jumping into Ryan Gosling’s arms on the beach. But then Rachel McAdams was cast and history was made. Romantic history, as she and Gosling fell in love during filming. Get back together, McGosling! You almost could have been Spearsling! Or Gosspears! Mickey Mouse Club forever!
7. Ashley Greene as Bella (Twilight)
Ashley Greene originally auditioned to play Bella in the ‘Twilight’ series, which she talks about in the video above. Upon finding Kristen Stewart though, Ashley was offered the part of Alice. Would Kristen have played Alice? Would Rob have fallen for Ashley? Would we have Robshley instead?!
8. Chris Farley as Shrek
Chris Farley recorded about 90 percent of Shrek’s dialogue before he died. The producers considered getting a Farley impersonator in to finish the last bits but then Mike Myers was cast and the movie became really, really different to suit his comedic stylings. I’m super interested in what Farley’s green ogre would have been like. From what I’ve read, seems he would have been more melancholy. The audio’s been hidden away at Dreamworks so we’ll never know.
9. Vince Vaughn in Donnie Darko
Vince Vaughn was originally offered the part of Donnie Darko, the angsty teen with an invisible rabbit friend. I’m having a really hard time picturing what that movie might have been like without Jake Gyllenhaal, who made the role iconic. Vaughn’s known for his comedy and this is a very dark, creepy movie. Plus, he was at least ten years too old to play a teenage boy. Very, very weird choice that thankfully didn’t happen.
10. Courtney Cox as Rachel, Jen Aniston as Monica (Friends)
The two women were originally cast in each other’s roles because producers thought Cox had a very sunny disposition that they liked for Rachel. At Cox’s insistence though, they switched the roles and magic was made. Whew. Also Monica was supposed to have a sexual relationship with Joey. Uh, no. Here’s Jen auditioning for her first movie role, the horrible cult classic ‘Leprechaun.’ It’s like, 3 seconds long though. Sorry!
11. Robin Williams as Hagrid (Harry Potter)
Before JK Rowling requested that only British actors appear in the film, Robin Williams was being considered for the role of Hagrid. But once his accent counted him out, Robbie Coltrane was in. Can you imagine a Hagrid that acts like the Genie from ‘Aladdin?’ So weird.