10 Iconic Characters Almost Played by Someone Else

Jason Pham
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10 Iconic Characters Almost Played by Someone Else
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Photo: HBO

It’s hard to imagine anyone besides Sarah Jessica Parker as Carrie Bradshaw in “Sex and the City” or Julia Roberts as Vivian Ward in “Pretty Woman,” but these iconic movie and television roles were almost played by someone else. Yup. If it wasn’t for fate stepping in, some of your favorite on-screen characters could’ve looked a whole of a lot different. (We know. Total game-changer.)

MORE: Here’s a List of the Highest-Paid Actors on Television Right Now

But who are these actors who almost inched out our beloved stars for what would become roles of a lifetime? Well, lucky for you, we got the lowdown on all the explosive casting stories behind your fave shows and films. Learn what could’ve been and click through for 10 iconic characters who were almost played by someone else.

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Carrie Bradshaw in "Sex and the City"
Carrie Bradshaw in "Sex and the City"

Before Sarah Jessica Parker stepped into Carrie Bradshaw's Manolo Blahniks in "Sex and the City," another actress could've played the iconic curly-haired sex columnist. In an interview with "Access Hollywood," Lisa Edelstein, who stars on Bravo's "Girlfriends Guide to Divorce," admitted she was this close to playing the beloved single gal.

"It wasn't a rumor. That actually happened," she said, admitting that her contract was signed and ready to go until HBO went with SJP. (We couldn't help but wonder...what would "Sex and the City" be if Lisa Edelstein played Carrie?)

 

Photo: Getty Images
Ferris Bueller in "Ferris Bueller's Day Off"
Ferris Bueller in "Ferris Bueller's Day Off"

SJP's husband, Matthew Broderick, also almost lost out on his iconic role as Ferris Bueller in the John Hughes classic, "Ferris Bueller's Day Off." Who was it that almost snagged the role? Well, it was Broderick's '80s peer, Johnny Depp. (He definitely had the hair for it.) Other actors in contention were Robert Downey Jr., Rob Lowe, and Michael J. Fox.

Photo: Getty Images
Serena van der Woodsen in "Gossip Girl"
Serena van der Woodsen in "Gossip Girl"

It's hard to imagine anyone besides Blake Lively as Serena van der Woodsen in "Gossip Girl," but the fashionable New York socialite was almost played by someone else. In an interview with BuzzFeed, The CW show's creator, David Rapaport, admitted that Rumer Willis (aka Bruce Willis's daughter) was pitched by the network to play the Manhattan "It" girl. Well, Rapaport eventually went against the network's wishes and went with Lively, who was more unknown at the time.

“I love Rumer, she’s grown into quite an amazing actress and person,” he said. “But that, to me, was based on protecting the investment of a television show where creatively, these lesser-known girls really captured the essence of the show and carried it for six years.”

Photo: Getty Images
Jerry Maguire in "Jerry Maguire"
Jerry Maguire in "Jerry Maguire"

Believe it or not, but another Tom could've Tom Cruise's iconic role as Jerry Maguire in self-titled film. Who is that other Tom? Well, none other than Hollywood's other big "It" Tom—Tom Hanks. Hanks was originally offered the role, but got too old for the part after production lagged on the script—so says the film's director, Cameron Crowe.

"I took so long doing the script that Hanks was no longer a 35-year-old man. By the time he got [the script] he was almost 40 and had two Academy Awards and wanted to direct,” Crowe told Empire magazine in 1997.

Photo: Getty Images
Elle Woods in "Legally Blonde"
Elle Woods in "Legally Blonde"

Before Reese Witherspoon went to Harvard Law School in "Legally Blonde," the golden-haired lawyer-to-be could've actually been played by another rom com queen, Christina Applegate (who, fun fact, played Witherspoon's older sister on "Friends.") Opening up to "Entertainment Tonight," Applegate admitted she was hesitant to take a role as another dumb blonde.

"I got scared of kind of repeating myself," she said. "What a stupid move that was, right?"

Photo: Getty Images
Vivian Ward in "Pretty Woman"
Vivian Ward in "Pretty Woman"

Julia Robert's role as Vivian Ward in "Pretty Woman" is undoubtedly what made her explode onto the Hollywood scene, but the iconic role was almost played by one of the '80s most popular actors: Molly Ringwald. Ringwald spilled the tea on a Reddit Q&A in 2012.

"Julia Roberts is what makes that movie. It was her part," she said. "Every actor hopes for a part that lets them shine like that."

Photo: Getty Images
Rose in "Titanic"
Rose in "Titanic"

Kate Winslet and Leonardo Dicaprio have been literal #couplegoals since audiences fell in love with them as Rose and Jack in 1997's "Titanic." But actually another A-lister could've vied for Leo's heart had Gwyneth Paltrow not turned down the role. Yup. The Oscar winner dished to Howard Stern in 2015 about her major regret.

"I look back at the choices I've made and think, Why the hell did I say yes to that and no to that? And you know, you look at the big picture and think: There's a universal lesson here. What good is it to hold onto roles?" Paltrow said.

 

Photo: Getty Images
Piper Chapman in "Orange is the New Black"
Piper Chapman in "Orange is the New Black"

Prior to Taylor Schilling slipping on her orange jumpsuit as Piper Chapman in "Orange is the New Black," creator Jenji Kohan actually considered Katie Holmes for the role. In an interview with E! News, Kohan admitted that she met with Holmes for the role, but that the brunette eventually turned it down due to her schedule.

"I met with her," Kohan said. "She had other things to do. And also, in the beginning, no one knew what this was."

Photo: instagram / @oitnb
Olivia Pope in "Scandal"
Olivia Pope in "Scandal"

Kerry Washington is Olivia Pope. No question. But for some reason, ABC wanted a different actress as "Scandal's" leading lady. That actress happened to be "Nashville" star, Connie Britton, who the network courted for the famous fixer. Britton was almost cast if it wasn't for "Scandal" creator Shonda Rhimes pushing for Washington in the role—and we're glad she did.

"When the show got picked up [to pilot], I got a phone call from somebody who said, 'This would be the perfect show for Connie Britton.' I said, 'It would be, except Olivia Pope is black,'" Rhimes told The Hollywood Reporter.

Photo: instagram / @scandalabc
Mia in "La La Land"
Mia in "La La Land"

Before Emma Stone won an Academy Award for her role as a struggling actress named Mia in "La La Land," the Oscar-winning part could've actually went to another Emma: Emma Watson. In an interview with UPROXX, the film's director, Damien Chazelle, revealed that he originally courted Watson for Mia and Miles Teller for Ryan Gosling's role. The British actress eventually had to drop out of the process (likely to play Belle in "Beauty and the Beast"), which is when Chazelle found Stone for the part.

Photo: instagram / @lalaland
  • Carrie Bradshaw in "Sex and the City"
  • Ferris Bueller in "Ferris Bueller's Day Off"
  • Serena van der Woodsen in "Gossip Girl"
  • Jerry Maguire in "Jerry Maguire"
  • Elle Woods in "Legally Blonde"
  • Vivian Ward in "Pretty Woman"
  • Rose in "Titanic"
  • Piper Chapman in "Orange is the New Black"
  • Olivia Pope in "Scandal"
  • Mia in "La La Land"

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