Celebs Who Lost Out on Major TV & Film Roles

Jessica Biel

Biel must have a thing for former Mickey Mouse Club stars: She’s married to Justin Timberlake, and once hoped to play Allie opposite Ryan Gosling’s Noah in The Notebook, she told Elle. (Other candidates for the job included Britney Spears and, reportedly, Reese Witherspoon.)

The Notebook [is a film] that I wanted so badly,” Biel said. “I was in the middle of shooting Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and I auditioned with Ryan Gosling in my trailer—covered in blood. [Director] Nick Cassavetes put me through the wringer in an interesting, excitingly creative way. But there’s a million that get away. We’re gluttons for punishment. It’s just rejection.”

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TIFFANI THIESSEN, FRIENDS

The one where Tiffani Thiessen almost played Rachel?

The Saved by the Bell actress revealed on Nikki Glaser’s SiriusXM show that she auditioned for the part of Rachel Green on Friends before Jennifer Aniston was cast in the iconic role. “I was just a little too young,” she explained. “I was a little too young to the pairing of the rest of them.” Thiessen was just 20 years old when Friends first premiered in 1994, while Aniston was 25 and still the youngest member of the cast.

But the actress has no hard feelings about missing out on the role, calling Aniston’s performance “very, very funny.” Thiessen went on to land the role of Valerie Malone on Beverly Hills, 90210.

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JOE MANGANIELLO, SPIDER-MAN

In a video interview with IMDb, Manganiello revealed that he had auditioned for 2002’s Spider-Man on his third day of living in L.A., trying out for the role of Peter Parker, which ultimately went to Tobey Maguire. But there’s no hard feelings though! The actor ended up playing Flash, Mary Jane’s (Kirsten Dunst) boyfriend, in the film.

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IDRIS ELBA, BEAUTY AND THE BEAST

The British actor was all about prepping his pipes for the 2017 live action remake of the Disney classic. “I honestly love musicals. I auditioned for Beauty and the Beast. I really did, for Gaston,” Elba told PEOPLE in September 2017. “I called and said, ‘Listen, I want in!’ They were like, ‘…Okay.’ So somewhere they have a tape of me singing.”

Even though he didn’t snatch the coveted role, the good-spirited star said he has no hard feelings toward Luke Evans, who nabbed the part of Gaston.

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EDDIE REDMAYNE, STAR WARS 

Redmayne almost joined the dark side for the franchise’s 2015 reboot. He told Uproxx all about his failed audition for the then-top secret role (later revealed to be Kylo Ren, a part that went to Adam Driver).

“With films that top secret, they don’t give you the actual lines. So they give you a scene from Pride and Prejudice, but then they tell you you’re auditioning for the baddie,” he explained. “If you’re me, you then put some ridiculous voice on … [The casting director] was just sitting there, and 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 she’s like, ‘You got anything else?’ I was like, ‘No.'”

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MILLIE BOBBY BROWN, LOGAN

While the actress was catapulted to fame with her role in Netflix’s Stranger Things, Brown still considers her audition to play Hugh Jackman’s pint-sized partner-in-crime in Logan her most memorable one yet — despite losing out on the opportunity to newcomer Dafne Keen. “I went for it. It meant so much to me,” Brown told Evan Rachel Wood of her audition during an interview for Variety. “I was filming Stranger Things, and I was like, ‘This is gonna be amazing, I’m gonna really prepare,’ and I sat in my room reading the lines. And honestly, for me, I felt so – I felt an actor, in the audition room, hitting Hugh Jackman, and [director] James Mangold sitting right in front of me.”

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DWAYNE JOHNSON, JACK REACHER

In response to a fan’s tweet asking, “Why isn’t @TheRock Jack Reacher?” the wrestler-turned-actor made a revealing admission. “Yup, luv the character,” Johnson wrote of the titular character in the Jack Reacher film franchise, adapted from Lee Child’s popular crime novels. “Bout 10yrs ago I went after the role, but [Tom Cruise] got it. Was great motivation for me to always stay hungry.”

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MINDY KALING, BRIDESMAIDS 

Fact: The only thing that would have made Bridesmaids even better is if Kaling scored a part in the 2011 smash-hit — a goal The Mindy Project writer-creator also had in mind. “It was for Maya Rudolph’s part,” the actress said, revealing she had auditioned for the comedy film. “I practiced it so much and was so into it and I loved that whole cast … That was one that was a heartbreaker.”

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MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY, TITANIC 

While we can’t imagine anyone but Leonardo DiCaprio wooing Kate Winslet’s character in 1997’s Titanic, McConaughey was a serious contender at the time, having almost landed the role. “It was one of those auditions where I left and thought I had it,” he told Playboy of his audition. “I really enjoyed it. Kate Winslet really enjoyed it. That was a huge opportunity. But [James] Cameron liked Leonardo DiCaprio better.”

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MILES TELLER, LA LA LAND 

Teller has been open about missing out on the movie-musical role made famous by Ryan Gosling. He told Esquire that he almost gave up the film War Dogs with Jonah Hill due to scheduling conflicts with La La Land until he unexpectedly found out the film was moving forward without him. “I got a call from my agent, saying, ‘Hey, I just got a call from Lionsgate. Damien told them that he no longer thinks you’re creatively right for the project. He’s moving on without you,’ ” the actor recalled. Despite the change of plans, Teller remains optimistic, as he told Vanity Fair: “I’m a pretty strong believer that everything happens for a reason.”

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GWEN STEFANI, MR. & MRS. SMITH 

“I feel like I almost got it,” Stefani revealed about trying out for the role of Jane Smith, which ultimately went to Angelina Jolie. “I went to a bunch of auditions.”

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ALEC BALDWIN, SEX AND THE CITY 

Before Chris Noth filled in Mr. Big’s shoes in Sex and the City, creator Darren Star had someone different in mind for the role of Carrie Bradshaw’s love interest. “I was thinking of Alec Baldwin for Big initially,” Star told Entertainment Weekly. “But I met with Chris Noth and thought he was perfect. I remember the first table read, how good he was. I’m not saying that Chris was Mr. Big, but he brought a lot of his own persona to the role.”

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OLIVIA WILDE, THE WOLF OF WALL STREET 

Margot Robbie may have landed The Wolf of Wall Street — the film that catapulted the Aussie actress to stardom — opposite Leonardo DiCaprio, but Wilde revealed on The Howard Stern Show that she missed out on the opportunity due to her age. “I heard that I was too sophisticated [for the part]. I thought, ‘oh, that sounds nice. I like that feedback. I didn’t get the part but I’m a very sophisticated person,’ ” she said. “And then I found out later they actually said old.” But Wilde has no hard feelings: “I thought she kicked so much ass in that movie.”

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JOSH HUTCHERSON, THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN

He may have lost out on the role of Peter Parker to Andrew Garfield in the 2010 movie, but there are no hard feelings here — Hutcherson went on to play Peeta Mellark in another film franchise, The Hunger Games, two years later.

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AMY SCHUMER, GIRLS 

Believe it or not: The Trainwreck star auditioned for the role of Shoshanna (Zosia Mamet) on HBO’s Girls — a move Lena Dunham revealed wasn’t a fit for the comedian. However, the audition did highlight Schumer’s star power. “Everyone in the room was stunned by the detail and skill of her improv, the wild talent radiating off her,” Dunham wrote in Lenny Letter, adding: “But when she left the room, the vibe was very ‘Someone give that lady a show, STAT!’ ” Good news: Schumer not only went on to star in her own sketch comedy show and film, but she also landed a guest spot on Girls.

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