We live in a reality in which Kristin Stewart, as Bella Swan, kissed vampires…but what if that role had gone to Patrick Stewart instead? The truth is, we will never if a British man who was pushing 70 at the time could have convincingly played an American teenage girl, and fortunately it’s not something we will ever have to imagine. But nonetheless, there are plenty of cases in which actors auditioned for an iconic role only to have it go to somebody else. Here is a list of 9 actresses who would have substantially changed movies and TV shows had they been chosen for these roles.
1. Gwyneth Paltrow as Rose in Titanic
For several years, Titanic was the highest-grossing movie of all time. It featured Leonardo DiCaprio as Jack Dawson, a working-class Wisconsinite who swoons the British aristocrat Rose, played by Kate Winslet. It could have happened! Paltrow was in the running for Rose, only to ultimately turn it down. Our theory is that if she had accepted the role, the Titanic would have missed the iceberg. But Jack would have still accidentally fallen off the ship and died or something. Because it would have been silly to let him live.
2. Ellen Degeneres as Phoebe on Friends
Everybody remembers Lisa Kudrow’s portrayal as the loveable and goofy Phoebe Buffay on Friends, but in a parallel universe the role was given to Ellen Degeneres! Degeneres will no doubt regret this for the rest of her life as she rolls on a bed covered in the $400 million she’s made as one of the most popular talk show hosts ever.
3. Katie Holmes as Buffy on Buffy the Vampire Slayer
While Sarah Michelle Gellar will forever be known as the girl who saved the world from vampire domination, she wasn’t the original choice to play Buffy Summers. The producers were all set to give the part to Katie Holmes, but she turned it down to go to high school! Why somebody would choose square dancing in P.E. and reading To Kill a Mockingbird in English Lit over pretending to kill vampires on TV us beyond us!
4. Pamela Anderson as Agent Scully on X-Files
For nine years Special Agents Dana Scully and Fox Mulder were going around trying to discover the source of the show’s eerie, whistling theme music. (Spoiler alert: the music abruptly stopped, an event so mysterious that it triggered the music again). But instead of Gillian Anderson, Scully was almost played by another Anderson…Pamela! The plots involving the special agents spending their days hanging out at the beach would have eventually gotten tiresome, so they definitely made the right call in hiring Gillian.
5. Jennifer Aniston as Mia in Pulp Fiction
In one of the most iconic scenes in Pulp Fiction, John Travolta’s Vincent Vega and Uma Thurman’s Mia Wallace are dancing to Chuck Berry’s “You Never Can Tell.” Watch a clip of it, squint your eyes and pretend like Uma Thurman is actually Jennifer Aniston. Shudder at the thought. Don’t get us wrong, Aniston isn’t a bad actress, but we are thankful that Thurman ended up with the role as she nailed it.
6. Kristin Davis as Carrie in Sex And The City
If you are a fan of Sex And The City (and why wouldn’t you be?) you probably enjoy Sarah Jessica Parker’s Carrie Bradshaw and Kristin Davis’ Charlotte York Goldenblatt. But when Davis auditioned, the producers originally had her in mind for the role of Bradshaw. Somehow it wasn’t meant to be.
7. Reese Witherspoon as Cher Horowitz in Clueless
Hollywood is full of dumb raunchy teen comedies, which is why the charming and sweet Clueless is still held in such high regard more than two decades after it came out. Alicia Silverstone was perfect in the role, but we almost ended up with Reece Witherspoon instead. She might have done a fine job as well, but we’ll never know. Bonus fact: Angelina Jolie also auditioned, but was described as the “complete opposite” of what they were looking for. Hmm.
8. Molly Ringwald as Vivian in Pretty Woman
Pretty Woman is a 1990 romantic movie about a prostitute Vivian Ward who looks exactly like Julia Roberts and a sleazy corporate businessman named Edward Lewis who might as well be Richard Gere’s doppelganger. Interestingly, everybody’s favorite 1980s teen redhead Molly Ringwald was nearly cast as Vivian. But we can only assume the producers decided that if they were going to choose an actress who looked like Julia Roberts, they might as well as go with Julia Roberts herself.