20 Times Famous Actors Missed Out on the Role of a Lifetime

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Imagining one of your favorite TV characters being played by a different actor is like watching a film after you’ve read the book that it’s based on. It feels weird right?

It’s as if no other actor in the world could have portrayed the character as effectively as the actor you know and love for the role.

Perhaps, this is simply casting well done, or maybe it’s our stubborn minds refusing to accept potential alternate realities.

Either way, good luck trying to wrap your brain around the fact that these 20 famous TV characters were almost played by someone else!

Milo Ventimiglia as “Jack Pearson,” This is Us

If you’re a This is Us fan, then you’re probably having a difficult time imagining anyone but Milo Ventimiglia playing the endearing role of “Jack Pearson.” Yet, this was almost the case…

Alternate reality “Jack Pearson,” Oliver Hudson

That’s right. Kate Hudson’s brother, Oliver Hudson, auditioned for the part of “Jack Pearson” and did well enough to be asked back for a second “chemistry read” alongside Mandy Moore but, apparently, he had other plans. In a podcast interview with the LadyGang Oliver explained why he passed up the role of a lifetime.

 I had a 10-day fishing trip planned, and it’s my life; fishing is a big part of my life… and my agent says, ‘We have to test, and they really like you, and this, this, and that.’ And I said, ‘Oh. I’m supposed to go on a fishing trip’… And he’s like, ‘Ok, yea…so? I mean, this is a big thing.’ And I said, ‘You know what? I’m going to do my fishing trip, so… that was that. Yikes. While Husdon seems to have a pretty good sense of humor about the whole thing, you know it’s got to sting a bit (or A LOT). Let’s just say that after his catch and release of the lead role on NBC’s hit series, we hope he caught some big ass fish on that trip.


Katie Holmes as “Joey Potter,” Dawson Creek

It’s hard to imagine anyone but Katie Holmes playing the part of “Joey” on Dawson’s Creek, yet another now-famous actress was almost Dawson’s girl next door.

Alternate reality “Joey Potter,” Selma Blair

Creator Kevin Williamson told Entertainment tonight all about his last minute change of heart, and quite frankly, he was a little harsh about it. I really loved Selma until, of course, I got the infamous videotape from the basement of the Holmes family in Toledo, Ohio. Damn. That’s a serious burn.

Taylor Schilling as “Piper Chapman,” Orange is the New Black

Taylor Schilling is Netflix’s quintessential white girl who we so lovingly shake our heads at while binge-watching an entire season of Orange is the New Black the day it comes out. Considering the show’s success, Schilling must be thanking her lucky stars that this next actress was too busy to take the part after Netflix reached out to her with the role of “Piper Chapman.”

Alternate reality “Piper Chapman,” Katie Holmes

Katie Holmes may have ripped the role of “Joey Dawson” out from underneath Selma Blair’s feet. But what goes around comes around. While Katie wasn’t necessarily rejected for the part of “Piper Chapman” in OITNB, we still wonder if perhaps she regrets not clearing her schedule to take on this epic part.

Kerry Washington as “Olivia Pope,” Scandal

Kerry Washington’s performance on Scandal is so strong and so captivating, it’s literally impossible to imagine the hit show without her. Kerry Washington is the first black woman to lead a drama in over three decades, and it almost never happened.

Alternate reality “Olivia Pope,” Connie Britton

According to casting director Linda Lowy, when the network presented its top picks for the leading role to casting directors, Connie Britton was among their favorites. But something was off. They were all white women. Somebody finally piped up, ‘We’re going to have to redo this list.’  And just like that, Scandal literally rewrote history. … And to that “somebody,” way to pipe up. It takes a village. Nothing personal though, Connie! Love ya, mean it.

Blake Lively as “Serena van der Woodsen,” Gossip Girl

It’s hard to imagine anyone else playing the role of Serena van der Woodsen on Gossip Girl. It just feels like this role was written for Blake Lively. But it wasn’t. And it almost went to someone else. Someone super random.

Alternate reality “Serena van der Woodsen,” Rumor Willis

Again, nothing against Rumor. Blake Lively just has a seriously different vibe than Willis. How can I say this? She’s Serena. So yeah, it worked out.

Kit Harrington as “John Snow,” Game of Thrones

Brace yourselves for we are now entering into a dangerous dimension. Crossing the worlds of  The Hunger Games with Game of Thrones is sure to spiral us into a parallel universe from which we can never return.

Alternate reality “John Snow,” Sam Claflin

While both these boys are damn good at playing games, we’re glad Sam Claflin stuck to playing Hunger Games and let Kit Harrington officially take the throne.

Chris Noth as “Big,” Sex and the City

Even thinking about “Big” as a character that is played by an actor (Chris Noth) messes with my head. Chris Noth is not Chris Noth. Chris Noth is “Big.” Actually, there is no Chris Noth. There is only “Big.” He’s real. And they’ll never take that away from me. You can imagine what an emotional rollercoaster I ‘m on trying to imagine “Big” being played by a different actor. Just give me a minute.

Alternate reality “Big,” Alec Baldwin

Apparently, Darren Star, creator and writer for HBO’s cult classic, Sex and the City, originally pictured Alec Balwin for the part of “Big.” While I can’t say that I don’t see the smoky and suave similarities between Chris Noth and Alec Baldwin even having this conversation is blasphemous. “Big is “Big.” Sex and the City is real. And one day I’ll be besties with Carrie. End of story. Moving on.

John Krasinski as “Jim,” The Office

Here’s another character that’s such as classic, it’s weird to imagine anyone else playing the part. Could anyone break that fourth wall and look directly into the camera as endearingly as John Krasinski did as “Jim?” I think not. But this next actor was up for trying.

Alternate reality “Jim,” Adam Scott

To be honest, we’re just not sure Adam Scott has the same level of trustability as John Krasinski. I mean, don’t get us wrong, Adam seems like a great guy. But Krasinski just has that “nice guy” vibe that the character requires.  Not to mention, he’s off-the-charts hilarious. Adam Scott is super funny, too. Just not in that super lovable “Jim” sort of way.

Miley Cyrus as Hannah Montana

Despite her best efforts, Miley Cyrus is the one and only Hannah Montana, forever and ever. And ever. But she wasn’t who writers originally had in mind when writing the script.

Alternate reality “Hannah Montana,” JoJo

Apparently, the network first reached out to singer JoJo to offer her the role but she wasn’t exactly keen on being permanently branded by Disney’s piping hot iron. So she said thanks but no thanks. The singer claims to have no regrets over her decision to pass on the now famous role. And for some reason, we actually believe her. Perhaps we’re just attached to our current reality, but it seems like the universe (and casting directors, too) mostly got things right when casting our favorite TV characters. Do you think any of these runner-ups could have done a better job? Share this with your favorite fellow TV-binger to let them know just how right things are in the world… for once.