40 Stars Who Landed Different Roles Than They Originally Auditioned For

Things could have been very, very different.

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Actors don't always get the roles they audition for. Rejection, after all, is just a part of show business. But, there's a lucky handful—Liam Hemsworth, Rachel McAdams, and Shia LaBeouf, to name a few—that have impressed the powers that be and got another role out of the deal. Ahead, 40 actors who ended up playing a part they didn't initially go for.

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Bella Thorne

The role: Emma Duval in Scream: The TV Series (2015-2-16)

Who *actually* played it: Willa Fitzgerald

The role they played instead: Nina Fitzgerald

Thorne turned down the main role because she thought the character, Nina, was more "iconic," adding that she's never died on screen before.

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Iwan Rheon

The role: Jon Snow in Game of Thrones (2011-2018)

Who *actually* played it: Kit Harington

The role they played instead: Ramsay Bolton/Ramsay Snow

Even though Rheon's role was memorable, it was also one of the most hated characters in Game of Thrones history—and that's saying a lot.

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Jessica Capshaw

The role: Nurse Rose and Dr. Sadie Harris in Grey’s Anatomy (2005-present)

Who *actually* played it: Lauren Stamile (as Nurse Rose), Melissa George (as Sadie Harris)

The role they played instead: Dr. Arizona Robbins

Capshaw auditioned for multiple roles in Shonda Rhimes' hit TV series Grey's Anatomy, before finally landing the role as Dr. Arizona Robbins.

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Heath Ledger

The role: Bruce Wayne in The Dark Knight (2008)

Who *actually* played it: Christian Bale

The role they played instead: The Joker

Ledger ended up winning a posthumous Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for his performance as the Joker.

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Lindsay Lohan

The role: Regina George in Mean Girls (2004)

Who *actually* played it: Rachel McAdams

The role they played instead: Caddy Heron

Can you imagine this Mean Girls changeup? Originally the producers and Lohan wanted her to play Regina George. However, after Freaky Friday came out and Lohan's popularity skyrocketed, they worried the audience wouldn't like her as the villain.

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Rachel McAdams

The role: Cady Heron in Mean Girls (2004)

Who *actually* played it: Lindsay Lohan

The role they played instead: Regina George

Director Mark Waters told Vulture he thought McAdams was "too old" for the part of Cady, but found her age helped her play the intimidating Regina George opposite the younger Lindsay Lohan.

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Liam Hemsworth

The role: Peeta Mellark in The Hunger Games (2012)

Who *actually* played it: Josh Hutcherson

The role they played instead: Gale Hawthorne

In 2011, Hemsworth told MTV he was interested in playing Peeta, but we think the casting directors got this one right.

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Alexander Ludwig

The role: Peeta Mellark in The Hunger Games (2012)

Who *actually* played it: Josh Hutcherson

The role they played instead: Cato, a tribute

Clearly, Peeta was a coveted role in Hollywood. The Vikings actor also wanted the part.

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Sandra Oh

The role: Miranda Bailey in Grey’s Anatomy (2005-present)

Who *actually* played it: Chandra Wilson

The role they played instead: Christina Yang

Oh revealed at PaleyFest LA in 2006 that she saw the part of Christina Yang and was much more drawn to it, so she "asked for what she wanted" and we'd say it worked out for her.

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Isaiah Washington

The role: Derek Shepherd in Grey's Anatomy (2005-present)

Who *actually* played it: Patrick Dempsey

The role they played instead: Preston Burke

Even though Washington didn't get the role of Derek Shepherd, creator Shonda Rhimes reportedly liked his audition so much that she cast him as Preston Burke when the original actor dropped out.

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Rainn Wilson

The role: Michael Scott in The Office (2005-2013)

Who *actually* played it: Steve Carrell

The role they played instead: Dwight Schrute

Wilson was the first person to audition for the role of Michael Scott. But he's a better Dwight if you ask us.

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Samm Levine

The role: Sam Weir in Freaks and Geeks (1999-2000)

Who *actually* played it: John Francis Daley

The role they played instead: Neal Schweiber

Apparently, Levine did a self-proclaimed "crappy" impression of William Shatner for his audition. The results? He was cast as a geek with dreams of becoming a comedian instead.

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Courteney Cox

The role: Rachel Green in Friends (1994-2004)

Who *actually* played it: Jennifer Aniston

The role they played instead: Monica Geller

Producers wanted Cox to play Rachel, but Cox said she wanted to play Monica. And that was that.

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Eddie Redmayne

The role: Tom Riddle in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002)

Who *actually* played it: Christian Coulson

The role they played instead: Newt Scamander in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016)

Redmayne told Empire he auditioned for the part of Tom Riddle while in college, but "properly failed and didn't get a callback." Years later his dream of being in a Harry Potter movie came true.

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Bethany Joy Lenz

The role: Brooke Davis in One Tree Hill (2003-2012)

Who *actually* played it: Sophia Bush

The role they played instead: Haley James Scott

Lenz was a better fit for the girl-next-door character, which she had to dye her blonde hair brown for.

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Ed Westwick

The role: Nate Archibald in Gossip Girl (2007-2012)

Who *actually* played it: Chace Crawford

The role they played instead: Chuck Bass

Creators Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage encouraged Westwick to read for Chuck Bass after not landing the part of Nate Archibald.

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Sara Paxton

The role: Lizzie McGuire in Lizzie McGuire (2001-2004)

Who *actually* played it: Hilary Duff

The role they played instead: Holly

The role of Holly was a guest appearance in which Paxton played a former class president of Lizzie's.

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Hank Azaria

The role: Joey Tribbiani in Friends (1994-2004)

Who *actually* played it: Matt LeBlanc

The role they played instead: David, the "science guy"

Azaria's guest role was reoccurring over the ten seasons, and he played one of Phoebe's love interests.

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Jon Favreau

The role: Chandler Bing in Friends (1994-2004)

Who *actually* played it: Matthew Perry

The role they played instead: Pete Becker, the "ultimate fighting champion guy"

Favreau's role was also a love interest on the show, this time for Monica, and was reoccurring throughout the third season.

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Ashley Greene

The role: Bella Swan in Twilight (2008)

Who *actually* played it: Kristen Stewart

The role they played instead: Alice Cullen

"I originally auditioned for Bella, and so I read the first book and kind of fell in love with it," she told MTV in an interview. "I went in and auditioned and actually they called me back in and said, 'No, you're not right for Bella,' so I was bummed, and then they brought me back for Alice."

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Miley Cyrus

The role: Lilly Truscott in Hannah Montana (2006-2011)

Who *actually* played it: Emily Osborne

The role they played instead: Hannah Montana/Miley Stewart

Sorry, but we can't imagine anyone other than Cyrus playing Hannah Montana. Apparently, Disney agreed.

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Natalie Dormer

The role: Unknown in Game of Thrones (2011-present)

Who *actually* played it: TBD

The role they played instead: Margaery Tyrell

Dormer revealed that she auditioned for a different female role in Game of Thrones, but won't reveal who. She was initially hesitant to accept her current role as Margaery because the character was so similar to one she previously played in The Tudors.

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Ashley Tisdale

The role: London Tipton in The Suite Life of Zack and Cody (2005-2008)

Who *actually* played it: Brenda Song

The role they played instead: Maddie Fitzpatrick

Producers thought Tisdale was a better fit for Maddie Fitzpatrick, but the actress still got the chance to play a bratty role on Disney in High School Musical as Sharpay Evans.

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Norman Reedus

The role: Merle Dixon in The Walking Dead (2010-present)

Who *actually* played it: Michael Rooker

The role they played instead: Daryl Dixon

The character, Daryl Dixon, didn't exist until Reedus auditioned. Producers were so impressed with him that they created the now-beloved character specifically for him.

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Paul Wesley

The role: Damon Salvatore in The Vampire Diaries (2009-2017)

Who *actually* played it: Ian Somerhalder

The role they played instead: Stefan Salvatore

Zach Roerig (who played Matt Donovan) and Michael Trevino (who played Tyler Lockwood) also auditioned for the role of Stefan Salvatore.

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Lucy Hale

The role: Hanna Marin in Pretty Little Liars (2010-present)

Who *actually* played it: Ashley Benson

The role they played instead: Aria Montgomery

Show creator Marlene King thought Hale was a better fit for Aria, but let the actress audition for both parts before she ultimately ended up agreeing with King.

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James Franco

The role: Peter Parker, AKA Spider-Man in Spider-Man (2002)

Who *actually* played it: Tobey Maguire

The role they played instead: Harry Osborn

Franco was apparently bummed he didn't land the lead role, but playing Harry still put the actor on the map in a big way.

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Jensen Ackles

The role: Sam Winchester in Supernatural (2005-present)

Who *actually* played it: Jared Padalecki

The role they played instead: Dean Winchester

Rumor has it that Ackles had the role of Sam, that is, until Padalecki auditioned.

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Tom Hiddleston

The role: Thor in Thor (2008)

Who *actually* played it: Chris Hemsworth

The role they played instead: Loki

This is just another case of an actor landing a supporting role after impressing producers while auditioning for the lead in a superhero movie.

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Sasha Pieterse

The role: Hanna Marin in Pretty Little Liars (2010-present)

Who *actually* played it: Ashley Benson

The role they played instead: Alison DiLaurentis

"I never really auditioned for Alison. It was just, 'We really like you for this instead.' I'm so happy I ended up being Alison," Sasha said in an interview.

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