Movie casting is, to a large extent, a big game of musical chairs. Everyone starts out happy clappy, but after a few rounds (of auditions), there are only a few players left in the running — and shit has gotten serious. And in many cases, the differences between the actor who landed the big role and the actor who just missed out are major. Jessica Biel in The Notebook, for example; Zooey Deschanel playing an Oscar-winning J.Law part?! Click through for some nearly real moments that could have meant your favorite movies would never be the same.
It's the early aughts: Juicy Couture tracksuits are the height of style and celebrity couple nicknames don't even exist yet. In a roundabout way, we have Halle Berry to thank for the latter — she was tied up with X-Men 2 and had to drop out of Gigli, in which she'd been originally lined up as the female lead. J.Lo stepped into the role opposite Ben Affleck, and A-list supercouple and tabloid fave Bennifer was born. Gigli may have bombed, but we'll always have the delicious Bennifer moments in the "Jenny From the Block" video.
Post-Mean Girls and pre-Wedding Crashers, McAdams considered joining the Fantastic Four franchise, but the Invisible Woman role eventually went to Jessica Alba, who had plenty of butt-kicking experience from her previous work on Dark Angel. Can you imagine a world where Rachel McAdams traded Noah Calhoun for the Human Torch?
Blake was one of many actresses vying for Natalie Portman's counterpart, the bad girl ballerina, in Black Swan, but Mila's dark hair, dance experience, and friendship with star Natalie Portman sealed her fate.
Now, if Blake's turn as Lily had come to pass, we'd never be able to look at the artisanal ballet slippers sold on Preserve in the same way.
No xoxo for Lily Collins; she apparently thought her career was over when she lost out on the part of our favorite Upper East Side socialite and master schemer, Blair Waldorf. (This just goes to show how big a classy mindfuck Blair is, even in the real world.) She may not have scored the coveted headband or ruled from the steps of the Met, but Lily has gone on to star in films including The Blind Side and Mirror Mirror.