When a celebrity hits the point of super-stardom, I often forget how much work it must have taken them to get there. All of the auditions, long days of rehearsals, and, probably more than anything, the all too familiar feeling of rejection. Hey, even when they do make it I'm sure the audition process doesn't get much easier.
If you've ever wondered at the castings that never were, then this post is for you. Even better news is that we have video evidence of the actors aiming to earn the roles in various audition tapes, screen tests, and online testimonies. Check them out below to see the ghosts of castings past:
1. Eddie Redmayne – The Hobbit (2012)
Believe it or not, there was a time when casting directors considered casting someone other than Martin Freeman as the young, spry Bilbo Baggins for The Hobbit trilogy.
But what other British gent was on looking to play Mr. Baggins? Why, it was non other than the gorgeous Eddie Redmayne! Let me try to wrap my mind around this. Eddie could have played Bilbo Baggins? What?! According to his interview with Graham Norton, the audition did...not go very well. In his own words:
I went to this audition, and I'd been really rigorous about it, and didn't want to just do my usual boring thing. So I went on YouTube and I found Ian Holm, who'd played it in The Lord of the Rings, and I tried to copy his character. I arrived there, and the casting director put on the camcorder, and I started reading the scene. I thought I was being brave, and before the word Baggins had come out of my mouth she said 'No, no, no, no. Own voice. Own voice.' I never got a call back.
Of course, Eddie went on to play the critically acclaimed role of Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything, so everything worked out. But here's just a taste of what Eddie Baggins might have looked like.
2. Chris Kline – Mamma Mia (2008)
Alright, this might not be considered an "iconic" role by any means, but Chris' audition tape to become Sky has since become rather famed in its own right. As if the movie version of the Broadway show wasn't bad enough (except for you, Meryl, you're always flawless), imagining Chris Kline in the role instead of Dominic Cooper wouldn't have helped matters much.
Honestly, there's not much to say about this video (if you haven't seen it already). Just check it out.
3. Scarlett Johansson – Jumanji (1995)
Hollywood is harsh towards actors young and old alike. While both these girls ended up having very fruitful acting careers after Jumanji, Kirsten Dunst won the role of Judy Shepherd over Scarlett Johansson.
This audition tape of the eleven-year-old ScarJo seems to be a bit before she hit her stride. It would be some time until her roles in Ghost World and Lost in Translation where started reaching her full potential. So I can see why casting directors to go with the slightly older and more experienced Kirsten Dunst for this role.
4. Tom Selleck – Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark (1980)
Indy is another character where it's hard to imagine anyone but Harrison Ford playing the role, but if anyone else were to dodge boulders and hate snakes I hope it would be Tom Selleck.
Apparently he was offered the role by Steven Spielberg and George Lucas, but had to turn it down because of his contract with Magnum, P.I. on CBS. To add salt to the wound, there was a writers strike that delayed production of the show. So technically we could have had a mustachioed Indiana, but in the end I'm glad we didn't.
5. Josh Hutcherson – The Amazing Spider-Man (2010)
I'm one of the biggest fans of Andrew Garfield's take on Spider-Man, so it's interesting to even imagine anyone else putting on the blue and red suit. But, as is the case with all superhero movies, there was an extensive list of potential super-candidates during casting stages. One of whom went on to play integral role in a franchise film, Josh Hutcherson.
From the looks things Josh was pretty highly on the list considering the extensiveness of this screen test. This goes beyond reading lines and includes some cool combat moves and Spidey flips. Instead of playing Peter Parker, Josh went on to play Peeta Mellark in The Hunger Games Franchise. Once again, it looks like everything worked out!
6. Jeremy Sisto – Titanic (1996)
Poor Sisto never really stood a chance for this role once Kate Winslet decided on her future costar and the "love of her life," Leonardo DiCaprio. Although she was vying to play Rose, she told James Cameron that he should hire Leo regardless of her role.
Kate's screen test shows the young stud Jeremy Sisto playing a far more masculine Jack. Sisto's rougher take on the character would have been really interesting to see, but I'm team Leo all the way. I'll never let go, Jack.
7. Gwyneth Paltrow and Helen Hunt – Jurassic Park (1992)
In an alternate timeline of our world there is a Jurassic Park where Laura Dern doesn't play Dr. Ellie Sattler. Sounds strange right? Who else could have fit her dinosaur loving shoes, you ask? Maybe the up-and-coming starlet Gwyneth Paltrow or the seasoned cinematic veteran Helen Hunt.
Based on these brief clips I think that Gwyneth might have been a bit young for the role, but Helen gives a beautiful performance in her audition! Don't get me wrong, I love Laura Dern, but I'm sure Helen would have been awesome in the role.
So there you go! It's fun to imagine how different these movies could have looked if the director or casting director had been hired. And while it's fun, I don't think I'd change any of these movies. Well done, Hollywood!