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21 stars who auditioned for popular movie roles but didn't get them

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jennifer lawrence twilight
Jennifer Lawrence was up for Kristen Stewart's role in "Twilight." Getty/ Summit Entertainment
  • Some actors and actresses have opened up about auditioning for roles they didn't end up getting.

  • Jennifer Lawrence auditioned for Bella Swan in "Twilight," but Kristen Stewart was cast instead.

  • Matthew McConaughey thought his audition went well for "Titanic," but he didn't get cast as Jack.

Robert Pattinson auditioned for Chris Evans' role in "Scott Pilgrim vs. the World."

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Robert Pattinson auditioned for the role of Lucas Lee in "Scott Pilgrim vs. the World." Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP; Universal Pictures

In 2020, director Edgar Wright told Vanity Fair that he "vividly" remembers Robert Pattinson's audition for the role of Lucas Lee in the cult-classic film "Scott Pilgrim vs. the World."

"He did a much more intense read of it as well. Obviously, Robert is an incredible actor and someone who I'd love to work with now," the director said.

Casting director Allison Jones also told Vanity Fair that she was impressed with Pattinson's American accent during his audition. But it wasn't enough to land him the role, which ultimately went to Chris Evans.

Lucy Hale could have been cast as Anastasia Steele in "Fifty Shades of Grey."

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Lucy Hale auditioned for the role that went to Dakota Johnson. Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP; Universal Pictures

Lucy Hale is well known for her role on ABC Family/Freeform's "Pretty Little Liars," but she told the Associated Press in 2020 that she also auditioned for the lead in "Fifty Shades of Grey."

"It wasn't actual scenes from the movie, but it was a very sexually forward monologue and I didn't really even know what I was saying in the audition," she told the publication. "I was a little naive about it all, but yes, I did audition."

"I obviously didn't get the part," Hale continued. "But it was good for me because it scared the crap out of me to do an audition [like that]."

The part eventually went to Dakota Johnson.

Angelina Jolie sent a tape in to be considered for the role of Cher in "Clueless."

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Angelina Jolie and Reese Witherspoon both threw their hats in the ring for the role of Cher. Getty/ Paramount Pictures

According to Vanity Fair's article for the 20th anniversary of "Clueless," in 2015, Angelina Jolie, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Reese Witherspoon were among the actress who sent tapes or auditioned for the part of Cher Horowitz.

The iconic role was later given to Alicia Silverstone.

Freddie Prinze Jr. almost played Spider-Man in the early-2000s trilogy.

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Freddie Prinze Jr. was almost Spider-Man. Lucas Jackson/Reuters; Columbia Pictures

On a 2019 episode of his podcast "Prinze and the Wolf," Freddie Prinze Jr. spoke with Josh Wolf about his experience auditioning for "Spider-Man" in the early 2000s. The role eventually went to Tobey Maguire.

" ... I got a meeting with Sam [Raimi], and I was super excited, super nervous," Prince Jr. said. "Went it and we sat down — it was only like three people that he was talking to — and I sat down and he goes 'So, tell me, tell me why you love Spider-Man?'"

"I go into this whole like universe of what my favorite parts of 'Spider-Man' were, and I foolishly bring up the alien symbiote, which is Venom, right," he continued. " ... When I left I literally was like 'You just talked about Venom instead of Spider-Man for 25 minutes you stupid a--hole,' and I drove home so upset and angry."

Miles Teller was originally meant to play Sebastian in "La La Land," but was replaced by Ryan Gosling.

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Miles Teller was originally meant to have Ryan Gosling's role. Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images and Summit Entertainment

According to a 2017 interview with Vulture, Miles Teller was supposed to play the leading role in the hit movie musical after working with director Damien Chazelle on "Whiplash," but eventually, Ryan Gosling was recast in the part.

"When that movie was almost falling apart, I stayed attached to it and told directors that I really wanted to work with that I couldn't jump ship from 'La La Land' just because the project was in flux," Teller said. "I'll go to my grave knowing that when push came to shove I expressed extreme loyalty to Damien and that movie. That's sorta all I can say."

Scarlett Johansson auditioned for the role of Judy Shepherd in the original "Jumanji."

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Scarlett Johansson auditioned for the part that went to Kirsten Dunst. Getty/ TriStar Pictures

Kirsten Dunst ended up getting cast as Judy Shepard, but according to Vanity Fair, an 11-year-old Scarlett Johansson also sent in a tape for the role.

Robert De Niro auditioned for a role in the original installment of "The Godfather."

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Robert De Niro auditioned for James Caan's iconic role. Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images for TBS; Paramount Pictures

Robert De Niro is well known for playing Vincent Corleone starting in "The Godfather: Part II," but according to a 2017 interview with CNN, the actor auditioned for the role of Santino "Sonny" Corleone in the first film.

The part ended up going to James Caan, but director Francis Ford Coppola liked him so much that he gave him a leading role in the sequel.

Kurt Russell was among the final picks for Han Solo in "Star Wars."

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Kurt Russell auditioned for Harrison Ford's now-iconic role. Getty/ Lucasfilm

Kurt Russell's Han Solo audition tape has resurfaced online over the years, but Harrison Ford won out the iconic "Star Wars" role.

In 2017, Russell told USA Today, "I was actually in the final running, but I needed to give an answer to ABC to do a Western show. I asked George [Lucas], 'Do you think you're going to use me?' He said, 'I don't know if I'm going to put you with him, or him, or those two guys'... I gotta go to work, so I do the Western."

Jessica Alba auditioned for Anne Hathaway's role in "Get Smart."

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Jessica Alba's audition tape for Anne Hathaway's role surfaced online. Getty/ Warner Bros Pictures

The actress and entrepreneur auditioned for the role of Agent 99 in the action-comedy remake, but it was given to Anne Hathaway instead.

According to Backstage magazine, Jessica Alba's audition tape for the role surfaced online in 2015.

Julia Roberts auditioned for a part in "Seven Minutes in Heaven," but was turned down.

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Julia Roberts auditioned for the role that went to Jennifer Connelly. Getty/ Warner Bros

Julia Roberts auditioned for the leading role of Natalie Becker in the 1980s teen rom-com, but the role ultimately went to Jennifer Connelly.

Backstage magazine also reported about her audition tape surfacing online around the same time as Jessica Alba's "Get Smart" tape.

Britney Spears auditioned alongside Gosling for "The Notebook."

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Britney Spears was up for Rachel McAdam's role in "The Notebook." Getty/ New Line Cinemas

According to Entertainment Tonight, Britney Spears was in talks for the leading role of Allie Calhoun, which went to Rachel McAdams.

Other stars who were turned down for the part include Witherspoon, Jessica Biel, and Jessica Simpson.

Jennifer Lawrence auditioned for the role of Bella Swan in "Twilight."

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Jennifer Lawrence was up for Kristen Stewart's role in "Twilight." Getty/ Summit Entertainment

Although she ended up in another legendary young-adult film series, Jennifer Lawrence originally auditioned for the leading role in "Twilight," according to Us Weekly.

"I didn't know what it was," Lawrence said in 2018. "You just get like five pages [at the audition] and they're like, 'Act monkey.' And when it came out I was like, 'Hot damn. Whoa.'"

The role ended up going to Kristin Stewart.

Lawrence also auditioned for the lead in "Easy A."

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Jennifer Lawrence was up for Emma Stone's role in the rom-com. MARIO ANZUONI/Reuters; Screen Gems

During a 2017 "Actress Roundtable" with The Hollywood Reporter, Lawrence shared that she auditioned for "Easy A" and wanted the part of Olive Penderghast "so bad."

But her friend Emma Stone landed the role instead.

Stone, who was also part of the roundtable, jokingly responded, "Well, guess what? You didn't get it. You didn't get it because you suck!"

Matthew McConaughey thought his audition went well for "Titanic," but he didn't get the role.

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Matthew McConaughey auditioned for Leonardo DiCaprio's role. MARIO ANZUONI/Reuters; Paramount Pictures

Matthew McConaughey had a shot at the iconic leading role in "Titanic."

"The audition went really well. Well enough where, when I was left, I was being slapped on the back ... well enough where you go outside and call your agent and say 'Oh, I nailed it,'" McConaughey said on a 2019 episode of "Watch What Happens Live With Andy Cohen."

Despite McConaughey's feelings about the audition, Leonardo DiCaprio landed the iconic role.

Brie Larson was gunning for Katniss in "The Hunger Games."

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Brie Larson auditioned for the role that went to Jennifer Lawrence. Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images; Murray Close/Lionsgate

In 2020, Brie Larson made a video on her YouTube channel detailing all the auditions that she went on and didn't get.

In addition to auditioning for all the new "Star Wars" films, Larson also said that she went out for "The Hunger Games."

The part ended up going to Lawrence.

Jamie Foxx said he "blew" his audition for "Jerry Maguire."

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Jamie Foxx auditioned for the part that went to Cuba Gooding Jr. Mario Anzuoni/Reuters; TriStar Pictures

While Jamie Foxx was still predominately a TV actor, he had the opportunity to audition for Cuba Gooding Jr.'s part in "Jerry Maguire."

He recalled the painful audition story during an appearance on "The Howard Stern Show" in 2020.

When he went to read with Tom Cruise, he admitted to being pretty starstruck during both the conversation before the audition and the actual performance.

"So I blew it, but I blew it so bad that he just started laughing at me," he said.

In particular, Foxx had a hard time shifting from the loud and brass intonation of TV acting to the more intimate vocal level of film. At one point during the audition, he even asked Cruise if he could speak up.

"He looked at me and he's like ... 'Hey guy, you gotta get it together,'" the actor said. "And so anyway, I'm blowing it."

Meryl Streep was turned down for a role in "King Kong."

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Meryl Streep auditioned for Jessica Lange's role in "King Kong." AP/Jordan Strauss; Paramount Pictures

On a 2015 episode of "The Graham Norton Show," Meryl Streep recalled her horrifying audition experience for the 1976 "King Kong" remake.

She said producer Dino De Laurentiis' son brought her in for the audition, but it was cut short by an offensive retort from De Laurentiis.

"I walked in and his son was sitting there, very excited that he'd brought in this new actress," she said. "An the father said to his son — in Italian, cause I understand Italian — he said 'Che brutta?' You know, 'Why do you bring me this ugly thing?'"

Streep then told the producer that she understood what he was saying.

"I'm sorry I'm not beautiful enough to be in 'King Kong.'" the actress said.

The part eventually went to Jessica Lange.

Bradley Cooper auditioned for a DC superhero before joining the MCU.

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Bradley Cooper auditioned for Ryan Reynolds' role in "Green Lantern." Neilson Barnard/Getty Images; DC Comics/Warner Bros.

Bradley Cooper is now the voice of Rocket Raccoon in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but before he landed that role, he auditioned for DC Comics' "Green Lantern."

On a 2011 episode of "The Howard Stern Show," the actor recalled the failed audition experience.

"I tried to get it. I auditioned for it and screen-tested and everything. They said no," he said.

The part eventually went to Ryan Reynolds.

Tom Holland couldn't keep it together during his "Star Wars" audition.

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Tom Holland auditioned for what he believed to be John Boyega's role in "Star Wars." Mike Marsland/WireImage/Getty Images; Lucasfilm

When Tom Holland was still trying to make it big in Hollywood, he ran into a few rough rejections.

The actor told Backstage in February that he made it past four or five auditions for a role in "Star Wars."

"I think I was auditioning for John Boyega's role," he said. "I remember doing this scene with this lady, bless her, and she was just a drone. So I was doing all of this, like, "We gotta get back to the ship!" And she was going, 'Bleep, bloop bloop, bleep bloop.'"

He continued, " I just couldn't stop laughing. I found it so funny ... Yeah, I obviously didn't get the part. That wasn't my best moment."

Michael B. Jordan shared a similar story about his "Star Wars" audition when he appeared on the "Just for Variety" podcast in May.

"I think that was probably my worst audition to date," he said. "I think it was I couldn't wrap my brain around some of the sides because you know when you're reading for these high-level projects, there's never really any specificity in the sides. Everything's like super vague; everything is in secret."

Taylor Lautner could've been cast in an iconic "Camp Rock" role.

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Taylor Lautner auditioned for Joe Jonas' role in "Camp Rock." Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP; Disney Channel

Before the Jonas Brothers signed on for Disney Channel's "Camp Rock," a different 2000s heartthrob auditioned for the leading role.

"Taylor Lautner did audition, and we liked him a lot," director Matthew Diamond told Insider in July. "I think we kind of said he wasn't exactly right for the part."

The part of Shane Gray went to Joe Jonas, and his famous brothers joined him in the film.

But Lautner went on to debut his role as Jacob Black in the "Twilight" franchise that same year, so it wasn't a total loss.

Mindy Kaling was one of the many comedic actors who auditioned for "Bridesmaids."

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Mindy Kaling auditioned for "Bridesmaids." Evan Agostini/Invision/AP; Universal Pictures

"Bridesmaids" brought together some of the greatest comedic women in Hollywood, but the cast wasn't always set in stone.

When Insider's Jason Guerrasio asked the film's director, Paul Feig, if "The Office" star Mindy Kaling was considered for the role of Lillian, he said yes.

"We looked at her. We looked at everybody. I don't think there's any funny woman that didn't come through our doors," he told Insider in May.

But the role ultimately went to Maya Rudolph, who worked with star and cowriter Kristen Wiig on "Saturday Night Live."

"Maya happened organically because Judd and I felt we had to cast someone Kristen is close with," Feig said.

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