With all of the glitz and glamor, movies hold a lot of mysteries that are just begging to be solved. And catching even a glimpse behind the scenes at how casting choices are made is enough to whet your tongue and make you beg for more. In reality, the landscape of our favorite films could have been radically different if things were just a tiny bit different. Imagine, if you will, a parallel universe where the iconic role of Harry Potter was played by none other than Tom Felton, aka Draco Malfoy.
Bored Panda has collected this list of examples that show what roles well-known actors auditioned for and which ones they ended up getting, as well as which ones they were offered and refused. As you’re scrolling down, upvote your fave pics, and take a couple of minutes to daydream about whether these actors would have done better in the roles that they originally wanted or were offered.
Hollywood’s Ultimate Insider and celebrity expert Mike Sington told Bored Panda that casting directors are looking for a “multitude of qualities” during a casting session. “Raw acting talent is of course important, but also the ability to bring the character to life, fulfilling the vision of the director and writer.” Read on for our full interview to learn more.
“It’s also important for an actor to have that indescribable ‘it factor’ that makes them jump off the screen. Also taken into consideration are experience, and chemistry with other actors auditioning for the project. An actor needs to have an overall pleasant personality too, and seem like they would be easy to work with on the set. No matter how good they are, no one wants to hire a ‘difficult’ actor!” celeb expert Mike showed us the pressure that both actors and casting directors are under day-in, day-out.
Life isn’t easy for any actor, but newbies have it the toughest. They have to pay their dues and take what’s given to them without causing much of a fuss. “Inexperienced actors have very little say or flexibility in negotiating a different role than the one they are being considered for. There are so many actors being considered for any one particular role, if an actor wants to work, it’s best if they are new and don’t have the clout, to just go with what they’re offered gratefully.”
Mike continued: “If an inexperienced actor feels strongly they’d be more suitable for another role, that’s a conversation to have with your agent, who can then possibly approach the casting director depending upon their relationship.” So having an agent who can help you reach your personal acting goals by representing you well is also an important part of an actor’s life.
Rejection is an inevitable part of being an actor. It’s not going to go away, no matter how popular and capable you might be on-stage. “An actor has to constantly face rejection, but to be successful, you just have to realize that’s part of the process,” Mike told Bored Panda. “Shrug it off and move on to the next audition.”
Hollywood’s Ultimate Insider said: “I always tell actors, much of the audition process is out of your control, and you may never even know why you didn’t get the part. Maybe the casting director passed because you remind them of their cousin they can’t stand. Or the director stepped in and said ‘no’ because they want to work with someone they’re familiar with. It may have absolutely nothing to do with the actor’s talent at all.”
Felton auditioned to play Potter [here pronounced in the most Malfoy’ish way you can], but Daniel Radcliffe wowed director Christopher Columbus who thought the lad was ‘perfect’ to play the Boy Who Lived.
Can you imagine living in a world where Felton is the Quidditch prodigy and Boy Wonder Harry Potter? It’s intriguing, scary, and confusing all at once. I think I’d allow that. On one condition, though: if Radcliffe would’ve played Malfoy. Now that’s the kind of ‘Twilight Zone’/’Black Mirror’ switcheroo I’d love to see. (And, let’s face it, so would you.)
Meanwhile, all of you hardcore ‘Friends’ fans might know that Courtney Cox was offered to play the role of spoiled fashionista Rachel Greene. However, Cox turned the role down and ended up embodying Greene’s roommate and high school bestie, food-expert and neat-freak, Monica Geller.
“For some reason, I thought I related more to Monica, which maybe it’s because I do. I’m very similar to her. I’m not as clean as Monica, but I am neat. And I’m not as competitive, even though some people would say I am,” Cox explained during an episode of the ‘Off Camera with Sam Jones’ podcast.
Had Cox agreed to play Rachel, ‘Friends’ would have had a different dynamic. I think the atmosphere would still be very similar, but the characters themselves would have different dimensions to them. Who knows, our alternate reality selves might be fully enjoying watching a rerun of Matthew Perry as Joey Tribbiani, Matt LeBlanc as Ross Geller, and David Schwimmer as Chandler Muriel Bing, too. In that interesting scenario, I like to imagine that the only constant would be Lisa Kudrow’s Phoebe Buffay (and maybe James Michael Tyler’s Gunther from ‘Central Perk’).
We also spoke about auditions, casting, and finding the ‘perfect’ actor to play the part in a movie with Mike for a previous article. Celebrity expert Mike explained to Bored Panda during an earlier interview that the pool of actors is incredibly large to cast from, even for child or teen actors, so finding the person that the director envisioned for a certain role isn’t too difficult.
“The talent pool is worldwide now. Hollywood is more than willing to look beyond its own borders to find the perfect candidate,” he said.
That means that even in instances where a casting director has to find someone to play a believable young counterpart to an older character, it’s not as hard to find the right candidate as we might think. “I know of no instances where a production had any big problem finding a young actor to play an older counterpart.”
When looking for young versions of older characters, casting directors start off with the ‘look’ they want first. “The look has to be right for the audience to believe that this is the younger version of the character. Once you have that ‘buy-in,’ you’re mostly there. The young actor’s talent then becomes important for complete believability,” Mike explained.
Hollywood almost exclusively focuses on finding people who already have acting experience. Whether it’s grownups or child actors, they almost always opt for someone who’s had experience in the field. It all comes down to time, energy, and (most importantly) money.
“It’s a rare situation to cast an inexperienced actor and work with them during production. That would slow down the production, and of course ‘time is money’ which is especially true in Hollywood,” the celebrity expert explained to Bored Panda.
“Most productions are working under tight budget and time constraints, and there is an unwillingness to work with new talent. An exception would be an actor that is so ‘special,’ the production would be willing to put in the extra time and effort to make it work. That would be a rare exception, however,” Mike said.
After going through this list, do you think the casting directors made the right choices, dear Readers? Would you have enjoyed these actors in the roles that they wanted or were offered? Drop us a line in the comment section and let us know.