6 Shocking TV And Film Castings That Almost Happened
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6 Shocking TV And Film Castings That Almost Happened

A lot of your favorite films and shows may have looked a lot differently!

As we all likely know, the right casting is essential for the right career. If you want to get into acting, Hollywood is the place to start.

People from all over the world travel to the star-studded city, hoping to land a role in a television show or movie. But unfortunately, most people don’t reach the level of Hollywood success that they seek. And for those who do, landing roles can still be incredibly challenging.

Casting Couch Obstacles

It may seem as though Hollywood actors have it all — money, fame, adoration from fans. But making it in La La Land isn’t as easy as it looks. Many celebrities have shared their experiences trying to come up in Hollywood, from awkward auditions to alleged sexual requests. But, they soon realize that once they’ve made it, the battle is far from over.

In a recent interview, actress LisaRaye McCoy chatted with the ladies at The Real and talked about her struggles being typecast and her difficulty breaking free from it.

“You play up to what you know that helped make you, you know,” she said. “So you tend to kind of stay in those roles.”

Fortunately, she says that over time, her confidence grew, allowing her to embrace those roles and empowering her to continue seeking other ventures.

Vital for Success

From being typecast to feeling pressure to attain Hollywood beauty standards, there are a number of hurdles for actors to break through. Still, many celebrities land the roles they desire. For some, their performances are critically-acclaimed. But others can have producers wishing they had assigned the role to someone else.

Here are six surprising celebrity castings that almost happened in some of your favorite TV shows and films:

1. Halle Berry

Waiting to Exhale is a cult classic movie beloved by many in the Black community. The film centers on four Black friends who navigate love and relationships while maintaining their sisterhood.

Lela Rochon plays “Robin,” a beautiful businesswoman hoping to find love. But even though Rochon was unlucky in the film, her performance was a hit among fans.

But she wasn’t always so lucky. In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, she reveals her struggles in Hollywood before landing her role in the movie. “I was always the second or third choice, behind Halle Berry and Whitney Houston.”

Speaking of Halle Berry, the famed actress actually auditioned for the part. But fortunately for Rochon, her standout talent landed her the role, which earned her an MTV Movie and TV award, plus a nod for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture at the NAACP Image Awards.

2. Loni Love

Girlfriends is a comedy-drama featuring four Black friends — Joan, Maya, Lynn and Toni. The series was recognized for its funny yet relatable takes on heavy topics like divorce and sexuality. After eight seasons, Girlfriends ended pretty abruptly with its 172nd episode.

Fans were shocked to hear that the show was ending, but they might be even more shocked to know that comedian Loni Love could’ve played one of the four friends.

In her book, “I Tried To Change So You Don’t Have To,” Love reveals that she once auditioned for a role on the hit show. Reflecting back, she believes execs turned her down due to her size. She admits to often being typecast as a “fat” Black woman, but she is much more than that.

Her determination landed her a major role on television anyways. She went on to become co-host of the hit daytime television show, The Real, where she charmed fans with her hilarious and “real” personality.

3. Will Smith

The Matrix is a pop culture classic and especially popular among sci-fi fans. It follows a young man named Neo (Keanu Reeves) as he navigates a world where artificial intelligence becomes corrupt, eventually using human beings as energy sources. Neo discovers that this world, called the Matrix, is actually a simulation to distract humans from realizing what’s really going on.

The movie was a HUGE success, with three more sequels to follow. But many fans would be surprised to know that the role of Neo was originally meant for actor Will Smith.

Smith reveals why he turned down the role in a hilarious video he posted on his YouTube channel. Coming off the heels of the hit sci-fi movie Men In Black, he says he didn’t want to be known as “the alien guy.” And with a lackluster pitch from the filmmakers, Smith decided to graciously pass on the part.

But it’s all love between the two actors, with Smith admitting that “Keanu was perfect” for the role.

4. Angela Bassett

If you’re a fan of comic books, you’ve probably already seen the X-Men series. The film franchise attracted fans from all over the world, with its first installment grossing nearly $300 million at the box office.

The X-Men series follows a group of mutants equipped with superpowers used to protect humanity. But when supervillain Magneto and his equally villainous cronies maintain that mutants shouldn’t co-exist with humans, the two groups duke it out in a longstanding battle.

Halle Berry played Storm, an African witch priestess and member of the “good” mutant group. But even though she won an Oscar for her fantastic performance, she wasn’t the producers’ first choice.

Producers originally wanted legendary actress Angela Bassett to play Storm, but due to salary requirements, they couldn’t offer her the part. But in an interview with Film Fad, when asked about her interest in playing the role, she replied, “Absolutely. Absolutely I would.”

5. Eddie Murphy

Comedian Eddie Murphy is a comedic genius. Beloved for his starring roles in classic films like Coming to America and The Nutty Professor, he stole the hearts of fans across the country.

But even the biggest Murphy fans may not know that he was considered to play the Grinch in the Christmas movie How the Grinch Stole Christmas.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas is an adaptation of the Dr. Seuss book. It tells the story of a mean, green Grinch who absolutely hates Christmas. So much so that he stops at nothing to ruin the holiday for the Whoville residents ecstatic to celebrate it.

Murphy and many other Hollywood actors were considered for the role. But the part ultimately went to comedian Jim Carrey, making it one of his high-paying movies.

6. Bette Midler

The 1992 film Sister Act tells the story of nightclub singer Deloris Van Cartier (Whoopi Goldberg), who finds herself in deep trouble with the mob. In search of sanctuary, she joins a convent and uses her impeccable vocal talents in the choir, transforming it into a soulful musical group that draws many fans.

The film was a great success and one of Goldberg’s most acclaimed acting performances. But producers didn’t intend for her to be the star of the movie.

Instead, Bette Midler was slated to play the part but turned it down. In an interview with Metro, Midler says, “There was Sister Act, which was written for me, but I said: ‘My fans don’t want to see me in a wimple.”

Fortunately, Midler would go on to act in other popular movies like Hocus Pocus. Meanwhile, Goldberg won multiple awards for her performance in the film.

Shadow and Act is a website dedicated to cinema, television and web content of Africa and its global Diaspora. With daily news, interviews, in-depth investigations into the audiovisual industry, and more, Shadow and Act promotes content created by and about people of African descent throughout the world.

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