Actors Who Almost Got the Part

Emma Roberts

Pretty Little Liars star Ashley Benson is currently earning raves for her performance in Spring Breakers, but in an early incarnation of the film, Emma Roberts was slated to play the role of Brit. However, Roberts dropped out in January 2012 due to "creative differences."

The Office

Rainn Wilson just posted a photo of the original sign-in sheet for day one of casting on The Office pilot (conducted November 6, 2003), which reveals some of the other actors who auditioned for the roles that went to Steve Carell, John Krasinski and Jenna Fischer.
The biggest standouts are Parks and Recreation star Adam Scott (auditioning for Jim), Suburgatory star Alan Tudyk (auditioning for Michael) and Mary-Lynn Rajskub (auditioning for Pam).
"I was the very first person to audition for the series," Rainn wrote. "Notice all the amazing talent on the sheet, including the amazing #13! This is perhaps the greatest Office keepsake I have. So grateful for the best job I will ever have

Timothy Olyphant

Justified star Timothy Olyphant revealed on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon on March 11, 2013 that he was let go from Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman's 1998 movie Practical Magic. He said they originally wanted George Clooney but they settled on him, only to later cast Aidan Quinn as Officer Gary Hallet, Bullock's love interest in the film. Needless to say it didn't work out, and Olyphant went on to find fame in the 1999 movie Go and HBO's Deadwood.

Hugh Jackman

Could you imagine Hugh Jackman playing Ryan Gosling's role in 2011's Drive?! In a new interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Hugh revealed he pulled out of the surprise hit, which he actually had developed, because he was unsure about working with new director Nicolas Winding Refn. Other roles he admits to passing on include Richard Gere's role in 2002's Chicago, and he also declined to be considered for the role of James Bond, which eventually went to Daniel Craig.

Scarlett Johansson

Scarlett Johansson auditioned for the role of Fantine in Les Miserables that ended up going to Anne Hathaway. In an interview with, Johansson confirmed she had been up for the part: "Yes, I did [audition]. I sang my little heart out. I auditioned with laryngitis. I did everything I could to, like, not have laryngitis." She added, "I think looking at the film now, there's no possible way I ever could have topped that performance [by Hathaway]. It was perfect and I think fateful and meant to be."

Jennifer Lawrence & Henry Cavill

The Hunger Games star Jennifer Lawrence auditioned for Bella Swan in Twilight. It was later given to Kristen Stewart. Lawrence told Celebritext, "I think that everything happens for the reason. ... I actually had no idea what they were." Author Stephenie Meyer also said at the beginnings stages of casting Twilight that she wanted Henry Cavill to play the part of Edward Cullen. It was given to Robert Pattinson instead.

Jessica Biel

"That's one that I wanted so badly," Jessica Biel told Elle of The Notebook. "I was in the middle of shooting Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and I auditioned with Ryan Gosling in my trailer--covered in blood. [Director] Nick Cassavetes put me through the wringer in an interesting, excitingly creative way. But there's a million that get away. We're gluttons for punishment. It's just rejection."

Jennifer Hudson

Jennifer Hudson was approached for the lead role in Precious. Hudson writes in her book, I Got This: How I Changed My Ways and Lost What Weighed Me Down, "I had done that with Effie [in Dreamgirls]... and as much as I was moved by this film. I wanted to try a role that had nothing whatsoever to do with my weight."

January Jones

At a roundtable for The Hollywood Reporter, Jones recalled the time she had to pole dance in an audition, "One of the worst moments in my entire life. It was an audition for Coyote Ugly, my second audition ever. I'd done the reading for the acting part and then Jerry Bruckheimer wanted me to come in and dance… on top of the table. Yes. They said, ''You're going to dance to Prince's Kiss. You're going to pole dance, but there is no pole.' And I just turned beet red. It was awful, and he said something like, 'Honey, you did a great reading, but you've got no rhythm.' I called my agent and said, 'I don't want to do this anymore.'"

more at the source (slideshow!):
Brooklyn Decker: The Hunger Games
Mark Wahlberg: Star Trek
Connie Britton: Jerry Macguire
Sofia Vergara: The Paperboy
Will Smith: Matrix
Carey Mulligan: The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
Busy Philipps: Bridesmaids
James Franco: That '70s Show
Denzel Washington: Seven and Michael Clayton