5 Movies That Could Have Starred Jennifer Aniston

Jesse Grant, Getty Images for WE
Jesse Grant, Getty Images for WE

Even today, nearly 25 years after Friends premiered, it's still hard to separate Jennifer Aniston from her role as Rachel Green. But the plain fact is that, had Courteney Cox not lobbied hard for the role of Monica Geller, Aniston's big break may not have come courtesy of the beloved sitcom (producers wanted Cox for Rachel). The Golden Globe-winning actress, who turns 50 years old on February 11, was also in the running for plenty of other now-famous movie roles that didn't happen for one reason or another. Here are five of them.

1. Pulp Fiction (1994)

The Pulp Fiction movie poster.
Stephen Shugerman/Getty Images

Uma Thurman may be the literal face of Pulp Fiction's posters and marketing materials, but she wasn't the only contender for the role. According to ScreenRant, Quentin Tarantino considered both Aniston and her fellow NBC star Julia Louis-Dreyfus to play the part of Mia Wallace. Ultimately, their busy small-screen schedules (with Friends and Seinfeld, respectively) posed a scheduling problem for both actresses.

2. Titanic (1997)

'Titanic' stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet at the 1998 Golden Globe Awards.
'Titanic' stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet at the 1998 Golden Globe Awards.
Brenda Chase/Stringer, Hulton Archive

While it's hard to imagine James Cameron's epic love story without Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio at the center, it's almost easy to forget that Titanic was the movie that made those two future Oscar winners household names in the first place. Before Leo and Kate were cast, a bevy of the biggest soon-to-be stars auditioned for the film. And Jennifer Aniston was among them (Gwyneth Paltrow, Charlize Theron, Nicole Kidman, and Angelina Jolie were, too).

3. Chicago (2002)

Renee Zellweger at a Chicago movie premiere.
Franco Origlia/Getty Images

Aniston was already one of television’s biggest stars when Rob Marshall's Chicago came calling. She was considered for the role of the rather naughty Roxie Hart—a part that eventually went to Renée Zellweger (and earned her a Best Actress Oscar nomination).

4. A Mighty Heart (2007)

Author Mariane Pearl, Angelina Jolie, and Brad Pitt attend the premiere for the film 'A Mighty Heart' at the Cannes Film Festival in 2007.
Author Mariane Pearl, Angelina Jolie, and Brad Pitt attend the premiere for the film 'A Mighty Heart' at the Cannes Film Festival in 2007.
Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

Though Aniston and Brad Pitt had no children together during their marriage, they did share Plan B Films—a production company that stayed with Pitt following the couple's divorce. Though it was widely reported that Aniston was set to play Mariane Pearl, the widow of slain Wall Street Journal writer Daniel Pearl, in A Mighty Heart, the details got a bit murky following the couple's split.

When asked about whether she would take on the role by Vogue in 2004, Aniston (then still married to Pitt) was somewhat noncommittal: "If it works," she replied. "I would love to think that I could, but I reserve the right not to. We'll have to see when it happens. I'm just excited about nurturing it." Fast-forward to 2007, when the Plan B-produced film finally made its way into theaters with Pitt's new significant other, Angelina Jolie, as its star. When asked about the role switcheroo, Pitt and Jolie—via a rep—told People that "Jennifer was never attached to that role. When the project was first brought to Plan B, Jen was a partner in the company at the time." Something tells us we'll never know the full story.

5. Heartbreakers (2001)

Jennifer Love Hewitt and Sigourney Weaver in a scene from 'Heartbreakers.'
Jennifer Love Hewitt and Sigourney Weaver in a scene from 'Heartbreakers.'
Murray Close/MGM Pictures

It might be the most forgettable movie on this list, but when Heartbreakers—the 2001 caper comedy starring Sigourney Weaver and Jennifer Love Hewitt as a pair of con artists—arrived in theaters, it took the top spot at the box office. Reviews were mixed (though Roger Ebert liked it), but it's interesting to consider how different the film would have been had it proceeded in one of its earlier incarnations.

Originally, it was Ang Lee directing and Anjelica Huston and Alicia Silverstone starring. Then came Doug Liman with Huston and Cameron Diaz. When the project next changed hands, it went to David Mirkin, who rewrote the script at the request of Cher, who was going to star alongside Aniston. When Cher's album Believe became a huge hit, she dropped out of the project to do a world tour; Aniston soon followed (the dropping out part, not the world tour).

9 Surprising Facts About James McAvoy

Chris Jackson, Getty Images
Chris Jackson, Getty Images

Whether you know James McAvoy from the X-Men movies or have been a fan since his early gigs on British television, there's no denying that 2019 has already been a very good year for the Scottish actor. In addition to his starring role in M. Night Shyamalan's Glass, McAvoy is set to star in June's Dark Phoenix, will be taking on the role of an adult Bill Denbrough in It: Chapter 2 in October, and will appear in the upcoming TV version of His Dark Materials later this year. And to top it all off, he’s turning 40 on April 21.

In celebration of McAvoy's big day—and even bigger year—here are some things you might not know about the Golden Globe-nominated actor.

1. He was raised by his grandparents.

James McAvoy was born in Glasgow, Scotland, to a psychiatric nurse and a builder. However, his parents split when he was seven, and because his mother was in poor health, McAvoy and his sister went to live with their maternal grandparents. While his mother lived with them on and off throughout his childhood, McAvoy hasn’t spoken to his father since he was a kid.

2. He considered becoming a priest.

McAvoy was brought up in the Roman Catholic church, but that wasn’t the reason he considered becoming a priest. Long before he decided to go the drama school route, he considered entering the priesthood because he thought it would give him an excuse to travel the world.

"I wanted to be a missionary, but it was only because I wanted a free ticket to go and explore the world," McAvoy told The Telegraph in 2006. "I realized I was using God and religion to get my kicks so I knocked that on the head."

3. He married his on-screen love interest.

Anne-Marie Duff and James McAvoy attends the Suffragette Premiere during the Opening Night Gala during the BFI London Film Festival at Leicester Square on October 7, 2015 in London, England
John Phillips, Getty Images for BFI

While working on the UK version of Shameless in the early 2000s, McAvoy met his on-screen love interest and future wife, Anne-Marie Duff. The pair started a relationship that they kept very private, and married in 2006. They went on to also star in 2009’s The Last Station together, but McAvoy later announced he would no longer be working with his then-wife.

"You have to weigh it up against how much of a headache it would be. It exposes you to a lot of questions," he told USA Today in 2011. "I'm very big in saying that I don't agree that if you put yourself in the spotlight, you have to accept it. I do think that if you work together as husband and wife, you're kind of asking for it." Ultimately, the couple split in 2016.

4. Acting was never his plan.

In addition to the priesthood, McAvoy considered a few others careers before he settled on acting. In fact, acting kind of happened by accident. While speaking to The Guardian in 2006, McAvoy explained that it wasn’t until director David Hayman came to his school to speak about the entertainment business that he knew he wanted to give it a go. He was so sure, in fact, that he reportedly approached Hayman after the talk and asked him for some work. (McAvoy's first credited role was in 1995's The Near Room, which Hayman directed.)

“I always believed that I never wanted to be an actor; I only did it because I was allowed to do it and I had to do something,” McAvoy explained. “I felt as if my career just happened to me. I hadn't actually engaged in it. I suppose I felt totally disempowered, just by this fate thing.”

5. Band of Brothers was his big break.

McAvoy’s big break came in HBO’s 2001 miniseries Band of Brothers, produced by Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks. The actor played character James W. Miller in just one episode, but that’s all it took for his phone to start ringing; shortly thereafter, McAvoy scored notable roles on BBC’s Shameless (2004), The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (2005), and The Last King of Scotland (2006). He wasn't the only up-and-comer who made a name for himself with Band of Brothers: Michael Fassbender, Tom Hardy, and Dominic Cooper were among his co-stars.

6. He’s a Golden Globe nominee.

In 2007, McAvoy played Keira Knightley's love interest in Joe Wright’s period drama Atonement, based on the Ian McEwan novel. The role was one of the actor’s most moving performances to date, and scored him a Golden Globe nomination. Although he has wowed audiences in numerous parts since, such as the man with 23 different personalities in 2016’s Split (and 2019’s Glass), his role in Atonement has earned him the most critical acclaim. McAvoy, too, is a fan.

"[T]o find a film that was so epic, sweeping and romantic, yet be intelligent, was nice to me," McAvoy said. "Also the fact that it’s a very classic story, but it’s told in a very contemporary and modern way."

7. He was slightly tipsy the first time he met M. Night Shyamalan.

M. Night Shyamalan and James McAvoy attend the “Glass” Paris Gala Screening at la Cinematheque Francaise on January 07, 2019 in Paris, France
Kristy Sparow, Getty Images for Disney Studios

Speaking of Split and Glass: McAvoy was definitely in the right place at the right time—and in the right frame of mind—when he first met director M. Night Shyamalan. In a 2017 interview with The Guardian, McAvoy shared how he and Shyamalan just happened to cross paths at San Diego Comic-Con in 2015. "There was a big party, you couldn’t turn around without bumping into somebody off the telly," he said. "My mate Jesse was playing miniature golf in the middle of it. We were getting particularly drunk, and then I saw M. Night Shyamalan. He goes: ‘You’re James McAvoy!’ And I said: ‘You’re M Night Shyamalan! What do I call you?’ I was very drunk.”

Inebriated or not, Shyamalan saw something he liked. One month later, he was on the set of Split (in a role that Joaquin Phoenix was originally set to play, but dropped out of at the last minute).

8. He admires Samuel L. Jackson's no-nonsense attitude.

While promoting Glass, McAvoy participated in a lot of press events with Samuel L. Jackson, and was impressed by what he saw. "I saw examples of what I might be able to do when I got the balls he’s got,” McAvoy said. "That guy does not suffer fools, which is a positive quality. If he gets any kind of question that is in any way not thought out properly, he just drops the F-bomb and is like, ‘What are you talking about? What? What?’ He calls out [the journalist] so hard, and it’s the funniest thing."

9. He credits his success to a lot of luck.

When asked about the secret to his success, McAvoy doesn't mince words: "I got lucky," he told The Talks. "I got so f***ing lucky that I fell into the lap of a director when I was 16 and he gave me a part in a film and my horizons immediately exploded wide with all the weird people in it and all these crazy f***ing actors and directors and artistic people who were from all over the world. Through that one job I met people from England, I met people from America, and I met people from all over the place with challenging points of view and sympathetic points of view to mine. And then I went to a youth theater for six months as well, and that expanded my mind massively. It gave me so much more confidence to find out who I was and not be afraid of who I was simply because I’m in a scenario that I don’t understand ... I got really lucky. I got really, really lucky. It’s been a good ride for me."

Game of Thrones Star Sophie Turner Opened Up About Her Struggles With Depression

Helen Sloan, HBO
Helen Sloan, HBO

Playing one of the main characters on the most popular show currently on television isn't always as glamorous as it seems. Sometimes, the pressures of fame can be too much. Sophie Turner realized this while playing Sansa Stark on Game of Thrones, and has recently revealed how being in the public eye took a toll on her mental health.

Turner took on the role of Sansa Stark in 2011, when she was just a teenager, and she quickly became a household name. Now, at 23, she's come forward to Dr. Phil on his podcast Phil in the Blanks to explain how negative comments on social media affected her self-image and mental health.

"I would just believe it. I would say, ‘Yeah, I am spotty. I am fat. I am a bad actress.' I would just believe it," Turned explained. "I would get [the costume department] to tighten my corset a lot. I just got very, very self-conscious."

Later on, these feelings led to major depression. Turner developed a sense of isolation after she realized that all of her friends and family were going off to colleege while she was pursuing a sometimes-lonely acting career.

"I had no motivation to do anything or go out. Even with my best friends, I wouldn't want to see them, I wouldn't want to go out and eat with them," Turner explained. "I just would cry and cry and cry over just getting changed and putting on clothes and be like, 'I can't do this. I can't go outside. I have nothing that I want to do.'"

The feelings of depression stayed with Turner for most of the time she was filming Game of Thrones, and it's a battle she's still fighting. "I've suffered with my depression for five or six years now. The biggest challenge for me is getting out of bed and getting out of the house. Learning to love yourself is the biggest challenge," she continued.

The actress shared that she goes to a therapist and takes medication for her depression—two things that have helped her feel better.

Between Game of Thrones ending and planning her wedding to fiancé Joe Jonas, Turner may not have the time to take on many new acting roles in the near future. However, we'll continue to see her as Sansa Stark in the final season of Game of Thrones, and as Jean Grey in Dark Phoenix, which hits theaters on June 7.

[h/t: E! News]

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER