What Could’ve Been: Early Casting Considerations For 20 Of TV’s Best Dramas

By: 06.18.13  •  28 Comments
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I know that this may come as a surprise to some of you, but many of those iconic television roles that we associate the likes of Bryan Cranston, Steve Buscemi, and Jon Hamm with WERE OFFERED TO OTHER PEOPLE FIRST. It’s true! Our television landscape could’ve been completely different: We could be hating on Rob Heubel right now, for instance, or there could be countless Internet memes devotes to John Cusack (man, talk about a terrible left turn that could’ve been).

Anyway, I love to look at the early casting considerations for movies, but I’ve never collected a list of them for television shows … until now.

Take a look at who could’ve ended up playing 20 television roles that are now forever linked in our minds to the actor or actress who made those roles famous.

1. Christina Hendricks auditioned to play Midge Daniels in Mad Men, which means she could’ve been a one season and done cast member.

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2. John Slattery originally auditioned to play Don Draper in Mad Men.

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3. Rob Huebel also auditioned to play Don Draper. Weird.

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4. John Cusack and Matthew Broderick were considered for the role of Walter White in Breaking Bad. Eek.

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5. Alec Baldwin was considered for the role of Nucky Thompson in Boardwalk Empire. I could see that.

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6. Donnell Rawlings was originally considered for the role of Omar Little before he was cast as Damien ‘Day-Day’ Price.

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7. Likewise, Seth Gilliam originally auditioned to play Stringer Bell before he was cast as Detective Ellis Carver.

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8. Norman Reedus originally auditioned to play his brother on the show, Merle Dixon. They liked Reedus’ audition so much that they invented the character of Daryl Dixon for him.

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9. In “Lost,” Yunjin Kim originally auditioned for the character of Kate. The producers felt she was not what they were looking for in Kate, but decided to create a new character for her, along with a spouse.

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10. Forest Whitaker was originally cast as Sawyer in “Lost.”

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