All of the Stars Who Were Almost Cast in The Notebook - E! Online

All of the Stars Who Were Almost Cast in The Notebook

6/25/2021 4:06:00 PM

All of the Stars Who Were Almost Cast in The Notebook

Casting director Matthew Barry exclusively revealed to E! News which actresses were in the running to star in The Notebook, including Britney Spears and Ryan Gosling's unexpected top pick.

."They loved Britney," Barry said. "It was probably between Rachel and Britney at the time."While Barry did admit Cassavetes was initially concerned over Spears' level of fame—"Am I really going to make a Britney Spears film?"—he added, "It was definitely a consideration because she was really good."

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SGranitz/WireImageJessica BielDuring the wide search for their Allie, Barry revealed he flew all over the country to meet with various actresses before conducting their final chemistry reads with Gosling in L.A."We flew to Texas, where Jessica Biel was shooting

Texas Chainsaw Massacreand taped her in her trailer," Barry revealed.Biel toldin 2011 that she considers the movie her one professional opportunity that got away."That's one that I wanted so badly. I was in the middle of shootingTexas Chainsaw Massacre

, and I auditioned with Ryan Gosling in my trailer—covered in blood," she recalled. "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."

Gregory Pace/FilmMagicTheUnderworldstar was another up-and-coming actress that was considered early on in the casting process for the lead role. But it wasn't a lack of connection with Gosling that got in her way."Nick flew to San Francisco to go meet with her and there was no chemistry between the two of them," Barry explained. "So Nick was like, 'She's out, find me somebody.'"

Gregg DeGuire/WireImageJane McGregorBefore the chemistry reads, Gosling was a "big champion" for McGregor, a Canadian actress best known forSlap Her...She's French, to be the Alli to his Noah.Recalling she was "high on everyone's list at the time," Barry said he, Gosling and Cassavetes flew to Atlanta to meet with McGregor.

"Allie was a tough role, it was not an easy role and we tried to will this girl and Ryan really, really responded to her," he explained. "She just didn't have it. We went to dinner and [Ryan] was like, 'Let me go work with her, let me go work with her.' And he went and worked with her and came back and still couldn't get there."

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Getty ImagesAccording to Barry,The Hunger Gamesstar came in to audition for Allie, but, at just 13 years old, "she was way too young."Moviestore/ShutterstockRachel McAdams"In the end, Rachel was just so strong that everybody was fighting for her," Barry said of the film's eventual star. "She came out of nowhere."

McAdams was so unknown at the time that Barry admitted his first reaction to seeing her name on the schedule was, "Who the f—k is Rachel McAdams?" (He also revealed they did not inform Cassavetes that she had just starred inRob SchneiderThe Hot Chick

.)But after being wowed by her audition, Barry explained, "The depression set in because I said to myself, 'Is a studio really going to make a $30 million movie with Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams? F--k.'" So he fought for her and ultimately, thanks to Cassavetes good standing with the studio thanks to the success of 2002's

John QLalo Yasky/WireImageHayden ChristensenBefore Gosling landed the part that would solidify his standing as one of Hollywood's hottest leading men, the producers were interested in another young Canadian star, even going to a showing of the latest

Star Warsfilm to check him out on the big screen."We lasted probably 20-25 minutes and we were like, 'He cannot act,'" Barry said. "Nick turned to me and my partner at the time and said, 'Who do you got?'"The pair had been fans of Gosling since seeing him in the 2001 indie film

The Believerand had already introduced the then 23-year-old to Cassavetes when they had staged a table read for a war movie the director never ended up making, along withLeonardo DiCaprioTobey Maguire."'We were like what about Ryan Gosling?' Nick was like, 'Love him!'" Barry explained. "He had to go to the studio and if I recall, they were actually on board because they kind of knew. Hollywood knows. You know when somebody is going to be a star. They knew, we knew and it was just a perfect match. Ryan came in and met with Nick and had a million questions like he always does and he's just a bright, bright, bright young man."

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