Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt: Luca Bruno/AP Wide World
September 07, 2001 at 04:00 AM EDT

With the former Marky Mark strutting in long hair and leather pants, ”Rock Star” has 80’s-era star voltage to spare. But reformed rapper Mark Wahlberg wasn’t the first choice to play Chris Cole, a cover band singer recruited to front his favorite heavy metal act: Brad Pitt was originally attached to the role. Considering that Pitt’s wife of 13 months, Jennifer Aniston, plays Chris’ long-suffering girlfriend, Emily, why would the couple leave the movie’s love scenes (including a bisexual dance-floor orgy) to anyone else?

”Rock Star” screenwriter John Stockwell (HBO’s ”Breast Men”) says the usual creative differences are to blame. Pitt, who signed on — and then off — the project long before the role of Emily was cast, couldn’t see eye to eye with studio execs. ”Brad had some ideas about what he wanted to do, but in the end he couldn’t find a director he wanted to work with that Warner Bros. also wanted to work with,” says Stockwell. ”But Brad really is a metalhead from Missouri, and I think part of him was completely absorbed in playing this character.”

While Pitt was doing research for the role back in 1998, Aniston, who says she favors old-school rockers like Aerosmith and Led Zeppelin, tagged along, going to Korn and Rob Zombie concerts. Back then, she never pitched herself for the female lead in the film. ”It was odd, because they kept talking about working together, but when he was involved he never talked about Jennifer [for the role], and when I went out with both of them neither of them mentioned it,” says Stockwell. Aniston shrugs off the missed opportunity. ”It wasn’t as if he dropped out so I came on board,” she says. ”There wasn’t even a thought of it.”

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