You had us at rom-com
For Valentine’s Day, Entertainment Weekly has turned its Untold Stories sights onto romantic comedies. Click through to find out all sorts of things you never knew about your favorite flicks — like who almost starred as the main hearthrob in The Holiday or what the original name for Crazy, Stupid Love was.
Alexander Skarsgard was almost in Hitch
Three years before breaking out on True Blood, Skarsgard was cast in Hitch as Sebastian, the playboy ex of Allegra Cole (Amber Valletta) and romantic rival of Albert Brennaman (Kevin James).
“We shot a huge sequence at Madison Square Garden with Alexander, Will [Smith], Kevin, and Amber,” director Andy Tennant told EW. While the game made the cut, Skarsgard didn’t, as his scenes were deemed unnecessary. He only appears in the finished film via a newspaper photo.
Serendipity almost didn't have a happy ending
“In the original version, Sara and Jonathan didn’t get together,” screenwriter Marc Klein told EW of the 2001 film starring Kate Beckinsale and John Cusack. “I showed it to a friend of mine and he’s like, ‘Dude, the whole movie is about how wonderful fate is, and you’re not gonna have fate bring them together?’”
Klein rewrote the ending with the couple kissing at the ice skating rink.
Meg Ryan was almost in Mannequin
“There was a young, unknown actress I was dying to hire,” Mannequin casting director Marci Liroff recalled to EW. “Meg Ryan.”
Liroff brought her in and tested her in front of the director and producers for a few parts, including Andrew McCarthy’s girlfriend in the 1987 film.
“She read a bunch of times,” Liroff said. “I will never know why I couldn’t get her the job. I fought for her and did my best. They just didn’t think she had ‘it.’ That’s what they said!”
Ryan was cast in When Harry Met Sally two years later.
Andrew McCarthy almost wasn't in Pretty in Pink
McCarthy was a last-minute addition to the 1986 John Hughes flick — and there were many other contenders for the role of preppy Blane. The biggest name? Charlie Sheen, according to casting director Marci Liroff. Though Sheen wasn’t as close to getting the part as other actors (one unknown got so far as to start signing paperwork), in the end, Molly Ringwald convinced the team to hire McCarthy.
The Bridget Jones's Diary fistfight almost didn't happen
The famous throwdown between Daniel Cleaver (Hugh Grant) and Mark Darcy (Colin Firth) was a late stroke of genius in the Diary writing process. Requiring Bridget to reach a tipping point with both men, screenwriter Richard Curtis suggested they hark back to Westerns and classic cinema, where a love triangle’s resolution would come through a duel.
Crazy, Stupid Love almost wasn't Crazy, Stupid Love
The studio wanted it to be called (gulp!) Wingman.
50 First Dates almost wasn't 50 First Dates
“50 First Kisses was actually the original title of 50 First Dates,” director Peter Segal told EW. “But marketing found that the term ‘kisses’ was turning off guys, so they changed it to 50 First Dates.”
The Love, Simon dance scene almost didn't happen
“We had this desire to show… how happy and free and joyful [Simon, played by Nick Robinson] could one day be,” director Greg Berlanti told EW. “We shot it in the MGM style.… Color-wise, it’s a more enhanced palette than any other section of the movie.”
They filmed the sequence for about four hours, on the same day they shot the scene in which Simon comes out for the first time. “I kept referring to it as the gayest day on the schedule,” Berlanti cracked.
Gwyneth Paltrow was almost in Jerry Maguire
“So many hardworking actors audition and give directors the gift of being able to see 15 or 20 totally valid versions of their movie,” said Oscar-winning director Cameron Crowe, who auditioned Gwyneth Paltrow, Connie Britton, and Mira Sorvino for the part of Dorothy Boyd in Jerry Maguire. The role ultimately went to Renée Zellweger.
Hugh Grant was almost in The Holiday
Hugh Grant wanted a break from rom-coms after Bridget Jones 2, so when Nancy Meyers tried to recruit him for The Holiday’s leading man, Graham (ultimately played by Jude Law), she was turned away. “She wrote the character so much in Hugh Grant’s voice that when you read the script you could envision him,” Jane Jenkins, the movie’s casting director, told EW. “He said no, and that opened the floodgates to every other British actor that there is.”