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Watch the full episode of Couch Surfing now on PeopleTV. Go to, or download the PeopleTV app on your favorite mobile or connected TV device.

Thomas Haden Church had some stiff competition for his role in 2004’s award-winning film Sideways.

During an appearance on PeopleTV’s Couch Surfing, the actor recalled hearing rumors that Brad Pitt and George Clooney were actively seeking involvement in the film — and while director and producer Alexander Payne confirmed those rumors, he also confided in Church about why that wasn’t the route he wanted to take. “He just wanted to move on to his next project without there being these towering movie stars,” Church says.

The Spider-Man 3 actor says his existing working relationship with Payne is what got him on the short list. “I’d met with him on Election. I’d met with him on About Schmidt. Then I flew in for what ultimately was a screen test. There was four guys left. There was myself and Paul [Giamatti], Matt Dillon and Robert Downey Jr.”

Of course, he ultimately got the role, but admits seeing Dillon and Downey Jr. practicing their lines in their cars beforehand was a nerve-wracking experience at the time.

Church currently stars opposite Sarah Jessica Parker on the HBO series Divorce, which is currently in its second season. Watch him talk about Sideways above.

  • Movie
  • R
  • 124 minutes
  • Alexander Payne