Director Peter Chelsom explained why the star turned down the role of the female lead in his 2001 movie.

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Jennifer Aniston didn't need to star in Peter Chelsom's 2001 movie Serendipity. She was in a rom-com practically every week.

The director explained how he and his team met with Aniston to discuss her playing the film's female lead, which ultimately went to Kate Beckinsale, in a new interview with Insider that coincides with the 20th anniversary of the movie. He then went on to explain the reason she turned it down.

"I distinctly remember Jennifer Aniston coming in to meet us," Chelsom said. "I remember when she came in, she said, 'I do a romantic comedy once a week,' her being on Friends at the time. So, she clearly had other things on her plate and it was her decision not to do it."

Serendipity; Jennifer Aniston
Jennifer Aniston almost played the female lead in 'Serendipity,' which ended up going to Kate Beckinsale.
| Credit: Everett Collection; Kevork Djansezian/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

He added how she met with him "in good faith without an offer," noting, "we definitely would have made her an offer if she wanted to make it."

Serendipity starred John Cusack as Jonathan Trager, a New Yorker who one fateful night meets and falls for a woman named Sara Thomas (Beckinsale). But when the wind immediately blows away the piece of paper on which she jotted down her phone number, she takes it as a bad omen.

Sara then decides to write her number down in a book and sell it to a used bookstore, thinking that Jonathan will find it if they are meant to be together. Years later, after both of their lives have moved on, neither can forget about that meet-cute.

Chelsom added in the interview that The Haunting of Hill House and Gunpowder Milkshake actress Carla Gugino came "extremely close" to being cast as Sara, calling her audition "spectacular." The filmmaker would later work with her on 2017's The Space Between Us.

Aniston, meanwhile, didn't lack for rom-coms in the future, well beyond Friends. She would go on to star in films like Along Came Polly, Rumor Has It..., Friends With Money, The Break-Up, Just Go With It, and more.

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