According to a new report from news.com.au, the 1997 rom com My Best Friend’s Wedding could have looked a lot different. Julia Roberts who played the film’s leading lady Julianne Potter wasn’t the first choice for the beloved film. Instead, Sarah Jessica Parker was first offered the role.
The publication states that Parker turned down the job as she was in the midst of filming the Sex and the City series which first aired in 1998. In turn, Drew Barrymore who was slated to appear as “Kimberley Wallace” was replaced by Cameron Diaz on the recommendation of Roberts. And apparently, the award-winning actress also influenced the casting of the film’s male lead, Dermot Mulroney.
The comedy follows Potter who has fallen in love with her close friend Michael O’Neal as he announces his swift engagement to another woman. The food critic, heartbroken, attempts to break up the couple and destroy the wedding.
Roberts new involvement in the film meant that the movie’s ending had to be re-written. According to the director, P.J. Hogan, the production studio was unsure that viewers would respond to an unhappy ending for “America’s sweetheart”.
“[TriStar Pictures were] very nervous because we were making a Julia Roberts film and they couldn’t have [America’s sweetheart] end up alone and unhappy,” Hogan told The Sun in 2017 (per Entertainment Weekly.)
“It would have been such a downer of an ending if George hadn’t shown up,” the director added. “That one scene somehow gave the audience permission to forgive Julianne. Those last five minutes really made the whole movie work.”
Roberts is not the only actress to be the second choice for a later iconic role. Jessica Simpson was first cast as Allie Hamilton in The Notebook before turning it down due to a sex scene. Rachel McAdams took up the role instead.