Six seasons in, it’s hard to imagine Game of Thrones with different actors. Even while reading the books, you can’t help imagining Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister or Kit Harrington as Jon Snow. Yet the casting almost went in different directions, which has come to life thanks to Digital Spy.
X-Files star Gillian Anderson turned down a major role on Game of Thrones. She has since starred in another book-to-TV adaption- Neil Gaiman’s American Gods. Lena Headey obviously conquers the role of the bitter Cersei, but Anderson could have possibly played the role with equal tenacity.
Daenerys Targaryen and Emilia Clarke go together like Tyrion and wine. It’s one of those defining roles that will take a while to break out of, like Daniel Radcliffe with Harry Potter (let’s be real he’ll always be Harry Potter.) But in the original pilot for the show, Tudors actress, Tamzin Merchant starred as the Mother of Dragons.
Jennifer Ehle made a career out of starring in book adaptations: most notably as Elizabeth Bennet in the BBC production of Pride and Prejudice, but she also starred in adaptations for Fifty Shades of Grey and The King’s Speech. She played Catelyn Stark in the original pilot before Michelle Fairley claimed the role.
The strangest casting choice would have been Lily Allen as Yara Greyjoy, opposite Alfie Allen. This would have brought the real-life brother-sister duo together as the dysfunctional Greyjoy siblings. In case you forgot, the first meeting between Theon and Yara involved Theon fondling Yara…
Dominic West claimed to have been offered the role of Mance Rayder but had to turned it down due to working on other projects. He didn’t want to be away from his children for six straight months either. If the offer came for another role on the hit series, West said he would be delighted to join the ensemble.
Some actors who auditioned with no success:
EastEnder star Danny Dyer auditioned three times for the hit HBO series but was denied for each role. He admits to trying out for Pypar, which role was later filled by Josef Altin.
Sam Claflin tried out for both Jon Snow and Viserys Targaryen but couldn’t snag either role. He would later have major success by acting in the YA franchise, The Hunger Games.
Sam Heughan started out trying for the big roles of Renly Baratheon and Loras Tyrell but to no avail, so he auditioned for a smaller part as a member of the Night’s Watch. He auditioned seven times before walking away. It may have been a blessing in disguise: He now stars as the protagonist for the hit show Outlander.
Izzy Meikle-Small was head-to-head with Sophie Turner for the role of the older Stark sister, Sansa. She went on to star with other Game of Thrones reject Sam Claflin in Snow White and the Huntsman.
All images courtesy of Digital Spy.