The "What If" game is an entertaining way to burn a few hours. What if you went to Vassar instead of Arizona State University? What if you never went to happy hour that night? What if the Portland Trailblazers had drafted Michael Jordan?
Cinema is one of the best, and most maddening, places to play the "What If" game. Only a few truly great roles float around Hollywood each year. A-list actors jockey against one another for these parts, and the up-and-comers battle it out in auditions. What if Denzel Washington had accepted the lead role in "Ray"? What if Francis Ford Coppola had cast Frank Sinatra as Vito Corleone in "The Godfather"? What if Ashton Kutcher had played Bruce Wayne in "Batman Begins"? The questions go on and on.
Auditions for "The Twilight Saga" drew every young actor with a half-decent agent. For this reason, there are plenty of "What If" scenarios with actors who have made names for themselves in other projects.
Auditioned for: Leah Clearwater
Background: The "High School Musical" star was in the lead for this tough-as-werewolf-claws role during casting for "New Moon." Her pal Ashley Greene even enthused in an interview, "I think she'd be great." Apparently, this fell apart when Hudgens learned Leah, the only known female shapeshifter, wouldn't appear until "Eclipse."
What If: Sure, Hudgens has that dark, sultry thing going for her, but I can't imagine being scared of her soft baby face. Julia Jones, who landed the Leah part, has a strong, angular face and eyes that yell, "Don't f*** with me!" She gives me nightmares, while I just want to hug Hudgens.
Auditioned for: Bella Swan
Background: Before Lawrence looked stunning in her red dress at the 2011 Academy Awards, she was an actress-with-potential knocking around Hollywood auditions. A fan of the novels, Lawrence said, "I love the 'Twilight' books. I'm not even ashamed to say it, they are like methamphetamine to me. So when I heard Kristen Stewart say, "I only read the first one," I was like, "Oh man," because she wasn't a huge fan of the books."
What If: Being such a Twi-hard, Lawrence may have delivered a more literal performance, for better or worse. She's such a great actress it's tough to say Stewart is definitely the better Bella. However, if Lawrence had gotten the role, she would not have been done "Winter's Bone," we wouldn't have seen in her Oscar red dress and she wouldn't be starring in "The Hunger Games." All of those would have been tragedies.
Auditioned for: Edward Cullen
Background: According to "Twilight" director Catherine Hardwicke, "I brought the four guys that I thought were the best and she [Kristen Stewart] had to make out with them or do four different scenes with them and at the end of those two days she said, 'It’s gotta be Rob.'" Fernandez was one of those forgotten other three.
What If: Getting the role of Edward instead of Hardwicke's consolation prize to him (Peter in "Red Riding Hood") would have been astronomically better for Fernandez's career. However, he doesn't hold any grudges. When asked, "'Twilight' or "Harry Potter'"? He answered, "I have to support my director and say 'Twilight.'" Although that was before he saw the box office of "Red Riding Hood."
Auditioned for: Edward Cullen
Background: Milligan was one of the other forgotten three Edwards that Stewart quickly forgot about. He told AccessHollywood.com, "I did my best Edward Cullen. But unfortunately, I didn't have a British accent. So, I didn’t get the job!" He's joking, but I think he's using humor to mask his pain. "It's like, boom!" Dustin said, describing how people react when hearing Robert's British accent. "Ladies love that. Melt."
What If: I don't want to be mean, but Milligan would never have worked. He's Canadian. Can you imagine a Canadian Cullen? I'm laughing just thinking about the term "Canadian Cullen." Milligan's rightful place is on "90210" just like his fellow countryman Jason Priestley.
Auditioned for: Aro
Background: "Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian" heartthrob Ben Barnes threw his name in the ring for Aro. The casting directors probably just laughed and went back to drinking wine.
What If: Can you picture Babyface Barnes leading the Volturi? C'mon. There need to be a couple of mature vampires in this series. Good job sticking with Michael Sheen, "Twilight Saga." Not that you need my approval (but I'm sure you still want it).
Auditioned for: Bigger Jacob Black
Background: When producers began working on "New Moon," they weren't sure Taylor Lautner could turn his skinny torso into a whole lotta sexy wolf muscles. So, they began shopping around for a Bigger Jacob Black. At the top of their list was "Scorpion King 2" star Michael Copon. Team Jacob would never have forgiven them.
What If: Sure, Lautner looks like a completely new person in "New Moon," but it would have been really jarring for fans if they had recast such a pivotal role. Especially with a B-actor who played the Blue Ranger in the "Power Rangers" movies.
Auditioned for: Jane
Background: When you watch the "Planet Earth" series, it's an odd feeling seeing the seal swimming desperately away from the great white shark. You know it's going to die, but it doesn't know that. I bet that's the same feeling that producers had when "Privileged" star Lucy Hale read against Dakota Fanning for the role of Jane.
What If: "What if monkeys flew out of my butt?" I'm not even going to entertain this "What If."
Auditioned for: Edward Cullen and "pretty much every role"
Background: This is another WTF audition. Welch even admitted as much to MTV: "As much as I appreciate my representatives thinking that I could pull off hauntingly beautiful -- the most gorgeous creature you will ever see on the planet -- it's not quite me ... Then I auditioned for the role of Eric ... I auditioned for pretty much every role before [being cast as] Mike."
What If: Please, if Welch had landed Edward, we'd have the most awkward movie coupling since Ben Affleck and J.Lo in "Jersey Girl."