Jennifer Aniston didn’t want to be crowned a rom-com queen two decades ago.
That’s why, according to director Peter Chelsom, she turned down the lead role in his 2001 romance flick “Serendipity,” which ultimately starred Kate Beckinsale opposite John Cusack.
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The 52-year-old “Morning Show” actress nixed the role of Sara because she was starring in the NBC sitcom “Friends.” Aniston already felt like she was acting in an ongoing rom-com while starring on the hit series, Chelsom, 65, explained to Insider.
“I distinctly remember Jennifer Aniston coming in to meet us,” he 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.”
The filmmaker also noted that Aniston met with him “in good faith without an offer,” adding, “We definitely would have made her an offer if she wanted to make [the movie].”
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According to Chelsom, “Watchmen” star Carla Gugino also came “extremely close” to being cast, saying her audition was “spectacular.”
Since then, however, Aniston has had her fair share of romantic comedies. She plays the love-interest lead in 2004’s “Along Came Polly,” 2005’s “Rumor Has It,” 2006’s “The Break-Up” and 2011’s “Just Go With It.”
“Serendipity” tells the story of Jonathan Trager (Cusack), who meets and falls in love with a woman named Sara over the course of one passion-filled evening. He writes down his phone number on a piece of paper and, by pure happenstance, the wind blows it away (of course) into the abyss. Sara takes that as a bad sign, and the two decide to part ways. Cue a plotline that flirts with serendipitous romance and a Hollywood ending.