As part of a larger feature about the immense financial risk Warner Bros. is taking as they try and sell Inception to wide audiences, the Los Angeles Times came across an interesting detail about the early casting process. While the studio was always angling for a very, very big star to anchor the ensemble cast, they initially considered a lot of big names, with Will Smith and Brad Pitt apparently high up on the list of contenders.

The part eventually went to Leonardo DiCaprio, of course, which in hindsight seems like the only possible choice. Not only does the actor strongly resemble director Christopher Nolan-- a fitting avatar in a movie about living out dreams-- but he's known for cerebral, slightly off-kilter projects like this one, while Smith is always Mr. Blockbuster (except for Seven Pounds, whatever that was all about). Pitt is a little more daring, making Inglourious Basterds when he just as easily could do a Mr. and Mrs. Smith sequel, but he still somehow feels wrong for the buttoned-up and haunted Dom Cobb.

This is all the past now, of course, but when you see Inception this weekend-- and you're definitely planning to see Inception, right?-- pause and think about what could have been. Here's a visual aid below:

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