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Casting “what if” stories fascinate me. What would Back to the Future have looked like with Eric Stoltz in for Michael J. Fox? Could Dougray Scott have done a better job as Wolverine than Hugh Jackman? And my favorite – Tom Selleck as Indiana Jones!

But here’s one I haven’t heard before, and it raises several questions: Did you know that American Idol contestant and eventual Oscar nominee Jennifer Hudson (Dreamgirls) was offered the lead role in Lee Daniels’ Precious, but turned it down? The singer-actress reveals that poor career choice in her latest book, I Got This: How I Changed My Ways and Lost What Weighed Me Down (according to Uptown Magazine). At the time, Hudson was coming off the grueling Dreamgirls press circuit, which traditionally accompanies an Oscar run, and was told by the Precious director that she’d have to pack on additional pounds to play the abused teenager.

“I had done that with [her Dreamgirls character] Effie … and as much as I was moved by this film, I wanted to try a role that had nothing whatsoever to do with my weight,” she said.

So instead, she contributed to a Sex and the City movie, while Daniels’ film earned six Oscar nominations and two wins for screenwriting and Best Supporting Actress. Which begs the questions: Would Hudson’s appearance have changed anything? Was Precious always going to hinge on the casting of Precious’ malicious mother (Mo’Nique, who was terrifying)? And will Hudson ever get another role of that caliber? She recently played Winnie Mandela opposite Terrence Howard, though that film scored little traction at TIFF. And now she’ll be in a Three Stooges movie. Yikes.

Either way, Gabourey Sidibe – who earned an Oscar nomination for playing Precious – should send Hudson gift baskets on an annual basis for turning Daniels down. Just make sure they are loaded with fat-free treats.

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