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There are a lot of stories out there about actors who almost got major parts in big movies. However, one actress recently opened up about a part she came very close to getting, and how tough it was for her when it didn't happen. Apparently, Nashville and Friday Night Lights star Connie Britton read for the female lead in Jerry Maguire and while you might expect actors are used to not getting roles, the actress says this one hurt. According to Britton...
At the end of the day [I] didn't get the part and, you know, it was truly, truly devastating for quite a while.
The role, of course, ended up going to Renee Zellweger whose famous line "you had me at hello" would become only one of the endlessly quotable, and parodied, lines in movie history. While Zellweger wasn't completely unknown going into Jerry Maguire, the film certainly helped her career in many ways. Connie Britton, on the other hand, was at an earlier stage in her own career. Her role on TV's Spin City only began a few months before Jerry Maguire hit theaters so she would have been a mostly unknown going into the audition. A role opposite Tom Crusie would have been huge for her.
However, that's not the only reason that Connie Britton told Talking with Chris Hardwick she was upset at not scoring the role. She was probably more than a little shocked to discover she'd lost it because Jerry Maguire director Cameron Crowe made comments to her during the audition which clearly would have given Britton the idea she had the inside track. She was the one who apparently understood the role best. Britton continues...
I remember Cameron saying 'you just showed me what the role is supposed to be because the studio was saying I needed to rewrite it'...that was incredibly thrilling.
When the director of a movie is that responsive to your audition, you'd have to think you've got a pretty solid shot at the role. Finding out you didn't get the part after being told that you showed the director what the role is supposed to be had to have been shocking.
Of course, it's anybody's guess why Connie Britton didn't end up getting the role. It's entirely possible that she did, in fact, have the best audition, but that she lost out for some other reason. As mentioned earlier she was mostly unknown at the time and that may have played against her in the studio's eyes. Maybe they just wanted a particular look that Renee Zellweger had.
In the end, Connie Britton has built a solid career for herself and she says now that she wouldn't change anything that happened.