It has been 10 years since viewers first got to visit the Bon Temps, Louisiana, of HBO's True Blood. Creator Alan Ball was just at a 10th anniversary screening of the pilot episode, and he revealed some behind-the-scenes casting details. For one, they almost cast Jennifer Lawrence as a were-panther in Season 3. Ball explained why she didn't get the part:
Yeah, the women in that room were probably right. Based on the role and the timing, it sounds like Alan Ball was referencing the were-panther character of Crystal Norris, played by actress Lindsay Pulsipher in Season 3 and Season 4. Pulsipher is now age 36, and Ryan Kwanten -- who played Jason Stackhouse -- is 41. Jennifer Lawrence is now 28. Season 3 aired in 2010, but it sounds like they were casting for that role a couple of years in advance.
Maybe it's good that Jennifer Lawrence wasn't busy with True Blood, since her big break came with the 2010 film Winter's Bone. That role gave the actress her first Oscar nomination. Before that, she was best known for her two years on The Bill Engvall Show.
During his recent Truebie talk at the Vulture Festival (via Deadline), Alan Ball added two more almost castings that definitely would've changed a lot about the show (and other things): Benedict Cumberbatch actually read for vampire Bill Compton, and Jessica Chastain read to play lead Sookie Stackhouse.
Can you imagine? Those readings would've been more than 10 years ago -- since you get cast well before the show premieres -- and it would've been long before both Benedict Cumberbatch and Jessica Chastain were household names.
Benedict Cumberbatch's Sherlock started in 2010, so if he had been cast as Bill, he probably wouldn't have been able to play the lead detective.
Jessica Chastain really shot onto the film scene in 2011 with The Help (for which she earned her first Oscar nomination), Take Shelter, The Tree of Life, Texas Killing Fields, and Coriolanus. She wouldn't have been able to do that as Sookie on True Blood from 2008 to 2014.
Maybe more importantly, if True Blood stars Anna Paquin and Stephen Moyer hadn't ultimately been cast as Sookie and Bill, they may never have met, never have gotten married, and never had their two kids.