Hannah Montana ended over 11 years ago, and it’s hard to imagine anyone playing the titular student-by-day and pop-star-by-night other than Miley Cyrus. Despite being the daughter of a country music star, Cyrus obviously had to go through auditions and hope for the best that she would beat out the competition to land the role. Now we know who some of that competition was, as the Disney show’s casting director has revealed the free-wheeling singer was up against two other actresses for the role, with Nickelodeon star Daniella Monet and Gossip Girl vet Taylor Momsen also in the running.
Lisa London, Hannah Montana’s casting director, took to TikTok in response to a video claiming that Spanish-Mexican singer and actress Belinda was almost cast as the pop star, saying she was among the top three vying for the role. London's sweet response thanked the fan for her video, and stated that while she loved Belinda, the singer was not, in fact, among the top three contenders. Rather, she showed the original paper for the test of “Chloe” (Miley Stewart’s original name), revealing that Miley Cyrus was up against Daniella Monet and Taylor Momsen:
It’s wild to learn that Daniella Monet and Taylor Momsen were also in the running for the role of Hannah Montana, and it makes me wonder just how different the show would have been if either of them had been cast instead of Miley Cyrus. The casting decision was apparently made in 2005, which would have been a full five years before Monet landed her big break as Trina Vega on Nickelodeon’s Victorious, and just two years prior to Momsen joining other Gossip Girl cast members as Jenny Humphrey on the CW drama. Certainly the father/daughter dynamic would have been vastly changed without Cyrus in the lead role.
It's funny to note that while Daniella Monet auditioned to portray a famous pop star for Disney, her character on Victorious could not carry a tune. And although she was not cast on Hannah Montana, she did actually guest star on another Disney Channel series in 2008 via The Suite Life of Zack & Cody. Monet found much success on Disney’s rival network over the years, and even returned to her Victorious roots, recently joining co-star Matt Bennett on his iParty Tour in Chicago.
Taylor Momsen, meanwhile, managed to capitalize on her Gossip Girl success by developing a real-life music career with her alternative rock punk group, The Pretty Reckless. (Eat your heart out, Hannah.) Momsen's Jenny was given an infamous transformation throughout The CW series that certainly would not have been at home on the Disney comedy.
In 2021, Miley Cyrus penned a heartfelt message to her “alter ego” for the show’s 15th anniversary, which was as emotional as ever. While Cyrus has been open about how she struggled with fame after the series ended, she has previously expressed interest in breaking out the Hannah Montana wig sometime in the future. Maybe she can meet up with Monet and Momsen as other versions of herself within the Montana Multiverse.
Meanwhile, Cyrus isn’t the only former Disney star to show interest in a possible reboot or revival. Jason Earles, who portrayed Miley’s pesky older brother Jackson, spoke to CinemaBlend ahead of the Season 3 premiere of High School Musical: The Musical: The Series, and shared his thoughts of Hannah Montana getting the HSMTMTS treatment. He mentioned how much love there is for the show still, and that he would “probably be interested.”
With its original casting still fully intact, all four seasons of Hannah Montana, as well as Hannah Montana: The Movie, are streaming on Disney+ with a subscription.
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