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Image / Editorial

Ryan Phillippe Nearly Landed This Iconic TV Role


by Jeanne Sutton
13th Jan 2016

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 21: Actor Ryan Phillippe visits the Tribeca Film Festival 2011 portrait studio on April 21, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images for Tribeca Film Festival)

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When it comes to casting movies and television shows, the original line-up usually differs from what actually goes out to the masses. Brooklyn‘s leading role initially went to Rooney Mara before Ireland’s Saoirse Ronan won the part. Even Leonardo DiCaprio wasn’t a sure thing for Titanic. Clueless actor Jeremy Sisto has spoken about how he eventually lost the part to the actor. Now, Hollywood insiders are revealing that one of the most complex male television leads, that of Nicholas Brody in Homeland, wasn’t originally intended for English actor Damien Lewis.

Patrick Wilson at the 73rd Annual Golden Globe Awards held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 10, 2016 in Beverly Hills, California.
Patrick Wilson at the 73rd Annual Golden Globe Awards, 2016

Lewis? made his US debut in the show as the US Marine who returns to the States after eight years as a hostage in the Middle East and rouses suspicions in Claire Danes? CIA agent. From the pilot, his acting and flawless American accent was commended. And yet, he was very nearly not cast.

Another photo of Patrick Wilson
Another photo of Patrick Wilson

Homeland‘s showrunner Alex Gansa told The New Yorker that the original first choice for the role was Patrick Wilson, who is now heading up the second season of Fargo and was the very dashing love interest in Morning Glory. Wilson told the network no, who then moved on to Ryan Phillippe. Yes, your teenage crush Sebastian Valmont was very nearly cast in Homeland. Can you imagine? What with all that Cruel Intentions mood games experience we’d have been questioning his every motive 200% more.

Actor Damian Lewis attends the 73rd Annual Golden Globe Awards, 2016
Actor Damian Lewis attends the 73rd Annual Golden Globe Awards, 2016

Ganso ?wasn’t on the same page as network executives chasing Phillippe and wanted to cast the then-unknown English actor. He said, ?I kept talking about Damian until I got a call from the head of the studio saying, ?Look, Alex, please do not bring up Damian’s name again.’? It wasn’t until two weeks before principal photography on Homeland started and Gansa forced producers to watch Lewis in a movie called Keane, that television history was made.

Still, we’re can’t help but imagine Phillippe in the part. Would his curly blonde hair have fit in? One thing we do know, the show’s creators could have easily shoehorned in a Brody-takes-an-escalator’scene.

Via New Yorker

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