Even today, 25 years after Friends premiered, it's still hard to separate Jennifer Aniston from her role as Rachel Green. But the plain fact is that, had Courteney Cox not lobbied hard for the role of Monica Geller, Aniston's big break may not have come courtesy of the beloved sitcom (producers wanted Cox for Rachel). The Golden Globe-winning actress was also in the running for plenty of other now-famous movie roles that didn't happen for one reason or another. Here are five of them.
1. Pulp Fiction (1994)
Uma Thurman may be the literal face of Pulp Fiction's posters and marketing materials, but she wasn't the only contender for the role. According to ScreenRant, Quentin Tarantino considered both Aniston and her fellow NBC star Julia Louis-Dreyfus to play the part of Mia Wallace. Ultimately, their busy small-screen schedules (with Friends and Seinfeld, respectively) posed a scheduling problem for both actresses.
2. Titanic (1997)
While it's hard to imagine James Cameron's epic love story without Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio at the center, it's almost easy to forget that Titanic was the movie that made those two future Oscar winners household names in the first place. Before Leo and Kate were cast, a bevy of the biggest soon-to-be stars auditioned for the film. And Jennifer Aniston was among them (Gwyneth Paltrow, Charlize Theron, Nicole Kidman, and Angelina Jolie were, too).
3. Chicago (2002)
Aniston was already one of television’s biggest stars when Rob Marshall's Chicago came calling. She was considered for the role of the rather naughty Roxie Hart—a part that eventually went to Renée Zellweger (and earned her a Best Actress Oscar nomination).
4. A Mighty Heart (2007)
Though Aniston and Brad Pitt had no children together during their marriage, they did share Plan B Films—a production company that stayed with Pitt following the couple's divorce. Though it was widely reported that Aniston was set to play Mariane Pearl, the widow of slain Wall Street Journal writer Daniel Pearl, in A Mighty Heart, the details got a bit murky following the couple's split.
When asked about whether she would take on the role by Vogue in 2004, Aniston (then still married to Pitt) was somewhat noncommittal: "If it works," she replied. "I would love to think that I could, but I reserve the right not to. We'll have to see when it happens. I'm just excited about nurturing it." Fast-forward to 2007, when the Plan B-produced film finally made its way into theaters with Pitt's new significant other, Angelina Jolie, as its star. When asked about the role switcheroo, Pitt and Jolie—via a rep—told People that "Jennifer was never attached to that role. When the project was first brought to Plan B, Jen was a partner in the company at the time." Something tells us we'll never know the full story.
5. Heartbreakers (2001)
It might be the most forgettable movie on this list, but when Heartbreakers—the 2001 caper comedy starring Sigourney Weaver and Jennifer Love Hewitt as a pair of con artists—arrived in theaters, it took the top spot at the box office. Reviews were mixed (though Roger Ebert liked it), but it's interesting to consider how different the film would have been had it proceeded in one of its earlier incarnations.
Originally, it was Ang Lee directing and Anjelica Huston and Alicia Silverstone starring. Then came Doug Liman with Huston and Cameron Diaz. When the project next changed hands, it went to David Mirkin, who rewrote the script at the request of Cher, who was going to star alongside Aniston. When Cher's album Believe became a huge hit, she dropped out of the project to do a world tour; Aniston soon followed (the dropping out part, not the world tour).