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We can’t picture anyone but James Marsden as hot robot cowboy Teddy, but according to these actors who auditioned or refused roles in Westworld, the cast could’ve looked a lot different. Westworld, which premieres its third season on March 15, is set in a dystopian future where people hunt and kill human-like robots for a fun a wild, wild west-themed park named Westworld. Since its debut in October 2016, Westworld‘s cast members—Evan Rachel Wood, Thandie Newton, Jeffrey Wright and Ed Harris—have become even bigger stars than they were before.
The show has since been nominated for Emmys, Golden Globes and Screen Actors Guild Awards. (In 2018, Newton, who plays Maeve Willay, a Westworld host who learns of her true identity, won the series’ first acting Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actress.) But the Westworld cast wasn’t always the four actors mentioned above. The show, whose cast also consists of Tessa Thompson, Luke Hemsworth and Anthony Hopkins, was well-known in Hollywood before its debut, as seen by the many well-known actors who tried out for parts in the series. Some of these actors were recast in other roles, while others went on to other series. Find out the actors who were almost cast in Westworld ahead.
Elon Bailey as Logan Delos
Elon Bailey, who played Pinocchio (a.k.a. August W. Booth) in ABC’s Once Upon a Time, was first cast as Logan Delos, a bachelor and a veteran Westworld guest who’s a close friend of William (The Man in Black.) Logan, who’s shown a lot in flashbacks, was a main character in season 1 of Westworld before he became recurring character in season 2. It’s unclear if the character will show up in season 3. As for Bailey, the actor was first announced to play Logan in 2015 (a year before Westworld‘s debut.) Entertainment Weekly reported later that year that Logan’s role would be recast after Baily had to drop out due to a scheduling conflict. Ben Barnes, best known for his role in the Chronicles of Narnia, was later recast as the bachelor and became the Logan viewers saw on TV.
Jared Harris as Dr. Robert Ford
As Westworld fans know, Dr. Robert Ford, the director of the Westworld park, was played by Hollywood veteran Anthony Hopkins. (Ford died at the end of season 2, so it’s unclear if Hopkins will reprise the role in season 3. But it’s Westworld, so anything is possible.) But the role wasn’t always his. Jared Harris, who’s best known for his roles in Chernobyl and The Crown, also auditioned to play Dr. Ford. He revealed the news in an interview with Vulture, where he also claimed to have auditioned for High Sparrow in Game of Thrones.
“I lose parts to the weirdest people. It’s kind of confusing. I mean, it changes a lot. In the beginning, I didn’t lose parts but I’d get stuff that either Gary Oldman wasn’t interested in, or Phillip Seymour Hoffman wasn’t interested in. It’s kind of a weird range. It’s a very odd thing to find out who ends up doing stuff that you [auditioned for],” he said. “I went in for Westworld for Anthony Hopkins’s part. [Laughs.] Yeah, it’s weird. Game of Thrones, the part that Jonathan Pryce did. It’s kind of a strange thing.”
Peter Mullan as the Man in Black
Westworld fans may recognize Peter Mullan as James Delos, a recurring role in the HBO series, but the actor actually auditioned for one of the main roles. In an interview with Vulture, Mullan revealed that he was first offered the role for the Man in Black, played by Ed Harris.
“The original pilot. I was all set to do it and then they changed the dates of it and by that time I had already committed to another film,” he said. “So I couldn’t do it and I was devastated. I was really, really upset because I really wanted to do the Westworld pilot but I couldn’t do it. So then, finally Jonah remembered me and then yeah, years later they offered me the other part.”
He continued, “Originally what was talked about was the Man in Black. That was on offer, that was discussed. And then they offered to have me play the farmer. Is it Peter Abernathy, I think it is? I was asked to play him. So when I saw the pilot, and I saw…Oh, God, who plays him again? [The actor is Louis Herthum.] Oh, I love it, it’s a beautiful performance. So that was fine, when you can’t do something and you see a really good performance. You never mind that kind of thing.”
Bianca Lawson as Maeve or Clementine
Lawson is best known for teen shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Dawson’s Creek and Pretty Little Liars, but she could’ve had a very adult role in Westworld. The actress told the Chicago Tribune in 2018 that one of her worst auditions was for Westworld. Lawson didn’t reveal which role she auditioned for (in fact, the directors didn’t even tell her), she just knew it was a host that was also a prostitute (so it could’ve been Maeve or Clementine) and that she didn’t do well in the audition room.
“There was this wonderful, wonderful part on Westworld and I just love the subject matter, of AI and the difference between humans and a robots. I was super excited about auditioning for it. It was very hush-hush when I went in for it and they didn’t tell me which part it was for and I wasn’t sure specifically who she was going to be, but I believe it was one of the prostitutes,” she said.
Lawson went on to explain that she wore a bra specifically for the audition, which was padded with a gel-like substance and had exploded as she read her lines. “So right as I’m about to go in for the audition I notice there was this one little spot on my dress and I was like, ‘Oh no, did I drop water on here?’ Anyway I go in. And I’m doing the scene. And I’m starting to notice that my hands feel oily and my dress was sticking to me. And what happened was, the bra had burst somehow!” she said.”It was a thick gooey oil and I was covered in it, because while I was doing the scene, I guess I had been touching my body and my face and my hair. So I looked liked Carrie—but not blood, it was just this oil. Like someone had thrown oil on me! I was co-vered. This is all happening while I’m doing this audition! The dress was a delicate chiffon, it was a vintage dress, and it was stuck to my body and dripping. Oh my God. I was really embarrassed. But I was also like, just do the best you can. Ignore it. It is what it is.”
Luke Hemsworth as Teddy Flood
Luke Hemsworth is one of the main Westworld cast members as Ashley Stubbs, the head of Westworld security, but instead of a behind-the-scenes staffer, he could’ve been one of the hosts. In a 2016 Vulture interview, Hemsworth revealed that he first auditioned for Teddy (played by James Marsden) before he was recast as Stubbs. “I think I auditioned way back at the start, and I auditioned for James Marsden’s character. As did 5,000 other people,” he said. “It then went away and morphed and did all of its bits and pieces, and then it came back, and [casting director] John Papsidera suggested I come in for the role of Stubbs. It was a no-brainer to me. I was absolutely going to jump onboard.”