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It may be difficult to imagine Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants without America Ferrera, Alexis Bledel, Blake Lively and Amber Tamblyn, but some other stars actually came close to landing roles in the hit film.
She said Ferrera, who played Carmen, was “the first one we cast,” but noted she was “still very much a newbie” at that time.
The Princess Diaries producer also revealed that they were going to cast Mischa Barton in Lively’s role of Bridget, and Kristin Kreuk for Bledel’s character Lena, but when production got delayed, both actresses were busy again filming The O.C. and Smallville, respectively.
“So we started all over. We saw everybody,” Chase said. “I mean, Kaley Cuoco, Alexa [PenaVega]. … [Olivia Wilde] was in the shortlist.”
She continued of the casting process, “America stayed, we brought her with us. At that point, Amber Tamblyn (who played Tibby) was on Joan of Arcadia, so she was a big deal. We wanted real actors. They had to fulfill the roles. They had to embody the roles, authentically embody them. We went to Alexis early on for Lena but she passed. She was still doing Gilmore Girls. She was tired, and she passed, and then we kept looking.”
Chase admitted that finding the right actress for Bridget seemed to be the most difficult challenge because they needed someone who had an “innocence” to them while also having the “skills” to take on the role. She described the character as “gorgeous but in a pure way; you have to believe she was a virgin, she wasn’t caught up in her looks. And she had to be able to act. … That role had a lot of depth.”
They continued their searches but were having no luck until Lively came in for an audition. The Cheetah Girls producer thought they found the perfect person for the role, but when they realized Lively had never worked before, they were hesitant to hire her.
“She handed us her headshot and it was completely blank,” Chase said of Lively. “She had never worked, she had never gotten a paycheck. You know, she’s from an acting family.”
They decided to bring in “Olivia Wilde, Missy Peregrym and Blake for the final audition,” the Cinderella producer recalled, and that’s when they ultimately realized “it was Blake’s role.” She also noted that Lively’s real-life father, Ernie Lively (who died in 2021), played her on-screen dad in Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, as well as the 2008 sequel.
As for the role of Lena, Chase said they “went back one more time to Alexis, and she agreed to come in and read, and she was Lena. And so she said yes.”
Elsewhere in her podcast appearance, Chase noted that she “would love” to make a third Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants with the original cast.
“I’m doing sequels to some of my other classic movies right now,” she said. “I think, you know, time has gone by and the audiences still very much want it. So maybe.”