Melanie Lynskey Reluctantly Auditioned For Buffy The Vampire Slayer Only To Be Rejected


Although Alyson Hannigan stands as an iconic portrayer of Willow Rosenberg in "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," her casting directors almost went in an altogether different direction when considering Melanie Lynskey for this pivotal role - she earned an Emmy nomination as well for playing Yellowjackets on Showtime!

New Zealand actor Kerry Fox made her film debut with Peter Jackson's 1994 feature "Heavenly Creatures," co-starring "Titanic" star Kate Winslet. Later that same year, Jackson also directed horror-comedy film "The Frighteners", shot entirely on location in New Zealand - from which came her opportunity to audition for "Buffy the Vampire Slayer".

"My decision wasn't so much due to visa restrictions but rather uncertainty regarding television at that time, as early in my career it seemed strange for someone with my background to take part. Furthermore, at that time an outdated agent suggested TV was only for has-been actors; but after speaking to more current agents I am convinced otherwise now." Certainly things have evolved greatly but at that time she wasn't sure that television was her cup of tea.

Lynskey went on to receive numerous praiseworthy honors for her performance on television shows such as Yellowjackets.

Yellowjackets star nearly played Willow.

Lynskey met with Joss Whedon before auditioning for "Buffy." At first she thought the role had already been offered; instead she realized she still needed to audition:

"I can't recall whether it was an offer or simply, 'Would you come read for it?, but we stayed in contact afterwards. Later when they needed someone from the pilot to fill a role at some point and [Joss] approached me about wanting to join, after having seen it I said, 'Ok I guess so,' taking into consideration that I liked what had seen so far from watching the pilot itself and taking into consideration my agent as part of this experience; when that turned into auditioning it turned into auditioning!" Eventually."

After going through the "whole process" of auditions, Hannigan won out; but Lynskey quickly established herself with supporting roles in movies like 1999's "But I'm A Cheerleader," released later that same year and "Coyote Ugly," which came out two years later. Following several decades as guest stars or recurring characters on major TV series like comedies such as It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia or dramas such as House, she made an impactful performance in "Castle Rock", alongside Lizzie Caplan Bill Skarsgard, and Andre Holland.

Lynskey quickly transitioned to her lead role on "Yellowjackets," earning two Emmy nominations as well as being nominated in 2023 for her guest performance on HBO series, "The Last of Us".

Though Lynskey would have made for an amazing addition on "Buffy," her absence hasn't had an adverse impact on her career in any lasting way.

Other Hollywood actors who almost played roles in Buffy include Jason Statham (Buffy the Vampire Slayer).

Lynskey wasn't the only prominent actor to almost land one of the main cast roles of "Buffy." Ryan Reynolds of Deadpool fame was initially offered Willow's best friend and Scooby Gang member Xander before it ultimately went to Nicholas Brendon.

"My main worry when considering playing Joss Whedon as creator was whether or not to portray someone still attending high school," Reynolds explained in a 2008 interview with Toronto Star. "That experience had just ended for me a few weeks earlier."

Selma Blair revealed in an Instagram post that she "auditioned for Buffy but failed even come close," something which eventually transpired as true. After that she would go on to co-star alongside Gellar in 1999's Cruel Intentions drama as well as having an iconic supporting role opposite Reese Witherspoon for Reese Witherspoon-led comedy Legally Blonde released four years later in 2001.

Natasha Lyonne was also approached with the opportunity to star in "Buffy", yet turned it down as well, preferring instead to follow her own path and live her own life. "After I appeared in Woody Allen's [1996's 'Everyone Says I Love You'], The WB were eager for me to join their network," Lyonne explained in a 2013 interview with Entertainment Weekly.

Lyonne turned down both scripts offered to her; her heart set on playing Felicity instead. Though Lyonne doesn't regret losing out on "Buffy", however; Lyonne can say her mother did regret losing out: she told Lyonne two things after appearing on "Slums of Beverly Hills: to get your boobs done and take on "Buffy". Sarah Michelle Gellar proved particularly adept in both.

Buffy Season 9 would not have been complete without some unexpected guest stars appearing, nearly appearing.

But not just Hollywood stars were considered for roles on "Buffy." Some immensely successful musicians almost appeared, including Jenny Lewis from Rilo Kiley who later went on to act in films such as "The Wizard" and Pleasantville. Unfortunately, their busy careers prevented this.

Lewis tweeted at Whedon in 2013, asking if she remembered when they wanted her to play Veruca on The Vampire Diaries; her presence may have been considered for Veruca's part in seducing Oz from Willow's love interest Willow, however Lewis was too busy filming Rilo Kiley single and music video, "Frug". Whedon confirmed his interest but Lewis had "commitments elsewhere".

Britney Spears had originally planned on appearing as a guest star on Season 5 of Buffy but had to cancel due to scheduling conflicts at the last minute, co-executive producer Marti Noxon telling TV Guide at that time: "It is not happening."

"Spears loves the show" and would "probably do it one day", however she never appeared in it. April, her intended role on the series.

"Having never seen [Spears] act at all," Whedon explained in a 2009 interview, he decided that in order to cover himself from any disappointment from Spears shesistance by creating "Buffybot", that way even if Spears couldn't pull it off Whedon says that Spears interest inspired many characters of which one is Warren/Buffybot which became mainstays on "Buffy." Whedon further elaborated: "All these elements sprung forth as an effect from thinking Britney Spears might join."

Hannigan had difficulty in procuring Willow.

Tragically, Lynskey wasn't cast as Willow; but as she revealed years later in interviews and articles published posthumously, auditioning process had been extremely strenuous for all involved. Gellar endured weeks of callbacks and screen tests prior to landing the lead role; Charisma Carpenter nearly lost out due to arriving late for one of Cordelia callbacks revealed during a 2017 Newsweek interview.

Hannigan had difficulty during her "Buffy" auditions as well, although ultimately landing Willow wasn't assured at first. Whedon had added new lines that made no sense in one callback scene that Whedon had given to Hannigan; when it came time for Hannigan to perform "the words all started running together." She recounted this incident during a 2020 People interview.

"At some point," explained the "American Pie" actor, "I couldn't speak English at all and eventually gave up trying. At that moment I looked up to them like, 'Okay, save me!' Joss later said it was clear the chemistry was there." This moment cemented their future castmates' friendship forever: Sarah from "How I Met Your Mother" said to "this poor girl!'; their faces turned towards us like, 'What have we just done?'". This incident brought these future castmates closer. Sarah said to Joss: 'Okay then let us do this'." This moment brought forth their first encounter while filming begins: Sarah as soon afterward she remembered this moment by telling them exactly who her co-star would play: Sarah from Sarah:

Lynskey might have made an amazing Willow, but who knows what could have come of playing "Buffy?" It appears everything worked out for them both in the end!

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