Ultimate 'What If': Katherine Heigl Almost Landed a Lead Role on Dawson's Creek

Ultimate 'What If': Katherine Heigl Almost Landed a Lead Role on Dawson's Creek
Image credit: Legion-Media

She could have reshaped the entire show.

Often, it's a mystery why certain actors get a role while others don't. In other words, it's unclear what drives filmmakers and producers to favour one individual over another. To be honest, we rarely pay much attention to it. However, it can be challenging to imagine your favourite TV show with a different cast.

The iconic late 1990s show Dawson's Creek could have had completely different leads. The show's creator, Kevin Williamson, initially had other actors in mind when he wrote the script.

For example, the part of the main character, Dawson Leery, was supposed to be played by Joshua Jackson, but Warner Bros. producers rejected his candidacy. Instead, James Van Der Beek was cast, and Jackson was given the role of Pacey Witter, another main character and friend of Leery's.

Most notably, Michelle Williams's character, Jen Lindley, could have been portrayed by a different actress: Katherine Heigl nearly secured the part.

Steve Miner, the director of Dawson's Creek's pilot, brought in Katherine Heigl to audition for the role. He and the actress had previously worked together on My Father the Hero in 1994. According to Kevin Williamson, she made a strong impression on the show's producers.

‘She looked slightly older at that time. Even though she was younger, I just think she was more mature. She gave a great audition, I remember we were all sort of like, “Wow, she’s good.”’ the filmmaker recalled in an interview for EW.

However, Heigl didn't ultimately land the role, as it was given to Michelle Williams, who is now widely recognised as the one and only Jen. During the audition, the actress wowed the Dawson's Creek producers with her performance of a mostly speechless scene between her character and her soon-to-be-dead grandfather.

Perhaps things turned out for the best. If Katherine Heigl had been cast in Dawson's Creek, she wouldn't have starred in Roswell, which aired from 1999 to 2002, around the same time as Dawson's Creek. Additionally, the actress had roles in numerous movies while Dawson's Creek was on the air.

In the end, the show would have been an entirely different experience for viewers. And considering how much people love it, it's probably for the best that things turned out the way they did.

Source: Entertainment Weekly.