The 2005 movie ultimately starred America Ferrera, Blake Lively, Alexis Bledel and Amber Tamblyn
The iconic Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants cast almost looked a lot different.
On a new episode of the Hollywood Gold podcast, producer Debra Martin Chase shared secrets about the making of the 2005 young adult film and its 2008 sequel. The movies' cast ultimately included America Ferrera, Alexis Bledel, Blake Lively and Amber Tamblyn, but other stars came close to landing roles.
Producer Chase, also behind the Cheetah Girls and Princess Diaries films, said Ferrera was "the first one we cast." The future Emmy winner and Oscar nominee played Carmen in Traveling Pants, and was "still very much a newbie" at the time.
Also, "we were gonna cast Mischa Barton in the Blake Lively role" of Bridget, she revealed of The O.C. actress' near casting. Plus, Smallville's Kristin Kreuk was originally set for Bledel's character Lena.
After production was delayed when the studio had to fast-track Hilary Duff's A Cinderella Story, the team lost availability for some of the stars. "So we started all over. We saw everybody who was possibly ... I mean, Kaley Cuoco, Alexa [PenaVega]. [Olivia Wilde] was in the shortlist."
"America stayed, we brought her with us. At that point, Amber Tamblyn 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."
Finding the Bridget actress was most challenging, according to Chase. She explained that the star needed to have "innocence" and acting "skills." The character is "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."
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After looking for "a while" with no luck, Lively auditioned and the team felt they'd found the perfect fit. However, the eventual Gossip Girl star had never worked before, causing hesitation, even though she was the "baby of a family where everybody was in the [acting] business." They auditioned more actresses for the part.
"We brought in Olivia Wilde, Missy Peregrym and Blake for the final audition," she recalled, adding, "It was Blake's role." Lively's real-life dad Ernie (who died in 2021) played her onscreen father in the films.
Chase also expressed that she "would love" to make another sequel with Ferrera, 39, Lively, 36, Tamblyn, 40, and Bledel, 42. "I'm doing sequels to some of my other classic movies right now. I think, you know, time has gone by and the audiences still very much want it. So maybe."
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