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George Clooney lost this classic thriller to Brad Pitt, but we’re glad

George Clooney is one of the most marketable actors in Hollywood, but he ended up missing out on this classic thriller movie thanks to another young actor.

Brad Pitt and George Clooney in Oceans 11

George Clooney is hardly second best in Hollywood. In fact, with a resume like his, it could be said that George Clooney is one of the best actors in town when it comes to playing suave, memorable characters. But there’s one role that he wasn’t quite able to get his lovely, lovely hands on, because it ended up going to another cinematic golden boy instead.

Thelma and Louise, released in 1991, is one of the more underrated Ridley Scott films. It’s an adventure movie that focuses on female friendship, following who women who end up encountering plenty of trouble and danger on their road trip. They meet plenty of people along the way, including an attractive young man named J.D.

This is the part that Clooney initially auditioned for. Of course, back then, he wasn’t the George Clooney we know today, so he still had to audition for things. But although a ’90s Clooney is nothing to turn your nose up at, the role ended up going to Brad Pitt instead.

Thelma and Louise was one of Pitt’s first major film roles, and would instantly cement him as a star on the rise. Most remember him from his scene in the movie in which he takes his shirt off, a moment which would become the foundation of his heartthrob image.

It’s a small role, in comparison to some of his later work, but he managed to prove himself even in his supporting parts. In fact, star Geena Davis was so impressed by Pitt’s audition, that she would vouch for him to Scott. (Since she was the one that ended up having a steamy love scene with Pitt, it’s only fair that she got final say.)

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Of course, the reason for his casting went far beyond his hunky good looks at the time, as clarified by Davis herself on The Graham Norton Show. “Each of them were very handsome. They all had brown hair and were very talented. I didn’t care who it was going to be. Then the fourth one comes in, and it’s Brad Pitt. He’s so charismatic and so incredibly talented that I was screwing up his audition,” she said [via The Independent].

Plus, if Clooney had got the role, then that might have set his career on a totally different trajectory. If he’s starred in the Ridley Scott movie, then it might have set him down a big screen road earlier on, and would seen him not take on the now iconic role of Dr Ross in ER just a few years later, and that’s a reality we just can’t stand to think about, not even for a second.

For more of some movie near-misses, take a look at our feature on why Russell Crowe as Aragorn could have changed Hollywood. Plus, take a look at the best Brad Pitt movies, and see if Thelma and Louise pops up on our list of the best movies ever made.