The early 2000s Scooby Doo movies starring Matthew Lillard, Linda Cardellini, Sarah Michelle Gellar, and Freddie Prinze Jr are now looked back on (by most) as beloved nostalgic favourites. But things could have looked very different, as there was once a roster of different actors who almost played the family movie characters.
Lillard was already 32-years-old when he first played Shaggy in the successful Scooby Doo movie, written by James Gunn. He was known primarily for teen movies in the 90s – such as Hackers, Scream, and She’s All That. But the role of Shaggy almost went to two much bigger (and even older) stars, which probably wouldn’t have worked as well.
According to Collider, the 2002 movie was originally due to be released back in the 1990s, and Jim Carrey was signed on to play Shaggy. Carrey was one of the biggest box office stars of the 90s and got too busy. The production hit numerous delays and the movie no longer worked for Carrey’s schedule, and so he withdrew from the role. Austin Powers himself, Mike Myers was then seriously considered for the role, but in the end the studio went for Lillard.
Gifted comedienne Isla Fisher would eventually land the role of Shaggy’s love interest Mary-Jane. But at one stage, she was set to play Daphne. Other actresses in the running to play Daphne were Jennifer Aniston and Jennifer Love Hewitt.
Other changes made to the film included it being filmed with a PG-13 script, which was actually given an R, then later cut to fit a PG rating. Gunn has also said that he tried to make Velma explicitly gay in his script but the studio cut it out. Velma is explicitly gay in a new Scooby-Doo animated movie, where she’s shown having a crush on a villain named Coco Diablo.