The Notebook is synonymous with epic romance, and it’s hard to imagine anyone other than stars Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams taking on the iconic roles of Noah and Allie.
However, the newly surfaced clip of Britney Spears’ own audition as Allie shows how she truly almost did land the coveted part.
Fans have been eager to see the long-rumoured tape for over 20 years, and now, as her story is told in her own words for the first time with the release of her memoir The Woman in Me, the video is also being made available.
Casting director Matthew Barry gave the tape the The Daily Mail, revealing that until McAdams came in and managed to snag the role, the pop star was the top contender, and had even beaten out other established stars like Claire Danes, Scarlett Johansson, Amy Adams, and ex-boyfriend Justin Timberlake’s future wife, Jessica Biel.
The tape shows Spears, dressed in a lacy white tank top, reading lines with an off-camera Gosling, and considering the audition was just months after her rough breakup with Timberlake, her emotion appears raw.
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In fact, as she recites lines where Allie tells Noah she can’t stay because she is going to honour the commitment she made to fiancé Lon, the Toxic singer convincingly begins to sob.
“Look, Noah, you can’t marry two people,” she says as tears well up in her eyes. “And I’m marrying Lon. So I should go, okay?”
The tears then begin to fall even more as she recites lines where Allie reveals that she had hoped Noah would die while fighting in the war because it would have been easier than finding out he had found someone else.
“I prayed for you to die, in the war. Really. Well, not die. I would have felt completely horrible if you would die,” she says. “But I kinda didn’t want you to be alive anymore because I couldn’t bear the thought of you being with somebody else, or of us never seeing each other again.”
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Barry told The Daily Mail that Spears’ performance during her audition almost snagged her the role, and that she came very close to beating out McAdams.
“Britney wasn’t just good – she was phenomenal,” he said. “It was a tough decision. Britney blew us all away, Our jaws were on the floor. I was blown away. Absolutely blown away. She brought her A-game that day.”
He also admitted that she had beat out several other actresses who were big names at the time.
“Britney beat out several of the top female actresses at the time. Scarlett Johansson, Claire Danes, Kate Bosworth, Amy Adams, Jamie King and Mandy Moore auditioned for this role. Britney beat out all of them. Everybody who was anybody that year wanted this part.”
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However, while she did miss out on the part, and the chance to reconnect with her other former Mickey Mouse Club co-star, Spears also looks back in the memoir and admits she thinks letting McAdams take on the role was the right call.
“The Notebook casting came down to me and Rachel McAdams, and even though it would have been fun to reconnect with Ryan Gosling after our time on The Mickey Mouse Club, I’m glad I didn’t do it,” she wrote.
“If I had, instead of working on my album In the Zone, I’d have been acting like a 1940s heiress day and night.”
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