Benedict Cumberbatch and/or Jessica Chastain and/or Jennifer Lawrence were very nearly cast in True Blood, series creator Alan Ball revealed a decade after the show premiered. Would that have altered the fabric of spacetime enough to have changed everything? Best not to think about it.
According to THR, Ball said:
“I read Benedict Cumberbatch. He came and read for Bill. ... Jessica Chastain read for Sookie. Jennifer Lawrence read for, in season three, there’s this werepanther girl, and she was great.” (Ball wanted to cast her, but she was only 17 at the time and was supposed to be Jason’s (Ryan Kwanten) girlfriend, so the age difference would have been weird.)
Things probably turned out for the best, since Anna Paquin was desperate for the role of Sookie and it’s nice when Anna Paquin gets what she wants:
“Anna wanted this role so bad. Poor thing, she read like five times and I was, like, ‘Oh, do we buy her as Southern? Do we buy her as Sookie Stackhouse?’”
Good thing they did, because things for Paquin and her co-star and now-husband Stephen Moyer have worked out very well:
“They’re falling in love [in their first scene together] because they hooked up on the second episode. The producer called me from the second episode and was, like, ‘I think you should know that Stephen and Anna are hooking up.’ ... It was never an issue, they were total pros, and now they have two kids together. ... They thought they were keeping it secret from everybody. The whole first season, everybody knew.”
Which makes me wonder: In another universe, would Benedict Cumberbatch and Jessica Chastain be married?