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Six awesome roles intended for men, but cast as women

By Kate Torgovnick, The Frisky
Evelyn Salt was originally scripted as Edwin Salt. The role was intended for Tom Cruise, not Angelina Jolie.
Evelyn Salt was originally scripted as Edwin Salt. The role was intended for Tom Cruise, not Angelina Jolie.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The title role in the movie "Salt" was actually written for a guy
  • The most famous gender switch in a movie might be Weaver's role in "Alien"
  • the show "Blossom" was originally about a teenage boy
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(The Frisky) -- Angelina Jolie looks so femme fatale-tastic staring out from the poster for "Salt," with her black wig and heavily lined eyes, that it's hard to imagine that the title role in the movie was actually written for a guy. But, yes, it's true -- Evelyn Salt was originally scripted as Edwin Salt. And lame name aside, the role was intended for Tom Cruise. It was only when Cruise backed out that the movie's makers rethought the part and decided to cast Angelina instead, which was a seriously good move.

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Interestingly, this is not the first time a woman has played a role originally envisioned as a man. Here are a few more of our favorite examples:

"Alien" could go both ways
Hands down, the most famous gender switcheroo in a movie? Sigourney Weaver as Officer Ellen Ripley in "Alien." The film's scribes wrote all the characters as men, but specified that "the crew is unisex and all parts are interchangeable for men or women." When Sigourney auditioned, they decided to go for it. "The idea of making the hero a heroine was a masterstroke," director Ridley Scott said on the DVD. He credits Sigourney with helping the movie stand out from the other sci-fi fare of the time.

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40-year-old virgin's original boss: a man
In "The 40-Year-Old Virgin," Jane Lynch played Paula, Steve Carell's boss at SmartTech. But the role was originally written as "Paul." It was Steve's wife's idea to cast Jane instead. Do we have her to thank for Sue Sylvester on "Glee," in some tangential way?

Jodie Foster ousted Sean Penn
In 2005's "Flightplan," Sean Penn initially was courted to play Kyle Pratt, a father desperately searching for his missing daughter on an international flight. Only, in the end, Jodie Foster got the role. Different gender but the name stayed the same.

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Arthur's valet is a "queen"
Russell Brand is currently flexing his comedy muscles in "Arthur," a remake of the early 80s Dudley Moore flick. In the original film, Arthur's valet is played by John Gielgud. But this time around, Helen Mirren will be infusing the role with a dose of estrogen. Go Helen, go Helen, go!

"Blossom" was originally about a boy
Did you know that the show "Blossom" was originally about a teenage boy? Yep, creator Don Reo started writing the seminal 90s series as such but then got word that Mayim Bialik, who had blown up as the young Bette Midler in "Beaches," was available. He decided to change things up and write the show for her, according to the actress who played the 90s character. Without the switch, we may never have had the tie skirt.

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