The 2002 Resident Evil movie kicked off a hit franchise, but its cast almost looked very different, including several popular stars of the time. Despite the reputation video game-based movies have for being flops, the long-running Resident Evil franchise is at least the exception that proves the rule. While never a big success with fans of the games, due to their willingness to jettison so much of the established characters and lore, the Resident Evil movies have so far earned over $1 billion worldwide, and it’s doubtful the franchise will remain in hibernation for too much longer.

As with any franchise, opinions often differ on what the best film in the series is, but many would argue none of the sequels topped the first Resident Evil. While featuring characters original to the film, director Paul W.S. Anderson’s first outing at least mostly stays true to the spirit of the games, if not their exact content. As the series went on, further and further departures were made, and fans quickly grew tired of the endless focus on Alice (Milla Jovovich), as well as the glorified cameos made by some popular video game characters.

While the aforementioned Jovovich ended up starring in Resident Evil alongside such actors as Michelle Rodriguez, James Purefoy, and Eric Mabius, at one point, the casting outlook appeared much different. Here’s a look at who almost took a cinematic trip to Raccoon City.

Resident Evil’s Original Movie Cast Was Very Different

For starters, while it’s hard to imagine anyone but Milla Jovovich as Resident Evil’s Alice, Buffy the Vampire Slayer star Sarah Michelle Gellar was originally set to play the character. What’s more, I Know What You Did Last Summer’s Jennifer Love Hewitt, Spider-Man’s Kirsten Dunst, and Species’ Natasha Henstridge were all at one point in the running for the role of Jill Valentine from the video games, before that character was written out in subsequent versions of the script. It’s not clear why any of these actresses ultimately turned down/weren’t hired on for the film, but one reason is said to be the amount of nudity involved, which makes sense, as Jovovich was indeed naked or barely clothed for awhile early on in the film. That said, one assumes Henstridge wasn’t too concerned about that, having been nude for much of Species.

Moving from Buffy to Angel, David Boreanaz was at one point set to play the role of Matt Addison, which ultimately went to Eric Mabius. However, his Angel schedule precluded such a big role, and one wonders if that’s partly why Gellar bowed out as Alice, as she was still doing Buffy at the time. Boreanaz was then considered for an unspecified smaller role, but decided not to take the job. Gellar wasn’t the only other actress up for Alice though, as none other than Gwyneth Paltrow was offered the role as well. Somewhere, in some alternate universe, Resident Evil looks very, very different.

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