Britney Spears Is “Glad” She Lost The Notebook’s Lead Role to Rachel McAdams
There’s a world in which Rachel McAdams and Ryan Gosling’safter winning best kiss at the 2005 MTV Movie & TV Awards never happened—or the movie that led to that public display. In her new memoir, The Woman in Me, out on Oct. 24, Britney Spears confirms that she was one of the final two contenders for the role of Allie in The Notebook.
“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,” Spears writes in an excerpt from the book published byon Tuesday. “If I had, instead of working on my album In the Zone I’d have been acting like a 1940s heiress day and night.”
Spears says it was 2002’s Crossroads, a coming-of-age road trip movie costarring Zoe Saldana and Taryn Manning, that alerted her to the realities of acting onscreen. “The experience wasn’t easy for me,” she writes. “My problem wasn’t with anyone involved in the production but with what acting did to my mind. I think I started Method acting—only I didn’t know how to break out of my character. I really became this other person. Some people do Method acting, but they’re usually aware of the fact that they’re doing it. But I didn’t have any separation at all.”
The pop star adds that while playing Lucy Wagner, the squeaky-clean valedictorian and aspiring musician, she “ended up walking differently, carrying myself differently, talking differently.” Spears adds, “I was someone else for months while I filmed Crossroads. Still to this day, I bet the girls I shot that movie with think, She’s a little…quirky. If they thought that, they were right.”
Then came the leading role in The Notebook, where Spears auditioned at the eleventh hour against hopefuls like Jaime King, Jennifer Love Hewitt, and McAdams, as the film’s casting director Matthew Barryin 2021. While Barry said that director Nick Cassavetes had some reservations about the idea of casting Spears—“Am I really going to make a Britney Spears film?” Barry recalled him saying—“It was definitely a consideration because she was really good.” That same year, an alleged tape of Spears auditioning for the role opposite Gosling was at a starting bid of $1 million, although the figure it eventually went for isn’t widely available.
Gosling and McAdams, who embarked onafter filming, also previously confirmed Spears’s audition. “We met with a lot of actresses, and they were all very good,” Gosling , adding of Spears, “She did a really nice job.” Said McAdams, “I’m sure Britney would have done a great job! I’m sure it would have been a totally different movie, but yeah, I just heard that the other day. I had no idea! I was very fortunate. I was sort of at the end of the line, and I know they’d sort of done a cross-country trip—Nick and Ryan together—looking for the girl, and I am glad I just kind of squeaked in there.”
In her book, Spears writes that losing the role “was pretty much the beginning and end of my acting career, and I was relieved.” She concluded that the medium just wasn’t for her. “I hope I never get close to that occupational hazard again,” Spears writes. “Living that way, being half yourself and half a fictional character, is messed up. After a while you don’t know what’s real anymore.”