Rumer Willis Was Nearly Cast In This Iconic Gossip Girl Role

Rumer Willis, daughter of Demi Moore and Bruce Willis, started her acting career at just 6 years old when she starred in the 1995 movie "Now and Then." After her true breakthrough role in the 2009 movie "Sorority Row," she went on to star in hit television shows like "Pretty Little Liars" and blockbuster movies like "Once Upon a Time... In Hollywood."

The actor also made headlines when she won Season 20 of "Dancing with the Stars" with Valentin Chmerkovskiy as her professional dance partner. She sparked Broadway attention as well when it was announced in 2015 that she would be making her Broadway debut as Roxie in "Chicago," per Playbill.

But Willis could have had her breakthrough in the industry two years earlier than she did. She was considered for a very iconic role in the hit early-2000s television series "Gossip Girl" that first aired in September of 2007. But due to the casting director's push for a different actor, as well as Willis herself thinking the audition didn't go well, the part was given to someone else.

Rumer Willis was considered to play Serena van der Woodsen in Gossip Girl

While today we couldn't imagine "Gossip Girl" without Blake Lively portraying the Upper East Side's It Girl Serena van der Woodsen, Rumer Willis was nearly cast, according to Us Weekly. In fact, Ashley Olsen was in the talks to star opposite Willis as Serena's best frenemy and the queen of schemes, Blair Waldorf, but the role was ultimately handed to Leighton Meester. 

Willis was shocked and flattered when she heard The CW network thought of her to portray Serena, but she also admitted that she didn't exactly nail her audition. "I felt like I did an awful audition back then," Willis told People in 2015. "I was so young and it was, like, one of the first things I'd ever auditioned for." Willis added that she and her sisters were fans of the books, so they were excited when a television show was in the works. Ultimately, though, Willis had no hard feelings about not getting the role. "Blake and Leighton did an incredible job," she gushed.

Casting director David Rapport made it clear that Blake Lively was always the frontrunner for Serena van der Woodsen. While the network had their doubts, thinking Lively was too "California" for a New York girl, and ultimately pitching Willis to portray the blonde beauty along with Olsen as the brunette best friend, Rapport had a feeling Lively was the best choice.

It was a battle between the network and the casting director

David Rapport also mentioned that while he liked Rumer Willis and was curious about Ashley Olsen's portrayal of Blair Waldorf, he thought that those casting choices were more about the business of television rather than talent, per BuzzFeed. He believed the "lesser-known" actors "captured the essence of the show," making it successful. That said, Willis was cast in another iconic CW show — "90210" — later on, as Gia who was a "punky, cute lesbian who isn't afraid to speak her mind," according to The Hollywood Reporter

The actor then went on to guest star in other popular television shows such as "Pretty Little Liars" and "9-1-1." According to Daily Mail, Willis has returned to the movie industry as she is expected to star in "My Divorce Party." The film is currently in post-production, per IMDb.

Lately, the actor and singer has been helping her father, Bruce Willis, as he is battling Aphasia and is "stepping away" from his acting career. She posted a sweet throwback photo on Instagram on Father's Day and captioned it, "Daddio. What a privilege it is every day to be your daughter. I love you so much. You are the coolest cat in town."