‘A Walk To Remember’: Mandy Moore Almost Lost Her Role To Another Famous Singer

A Walk To Remember turns 19 on Jan. 25. It’s hard to believe the Nicholas Sparks film came out that long ago, but what’s even harder to imagine is anyone but Mandy Moore playing Jamie Sullivan. But according to the film’s director, another famous pop singer was seriously considered for the role before Moore.

Mandy Moore is held by Shane West in a scene from the film 'A Walk To Remember', 2002 | Warner Brothers/Getty Images
Mandy Moore is held by Shane West in a scene from the film ‘A Walk To Remember’, 2002 | Warner Brothers/Getty Images

‘A Walk To Remember’ was pivotal for Mandy Moore’s acting career

Moore had only acted in The Princess Diaries before booking A Walk To Remember. She only played a supporting character in the Anne Hathaway-led film, so A Walk To Remember marked her first lead role. She told The Los Angeles Times in 2010 that the book brought her to tears, making it hard to finish reading.

“I had such a visceral reaction to it that I remember not being able to read because I was almost hyperventilating while I was crying,” she said. “It was my first movie and I know people say it may be cliche and it’s a tearjerker or it’s cheesy, but for me, it’s the thing I’m most proud of.”

Mandy Moore is comforted by Shane West in a scene from the film 'A Walk To Remember', 2002 | Warner Brothers/Getty Images
Mandy Moore is comforted by Shane West in a scene from the film ‘A Walk To Remember’, 2002 | Warner Brothers/Getty Images

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Shane West wasn’t excited about the first actor considered to play Jamie in ‘A Walk To Remember’

Shane West played Landon Carter opposite Moore’s Jamie. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, the actor revealed that he wasn’t too happy about the actor who was first considered to play his love interest.

“There was someone else—who I’m not going to say right now—whose name was batted around for Mandy’s role,” he said, according to PopSugar. “I remember I wasn’t keen on that idea and thankfully it didn’t happen. The person just didn’t seem right. When they brought up Mandy, I was like ‘I don’t know Mandy.’ Then we had that meeting where we had an audition and were both in the same room and I was like, ‘She’s perfect for the role.'”

Mandy Moore sings in a scene from the film 'A Walk To Remember', 2002 | Warner Brothers/Getty Images
Mandy Moore sings in a scene from the film ‘A Walk To Remember’, 2002 | Warner Brothers/Getty Images

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Jessica Simpson was almost cast in ‘A Walk To Remember’

The film’s director, Adam Shankman, revealed just who that actor was in a 2006 interview with Elle.

“The studio had me looking at Jessica Simpson,” he said. Moore and Simpson were both pop music darlings when the film was in early production. But fate stepped in in Moore’s favor on the radio one day.

As Shankman continued, “But I was driving up Laurel Canyon, I heard Mandy’s song ‘I Wanna Be With You,’ and I thought, who the hell is that little angel voice? I went to the Virgin record store, saw her face, and flipped out. I said, ‘That’s my girl.'”

A Walk To Remember turned Moore into a leading lady, and it triggered the beginning of the long series of Sparks novel movie adaptations. She went on to star in more films following the film’s success, and she’s now an Emmy-nominated actor for her role as Rebecca on This Is Us.