From a vampire slayer to an Oscar nom, see who tried out for a part on the show — and why they weren’t ultimately cast.
Throughout the years, there have been many iconic women on “The Real Housewives of Orange County,” but now it’s been revealed who almost became a cast member on the OG franchise.
The new tell-all book, “Not All Diamonds and Rosé: The Inside Story of The Real Housewives From the People Who Lived It” by Dave Quinn and published by Andy Cohen Books named the women who were allegedly sought after or just really wanted to be a part of “RHOC.” The oral history paints an extremely thorough picture of every single franchise of the series, with first-hand accounts from most of the housewives themselves, Andy Cohen, producers, network executives, casting directors and more.
During the segment of the book about “Orange County,” those involved behind the scenes discussed four ladies — including two actresses, an NBA legend’s wife and the daughter of an “RHOC” O.G. — who were almost cast in “The Real Housewives of Orange County” and explained why they weren’t ultimately cast in the Bravo series.
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Casting director Dawn Stroupe kicked things off, claiming that actress Kristy Swanson, best known for starring in the 1992 film, “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” “interviewed for the show back in Season 12.” Stroupe said Evolution Media presidents and executive producers, Douglas Ross and Alex Baskin, wanted her to look into “any celebrities who might have ties” to Orange County at the time.
“In searching for folks, I found out that Kristy Swanson was from Orange County,” Stroupe recalled. “She lived in L.A., but her mother and brother still live there, so I reached out to her agent.”
“But before we ever talked, she posted on her Twitter,” she added. At the time, Swanson tweeted, “Hi fans! I’ve been contacted to do ‘Real Housewives of Orange County.’ Should I?”
And that’s where it seems that things hit a little snag. Stroupe said she got a late-night phone call from Evolution Media, which produces “RHOC,” who immediately asked her to call Swanson to take down the post “ASAP.” Stroupe added that she called Swanson’s manager “non-stop” until he finally returned her phone call.
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“I said, ‘If she’s interested in doing the show, she has to take this down ASAP because the casting process is confidential.’ And she deleted it,” Stroupe continued. “That nearly ended her run right there, but we did interview her.”
However, the interview didn’t go very well either. “When we came to do the interview, she was wearing a puffy vest and a sweater and jeans,” Stroupe shared. “She just didn’t look like the glam they wanted for Housewives.”
Unfortunately, Swanson had dealt with a personal tragedy at the time. Stroupe recalled, “What we learned when talking to her is that her ex, Alan Thicke, had just died the day before and she was very upset. And ultimately, she didn’t get cast.”
Swanson wasn’t the only actress who was considered for an orange. According to the series creator and executive producer Scott Dunlop, “Manhattan” star Mariel Hemingway “wanted in” for “Season 7 or 8” back in 2012 or 2013.
“I thought she’s a great fit, I mean, she’s an Academy Award nominee, after all,” Dunlop recalled. “I passed her on and she went up to Evolution and the network and it didn’t work out for one reason or another.”
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As for someone who they really wanted on the show? Vanessa Bryant, the wife of the late Kobe Bryant. Casting director Jennifer Redinger claimed they “pursed” Bryant “every year,” but she always passed.
Douglas Ross — who is the founder and President of Evolution Media, and has also served as an executive producer of “RHOC” since Season 2 — also revealed the daughter of an original cast member was briefly considered: Vicki Gunvalson’s daughter, Briana Culberson.
“That was something we threw around at Evolution, but the network never seriously considered it. It never got traction.”
Jerry Leo, former Executive Vice President of Program Strategy at Bravo, noted that the possibility of Briana joining was “discussed a lot.” However, he said the moment they “were considering it” Briana “moved away”
“And we knew there was no way her husband would want to do it,” he said.