BURBANK, Calif., Oct. 8 (UPI) -- Blake Lively wasn't the network's first choice to play Serena van der Woodsen on Gossip Girl.
Series casting director David Rapaport revealed as much in an interview with BuzzFeed published Tuesday. Lively cemented her career by portraying the privileged Upper East Side teen, but Rapaport said The CW initially wanted Rumer Willis for the role.
"I love Rumer, she's grown into quite an amazing actress and person, but [the suggestion], to me, was based on protecting the investment of a television show where creatively, these lesser-known girls really captured the essence of the show and carried it for six years," he opined.
Rapaport said Lively was always the front-runner in his mind to play the beautiful but troubled blonde. He also tested Katie Cassidy, who eventually portrayed Juliet Sharp on season 4, before casting Lively as Serena and Leighton Meester as Blair Waldorf.
"Blake Lively was literally the only person I could think of for Serena," he said. "It was all about beauty and glamour, but being approachable, and Blake was the ultimate It Girl. I was terrified we wouldn't get her or they wouldn't like her because, honestly, the show lived and died on her."
Lively's audition tape resurfaced this week following Rapaport's interview, which sees the actress read from a tense scene between Serena and Blair. She will star in an upcoming Woody Allen movie with Kristen Stewart, but recently announced her Preserve lifestyle website is closing.