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Forget Aidan TurnerRobert Pattinson or even Matthew Goode in A Discovery of Witches: Benedict Cumberbatch was almost among the pantheon of actors to play a blood-sucking vampire.

This eye-opening tidbit was let slip by True Blood creator Alan Ball, at a special screening of the show’s pilot episode last night (November 18) in Los Angeles.

According to him, Benedict auditioned way back in 2007 — before Sherlock, before Smaug, before Atonement even — to play the part of vampire Bill Compton, a role that eventually went to his compatriot Stephen Moyer.

Stephen even went on to marry his True Blood co-star Anna Paquin, who played telepathic halfling Sookie in the show, so there’s a few strands of fate that would’ve been thwarted if Benedict got the job.

Other A-listers who auditioned for the show include Jessica Chastain, who read for the part of Sookie, and Jennifer Lawrence, who read for the part of a werepanther in season three, long before she found fame as Katniss in The Hunger Games.

So in a parallel universe somewhere there’s a Benedict with fangs and glowing eyes… and someone else would have ended up solving crimes with Martin Freeman, or battling Thanos with a very strange goatee.

Do you like the sound of this alternate universe?

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By Kat Sommers
Kat is a freelance writer for Anglophenia.