“They were looking for older actors”: Greta Lee’s Past Lives Casting Was a Miracle After Actress Was Rejected the First Time That Broke Her Heart

Greta Lee opened up About her unexpected journey to Oscar-nominated romantic drama.

“They were looking for older actors”: Greta Lee’s Past Lives Casting Was a Miracle After Actress Was Rejected the First Time That Broke Her Heart

SUMMARY

  • Greta Lee once again came to the spotlight for her performance in the 2023 film Past Lives.
  • The actress has shared that she was initially rejected for the role of Nora Moon.
  • The Past Lives star also shared that her journey echoes the film's core theme of 'inyeon'—destiny and connectivity.
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Having garnered acclaim in hit shows like The Morning Show and Russian Doll, Greta Lee once again came to the spotlight for her performance in the 2023 film Past Lives. The movie follows the evolving relationship of two childhood friends as they meet after 12 years, earning praise for both its narrative and cast. Despite the film’s success and a 2024 Golden Globe nomination for Best Actress, Lee has revealed that the film was almost a missed opportunity, as she was initially rejected for the role of Nora Moon.

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Greta Lee in Past Lives
Greta Lee in Past Lives

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Greta Lee Was Initially Rejected For Past Lives

Greta Lee, who played the role of Nora Moon in the 2023 Oscar-nominated film Past Lives has revealed that she was initially rejected for the role. In an interview with Deadline, the actress shared that she initially received the script of the movie through mail from her agent.

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Greta Lee as Nora Moon
Greta Lee as Nora Moon

Lee shared that she was skeptical about the movie, as the email’s subject line said, “Korean: Do you speak it?” and she had not done a project in Korean before. However, despite her reservations, she read the script in one sitting and felt a deep emotional connection.

“There was a lot of crying,” she said before adding, “I don’t think I’ve ever had that experience.” The Morning star also emphasized that she knew that Past Lives would be something special and was determined to be a part of it. So, she recorded and submitted her audition.

Teo Yoo and Great Lee in "Past Lives"
Past Lives

However, her attempt was met with rejection. “I thought at the time, ‘Well, someone is going to be very lucky to be able to do this,’” the actress recalled. The rejection left her heartbroken, which she described as a “sad breakup.” It was around a year later when she got a callback and was eventually offered the role of Nora Moon in the movie.

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Greta Lee Was Eventually Offered the Role of Nora Moon

Greta Lee further reflected on the unexpected turn of events that led her to eventually secure the role in Past Lives. Almost a year later, the actress got a call asking if she remembered Celine Song and to fix a Zoom meeting with her. She explained that the casting had taken a different direction due to some creative changes, after which “they were looking for—older actors.”

From the set of Past Lives
Greta Lee and Teo Yoo on the set of Past Lives

Embracing the opportunity, Lee decided to join the film’s director for a reading session despite having no preparation. “We read some scenes together, and she ended up offering me the job on the spot that day,” she recalled. The Past Lives star also shared that her journey echoes the film’s core theme of ‘inyeon‘—destiny and connectivity.

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Directed by Celine Song, and starring Greta Lee and Teo Yoo, Past Lives has earned widespread acclaim, gaining five nominations at the 81st Golden Globe Awards and now competing for Best Picture along with Best Adapted Screenplay at the 96th Academy Award.

Past Lives is available to rent or buy on Prime Video.

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Written by Laxmi Rajput

Articles Published: 2217

Laxmi Rajput is a writer at Fandomwire. She finished her Post Graduation in Broadcast Journalism and worked as a Business News writer for a year. But her interest in entertainment and pop culture compelled her to find a way towards Entertainment Journalism. She has worked across various fields and has 2 years of experience in content writing. She likes reading, music, movies, and traveling. She aspires to become a fiction writer in the future.