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The Legendary Actress Who Almost Played Leigh Anne Tuohy In The Blind Side

Based on a 2006 book and the real-life events that inspired it, John Lee Hancock's "The Blind Side" tells the inspirational story of Michael Ohr (Quinton Aaron), a 17-year-old who finds himself adopted by a wealthy Tennessee family. Ohr is taken under the wing of his adoptive mother, Leigh Anne Tuohy (Sandra Bullock), who eventually helps him make his way to the NFL. The film was a massive commercial success (per Box Office Mojo) when it premiered in 2009 and saw Bullock win the Academy Award for best actress in a leading role in 2010.

Despite the overwhelming popularity of "The Blind Side" and its eventual Oscar gold, the film went through several iterations before taking its final shape as the movie audiences eventually saw. In fact, even though Bullock ultimately went on to win an Oscar for the film, she was not even the original choice to portray the tough-as-nails mom. As it turns out, a different Hollywood legend was originally going to take on the role before Bullock was cast.

Julia Roberts was originally going to play Leigh Anne Tuohy

In a 2020 interview with Deseret News, the real Leigh Anne Tuohy explained that Julia Roberts was lined up to play her in the earliest stages of the development of 'The Blind Side." However, time constraints caused the "Runaway Bride" star to drop out of the project.

"My part was completely written for Julia Roberts by 20th Century Fox. She was locked, she was loaded, everything was great. We were on G waiting for O," Tuohy said, explaining the process. "At some point, she realized that there was a time constraint in this because John Lee [Hancock, writer/director] was very specific of how he wanted to film 'The Blind Side.' She'd already had two commitments, and she could not fit that time frame and they worked, they tried to juggle and it just didn't happen."

It was at that point that things started to evolve for "The Blind Side," and the movie began to take a new shape at a different studio. Following Roberts' departure, the film went into turnaround, eventually shifting from 20th Century Fox to Warner Bros. Actors such as Reese Witherspoon were considered for the lead role, according to Tuohy, before the film ultimately found its star in Sandra Bullock. From there, Bullock went on to win her first (and thus far only) Oscar.