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Jessica Simpson Almost Played Piper Perabo’s Character Violet in Coyote Ugly: Plus More Secrets 15 Years Later!

Jessica Simpson
Jessica Simpson almost played Piper Perabo's character in Coyote Ugly.

Apparently Jessica Simpson can’t fight the moonlight. In honor of the 15th anniversary of Coyote Ugly, the film’s director, producers, and stars spoke with The Hollywood Reporter about what went into the 2000 hit. 

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It turns out, actress Piper Perabo wasn’t the only woman considered for the part of aspiring singer-songwriter Violet. Other big contenders were Jessica Simpson and Jewel. But despite Simpson’s singing career, she had not yet acted by 2000 (the Daisy Duke shorts came in 2005’s Dukes of Hazzard), and Jewel only had a few small acting credits to her name.

Maria Bello and Piper Perabo Coyote Ugly
Maria Bello grabbing hold of Piper Perabo as she cheers on the crowd in Coyote Ugly

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“Toward the end of the process, Piper walked in,” director David McNally explained. “She was actually from New Jersey and seemed to get it.” 

And though the Covert Affairs star, 39, landed the part, her singing voice was cut in favor of country crooner LeAnn Rimes. She initially recorded all of the film’s songs, including the hit “Can’t Fight the Moonlight.” Rimes, 33, appeared in the final scene of the movie, singing Violet’s “Can’t Fight the Moonlight.” 

Leann Rimes and Piper Perabo Coyote Ugly
Leann Rimes joins Piper Perabo for a duet in Coyote Ugly

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“[McNally] said, ‘We’re going to dub the songs,’ and I was like, ‘Uh, okay.’ What can I say? I’m like 21. What am I going to say, no?” Perabo said of the “disappointing” decision. But she added that she wanted to do “whatever’s going to make the movie great.” 

And though Perabo was disappointed, Bridget Moynahan almost didn’t even make the cut. The model-turned-actress played headstrong bartender Rachel, but the casting directors ended up going through a series of girls before finding her. 

Coyote Ugly Cast
Tyra Banks, Maria Bello, Bridget Moynahen, Izabella Miko And Piper Perabo in Coyote Ugly

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They resorted to “actually thumbing through head shots in a large box,” which was where they found Moynahan, 44. Right box, right time! 

Tell Us: Do you think Piper Perabo was the right choice to play Violet?

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