Jessica Gunning in Baby Reindeer

‘Baby Reindeer’ Was Close To Featuring a Major Hollywood Star

Universally lauded for her brilliant performance as the stalker Martha in Netflix’s Baby Reindeer, Jessica Gunning was not locked for the role at one point, according to reports.

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The mastermind behind the show, Richard Gadd, was “pushed aggressively” by his CAA agents to instead cast Hollywood star Melissa McCarthy. However, Gadd chose to fire his agents, allegedly working closely on the casting himself, which led to Gunning getting the role.

The revelation was brought to light because of the recent controversy involving Gadd, who was accused of using his authority over making casting decisions to manipulate love interests. The accuser, trans actress Reece Lyons, was allegedly promised the part of Gadd’s character’s ex-girlfriend, Teri, in the show if she agreed to go out with the Scottish artist.

The production house behind the show, Clerkenwell Films, said that there was no wrongdoing on Gadd’s part. It is important to note that while clearing Gadd of the accusations, Clerkenwell Films didn’t meet Lyons to hear her side of the story in detail.

The producers also claimed that Gadd didn’t have control over casting decisions during the production, which is in contradiction to the aforementioned report. To add another twist to the already convoluted tale, a Variety source suggests that there was a meeting between Gadd and McCarthy to discuss the role of Martha, but she ultimately turned it down.

McCarthy’s last feature film appearance was in Jerry Seinfeld’s directorial debut, Unfrosted, which was released on Netflix in May 2024. She was a part of the ensemble cast that included Seinfeld, Jim Gaffigan, Max Greenfield, Hugh Grant, and Amy Schumer. The next big project she will be a part of is Only Murders in the Building season 4, where her role is being kept under wraps for now.

Meanwhile, Gadd has been one of the breakout stars of the year thanks to Baby Reindeer’s popularity. As of June 9, 2024, the show had amassed 335.2 million viewing hours, and is still a part of Netflix’s Top 10 titles two and a half months after its release.

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Evan Tiwari
Evan is a staff writer at The Mary Sue, contributing to multiple sections, including but not limited to movies, TV shows, gaming, and music. He brings in more than five years of experience in the content and media industry, both as a manager and a writer. Outside his working hours, you can either catch him at a soccer game or dish out hot takes on his Twitter account.