Casting director Michael Barry has said Britney Spears should return to acting.

Barry, who was the casting director on The Notebook, released Spears’ 2002 audition tape for the role of Allie Hamilton earlier this week. The role ended up going to Rachel McAdams, who starred in the 2004 romance drama opposite Ryan Gosling.

Speaking to Billboard about her audition, Barry explained that Spears took the audition very seriously and asked if she could work with him and his partner Nancy Green-Keyes prior to meeting the film’s director, Nick Cassavetes.

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“She wanted to get it right,” Barry said. “We really worked with her to guide her since we’ve worked with Nick Cassavetes. I’d worked with him for 15 years and knew everything he was looking for.”

“I think Britney felt she was not as trained as an actress,” Barry added, explaining that he decided to release the audition tape now to give her a “little more positive reinforcement” and “show her fans that she was really fantastic”.

Spears later auditioned with Gosling, after they starred together on The Mickey Mouse Club years earlier. “It was a great reunion,” Barry said. “Ryan was part of the [casting] process and he was OK with either Rachel or Britney.”

He added: “I honestly believe [Spears] can [make it in acting]. Come work with me, I’ll whip her into [acting] shape in a month.”

Spears notably starred in the 2002 comedy-drama Crossroads, alongside Anson Mount, Zoe Saldana, Taryn Manning and Kim Cattrall.

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The pop star recently opened up about her brief acting stint in her new memoir The Woman In Me, where she explained how “the experience wasn’t easy for me”.

“My problem wasn’t anyone involved in the production but with what acting did to my mind,” Spears wrote.

“I think I started method acting – only I didn’t know how to break out of my character. I really became this other person. Some people do method acting, but they’re usually aware of the fact that they’re doing it. But I didn’t have any separation at all.”

The Woman In Me also details Spears’ rise to fame, music career and her 13-year-long conservatorship, which was terminated in 2021.

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