Alyssa Milano


  1. Jodie Foster, The Accused, 1988. 
    An awful thing to say. Except it is true. Jodie Foster would never have won her (first) Oscar for this trenchant drama – if actress Kelly McGillis had not been raped in 1982… At first, the role of the rape victim Sarah Tobias was written for Andie MacDowell. She passed. The Paramount suits then saw 34 other young actresses for the (real life) victim. Or, for their own rape bait fantasies – including 16-year-old Alyssa Milano! Foster was refused a test because she was “not sexy enough”! And, anyway, the studio had decided upon McGillis, a high flyer in  Paramount’s Witness and Top Gun. And, naturally, she refused point-blank! She knew what it was to be brutally raped and Kelly had no wish to revisit the horror and agony of her own assault six years earlier. The suits were annoyed. They needed her. She was hot at the box-office, their box-office. They had made her a star!! Eventually, McGillis agreed to play Sarah’s defence attorney – on condition that unsexy Jodie played Sarah! The suits caved, tested Foster and the rest is Oscar history… So is the huge list of talent also seen for Sarah.   Starting with the Fatal Attraction also-rans: Rosanna Arquette, Ellen Barkin, Kim Basinger, Jennifer Beals, Jennifer Grey, Melanie Griffith, Linda Hamilton, Darryl Hannah, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Diane Keaton, Demi Moore, Kelly Preston, Meg Ryan, Jane Seymour, Sharon Stone, Meryl Streep, Debra Winger.   And moving on to the younger, Melissa Sue Anderson (trying to break her Little House on the Prairie image), Justine Bateman, Valerie Bertinelli, Phoebe Cates, Jennifer Connelly, Joan Cusack, Judy Davis, Kristin Davis, Bridget Fonda, Annabeth Gish, Mariel Hemingway, Virginia Madsen, Brigitte Nielsen, Tatum O’Neal, Molly Ringwald, Mia Sara, Ally Sheedy, Brooke Shields, Uma Thurman.  Oh, and Julia Louis-Dreyfuss, said the suits, was “too nice.” Rape victims shouldn’t be nice? Oh, Hollywood!

  2. Juliette Lewis, Cape Fear, 1991.    Tony Danza, her TV series co-star,  warned her off again… Alyssa was hardly youngest at 19 among the many – the very many. considered for the teen daughter of Nick Nolte and Jessica Lange: Christina Applegate, Drew Barrymore, Jennifer Connelly, Shannen Doherty, Nicole Eggeret, Bridget Fonda, Jodie Foster, Helen Hunt, Nicole Kidman, Diane Lane, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Demi Moore, Sarah Jessica Parker, Molly Ringwald, Meg Ryan, Winona Ryder, Brooke Shields, Tiffani Thiessen, Reese Witherspoon. Few could have equalled the on-heat musk of Juliette’s totally improvised – and one take – seduction scene with Robert De Niro.
  3. Lara Flynn Boyle, Where The Day Takes You, 1991.   The Who’s The Boss kid gave a lively audition but the producers were “reluctant” to hire an ex-child star. She was compensated with a smaller role of Kimmy.
  4. Kristy Swanson, Buffy The Vampire Slayer, 1992.    Television’s  saccharine sweetest  daughter was scenarist Joss Whedon’s first idea for Buffy. Then, he was so miffed at what befell to his “vision,” that he walked out. And proved himself right five years later by writer-producing his hugely successful TV series version of Buffy (based on his unused script, not the film), which ran seven seasons.
  5. Sandra Bullock, Speed, 1993.    Although sharing the heroics and the driving of the bus-bomb with Keanu Reeves, most girls saw it as The Guy’s film. An amazing 36 refused to be Annie… Couldn’t have worked with Alyssa. Like what was the most famous New York adolescent of the hour (from TV’s Who’s The Boss? since 1984) doing on a bus on California’s Interstate 105 and Interstate 110…?
  6. Tiffani Thiessen, Beverly Hills 90210, TV, 1994-2000.  Drew was producer Aatron Spelling’s replacement plan when Shannen Doherty quit after four years as Brenda Walsh. But Drew was more keen on movies.  Milano and Alicia Silverstone were considered for the new girl, Valerie Malone, before Thiessen signed on.
  7. Shannen Doherty, Mallrats, 1995.    “Sharon was the best person who came in,” reported New Jersey auteur Kevin Smith, “and we saw a lot of people.” Including Alyssa, who later made the Charmed series with Doherty. By the time Smith made Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, 2001, he booked Doherty to play herself.
  8. Bonnie Hunt, Jerry Maguire, 1996.  Once Tom Hanks passed and Tom Cruise breathed a sigh of relief, auteurCameron Crowe started searching for the girls: Dorothy Boyd (“You had me at Hello…”) and her older sister. The Avery candidates included Milano,  Jennifer Connelly, Diane Lane,  Meg Ryan and – oh, no! – Tori Spelling!! Fortunately,  she was tied up with her  (well, her father Aaron Spelling’s) series, Beverly Hills 90210, 1990-2000. Hunt said the hardest part of the role was being someone who did not like Tom Cruise… even after he admitted he had no memory of her being in Rain Manwith him!
  9. Kirsten Dunst, The Virgin Suicides, 1998. For her first feature, Sofia Coppola considered Milano for Sara Lisbon. However, her Charmed TV schedule clashed.
  10. Lucy Liu, Charlie’s Angels, 2000.    She was in an early trio with Milla Jovovich and Julia Roberts.

  11. Kelly Rutherford, Scream 3, 2000.  Lost Christine to a Vegas-born Vegas dancer who said (of course, she did):  “You can take the girl out of Vegas, but you can’t take Vegas out of the girl.”  Also in the mix were:  Milano, Charisma Carpenter, Jennifer Connelly, Shannen Doherty, Kate Hudson, Denise Richards, Keri Russell, Rachel True, Liv Tyler and Kate Winslet.  
  12. Cameron Diaz, Gangs of New York, 2000.  For Martin Scorsese, casting was easy. In 1978, Dan Aykroyd-John Belushi were Amsterdam and The Butcher. (What?!!!) Or, Mel Gibson-Willem Dafoe. By 1984, Malcolm McDowell-Robert De Niro. Finally, Leonardo DiCaprio-Daniel Day Lewis. Much harder to locate the real prim pickpocket Jenny Everdeane. For the brothers blue, she would have been Jane Fonda. When Buffy The Vampire Slayer got into Sarah MIchelle Gellar’s way, Marty checked Christina Applegate (from his 1990 Cape Fear auditions), Kate Beckinsale, Kirsten Dunst, Eliza Dushku, Heather Graham, Bryce Dallas Howard, Alyssa Milano, Natalie Portman, Christina Ricci, Winona Ryder, Mena Suvari… and chose Sarah Polley. Except the suits insisted on a “bankable star.” As if Scorsaese-DiCaprio-Day Lewis weren’
  13. Anne Hathaway, The Princess Diaries, 2001.    Among 22 youngstars (Jessica Alba to Reese Witherspoon) rejecting the awkward San Francisco teenager being groomed (by Julie Andrews!) to inherit the Genovia throne.  By now, Milano had moved from #28 on VH1’s list of The 100 Greatest Child Actors of All Time and #30 among The 100 Greatest Teen Stars to #4 in FHM magazine’s 100 Sexiest Women!
  14. Diane Lane, Unfaithful, 2001.   After Meg Ryan passed, Milano was chosen for the US take on Madame Bovary – but stuck in her Charmed series, 1998-2006, UK director Adrian Lyne, who saw six potential husbands and three lovers, went on to check out as many as 13 more cheating wives: Lane, Josie Davis, Kristin Davis, Portia de Rossi, Jodie Foster, Angelina Jolie, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Jennifer Lopez, Kyra Sedgwick, Brooke Shields, Tori Spelling, Hilary Swank, Kate Winslet.  
  15. Linda Cardellini, Scooby-Doo, 2001.  As the Scooby flag was run up (and down) the Hollywood flagpole, the Velma Dinkley choices included Milano, Janeane Garofalo, Sara Gilbert, Carla Gugino, Christina Ricci,. But  ER’s future Nurse Sam Taggart bagged it.
  16. Kirsten Dunst, Spider-Man, 2001.

  17. Nicole Kidman, Bewitched, 2004.  
    For inexplicable reasons, Hollywood kept trying to make a movie out of the  1968-1972 ABC sitcom about a good-looking witch and a Dagwood husband.  In 1993, Penny Marshall was going to direct Meryl Streep as Samantha, then passed the reins to Ted Bissell and he died in 1996 when his Richard Curtis script was planned as Melanie Griffths’ comeback.  Nora Ephron co-wrote and directed this lumbering version about an ego-driven actor trying to save his career with a Bewitched re-hash, but with the emphasis on him (of course) as Darrin, rather than the unknown he chose for Samatha because she can wiggle her nose…  (You didn’t need a nose to know it stank).  Over the years, 37 other ladies were on the Samantha wish-list. Take a deep breath… Kate Beckinsale, Sandra Bullock, Jennifer Connelly, Cameron Diaz, Heather Graham, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Angelina Jolie, Ashley Judd, Julianne Moore, Gwyneth Paltrow, Michelle Pfeiffer, Molly Ringwald, Meg Ryan, Winona Ryder, Brooke Shields, Charlize Theron, Naomi Watts, Renee Zellweger.  Plus seven Oscar-winners:  Kim Basinger, Tatum O’Neal, Julia Roberts, Meryl Streep, Hilary Swank, Charlize Theron, Reese Witherspoon… twoFriends: Jennifer Aniston and Lisa Kudrow…eleven other TV stars: Christina Applegate, Patricia Arquette, Kristin Davis, Teri Hatcher, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Helen Hunt, Jenny McCarthy, Alyssa Milano, Brittany Murphy, Sarah Jessica Parker, Alicia Silverstone… even  Drew Barrymore and Uma Thurman, who had already re-kindled Charlie’s Angels and The Avengers.

  18. Angie Harmon, Rizzoli & Isles, TV, 2010-2016.    For the latest in the tele- tradition of women cop duos – the US Cagney & Lacey, BBC’s Scott & Bailey and the tres chic French Astrid et Raphaëlle – Harmon, Carla Gugino, Ashley Judd, Melina Kanakaredes, Alyssa Milano, Jamie-Lynn Sigler, Nia Vardalos were on Warner’s Wanted list for Detective Jane Rizzoli… teamed up with Chief Medical Examiner Dr Maura Isles for 105 cases in Boston.  Creator Janet Tamaro’s original choices were Ashley Judd and Winona Ryder.  Jennifer Connelly was considered for both roles.

  19. Emily Blunt, Mary Poppins Returns, 2017.   When Walt Disney made the first Poppins, he mused over Bette Davis, Angela Lansbury or Mary Martin for Mary but by 1963, he had only one star in mind. Julie Andrews.  For this reboot, Disney suits went through no less than 37 contenders… Two Desperate Housewives:Kristin Davis, Teri Hatcher. Two Friends:Jennifer Aniston, Lisa Kudrow. Two Brat Packers: Molly Ringwald, Winona Ryder.  Two of the three authors of The Penis Song: Christina Aplegate, Cameron Diaz. Three sirens: Kim Basinger, Heather Graham Uma Thurman. Four ex-child stars: Drew Barrymore, Alyssa Milano, Tatum O’Neal, Brooke Shields. Ten Oscar-winners: Sandra Bullock, Helen Hunt, Angelina Jolie, Julianne Moore, Tatum O‘Neal, Julia Roberts, Hilary Swank, Charlize Theron, Reese Witherspoon, RenéeZellweger. Plus: Patricia Arquette, Melanie Griffith, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Ashley Judd, Gwyneth Paltrow, Sarah Jessica Parker, Michelle Peiffer, Meg Ryan, Alicia Silverstone, Naomi Watts. But just two Brits: Kate Beckinsale  – and the winning Emily.









 Birth year: Death year: Other name: Casting Calls:  19