Amy Irving


  1. Sissy Spacek, Carrie, 1976.    
  2. Carrie Fisher, Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope, 1976.
  3. Melinda Dillon,  Close Encounters of the Third Kind, 1977.  To lose one sf  classic, to steal an Oscar Wilde line, may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose both looks like carelessness… Then again, she had wed the director, Steven Spielberg, in 1985, and gave him a son.  Co-producer Julia Phillips referred to  her as The Bimbo.  (Who’s not working in that town, anymore?)
  4. Karen Lynn Gorney, Saturday Night Fever, 1977. Amy auditioned. Amy lost.
  5. Brooke Shields, Pretty Baby, 1977.   The plot sickens… A prostitute allows her 12-year-old daughter’s virginity to be auctioned off in a brothel in the red-light Storyville district of New Orleans, circa 1917. Elegant French director Louis Malle saw 29 hopefuls and/or instant (parental) refusals for pretty little Violet. From Laura Dern aged 10 and future Sex And The City co-stars Cynthia Nixon, at 11, Sarah Jessica Parker, 12 (like Shields) and (the often too buxom) teenagers Melissa Sue Anderson, Rosanna Arquette, Linda Blair, Jamie Lee Curtis, Bridget Fonda, Jodie Foster, Mariel Hemingway, Helen Hunt, Anissa Jones (who tragically ODed at 18 before her audition), Diane Lane, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Kristy McNichol, Tatum O’Neal (Dad said no), Dana Plato (Mom said no), Michelle Pfeiffer, Ally Sheedy, Meg Tilly, Charlene Tilton (pre-Dallas)… to seven twentysomethings. However, no make-up and soft lenses could make 12-year-olds out of Irving, Isabelle Adjani, Bo Derek, Carrie Fisher, Melanie Griffith, Mary Steenburgen or Debra Winger.
  6. Theresa Russell, Straight Time, 1978.   Dustin Hoffman tested her – legend has it, on the casting couch.  Denied by Irving.
  7. Brooke Shields, The Blue Lagoon, 1979.    Auditioned for Emmeline – despite Grease director Randal Kleiser wanting his shipwrecked couple to be naked throughout the re-make. (They were not). Shields had her long hair glued to her front – and a nude body double.
  8. Karen Allen, Raiders of the Lost Arc,  1981.
  9. Blair Brown, Continental Divide, 1981. Steven Spielberg just loved the Tracy/Hepburn romcoms. Now he found his own – and felt it reflected his own love story. Therefore, His lover was the obvious choice for the bald-eagle researcher falling for… well, not Robert De Niro, Richard Dreyfuss, Peter Falk, Elliott Gould, Dustin Hoffman or George Segal but Belushi, the ruination of Spielberg’s 1941. Unable to unearth a new Spence/Kate, Spielberg simply produced the film of UK director Michael Apted.
  10. Elizabeth Berridge, Amadeus, 1984.     1983. Czech director Milos Forman wanted Amy to repeat her Broadway role of Mozart’s wife. She passed, unable to cope with six months in Prague. “I was so disappointed.”

  11. Linda Hamilton, The Terminator, 1983.
    In all, 55 actresses were considered, seen or tested for Sarah Connor (aged 18; Linda was 27) opposite Arnold Schwarzenegger. James Cameron auteured Sarah for Bridget Fonda. She passed; so did Tatum O’Neal. He decided to go older… and Glenn Close won – her schedule didn’t agree. OK, Kate Capshaw! No, she was tied to Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom – and Kathleen Turner was Romancing The Stone. Debra Winger won her audition, said yes… then no. The other 48 ladies were The ’80s Group: Irving, Rosanna Arquette, Kim Basinger, Christy Brinkley, Colleen Camp, Jamie Lee Curtis, Geena Davis, Judy Davis, Mia Farrow, Carrie Fisher, Jodie Foster, Teri Garr, Jennifer Grey, Melanie Griffith, Darryl Hannah, Barbara Hershey, Anjelica Huston, Diane Keaton, Margot Kidder, Diane Lane, Jessica Lange, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Kay Lenz, Heather Locklear, Lori Loughlin, Kelly McGillis, Kristy McNichol, Michelle Pfeiffer, Deborah Raffin, Meg Ryan, Susan Sarandon, Ally Sheedy, Cybill Shepherd, Brooke Shields, Sissy Spacek, Sharon Stone, Lea Thompson, Sigourney Weaver… one aerobics queen, Bess Motta (she became Sarah’s room-mate, Ginger Ventura), two singers (Madonna, Liza Minnelli), two Brits (Miranda Richardson, Jane Seymour), five essentially funny girls, Goldie Hawn, Rhea Perlman (Mrs Danny De Vito), Gilda Radner, Mary Tyler Moore… plus the new MTM, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, who had no Friends at the time, just Saturday Nignt Live. Most were in contention again a few years later for Fatal Attraction (won by Close) and The Accused (going to Foster and McGillis). Ten years later (after T2), Linda gave birth to Cameron’s daughter and Josephine’s parents wed in 1997… for two years.

  12. Meg Ryan, Innerspace, 1986.   Not even sleeping with the executive producer – Steven Spielberg – won her desired (but nothing) role of Dennis Quaid’s estranged lover.   Also losing out were… Karen Allen, Jamie Lee Curtis, Beverly d’Angelo, Jodie Foster, Linda Hamilton, Anjelica Huston, Amy Irving (being wed to exec producer Steven Spielberg didn’t help!), Amy Madigan, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, Demi Moore, Michelle Pfeiffer, Molly Ringwald, Julia Roberts, Rene Russo, Ally Sheedy, Elisabeth Shue, Madeleine Stowe, Sigourney Weaver, Claudia Wells and Sean Young. Amy didn’t gain any movies from her association and eventual marriage with Spielberg. She lost Continental Divide, Innerspace and Raiders. She did sing Why Don’t You Do Right? for sultry heroine Jessica Rabbit in Who Framed Roger Rabbit, 1987, when Kathleen Turner supplied the speaking voice. Turner was paid, Irving was not. Or not until her 1989 divorce when her pre-nup netted her a guesstimated $100m. (Quaid and Ryan were wed during 1991-2001).
  13. Glenn Close, Fatal Attraction, 1987.
  14. Kelly McGillis, The Accused, 1988.    Paramount suits saw 40 young actresses for the (real life) gang rape victim. Or, their own rape bait fantasies… such as 16-year-old Alyssa Milano! And a further 28 for her defence attorney. Including the Fatal Attraction also-rans (from Irving to Debra Winger, by way of Diane Keaton and, naturally, Meryl Streep). Plus Blythe Danner, Sally Field, Terri Garr,Mary Gross, Dianne Wiest. A 1982 rape victim herself, McGillis refused Jodie Foster’s Oscar-winning role, and asked to play her lawyer.
  15. Sharon Stone, Basic Instinct, 1991.
  16. Debra Winger, Shadowlands, 1992.    Sydney Pollack considered Barbra Streisand opposite Michael Caine or Sean Connery. UK director Richard Attenborough made the film with Anthony Hopkins and Winger playing the Narnia author CS Lewis and his terminally ill US lover, Joy Gresham.
  17. Demi Moore, Passion of Mind, 1998. Not even Amy and her powerful then-husband, Spielberg, could win backing to make the Ron Bass script about a woman living in two separate worlds.
  18. Emily Watson, The Cradle Will Rock, 1999. Some 15 years before diractor Tim Robbins pulled it off, Amy had been booked to play Virginia Nicholson (the first and pregnant Mrs Orson Welles) in a version of the legendary New York staging of the 1937 musical – due to be directed in Rome by Orson Welles in 1984. Then Welles died on October 10 in the Hollywood that killed him years before.







 Birth year: Death year: Other name: Casting Calls:  18