Anna Friel

  1. Helena Bonham Carter, The Flight Club, 1998. Director David Fincher looked everywhere for his Marla Singer.  Sarah Michelle Gellar, Winona Ryder, Kyra Sedgewick, Renee Zellweger. Plus two great Brits: supermodel Vanessa Angel (71 screen roles since 1985) and Anna Friel. After seeing her Wings of the Dove, Fincher wanted HBC, the suits wanted the better known Reese Witherspoon, and Reese wanted out – ‘too dark!”  Courtney Love claimed the film’s star, Brad Pitt, had her dropped because she wouldn’t let him play her late husband in a Kurt Cobain biopic.  Team Pitt said “You cannot be fired for a job you didn’t get.” And, anyway, directors select actors, not actors…  and yet co-star Edward Norton vetoed any idea of New Jersey comic Janeane Garofalo as she “didn’t have the chops to do it.” HBC modelled Marla on the final years of Judy Garland.  Fincher even called her Judy on-set get her back in her mindset.

  2. Rachel Weisz, The Mummy, 1998.    Friel was in the frame – or tomb! – for Evy Carnahan – originally named Evelyn Carnarvon,  after the daughter of   the 5th Earl of Carnarvon, George Herbert, who funded Howard Carter’s search for King Tutankhamen’s tomb in 1922.  Weisz stayed aboard for the first sequel – what else but The Mummy Returns, in 2000 – but not the second, The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor(enter Jet Li) in 2007

  3. Clare Forlani, Boys and Girls, 1999.    Change of Jennifer for the fallout of two pals at Cal (University of California, Berkeley) having surprise sex before graduation.
  4. Claire Forlani, Boys and Girls, 1999.    Or, just one of each… Anna was the original choice  – then, she wasn’t – opposite Freddie Prinze Jr.  Their couple, said #1 US critic  Roger Ebert,  “might as well fall in love, since fate and the plot have given them nothing else to do and no one else to do it with.” So… boy meets girl at age 12. After ten  love/hate years they finally have sex. And that’s that. Over. End. Finis. 
  5. Kate Hudson, Almost Famous, 2000.  Looking for his Penny Lane groupie in his semi-autobiographical look back to his Rolling Stone reporter daze,auteur Cameron Crowe saw 48 of LA’s bright young things… Christina Applegate, Selma Blair, Lara Flynn Boyle, Neve Campbell, Jennifer Connelly, Claire Danes, Cameron Diaz, Kirsten Dunst, Eliza Dushku, Jenna Elfman, Jennie Garth, Maggie Gyllenhal, Alyson Hannigan, Angie Harmon, Anne Heche, Katherine Heigl, Jordan Ladd, Kimberly McCullough (busier as a TV director these days, High School Musical: The Musical – The Series, etc), Rose McGowan, Bridget Moynahan, Brittany Murphy, Gwyneth Paltrow, Laura Prepon, Lindsay Price, Christina Ricci, Rebecca Romijn, Winona Ryder, Chloë Sevigny, Marley Shelton Tori Spelling, Mena Suvari, Uma Thurman, Liv Tyler, Lark Voorhies.  Plus the English Saffron Burrows, Anna Friel, Thandiwe Newton and Rachel Weisz, Madrid’s Penélope Cruz, the French Charlotte Gainsbourg, Canada’s Natasha Henstridge, Ukrainian Milla Jovovich, Scottish Kelly Macdonald, Israeli Natalie Portman, German Franka Potente, Australian Peta Wilson and Welsh Catherine Zeta-Jones.  And the winner, Canada’s Sarah Polley, simply split. (Silly girl).  Crowe then chose Kate  (previously booked  for Anita) because “she seemed more like a free spirit.”  But, but, but… Chloë  was the freest spirit in all Hollywood. As she proved two years later in The Brown Bunny… in a way the others would never have dared.
  6. Cameron Diaz, Gangs of New York, 2001.    Versus Sarah Michelle Gellar again – but for another  nothing role. They just needed a girl on the poster… Jenny Everdeane was such a zero no one  remembers her impact (come again!) on the  1863 drama of  Daniel Day Lewis v Leonardo DiCaprio. Maybe if  director Martin Scorsese hadn’t been forced to cut one  entire hour…
  7. Michelle Williams, Me Without You, 2001.    Auditioned. While filming, Michelle had to constantly fly back and forth between the UK and the North Carolina, USA to work on her television series Dawson’s Creek (1998)_
  8. Natalia Tena, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, 2007. Pity she was turned down for Nymphadora Tonks. In JK Rowling’s Volume Six, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Tonks is romantically involved with Remus Lupin… played by Anna’s lover, David Thewlis. The producers voted for the Londoner Tena, who later joined Game of Thrones. What a double whammy!

 Birth year: Death year: Other name: Casting Calls:  8