Anouk Aimée



  1. Nicole Courcel, Le Marie du port, France, 1949.    French cinema legend Marcel Carné had no luck with Anouk. He had chosen her fresh beauty for a film he had been trying to launch since 1937.  When I’lle des enfants perdus collapsed, he asked her to join Jean Gabin’s favourite Georges Simenon story, but she was away, co-starring with  Trevor Howard in UK director Ronald Neame’s Golden Salamander in Tunisia.
  2. Odile Versois, Into The Blue, 1951.    Her Christian name came from her debut role. Realisateur Marcel Carné supplied the surname for a film he never finished.  Britain cut it to simply Anouk for Golden Salamander, 1949. Rank and UK producer Herbert Wilcox quickly pounced but she wed and quit movies for three years.
  3. Antoinella Lualdi, (US: End Of Desire), France-Italy, 1957. Aimée was about to make a third consecutive film with Paris critic turned auteur Alexandre Astruc. When “she dropped us.”   Enter: the ravishing Italian. Claude Chabrol quickly picked her up for A double tour, 1958. No wonder Jean-Luc Godard was calling Astruc “le tonton de la Nouvelle Vague”… the Uncle of the New Wave.
  4. Marie-José Nat, L’Education sentimentale (UK: Lessons in Love), France-Italy, 1961.   Ever faithful, even though she ditched his previous venture, auteur Alexandre Astruc wanted Aimée to be Anne Arnoux in his take on Flaubert. She agreed. And, once again, she fled.  Off to a desert with her latest lover… He then looked at Pascale Audret… and netted Nat..
  5. Anne Bancroft, The Graduate, 1967.  
  6. Jeanne Moreau, Mademoiselle, UK-France, 1965.     Problem was that too many people “owned” it as writer Jean Genet kept selling the rights anywhere  when he needed money. Originally, he’d written it for Anouk  as a wedding present when he was Best Man at her marriage to her second husband, Ethiopian auteur Nikos Papatakis in 1951. She  offered the script to her La tête contre les mursdirector Georges Franju. “If I’d agreed to Romy Schneider,” he said, “I could’ve made it straight away. When I mentioned Anouk, the producers replied: It’s not Anouk these days, it’s Marie Laforet.”  Franju next preferred Emmanuelle Riva before Tony Richardson directed Moreau; two years (and one more  film together) later, she was co-respondent in his divorce from Vanessa Redgrave.
  7. Faye Dunaway, The Thomas Crown Affair, 1967.   “Oui, I made many mistakes…” Giving Faye Dunaway to Steve McQueen’s Tommy was perhaps the greatest. “Steve was a friend,” explained Anouk (they were up for  Benjamin  and Mrs Robinson in The Graduate!).  “He arranged everything. Then, I stupidly declined… disbelieving that a woman could betray the man she loved.  Faye was divine. Je ne regrette pas.” Brigitte Bardot was first requested, then Candice Bergen, Leslie Caron, Julie Christie, Suzanne Pleshette, Vanessa Redgrave, Sharon Tate,  Raquel Welch… and McQueen, suggested testing Camilla Sparv.  “Yeah, well, I’ve just seen an early print of Bonnie and Clyde, said director Norman Jewison, “and you’re gonna spent eight hours kissing her!”
  8. Shirley MacLaine, The Bliss of Mrs. Blossom, 1968.     Reborn in Un Homme et une femme, but London could only offer Carry Onesque zilch. But in the mad wake  of Un homme et une femme, Anouk was offered everything. “I was even asked to play Napoleon!”
  9. Dominique Sanda, Il Conformista (US: The Conformist), Italy-France-West Germany, 1969.  Finding the titular hero and his wife was easy, said director Bernardo Bertolucci – persuading Jean-Louis Trinignant, Stefania Sandrelli took him all of  two minutes. Bisexual Anna Quadri was the quandry. “I even went to see Brigitte…” After BB, AA also refused…  “I was about to marry Albert Finney and wanted too live the life of a woman…” (Oh really.  She had been already wed three times in 20 years!). Anouk sacrificed her career in the 70s for her fourth husband, Albert Finney.  They lived in London and the UK producers knew it…  Her comeback was in Claude Lelouch’s Si c’était à refaire, two years before her divorce from Finney in 1978,.
  10. Claire Bloom, A Severed Head, 1970.  Novelist Iris Murdoch’s game of musical beds among London’s bourgeoisie had a weak script killing an impressive cast.  (Brando had been invited to join). Ian Holm’s wine expert has a wife, Lee Remick, cheating with his best friend, Richard Attenborough’s shrink (already involved with Claire Bloom), plus a mistress (Jennie Linden)  being  stolen  by his brother Clive Revill. It just might have worked better with producer Elliot Kastner’s dream team (in above order): Richard Burton, Elizabeth Taylor (of  course), Marlon Brando (the psychologist was originally American),  Anouk Aimée, Julie Christie, Robert Shaw. (He also considered Laurence Harvey and Leslie Caron as the shrink and his friend’s wife).

  11. Susannah York, X Y & Zee  (UK: Zee and Co), 1972.     Who could steal Liz  Taylor’s husband – and also take her to bed…? Nobody! The mistress went  through  various  international  changes as the hubby changed from O’Toole to Caine.
  12. Jeanne Moreau, Lumiére, France, 1975.     “Anouk was in a phase where she didn’t want to act” – the   first-time director explaining why she played the role, herself. Finally, it was her director of Un homme et une femme,  Claude Lelouch, who went  to London to convince Anouk to act again – in Si c’etait à reffair. 1975.
  13. Claire Bloom, Islands in the Stream, 1977.     “I’m not really an actress, never had the sacred fire.”
  14. Marisa Berenson, Flagrant Désir, France, 1985.    Realisateur Claude Faraldo had earlier announced her for his lead.
  15. Françoise Fabian, Trois places pour le 26, France, 1988. Change of Mylene in auteur Jacques Demy’s ninth and final feature:  a  hopeless mock biopic of Yves Montand.  Not worthy of either of  them.

  16. Marie-Jose Nat, Colette, une femme libre, France, TV, 2003.  
     Anouk kept making excuses about why she wouldn’t  play the mother of the writer Colette – played by delicious Marie Trintignant, daughter of the realisateur  Nadine Trintignant. Eventually. Anouk admitted to a foreboding a catastrophe in the location site of Vilnius.  “They don’t have earthquakes in Lithuania,” scoffed her agent Dominique Besnehard. “Something very serious – tres grave – will happen,” she insisted.  She was right…  Marie was assaulted in  violent row with her lover Bertrand Cantat, the Noir Desire group singer,  and died in a coma  from multiple head injuries (19 punches) after being flown to a Paris hospital. Cantat was jailed for eight years for her murder, transferred to a French prison and released in 2007.   Marie was 41. Even more liberal than Colette, she had sons  by four different husbands and lovers. Her already semi-retired father, the perfect screen actor, Jean-Louis Trintignant, withdrew from the world until Amour – the Gold Palm winning best film at  the 2012 Cannes festival.
















 Birth year: Death year: Other name: Casting Calls:  16