Frances McDormand

  1. Mary Steenburgen, The Butcher’s Wife, 1991.     Fran was too busy being the wife (and star) of Joel Coen.
  2. Geena Davis, Thelma & Louise, 1991.
  3. Julianne Moore, Cookie’s Fortune, 1999.    Director Robert Altman also lost Anjelica Huston. “They both wimped out in a funny way.” Well, he did want them to stand in a long full-frontally naked scene.  Julianne said she had a surprise for him.  She was a natural redhead. 
  4. Meryl Streep, Doubt, 2007.   Directing his script of his 2005 Pulitzer Prize-winning  Broadway play,  John Patrick Shanley first asked Frances to  be the dragon nun,  Sister Aloysius Beauvier.  Next: Kathy Bates, Annette Bening, Anjelica Huston, Sigourney Weaver –  never the original Broadway star and Tony winner Cherry Jones. Then, her pal Meryl became available… She still asked: “Why wasn’t Cherry doing it?  She was so amazing! John explained he hadn’t directed that production. He wanted his own hands on this. So, I thought it was really valid and felt that I sure would like a crack at that Sister Aloysius.”  Result: Meryl’s 15th Oscar nomination.
  5. Jennifer Jason Leigh, Annihalation, 2016. Director Alex Garland was thinking of McDormand or Julianne Moore for Dr Ventress  when JJL loomed upon his horizon.  He faced much criticism for choosing Natalie Portman and McDormand for roles described in the books as Asian and half-Native American. No, said Garland, in the second book. He’d only read the first and ethnicity wasn’t mentioned  until the final chapters of Jeff Vander Meer’s Southern Reach Trilogy. 
  6. Elizabeth McGovern, The Wife, 2017. The first announced 2025 casting included  McDormand as the cynical author Elaine Mozell,  warning the titular Glenn Close about  the lack of opportunities for women writers. So Close writes all her husband’s book and he wins the Nobel Prize.  And… Action!

 Birth year: Death year: Other name: Casting Calls:  6