Glenn Close


  1. Sissy Spacek, Carrie, 1976.   

  2. Carrie Fisher, Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope, 1976.

  3. Susan Sarandon, 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 possible pretty Violets – and another 19 actresses for her mother: Candice Bergen, Cher, Julie Christie, Glenn Close (passed), Faye Dunaway, Mia Farrow, Farrah Fawcett (passed), Jane Fonda (with Jodie Foster as her daughter), Goldie Hawn (preferred Foul Play), Anjelica Huston, Diane Keaton, Sylvia Kristel (Emmanuelle, herself),  Liza Minnelli, Cybil Shepherd, Sissy Spacek, Meryl Streep, Sigourney Weaver. Plus Joan Collins, who suggested Jasmine Maimone, her screen daughter in that year’s Magnum Cop, would  make a fine Violet. Louis  Malle and Sarandon became lovers and also made Atlantic City, 1980… the year he married Bergen until his 1995 death.

  4. Cybill Shepherd, Taxi Driver, 1975.
  5. Elizabeth McGovern, Once Upon a Time in America, 1982.   Italian maestro Sergio Leoneclaimed he interviewed “over 3,000 actors,” taping 500 auditions for the 110 speaking roles in his New York gangster epic.  He certainly saw 33 girls for nymphet Deborah Gelly: Rosanna Arquette, Kim Basinger, Jennifer Beals, Linda Blair, Glenn Close, Jamie Lee Curtis, Geena Davis, Farrah Fawcett, Carrie Fisher, Bridget Fonda, Jodie Foster, Melanie Griffith, Linda Hamilton, Daryl Hannah, Goldie Hawn, Mariel Hemingway, Diane Lane, Jessica Lange, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Heather Locklear, Kristy McNIchol, Liza Minnelli, Tatum O’Neal, Michelle Pfeiffewr, Meg Ryan, Susan Sarandon, Cybill Shepherd, Sissy Spacek, Meryl Streep, Kathleen Turner, Sigourney Weaver, Debra Winger. Plus Brooke Shields as the younger version. Deborah was 15 in the first script; McGovern was 20.
  6. Michelle Pfeiffer, Scarface, 1982.     Director Brian De Palma chose Glenn but producer Martin Bregman said she’d be “only half a hooker.” He also turned down: Rosanna Arquette, Kim Basinger, Colleen Camp, Geena Davis, Carrie Fisher, Jodie Foster, Melanie Griffith, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Kay Lenz, Kelly McGillis, Kristy McNichol, Deborah Raffin, Brooke Shields, Sharon Stone, Kathleen Turner.
  7. Vanessa Redgrave, The Bostonians, 1984.    The glorious triumvirate of producer Ismail Merchant, director James Ivory and scenarist Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, wanted Vanessa in The Europeans, the first of their three superbly crafted adaptations of Henry James novels.  But she was tied to the theatre (Ibsen, no less). They called her again to join their Bostonians, she agreed, changed her mind and  Glenn Close took over. Or she did until offered The Natural movie with Robert Redford (“every woman’s fantasy … and I never got to touch him!”). Asked again after Blythe Danner, Meryl Streep and Sigourney Weaver passed, Redgrave relented and was so impressed  by her co-star, Christopher Reeves, that she encouraged him to join her in another James piece, The Aspern Papers  – as a tribute to her dying father. A huge ho
  8. Francesca Annis, Dune, 1984.
  9. Linda Hamilton, The Terminator, 1983.    In all, 52 actresses were considered, seen, or tested for Sarah Connor. James Cameron created her for Bridget Fonda. She passed; so did Tatum O’Neal. He decided to go older… Close won – her schedule didn’t agree. OK, Kate Capshaw! No, she was tied to Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom – just as Kathleen Turner was Romancing The Stone. Debra Winger won her audition, said yes… then no. The other 46 ladies were: Rosanna Arquette, Kim Basinger, Christy Brinkley, Colleen Camp, Jamie Lee Curtis, Geena Davis, Mia Farrow, Carrie Fisher, Jodie Foster, Teri Garr, Jennifer Grey, Melanie Griffith, Darryl Hannah, Goldie Hawn, Barbara Hershey, Angelica Huston, Amy Irving, Diane Keaton, Margot Kidder, Diane Lane, Jessica Lange, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Kay Lenz, Heather Locklear, Lori Loughlin, Kelly McGillis, Kristy McNichol, Madonna, Liza Minnelli, Mary Tyler Moore, Rhea Perlman (!), Michelle Pfeiffer, Gilda Radner (!), Deborah Raffin, Miranda Richardson, Meg Ryan, Susan Sarandon, Jane Seymour, Ally Sheedy, Cybill Shepherd, Brooke Shields, Sissy Spacek, Sharon Stone, Sigourney Weaver. 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.
  10. Kay  Lenz, House, 1985.     Despite her impact as William Holden’s perfect mistress – young, sassy, sexy – in Clint Eastwood’s Breezy, 1972, Kay never reached stardom. Yet she beat the not inconsiderable Close and Sigourney Weaver for the lead in this horror about a man and his zombies. Some critics saw it as a comedy, others as a farce.

  11. Roxanne Hart, HIghlander, 1985.   Some 16 guys were up for Christophe(r) Lambert’s immortal clansman, Connor McLeod.  But as many as 24 women for  Brenda Wyatt, the modern-day forensics cop bedded by him.  They were Brooke Adams, Karen Allen, Rosanna Arquette, Jennifer Beals, Lorraine Bracco, Elisabeth Brooks, Kate Capshaw, Glenn Close, Lisa Eilbacher, Linda Fiorentino, Kim Greist (Terry Gilliam’s huge Brazil error), Linda Hamilton, Diane Lane, Carolyn McCormick, Demi Moore, Annette O’Toole, Elizabeth Perkins, Tanya Roberts (booked for 007’s View to a Kill), Annabella Sciorra, Diane Venora, Sela Ward, Sigourney Weaver and (phew!) Sean Young.   Broadway’s  rank outsider won!

  12. Susan Sarandon, Bull Durham, 1987.   Ron Shelton had one helluva job trying to win backing for his directing debut. “Baseball movies don’t sell.”  His producer Thom Mount was part-owner of the real Durham Bulls squad. He recognised what Roger Ebert would call a treasure because it knows so much about baseball and so little about love.” Kim Basinger was Shelton’s first choice for Annie (an Annie is s baseball groupie).“There’s never been a ballplayer slept with me who didn’t have the best year of his career.”  He tested Carrie Fisher, Mary Steenburgen, Pamela Stephenson, Debra Winger… considered Kate Capshaw, Geena Davis (who made the female ball movie, A League of Their Own), Michelle Pfeiffer (too young) and Isabella Rossellini…  felt  Kay Lenz and Michelle Pfeiffer were too young… while Glenn Close was having Dangerous Liaisons in France, Melanie Griffith was a busy Working Girl and Kelly McGillis preferred The Accused. He also thought of Cybil Shepherd and Bruce Willis as The Couple but Moonlighting got in the way.   And that’s how the splendid Susan Sarandon met Tim Robbins and lived together for 21 years.

  13. 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 Beverly to Debra Winger, by way of Diane Keaton and, naturally, Meryl Streep) plus Blythe Danner, Sally Field, Terri Garr, Mary Gross, Kathleen Turner, Sigourney Weaver, Dianne Wiest. A 1982 rape victim herself, McGillis refused Jodie Foster’s Oscar-winning role, and asked to play her lawyer.

  14. Theresa Russell, Physical Evidence, 1989.     Devised as a Jagged Edge sequel. But the ’85 stars, Glenn-Robert Loggia, became Russell-Burt Reynolds.
  15. Catherine O’Hara, Home Alone, 1990.     An astonishing 37 stars (Harrison Ford, Jack Nicholson, Jessica Lange, Michelle Pfeiffer, etc) were considered for the forgetful parents – nothing roles in a film written for and duly stolen by the stranded kid, Macauley Culkin.

  16. Geena Davis, Thelma & Louise, 1990.
  17. Susan Sarandon, Thelma & Louise, 1990.

  18. Catherine O’Hara, Home Alone, 1990.  For the zero roles of Macauley Culkin’s forgetful parents (in a film written for and duly stolen by him), an astonishing 66 stars were considered – including 32 later seen for the hot lovers in Basic Instinct:Kim Basinger, Stockard Channing, Glenn Close, Kevin Costner, Jamie Lee Curtis, Michael Douglas, Carrie Fisher, Harrison Ford, Mel Gibson, Jodie Foster, Linda Hamilton, Daryl Hannah, Marilu Henner, Anjelica Huston, Helen Hunt, Holly Hunter, Diane Keaton, Jessica Lange, Christopher Lloyd, Jack Nicholson, Sean Penn, Michelle Pfeiffer, Annie Potts, Kelly Preston, Dennis Quaid, Meg Ryan, Martin Sheen, Sylvester Stallone, Sharon Stone, John Travolta.   Other near Moms were Kirstie Alley, Lynda Carter, Kim Cattrall, Geena Davis, Laura Dern, Jennifer Grey, Gates McFadden, Kelly McGillis, Bette Midler, Ally Sheedy, Mary Steenburgen, Debra Winger… and the inevitable unknown: Maureen McCormick,  part of The Brady Bunch for seven 1981 chapters.
  19. Sharon Stone, Basic Instinct, 1991.
  20. Sigourney Weaver, 1492: Conquest of Paradise,  1991. Director Ridley Scott naturally wanted Sigourney for Queen Isabella I. However, she was a victim of their Alien  success, being delayed by re-shoots for Alien 3 at Britain’s Pinewood Studios.    She finally broke t free – worried, perhaps, by the news of negotiations beginning with  Glenn Close, Anjelica Huston, Lena Olin, Kathleen Turner… while  the film’s star, Gérard Depardieu, was voting for his  Réne la canne  co-star Sylvia Kristel. 

  21. Rene Russo, In the Line of Fire, 1992. Both Close  and Sharon Stone turned down the job of Clint Eastwood’s Secret Service partner Lilly Raines.  Tough, capable, said Chicago critic Robert Ebert, and able to fall in love. Close became a (very tough) cop in  The Shield,  on TV, 2005.
  22. Barbara Hershey, A Dangerous Woman, 1993.    The almost inevitable first choice the aunt and protector of  a “slow” Debra Winger. A real family movie as Steven Gyllenhaal directed, his wife Naomi Foner produced and the cast included the kids: Jake  and Maggie.
  23. Emma Thompson, The Remains of the Day, 1993.      Glenn chased it when Mike Nichols was due to helm (with Jeremy Irons). Director James Ivory kept the faith with his Howard’s End couple, Emma and Anthony Hopkins.
  24. Gene Hackman, The Firm, 1993.       In an effort to pep up the thriller, director Sydney Pollack tried changing the sex of the chief of the Mafia-backed law company. However, Glenn (and Meryl Streep) had a Portugal date for
  25. Sandra Bullock, Speed, 1993.       Aw c’mon! This is the one and only time that Glenn was in the mix for the same role as such equals as… Rosanna Arquette, Cameron Diaz, Carrie Fisher, Bridget Fonda, Daryl Hannah, Kay Lenz, Alyssa Milano, Demi Moore, Tatum O’Neal, Sarah Jessica Parker and Ally Sheedy. A further 25 (including aw c’mon, Meryl Streep and Emma Thompson) also refused to help Keanu Reeves save passengers of a bus with a bomb on it. What was Fox thinking!
  26. Meryl Streep, The House of Spirits, 1994.       Five years earlier… Now Meryl became Clara and Glenn played her sister-in-law, Férula. Both, almost everyone in the film, were (stupidly) too Anglo to be Chilean.
  27. Sigourney Weaver, Death and the Maiden, 1993.      Director Roman Polanski preferred Sigourney.
  28. Annette Bening, Richard III, 1996,       Glenn and Meryl Streep (again!) proved too busy for Lady Anne opposite Sir Ian McKellan.
  29. Helen Mirren,Teaching Mrs Tingle, 1998.  Gillian Anderson, Sally Field and Sigourney Weaver must have been stunned to find themselves short-listed in the same company as eternal rivals Glenn Close andf Meryl Streep for the  thoroughly nasty history teacher. “Helen Mirren is one of the greatest living actresses,” said auteur Kevin Williamson.  “She elevated Mrs. Tingle to a new level.”  She called it a dream role, because of laying on a bed most days, tied up by her students.
    Charlotte Rampling, The Cherry Orchard, 1999.      Making director Robert Altman’s Cookie’s Fortune made it impossile for Glenn to take over Ranyevskaya when Helen Mirren bolted.

  30. Cher, Tea With Mussolini, 1999.      Director Franco Zeffirelli talked to various 50-somethings (Close, Diane Keaton, etc) about becoming the eccentric, wealthy, much-wed American adventuress and Italophile Elsa Morgenthal Strauss-Armistan – based on the childhood chapter of Zeffirelli’s autobiography.
  31. Brendan Fraser, Looney Tunes: Back in Action, 2002.    “A pretty grim experience all around… longest year and a half of my life.”  Director Joe Dante refusing to say anymore about how his planned tribute to his late friend, toon ikon Chuck Jones, ended up a mess. Then again, when the suits approve Fraser over Clooney, Leonardo DiCaprio, Will Ferrell, Michael J Fox and Sylvester Stallone for DJ Drake, you know you’re in trouble.
  32. Stockard Channing, Anything Else, 2003.     Woody Allen’s first choice was unavailable and Channing was back in favour due to being The West Wing’s First Lady.
  33. Meryl Streep, The Manchurian Candidate, 2004.     “I’ve often been mistaken for Meryl Streep, although never on Oacar night.”
  34. Meryl Streep, Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events, 2004. Meryl’s daughter, a big fan of the books, insisted her mother play Aunt Josephine when new director Brad Silberling substituted Tim, Burton, Johnny Depp and Close.
  35. Meryl Streep, The Devil Wears Prada, 2005.   Sixteen other women  were up for Vogue editor Anna Wintour (er, Miranda Priestley!) in the delightful look at the real fashion world, based on the  tell-all  by Lauren Weisberger,  who used to work for Wintour (but claimed it wasn’t  about her!  Seven only had the wherewithall to match Meryl Streep:  Jennifer Aniston, Glenn Close (fed up of villains), Angelina Jolie, Michelle Pfeiffer, Helen Mirren, Julia Roberts and Hilary Swank. “Sinfully funny, deliciously glossy,” said Rolling Stone critic Peter Travers. “Streep knocks every laugh out of the park More remarkably, she humanises a character who was little more than a bitch… on the page.” The  remaining what-were-they-thinking candidates had been Kim Basinger, Cameron Diaz, Heather Graham, Lisa Kudrow, Tatum O’Neal, Gwyneth Paltrow, Meg Ryan, Alicia Silverstone and  Naomi Watts.
  36. Meryl Streep, August: Osage County, 2012.  Oklahoma playwright (and actor) Tracy Letts wanted the Steppenwolf cast of his 2008 Pulitzer Prize winning play to be in the film. He was downright furious when Brits (and an Aussie) were suggested for the dysfunctional Westons. “They must be all-Americans!” Producer Harvey Weinstein won the battle for Benedict Cumberbatch and Ewan McGregor but gave in about Nicole Kidman – and Judi Dench ( too old, anyway, at 78 to Meryl’s 63 for Violet aged 65). in what seemed a Western-set take on Lilian Hellman’s Little Foxes. Therefore, candidates for Violet quickly became  Annette Bening, Glenn Close, Jane Fonda, Sissy Spacek – and Jessica Lange, wed to Sam Shepard, another Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright, cast as Violet’s husband.
  37. Jessica Lange, In Secret, 2012.       Close had been the first choice – inevitably – for the  domineering Madame Raquin, who forced her niece into marriage with her sickly son,  Camille.  He has a pal called Laurent. The girl is Thérèse Raquin.   So, you know the rest, right?
  38. Jessica Lange, Therese, 2012.    Actor and stage director Charlie Stratton spent years – “decades!” – preparing his film directing debut (after shorts and TV work) – his version of Emile Zola’s 1867 classic, Thérèse Raquin. Finally, money bags opened and all lights turned green when he landed Close as the heroine’s mother – a prize indeed. After losing all her Oscar nominations to Meryl Streep, Close was reborn as a hot TV star due to the Damages series, 2007-2013. Shooting began in East Europe and then her husband suffered a heart attack and she had to withdraw. Some 26 hears after their Fatal Attraction rivalry, Jessica (also a hot TV series star due to American Horror Story, 2011- ) got the role.










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