Gwyneth Paltrow


  1. Jennie Garth, Beverly Hills 90210, TV, 1990-2000.    Tried out for Kelly Taylor.   Years after the series folded, Gwynnie won the 2,427th star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. And Jennie did not.
  2. Laura Dern, Jurassic Park, 1992.    
  3. Janeane Garofalo, Reality Bites, 1994.     Gwyneth, Anne Heche and Parker Posery auditioned… when no one really knew who they were. Including each other.
  4. Julia Ormond, Legends of the Fall, 1994.    Originally conceived as a starring vehicle for  Sean Connery and Tom Cruise.  Julia was going through her thoroughlyinexplicable 15 minutes of fame.Brad Pitt was so taken with her test that he chose her for his wife in Se7en – and his lover in life.
  5. Kristy Swanson, Higher Learning, 1994.      She quit director John Singleton’s campus to be the daughter of Jefferson In Paris. (Her mother, Blythe Danner, had played Jefferson’s wife in 1776, 1972, just before Gwyneth was conceived).
  6. Alicia Silverstone, Clueless, 1994.   Paltrow, Zooey Deschanel, Angelina Jolie, Keri Russell, Tiffani Thiessen, Renee Witherspooon and Alicia Witt were in the Beverly Hills mix for teen queen Cher.  She says she and best pal Dionne “were both named after great singers of the past that now do infomercialsSaid Chicago critic Roger Ebert:“A smart and funny movie, and the characters are in on the joke.”
  7. Julia Ormond, Sabrina, 1995.     Even before the bad casting, director Sydney Pollack’s totally unnecessary re-make was already a gross error of judgement. He tested Juliette Binoche and dancer Darcy Bissell and considered Paltrow,  Sandra Bullock, Julie Delpy, Cameron Diaz, Demi Moore, Robin Wright, Catherine Zeta-Jones. All better suited than Ormond. So it blows.
  8. Cameron Diaz, Feeling Minnesota, 1995.      The most English of US actresses beat several fast-risers to having Keanu Reeves and Vincent D’Onofrio fight over her. And then changed her mind.   This was the year when she alleged producer Harvey WeInstein asked her for a massage in his hotel room. Her then lover, Brad Pitt “levered his fame and power to protect me at a time when I didn’t have fame or power yet. He said: ‘If you ever make her feel uncopmfortable again, I’ll kill you’ or something like that. The massage story was denied by Weinstein.
  9. Renée Zellweger, Jerry Maguire, 1996.   “You had me at Hello…”Once Tom Hanks passed and Tom Cruise breathed a sigh of relief, auteur Cameron Crowe started searching for The Girl: Dorothy Boyd. Patricia Arquette, Connie Britton, Cameron Diaz, Bridget Fonda, Janeane Garofalo, Nicole Kidman, Jennifer Lopez, Courtney Love, Parker Posey, Molly Ringwald, Winona Ryder, Mira Sorvino, Marisa Tomei, Uma Thurman, even Zellweger, came and went. First due opposite Hanks, Paltrow did a reading with Tom: “like watching a scene from Annie Hall,” said Crowe. Britton won – depending on  Zellweger’s call back meeting with Cruise. “We have video of that because I was filming,” Crowe told Mike Fleming Jr for Deadline Hollywood’s 20-years-later feature in 2017, “and you just see something happen when Tom sees her. He lights up… As Jerry discovers Dorothy, we discover Renée. That was a very personal thing for me and the way I feel about movies.”  Exactly the way Shirley MacLaine slid into his idol Billy Wilder’s The Apartment, 1959.
  10. Kate Winslet, Titanic, 1997.

  11. Heather Graham, Boogie Nights, 1997.  Gwyneth Paltrow was the surprise first choice for the erotic scamp, Rollergirl – who never took her skates off. Drew Barrymore and Tatum O’Neal were next in the frame and North Carolina newcomer Laurel Holloman tested. But it was Graham who shot the nude scene on her very first day on director Paul Thomas Anderson’s exploration of the 70s porno biz as a family unit –  Burt Reynolds’ film-maker and Julianne Moore’s porno star being “the parents.” “That’s where I went from a person who was offered work,” said  Heather, “ to a person that was offered movies. I’m super grateful to have been in it with all those exciting actors that broke out because of that movie. Philip Seymour Hoffman. Don Cheadle. John C. Reilly. Mark Wahlberg. So many people that weren’t that well known really became movie stars afterwards.”
  12. Minnie Driver, Good Will Hunting, 1997.      The Miramax house pet had competition from nine other youngstars for the (empty) role of Sklylar. When the writer-stars Ben Affleck and Matt Damon, Oscars in hand, thanked  Minnie Driver, the simultaneous translation for French TV said they thanked… “beaucoup de chauffeurs”!   (Many drivers). 
  13. Uma Thurman,The Avengers, 1997.    Never ask Americans to do a Brit’s work…Warner Bros insisted on Jeremiah Chechik directing the cinemaversion of the hit UK TV series -and the long delayed project suffered the worst casting in decades. As if Ralph Fiennes as John Steed was not alarming enough, Uma as the essentially British Mrs Emma Peel wa a disaster. Gwyneth, Nicole Kidman, Elisabeth Shue, Emma Thompson, had refused. (Diana Rigg, the original Mrs Peel, likewise fled her proffered cameo).  Sean Connery was the villain and if heever wondered what 007 would have turned out like in Hollywood, this mess was the answer. Sheer balderdash!
  14. Drew Barrymore, Ever After, 1998.       For the born again Cinderella saga.
  15. Maria Bello, Duets, 1999.      Director Bruce Paltrow’s second and final film   was designed for his daughter and her guy, Brad Pitt. They split before production began in 1997. Gwyneth took another role  and  left the lead to a  blonde ER doc. Bruce died in 2002.
  16. Juliette Binoche, Chocolat, 2000.    A bully of blinkered horizons,  Miramax co-boss Harvey Weinstein gave  the  role to Binoche – and then offered it to Paltrow.Gwynnie was Harvey’s  Grace Kelly.  More like Paul Kelly… as in a richer life off-stage. Just not as promiscuous.
  17. Charlize Theron, The Yards, 2000.    Second script of director James Little Odessa Gray was another Paltrow ’n’ Pitt deal that fell apart as they did.
  18. Frances O’Connor, AI: Artificial Intelligence, 2001.     Julianne Moore was also considered  by Gwyneth’s Godfather… Steven Spielberg.   She calls him, Uncle Morty.
  19. Reese Witherspoon, Legally Blonde, 2000.   Elle Woods in the far from official sequel to Clueless, 1994.  At one point, Elle said that she gew up in At one point, Elle said that she grew up in Bel Air, across the street from TV producer icon, Aaron Spelling – his daughter, Tori, was also up for Elle.
  20. Angelina Jolie, Lara Croft, Tomb Raider, 2000.  For the girls, Lara Croft is their James Bond.  Well, more of a sexy Indiana Jones.  And 22 hopefuls wanted to bringther sassy, video-game adventurer to life. Demi More was, perhaps, the most keen, but who was simply disregarded. Christina Applegate, Drew Barrymore, Victoria Beckham, Sandra Bullock, Cameron Diaz, Nicole Eggert, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Kate Hudson, Elizabeth Hurley, Ashley Judd, Jennifer Lopez, Gwneth Paltrow, Anna Nicole Smith (a joke, surely), Catherine Zeta-Jones were considered. Fairuza Balk, Natalie Cassidy, Kirsten Dunst and Milla Jovovich auditioned while Denise Richards, Charlize Theron, Uma Thurman and Liv Tyler simply refused. And Lara’s guy (who fled the sequel) was Daniel Craig – complete with a Walther PPK pistol that he would use again as 007 in Casino Royale, 2005.

  21. 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.

  22. Lucy Liu, Charlie’s Angels, 2000.  Tele-tycoon Aaron Spelling decided to put Aaron’s angels on the big screen  (to help generate a new series on the small). His first new  trio: MTV discovery Jenny McCarthy, ex-Spice Girl Geri Halliwell and 007’s Hong Kong martial arts superstar. Then, Drew Barrymore showed him how to do it. with the  third  of her numerous (canny) productions. Just look at the 25 girls she shuffled to find the right  angel Alex Munday: Aaliyah (“too young”), Jennifer Aniston, Asia Argento, Halle Berry, Lara Flynn Boyle, Helena Bonham Carter, Penélope Cruz, Kristin Davis, Jodie Foster, Angie Harmon (stuck on Law & Order),  Salma Hayek, Ashley Judd, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Nia Long, Gwyneth Paltrow, Tiffani Thiessen, Uma Thurman, Liv Tyler, , Kate Winslet, Reese Witherspoon, Robin Wright, Renée Zellweger, Catherine Zeta-Jones… And two singers: Lauryn Hill and another  Spice Girl: Victoria Beckham.

  23. Kate Beckinsale, Pearl Harbor, 2000.   Michael Bay’s dream scheme was: Ben Affleck, Matt Damon and Gwyneth Paltrow as the three pretty leads. Gwynnie was busy enough, thank you, with three movies and a Saturday Night Live guest spot. But then so was Kate – starting Serendipity with John Cusack before she’d completed Harbor.

  24. Milla Jovovich, Resident Evil, 2001.   Among his Tarantinoesque cast – Mr Grey, Mr Red Ms Black, Dr Green etcdirector Paul WS Andeson lost Paltrow and Sarah Michelle Gellar and chose Jovovich, the ex-Mrs Luc Besson Turned out fine for Anderson. He made five sequels with her and they wed 2009. They have two children.
  25. Renée Zellweger, Chicago, 2001.
  26. Christine Baranski, Chicago, 2001
  27. Naomi Watts, The Ring, 2001.  Various Hollywood ladies (Kate Beckinsale, Jennifer Connolly, Jennifer Love Hewitt – good sceamers all!)  passed on the re-make of Hideo Nakata’s gigantic 1998 Japanese horror hit.. And then, Naomi was (re)born in David Lynch’s Mulholland Dr, 2001.
  28. Drew Barrymore, Confessions Of A Dangerous Mind, 2002.      George Clooney’s first thought (plus Renée Zellweger)  for his directing debut until falling for Drew’s perfect naturalness.
  29. Maggie Gyllenhaal, Secretary, 2002.    The S&M drama would have been just  sadistic  with Paltrow as James Spader’s secretary with her tush  in a sling.  Maggie took it to a whole other level. As per usual.
  30. Julianne Moore, The Hours, 2002.    Paltrow and the British Emily Watson were seen for Laura Brown, planning to kill herself with pills in a hotel room. She was not alone. The two other  portraits of 20th Century  women went to Meryl Streep and  Nicole Kidman – winning the  Oscar after  Denzel Washington announced: “The winner… by a nose…” Kate Hudson, How To Lose A  Guy In 10 Days, 2002.     Ad man v journalist. Posters said the rest: “One of them is lying.   So is the other.”

  31. Rachel Weisz, Runaway Jury, 2002. Six years earlier, director Joel Schumacher asked her to be Edward Norton’s girlfriend  – opposite Sean Connery. Instead, Gary Fleder made the John Grisham courtroom thriller with Rachel, John Cusack and Gene Hackman. After Confidence, this was Rachel’s second successive movie with Dustin Hoffman.
  32. Maggie Gyllenhaal,Secretary, 2002.   The S&M drama would have been just sadistic  with Paltrow as James Spader’s secretary with hertyush  in a sling.  Maggie took it to a whole other level. As per usual.
  33. Angelina Jolie, Taking Lives, 2003.      British director Tony Scott tried Paltrow and Cate Blanchett for his FBI profiler before quitting for Spy Games with Brad Pitt and Robert Redford.

  34. Jennifer Garner, 13 Going On 30, 2003.      Gwynnie and Oscar-winners Hilary Swank and Renée Zellweger were all on the Columbia list to be the 13-year-old in a 30-year-old body…

  35. Nicole Kidman, Bewitched, 2004.  
    For inexplicable reasons, Hollywood kept trying to make a movie out of the  1968-1972 ABC sitcom about a good-looking witch and a Dagwood husband.  In 1993, Penny Marshall was going to direct Meryl Streep as Samantha, then passed the reins to Ted Bissell and he died in 1996 when his Richard Curtis script was planned as Melanie Griffths’ comeback.  Nora Ephron co-wrote and directed this lumbering version about an ego-driven actor trying to save his career with a Bewitched re-hash, but with the emphasis on him (of course) as Darrin, rather than the unknown he chose for Samatha because she can wiggle her nose…  (You didn’t need a nose to know it stank).  Over the years, 37. other ladies were on the Samantha wish-list. Take a deep breath… Kate Beckinsale, Sandra Bullock, Jennifer Connelly, Cameron Diaz, Heather Graham, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Angelina Jolie, Ashley Judd, Julianne Moore, Gwyneth Paltrow, Michelle Pfeiffer, Molly Ringwald, Meg Ryan, Winona Ryder, Brooke Shields, Charlize Theron, Naomi Watts, Renee Zellweger.  Plus seven Oscar-winners:  Kim Basinger, Tatum O’Neal, Julia Roberts, Meryl Streep, Hilary Swank, Charlize Theron, Reese Witherspoon… twoFriends: Jennifer Aniston and Lisa Kudrow…eleven other TV stars: Christina Applegate, Patricia Arquette, Kristin Davis, Teri Hatcher, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Helen Hunt, Jenny McCarthy, Alyssa Milano, Brittany Murphy, Sarah Jessica Parker, Alicia Silverstone… even  Drew Barrymore and Uma Thurman, who had already re-kindled Charlie’s Angels and The Avengers.

  36. Maggie Gyllenhaal, Happy Endings, 2004.  Unable to work, still devastated – “and guilty” – eight months after the death of her idolised father. Jennifer Garner moved in – finally Maggie took over. Witha plus. She did her own singing.
  37. Naomi Watts, I Heart Huckabee’s, 2004.    Gwyneth went on the road with her Coldplay rocker guy Chris Martin, to battle her grief, leaving Jude Law, Dustin Hoffman, Isabelle Huppert adrift.  (Like the script).  Nicole Kidman was tied to The Stepford Wives. Jennifer Aniston and Britney Spears were also seen for Dawn Campbell. Then, with a bound, director David O Russell’s iniial choice was free…
  38. Cate Blanchett, The Life Acquatic with Steve Zissou, 2004.      All set to be Jane Winslet-Richardson (named after Kate).  And then she wasn’t.
  39. Kate Beckinsale, The Aviator, 2004.       Legendary director Martin Scorsese’s first thought to play Ava Gardner –  she could not have been worse than  the vapid Kate. He showed her Mogambo and Barefoot Contessa – and Mogambo became  a password for them on  the set.
  40. Jennifer Garner, 13 Going On 30, 2004.       Hilary Swank and Renée Zellweger were also considered for the teen waking up to find she’s 30.  Jennifer, however, happened to be the flavour of the hour as the action-spy Sydney Bristow in Alias, TV,  2001-2005.

  41. 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.
  42. Drew Barrymore, Fever Pitch, 2005.  Hollywood re-tread of Nick Hornby’s autobiography, only now the hero’s obsession is with  the Boston Red Sox, not   Arsenal Football Club.
  43. Vera Famiga, The Departed, 2006.      Also considered for the role of Madolyn: Ashley Judd, Gwyneth Paltrow, Kyra Sedgwick.
  44. Nicole Kidman, Nine, 2009.
  45. Jennifer Aniston, Horrible Bosses, 2010.     Sarah Jessica Parker and Naomi Watts were also in the frame for Julia, the queen of sexual harrassment, in this male take on Nine To Five…. While Gwynnie was simply banking her annual $3m for being the facew of Estée Lauder beauty products. 
  46. Malin Ackerman, Rock of Ages, 2011.  Amy Adams, Anne Hathaway, Gwyneth Paltrow and Olivia Wilde were all in the Constance  frame.  Akerman won but who noticed? All eyes were on Tom Cruise’s staggering rock star Stacee Jaxx – aka Jim Morrison meets Axel Rose. Alec Baldwin called it a horrible movie.  “I only did it to work with Tom.” Well, the audition worked.  They stayed together for Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, 2014
  47. Rosamund Pike, Wrath of the Titans, 2011.      Alexa Davalos was “unavailable” for  the sequel to Clash of the Titans sequel. South African director Jonathan Leibesman started looking for a new Andromeda  through Hayley Atwell, Georgina Haig, Dominique McElligott, Jane Montgomery,  Clémence Poésy.
  48. Nicole Kidman, Grace of Monaco, 2012.      Also in the mix to play Grace Kelly were: Amy Adams, Elizabeth Banks, Emily Blunt, Jessica Chastain, Kate Hudson, January Jones, Rosamund Pike, Charlize Theron, Reese Witherspoon. But not Christina Applegate, the young Grace on TV in 1983 when Cheryl Ladd was the older. None of them resembled Her Serene Highness, but then nor did Tim Roth look like Prince Rainier.

  49. Scarlett Johansson,  Hitchcock, 2012.    Thirty-two years after his death, Alfred Hitchcock’s back in business! With two films headlined by UK actors (Anthony Hopkins, Toby Jones) in bad impressions and fat suits. This is the first before the cameras  – Hopkins making Psycho. And telling Scarlett’s  Janet Leigh: “You can call me Hitch. Hold the cock.”  As Janet Leigh was just two years older than the dowdier Vera Miles (played by Jessica Biel), most actresses were up for either role…

  50. Jessic Biel, Hitchcock, 2012.    …the candidates included  Dianna Agron, Camilla Belle, Abbie Cornish, Emilie de Ravin, Natalie Dormer, Sarah Gadon, Ashley Greene, Kate Mara, Brit Marling, Gwyneth Paltrow, Chloe Sevigny, Mary Elizabeth Winstead., Reese Witherspoon, Evan Rachel Wood… plus  Jessica Biel (chosen for Vera Miles)  and January Jones, who was also up for the role of Tippi Hedren in the Hitch-making-The Birds TV  drama, The Girl, seen first in October 2012.  (Timothy Spall was booked as her Hitchcock, finally portrayed by Toby Jones opposite Sienna Miller).

  51. Nicole Kidman, The Secret in Their Eyes, 2014.   Kidman was the last minute replacement when Paltrow had to leave the project – a re-make of the 2010 Oscar-winning Argentine thriller, El secreto de sue ojos.

  52. Alicia Vikander, The Danish Girl, 2015.   The role? Gerda Wegener, the Californian-born artist wife of Danish painter Einar Wegene – one of the first men, in 1930, to surgically become a woman: Lili Elbe.   First choice Charlize Theron dropped out in 2008. Paltrow split for more family time. Uma Thurman entered the mix, then Marion Cotillard in 2010. Rachel Weisz followed in 2011 and, finally, Vikander played Gerda for UK director Tom Hooper… opposite Eddie Redmayne as her husband. 
  53. Emily Blunt, Mary Poppins Returns,2017.   When Walt Disney made the first Poppins, he mused over Bette Davis, Angela Lansbury or Mary Martin for Mary but by 1963, he had only one star in mind. Julie Andrews.  For this reboot, Disney suits went through no less than 37 contenders… Two Desperate Housewives:Kristin Davis, Teri Hatcher. Two Friends:Jennifer Aniston, Lisa Kudrow. Two Brat Packers: Molly Ringwald, Winona Ryder.  Two of the three authors of The Penis Song: Christina Aplegate, Cameron Diaz. Three sirens: Kim Basinger, Heather Graham Uma Thurman. Four ex-child stars: Drew Barrymore, Alyssa Milano, Tatum O’Neal, Brooke Shields. Ten Oscar-winners: Sandra Bullock, Helen Hunt, Angelina Jolie, Julianne Moore, Tatum O‘Neal, Julia Roberts, Hilary Swank, Charlize Theron, Reese Witherspoon, RenéeZellweger. Plus: Patricia Arquette, Melanie Griffith, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Ashley Judd, Gwyneth Paltrow, Sarah Jessica Parker, Michelle Peiffer, Meg Ryan, Alicia Silverstone, Naomi Watts. But just two Brits: Kate Beckinsale  – and the winning Emily.












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