Hilary Swank

  1. Marla  Sokoloff, The Practice, TV, 1997-2004.      Avoiding such fleeting TV fame allowed her to become (after Luise Rainer  and Jodie Foster ) the third youngest woman in history to win two Best Actress Oscars (and inside five years).
  2. Nicole Kidman, Moulin Rouge!, 1999.   “Ah,” said Courtney Love.  “The one that got away,… which I am still not completely over.”  Particularly after director Baz Luhrmann told her she was “a great representation of tragedy.”  Then again, Baz got what he wanted. – permissions to use to use Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit in the opening. Love agreed, although rarely allowing movie use of her late husband Kurt Cobain’s music. Nicole’s other rivals for Satine had been Drew Barrymore, Sophie Ellis-Baxter, Natalie Mendoza, Sharleen Spiten Hilary Swank,  Kate Winslet, Renee Zellweger, and – opposite Heath Ledger – Catherine Zeta-Jones.“They didn’t have to be big singers,”  Baz explained,  “but they had to be able to move you emotionally. Basically, Ewan [McGregor] and Nicole were the best for the job. That’s the bottom line of it.”
  3. Renée Zellweger, Chicago, 2001.
  4. Diane Lane, Unfaithful, 2001.   For his passionate US update of Madame Bovary, UK director Adrian Lyne saw six potential husbands, three lovers… And as many as 15 cheating wives: Lane, Swank, Josie Davis, Kristin Davis, Portia de Rossi, Jodie Foster, Angelina Jolie, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Jennifer Lopez, Alyssa Milano, Meg Ryan, Kyra Sedgwick, Brooke Shields, Tori Spelling, Kate Winslet.  
  5. Jennifer Connelly, A Brilliant Mind, 2001.   If the choice of the right actor to portray the schizophrenic Noble Prize-winning mathematician John Forbes Nash Jr was vital, selecting his screen wife was even more so   – hence an Oscar for Connelly and not for Russell Crowe.  The other candidates included Julie Bowen, Toni Collette, Claire Danes, Geena Davis, Kirsten Dunst, Portia De Rossi, Claire Forlani, Rachel Griffiths, Teri Hatcher, Famke Janssen, Ashley Judd, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Catherine McCormack, Mary McCormick, Mia Maestro, Rhona Mitra, Julia Ormond, Amanda Peet, Christina Ricci, Meg Ryan, Chloe Sevigny, Alicia Silverstone, Mira Sorvino, Hilary Swank, Charlize Theron, Uma Thurman, Rachel Weisz.  PS Emily Watson was rejected as “too British” – while Salma Hayek was seen because  Alicia Nash came from El; Salvador… which must have meant the others were too American, Australian,  South African, etc.  Director Ron Howard seemed to forget they were all actresses. Odd that, as he used to be one.
  6. Jennifer Lopez, The Chambermaid, 2002.     Well, if  the romantic chambermaid role wasn’t tempting enough for Julia Roberts or Sandra  Bullock…
  7. Rachael Leigh Cook, 11:14, 2003.     Writer-director Greg Marcks offered Cheri in his second film. However,   Buzzy “spoke” to Hilary, even though the character was a man. She asked  the auteur to rewrite him as a her. And he did.
  8. Jennifer Garner, 13 Going On 30, 2003.      Suddenly Hilary, Gwyneth Paltrow and Renée Zellweger had to deal with a fresh rival – Jennifer, famous as the action-spy Sydney Bristow in Alias, TV, 2001-2005.

  9. 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 wriggle 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… two Friends: 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.

  10. Vera Famiga, The Departed, 2005.   Testosterone ruled the roost (as per usual in a Martin Scorsese movie) but Vera held her own as Madolyn – a composite of two women in the original Hong Kong thriller, Internal Affairs, 2001.  Scorsese had also thought about Jennifer Aniston, Emily Blunt, Kate Winslet. And the mighty Swank, winner of two actress Oscars in five years.  Scorsese decided on  someone new… an anti-Hollywood, “anti-Barbie,” from a strict, Ukrainian-speaking enclave in New Jersey.
  11. 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.

  12. Maria Bello, World Trader Center, 2006.     Kevin Costner was attached at one  point to Oliver Stone’s film, with Swank as his wife.  The two actors had narrated the 9/ll docu, On Native Soil, 2006.
  13. Malin Åkerman, Watchmen, 2008.  Not so much “Who watches the watchmen?” as Juvenal asked, but who them playeth? As Alan Moore’s forcibly retired superheroes were called back to duty in an alternate 1985 America – Swank, Jessica Alba, Jennifer Connelly,  Hilary Duff, Milla Jovovich, Hilary Swank were up for Laurie Jupiter, aka Silk Spectre II. Cast included actors playing Brezhnev, Castro, JFK and Jackie, Kissinger, Nixon, David Bowie, Mick Jagger, Andy Warhol…The gang’s all here!
  14. Elizabeth Banks, Welcome to People, 2011.     They were at a Hollywood Reporter roundtable when they realised they had both fought for the same role – and lost it. At the same gathering, Annette Bening turned to Amy Adams: “Amy, you got it, didn’t you?” Amy blushed and said: “I’m not getting into this.” In fact, she rejected the film to stay home with her baby daughter.
  15. Elizabeth Banks, People Like Us, 2011.     Being a double Oscar-winner doesn’t open every door… !  She wanted to be the sister that Chris Pine never knew he had but auteur Alex Kurtzman  banked on Elizabeth. 
  16. Jennifer Garner, Dallas Buyers Club, 2012.    The  double Oscar-winner was in then out as Dr Eve Saks, who helped AIDS medication fighter Ron Woodroof in  his battle  to supply AIDS victims (like himself) with “illegal”  medications, better than the US-approved ATZ. 
  17. Rachel Weisz, Oz the Great and Powerful, 2012.        Disneyland is no Oz. Yet having lost a bundle on the depressing Return To Oz, 1984, the Mouse House primed the pump anew for this dangerously titled flop. Also up for Evanora: Amy Adams, Kate Beckinsale, Rebecca Hall, Keira Knightley, Kristen Stewart. Director Sam Raimi’s favourites became Swank and Michelle Williams. Then, Weisz arrived out of the blue… and blew everyone away. And Williams excelled as Annie/Glinda.
  18. Jennifer Jason Leigh, The Hateful Eight, 2014.  In a snit when his script wes leaked,   this is the Tarantino  film  that  nearly wasn’t. And isn’t. A movie, that is. It’s a single-set stage play with enough speechifyin’ for a UN climate congress. Never mind, Quentin loved his second Western (third if you count Reservoir Dogs).  Or was it just the search for his Daisy Domergue among the double Oscar-winning Swank, Geena Davis, Jennifer Lawrence, Demi Moore, Katiee Sackhoff, Amber Tamblyn (excellent, if too young, during the public April script reading at LA’s United Artists theatre),  Michelle Williams, Evan Rachel Wood, Robin Wright  No, he was  “crazy, gaga, eyes popping out of my head happy with this film.” Good for him. Not for us.  He was punching below his weight.
  19. 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.





 Birth year: Death year: Other name: Casting Calls:  19