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Sally Field


  1. Katharine Ross, The Graduate,  1967.  Broadway’s Mike Nichols came to town and saw, tested, auditioned almost every  babe of the correct age for Mrs Robinson’s daughter.   From Baby Dollto Lolita, by way of The Flying Nun Sally Field… Ann-Margret, Elizabeth Ashley, Carroll Baker, Candice Bergen, Patty Duke, Jane Fonda, Sue Lyon, Carol Lynley, Hayley Mills, Yvette Mimieux, Suzanne Pleshette, Lee Remick, Pamela Tiffin, Tuesday Weld, Natalie Wood. Having played Gameswith her that year, Simone Signoret recommended Ross to Nichols.
  2. Kim Darby, True Grit, 1968.     Director Henry Hathaway wanted Sally as Mattie. Producer Hall Wallis said her Flying Nun TV image would work against her. Hathway was far from pleased with Darby – found in a TV show a month before shooting started in Colorado. “She’s not particularly attractive, so her book of tricks consisted mostly [of] being a little cute.” Then again, if he’d explored, he would have discovered she had just given birth, was in mid-divorce and… scared of horses. Also in the Mattie mix: Duke’s teenage daughter Aissa, Geneviève Bujold, singer Karen Carpenter (a Duke idea), Mia Farrow, Sondra Locke, one of Charlie’s Angels, Jaclyn Smith, Tuesday Weld. Plus past and future Duke co-stars Michele El Dorado Carey and Jennifer Rio Lobo O’Neill.
  3. Lindsay Wagner, The Bionic Woman, TV, 1976-1978.  Please tell me, someone, that Sally yelled: “Hell, no! Three seasons of The Flying Nun was bad enough.” Or., Stephanie Powers. Before Universal decided to choose her, Wagner finished her contract with the role - in a Six Million Dollar Man episode. It proved so successful she was still on the U payroll for two more years... of forever playing with her hair… and moving real fast… in slow-motion!  
  4. Mary Steenburgen, Time After Time,1979.   The studio wanted Sally and director  Nicholas Meyer's first choice was his girlfriend, Shelley Hack. The big joke of The Flying Nun, Sally went on to study with Lee Strasberg and  eventually had top directors (but not their studios) wanting her (and taking her in Bob Rafelson’s case).
  5. Adrienne King, Friday The 13th, 1980.     Field would not have been so keen if she knew Adrienne’s future...being stalked and terrorized by an obsessive fan after the film’s release. King only agreed to the sequel if her rolewas small, very small.
  6. Barbara Hershey, The Entity, 1980.  Or a more up-market horror film…? Field, Jill Clayburgh, Jane Fonda and Bette Midler (!) were listed for poor Clara, pursued by the titular being. Two years previously, Clayburgh and Fonda lost Norma Rae to Field - her finest hour.
  7. Beverly D'Angelo, Paternity, 1981.    A script about Burt Reynolds wanting a baby but not marriage - oh, so close to his home.
  8. Rachel Ward, Sharkey's Machine, 1981.     Sally was winning the Oscars he craved, so his girl had flown before this less than jokey slice of Burt Reynolds' dir-acted cop art.
  9. Sissy Spacek, Raggedy Man, 1981.    Inevitable casting change once Sissy’s art director husband, Jack Fisk, was booked for his helming debut.  Besides, Sally preferred a second Martin  Ritt film, Back Roads - ruined by her  lack of chemistry with  Tommy Lee Jones. Spielberg was more impressed by Sissy’s screen son, Henry Thomas.   He became Elliott in ET.
  10. Meryl Streep, Sophie’s Choice, 1982.    Her lover, Burt Reynolds,put her off buying the rights, by saying she needed more pulpy adventures - like Beyond The Poseidon Adventure!He admitted his error after her Norma Rae, 1979, but refused to accompany her to the Oscars.She won, anyway.

  11. Jessica Lange, Frances, 1982.      Howard Hawks said she always seemed to be shining. “More talent than anyone I ever worked with.” She and Vivien Leigh were beaten by Ingrid Bergman to For Whom The Bell Tolls, 1943 She’s the subject of various books, plays (viz Sally Clarke’s Saint Frances of Hollywood), pop and rock songs - French-Canadian singer Mylène Farmer even took her name. All actresses loved her talent and guts (when wrongfully committed to asylums by her parents) and 23 wanted to be… Frances Farmer. From the sublime to the ridiculous: Meryl Streep, to Susan Dey of TV’s Partridge Family. Kim Basinger tested with Sam Shepard (Lange’s husband). Undaunted Susan Blakely made her own 1983 TVersion (from Farmer’s book, Will There Really Be A Morning?). Plus Anne Archer, Ann-Margret, Blythe Danner, Patty Duke, Mia Farrow, Sally Field, Jane Fonda, Goldie Hawn, Glenda Jackson, Diane Keaton, Liza Minnelli, Michelle Phillips, Katharine Ross, Susan Sarandon, Cybill Shepherd, Sissy Spacek, Tuesday Weld, Natalie Wood.
  12. Teri Garr, Mr Mom, 1983.   In his first starring role, Michael Keaton was the sudden house husband. His working wife - Mrs Dad? - was selected from Garr, Karen Allen, Valerie Curtin, Farrah Fawcett and Sally Field.
  13. Demi Moore, No Small Affair, 1984.     Sally started shooting with Matthew Broderick in 1981 when director Martin Ritt collapsed.When Jerry Schatzberg recast the film, Ritt was preparing something else for his Norma Rae - Murphy's Romance.
  14. Glenn Close, Fatal Attraction, 1986.
  15. Cher, Moonstruck, 1987.    Sally was hardly Latin enough for Loretta Castorini in what was originallty titled The Bride and the Wolf.
  16. 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 27 for her lawyer. Including Fatal Attraction also-rans from Field,  Geena Davis, Goldie Hawn, Barbara Hershey, Tuesday Weld - to Diane Keaton, Meryl Streep and Debra Winger, who were offered both roles. Plus Beverly D’Angelo, Blythe Danner, Carrie Fisher, Teri Garr, Mary Gross, Barbara Hershey, Kathleen Turner, Sigourney Weaver, Dianne Wiest. A 1982 rape victim herself, McGillis refused the lead. She had no wish to revisit the horror and pain of her own assault six years earlier. She had no wish to revisit the horror and pain of her own assault six years earlier. Obviously. However, she agreed to play Sarah’s defence attorney - on condition that the studio-described “unsexy” Jodie, and no one else, played Sarah! The suits caved, tested Foster and the rest is Oscar history… dated March 29, 1989.
  17. Mariel Hemingway, Delirious, 1991.       With the choice of two soap satires, she chose badly and took a bath with Soapdish.
  18. Wendy Crewson, The Santa Clause, 1994.  Scott Calvin aka Santa swept through eight  possibilities (from Harrison Ford to the winning Tim Allen), compared to seven women for his ex, Laura: Crewson, Kate Burton, Patrica Clarkson, Jennifer Grey, Goldie Hawn, Patrica Heaton, Angelica Huston, Nicole Kidman, Mary McDonnell, Pamela Reed, Molly Ringwald, Julia Roberts,  Ally Sheedy... and Sally Field - no way to treat a start who had long since moved on from comedy pap to winning two Best Actress Oscars. Joe Dante, Richard Donner, even Steven Spielberg were Disney’s dream wishes to direct.
  19. Diane Keaton, The First Wives Club, 1996.     Conceived for Sally by producer Sherry Lansing.
  20. Donna Murphy, Star Trek: Insurrection, 1998.      When Field passed, supposedly 80 women auditioned for Anij, the Ba'ku woman who to be Captain Jean-Luc Picard's love interest.. Murphy, a double Tony-winner, was soon the favourite of director (and co-star) Jonathan Frakes. “A great honour,” she said, “because I know that the Star Trek audience has such a devotion to and affection for these richly drawn characters.”
  21. 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 Clenn Close and Mertyl 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.
  22. Marisa Tomei, Captain America: Civil War, 2015. Tomei was staggered to find that Spider-Man’s Aunt May Parker was so much older in the comics.  At 52, Marisa was the youngest Aunty (not a blood relative of Peter Parker).  One of her previous co-stars, Rosemary Harris, re-crteated the role during 2001-2003, at 74 to 79.  Sally Field then  took, over for the previous two chapters, 2011-2013,  at 65 to 67.  Now she was gone. A new Spidey, meant a new Aunty.







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