- 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 Doll to 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 Games with her that year, Simone Signoret recommended Ross to Nichols.
- 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.
- Lindsay Wagner, The Bionic Woman, TV, 1976-1978. The Flying Bionic Nun! Or Stephanie Powers.Before Universal decided to have Wagner finished her contract with the role - in a Six Million Dollar Man episode.It proved sosuccessful she was still on the U payroll for two more years...of forever playing with her hair.
- Mary Steenburgen, Time After Time, 1979. The studio wanted Sally and director Nicholas Meyer's first choice was his girlfriend, Shelley Hack.
- 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.
- 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.
- Beverly D'Angelo, Paternity, 1981. A script about Burt Reynolds wanting a baby but not marriage - oh, so close to his home.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Glenn Close, Fatal Attraction, 1986.
- Cher, Moonstruck, 1987. Sally was hardly Latin enough for Loretta Castorini in what was originallty titled The Bride and the Wolf.
- 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.
- Mariel Hemingway, Delirious, 1991. With the choice of two soap satires, she chose badly and took a bath with Soapdish.
- Diane Keaton, The First Wives Club, 1996. Conceived for Sally by producer Sherry Lansing.
- 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.”