- Brooke Shields, Pretty Baby, 1977. The subject was horrendous - a prostitute allowing 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 28 hopefuls and/or instant (parental) refusals for Violet. From Laura Dern aged 10 and future Sex And The City co-stars Cynthia Nixon, at 11, Sarah Jessica Parker, 12 (like Shields) and (the often too buxom) teenagers Fonda Melissa Sue Anderson, Rosanna Arquette, Linda Blair, Jamie Lee Curtis, Jodie Foster, Mariel Hemingway, Helen Hunt, Anissa Jones (who tragically ODed at 18 before her audition), Diane Lane, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Kristy McNichol, Tatum O’Neal (Dad said no), Dana Plato (Mom said no), Michelle Pfeiffer, Ally Sheedy, Meg Tilly, Charlene Tilton… to seven twentysomethings. However, no make-up and soft lenses could make 12-year-olds out of Isabelle Adjani, Bo Derek, Carrie Fisher, Melanie Griffith, Amy Irving, Mary Steenburgen or Debra Winger. (Bridget’s aunt had been Malle’s first choice for the mother… of Jodie Foster).
- Brooke Shields, The Blue Lagoon, 1979. Auditioned for Emmeline - despite Grease director Randal Kleiser wanting his shipwrecked couple to be naked throughout the re-make. (They were not). Shields had her long hair glued to her front - and a nude body double.
- Linda Hamilton, The Terminator, 1983. In all, 52 actresses were considered, seen, or tested for Sarah Connor. James Cameron created her for Bridget. She passed; so did Tatum O’Neal. He decided to go older… Glenn 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.
- Ally Sheedy, St Elmo’s Fire, 1984. Directors John Hughes and Joel Schumacher were rather like Lucas and Spielberg in the 70s: dipping into the same age talent pool. The Brat Packers Hughes kept in the high school Breakfast Club, Schumacher made, as here, college kids. When Hughes said “Why can’t I make movies like The Lost Boys, Joel?” Schumacher replied: “Why can’t I make Pretty in Pink?” Ther answer was different school experiences. Joel’s was “drinking at nine, smoking at 10, sexually active at 11.”
- Elisabeth Shue, Adventures in Babysitting, 1986. For his directing debut, Gremlins writer Chris Columbus saw just about every gal in town for the explosive night of babysitter Chris Parker: a project hanging around (with Jane Fonda) since the 60s. Twenty years on, Jane’s niece, Bridget, was booked. Kathleen Turner was the next “first choice.” Julia Louis-Dreyfuss auditioned - and passed to Jodie Foster.. But she also passed - to Michelle Pfeiffer… and she quit for The Witches of Eastwick! More auditions were held for: Justine Bateman (her TV series, Family Ties, cancelled that idea!), Melanie Griffith, Andie MacDowell, Tatum O’Neal, Brooke Shields, Sharon Stone. Columbus refused Kelly McGillis and Valerie Bertinelli lost out to Shue on the final day.
- Jodie Foster, The Accused, 1988.
An awful thing to say. Except it is true. Jodie Foster would never have won her (first) Oscar for this trenchant drama - if actress Kelly McGillis had not been raped in 1982… At first, the role of the rape victim Sarah Tobias was written for Andie MacDowell. She passed. The Paramount suits then saw 34 other young actresses for the (real life) victim. Or, for their own rape bait fantasies - including 16-year-old Alyssa Milano! Foster was refused a test because she was “not sexy enough”! And, anyway, the studio had decided upon McGillis, a high flyer in Paramount’s Witness and Top Gun. And, naturally, she refused point-blank! She knew what it was to be brutally raped and Kelly had no wish to revisit the horror and agony of her own assault six years earlier. The suits were annoyed. They needed her. She was hot at the box-office, their box-office. They had made her a star!! Eventually, McGillis agreed to play Sarah’s defence attorney - on condition that unsexy Jodie played Sarah! The suits caved, tested Foster and the rest is Oscar history… So is the huge list of talent also seen for Sarah. Starting with the Fatal Attraction also-rans: Rosanna Arquette, Ellen Barkin, Kim Basinger, Jennifer Beals, Jennifer Grey, Melanie Griffith, Linda Hamilton, Darryl Hannah, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Diane Keaton, Demi Moore, Kelly Preston, Meg Ryan, Jane Seymour, Sharon Stone, Meryl Streep, Debra Winger. And moving on to the younger Fonda, Melissa Sue Anderson (trying to break her Little House on the Prairie image), Justine Bateman, Valerie Bertinelli, Phoebe Cates, Jennifer Connelly, Joan Cusack, Judy Davis, Kristin Davis, Bridget Fonda, Annabeth Gish, Mariel Hemingway, Kelly LeBrock, Virginia Madsen, Brigitte Nielsen, Tatum O’Neal, Molly Ringwald, Mia Sara, Ally Sheedy, Brooke Shields, Uma Thurman. Oh, and Julia Louis-Dreyfuss, said the suits, was “too nice.” Rape victims shouldn’t be nice? Oh, Hollywood!
- Julia Roberts, Pretty Woman, 1989.
- Sean Young, A Kiss Before Dying, 1990. Brit James Dearden’s re-make casting sounds like Klute, The Next Generation. Fonda and Sutherland - ie Bridget and Kiefer. Ended as Young and Matt Dillon.
- Geena Davis, Thelma & Louise, 1990.
- Sofia Coppola, The Godfather: Part III, 1991.
- Juliette Lewis, Cape Fear, 1991. Among the many - the very many - Christina Applegate, Drew Barrymore, Jennifer Connelly, Shannen Doherty, Nicole Eggeret, Jodie Foster, Helen Hunt, Nicole Kidman, Diane Lane, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Alyssa Milano, Demi Moore, Sarah Jessica Parker, Molly Ringwald, Meg Ryan, Winona Ryder, Brooke Shields, Tiffani Thiessen, Reese Witherspoon - considered by Steven Spielberg and, later, Martin Scorsese for the teen daughter of Nick Nolte and Jessica Lange: Danielle Bowden. (Nancy in the 1962 original). Some found it too sexy and, indeed, few could have equalled the on-heat musk of Juliette’s totally improvised - and one take - seduction scene with Robert De Niro.
- Sharon Stone, Basic Instinct, 1991.
- Jennifer Jason Leigh, Single White Female, 1992. Director Barbet Schroeder wanted Bridget for either role. He said: “You choose.” She picked Allie as being harder to play than Hedy.
- Laura Dern, Jurassic Park, 1992.
- Uma Thurman, Pulp Fiction, 1993.
- Amanda Plummer, Pulp Fiction, 1993.
- Rosanna Arquette, Pulp Fiction, 1993.
- Geena Davis, Angie, 1993. The official reason was Madonna was booked for Abel Ferrara’s Dangerous Game, 1992. Then, one of her emails was leaked - furious with the head Fox, Joe Roth, for dumping her for a non-Italian in the Italian titular role. In truth, she fled after hearing Roth didn’t want her because she couldn’t carry a movie. (Not that this one did any better without her). Her director, Jonathan Kaplan, also quit and Martha Coolidge took over with her 1991 Rambling Rose star - after some thoughts about a dozen others, from Helen Hunt to Meryl Streep. Oh, very Italian!
- Kelly Lynch, Three of Hearts, 1993. Bridget was talked of after Elizabeth Perkins quit director Yurek Bogayevicz.
- Jeanne Tripplehorn, The Firm, 1993. Not enough women in it moaned the studio. Even so, more than enough women were seen for the nothing role of Tom Cruise's wife: Julia Roberts, Robin Wright, etc.
- Laura Johnson, Trauma, Italy, 1993. A great fan of genre movies, Bridget leapt at Italian horror director Dario Argento’s offer to be TV newshen Grace Harrington... until she won the Nikita re-make, Point Of No Return.
- Jennifer Jason Leigh, The Hudsucker Proxy, 1993. Yes, she loved the Coen brothers but this time she went Italian when director Bernardo Bertolucci asked her to be Little Buddha's mother.
- Sandra Bullock, Speed, 1993. Although sharing the heroics and the driving of the bus-bomb with Keanu Reeves,, most girls saw it as The Guy’s film. An amazing 36 refused to be Annie: Bridget, Rosanna Arquette, Kim Basinger, Halle Berry, Glenn Close (!), Geena Davis, Cameron Diaz, Carrie Fisher, Jodie Foster, Melanie Griffith, Daryl Hannah, Mariska Hargitay, Barbara Hershey, Anjelica Huston, Diane Lane, Jessica Lange, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Kay Lenz, Alyssa Milano, Demi Moore, Tatum O’Neal, Sarah Jessica Parker, Michelle Pfeiffer, Julia Roberts, Meg Ryan, Winona Ryder, Jane Seymour, Ally Sheedy, Brooke Shields, Meryl Streep (!), Emma Thompson (!), Meg Tilly, Marisa Tomei, Kathleen Turner, Sigourney Weaver and Debra Winger.
- Marisa Tomei, Only You, 1994. Canadian film-maker Norman Jewison’s first idea for the believer in soul mates.
- Nicole Kidman, To Die For, 1994. “You aren't anybody in America if you’re not on TV…” Most young sparks agreed this was a role to die for... the girl who would do anything (murder included) to get on TV, and stay there. Including Fonda, Patricia Arquette, Jennifer Connelly, Joan Cusack, Jodie Foster, Melanie Griffith, Darryl Hannah, Holly Hunter, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Tatum O’Neal, Mary-Louise Parker, Sarah Jessica Parker, Michelle Pfeiffer, Meg Ryan, Meg Ryan (passing up $5m),Brooke Shields, Uma Thurman. However, Debra Winger simply refused… and Kidman persuaded director Gus Van Sant that she was his destiny.
- Renée Zellweger, Jerry Maguire, 1996. Writer-director Cameron Crowe was considering Bridget, Cameron Diaz, Winona Ryder, and Marisa Tomei for Dorothy Boyd, when he heard of Renée’s performance in The Whole Wide World. He looked. He saw. She conquered.
- Asia Argento, La sindrome de Stendahl/The Stendahl Syndrome, Italy, 1996. Dario Argento called again. Her agent refused to lower her $1.5m fee - dumb move when the director has an actress daughter.
- Calista Flockhart, Ally McBeal, TV, 1997-2002. Creator David E Kelley originally envisioned a Bridget McBeal. Ally made Calista a TV superstar.
- Kirsten Dunst, Spider-Man, 2001.
- Melissa Leo, Veronika Decides To Die, 2008. of Mari in UK director Emily Young’s version of Paulo Coelho’s novel.