- Elodie Bouchez, QC, 2000. French star Marlene Jobert was shocked with her sumptuous daughter’s naked sexuality in her screen debut in The Dreamers, 2003. What Roman Coppola (The Son) had missed in her audition for his flop was encouraged to flower by Italian director by Bernardo Bertolucci. Then again,one onlyof them knew how to make films.
- Angelina Jolie, Mr & Mrs Smith, 2004. A married couple of assassins (he’s Brad Pitt) are hired to kill each other! Pitt quit when Nicole Kidman had to leave and returned only when her final replacement was, well… When Brad Met Angelina! Also chased in the meantime were Cate Blanchett, Gwen Stefani, Catherine Zeta-Jones and the unlikeliest Mrs Smith of ’em all, Bollywood’s gorgeous Aishwarya Rai Bachchan.
- Mia Kirshner, The Black Dahlia, 2005. “Non,” said Eva. “No more femmes fatales for me.” Fairuza Balk and Kate Beckinsale were also on director Brian De Palma’s list for Madeleine Linscott in the James Elroy book that took 20 years to reach the screen.Yes, but Hilary had something special. Two Oscars!
- Rachel Weisz, The Constant Gardener, 2005. First choice of the Brazilian director Fernando Meirelles for John Le Carré’s heroine, Tessa Quayle... was busy elsewhere. Rachel, Nicole Kidman, Sienna Miller and Kate Winslet auditioned to take over Tessa Quayle.
- Cécile De France, Un secret, France, 2007. The blonde Cécile arrrived for her meeting with realisateur Claude Miller at the Chez Ginette restaurant in Paris having been warned by her agent that she was “in a sort of competition.” She also knew the personagewas a sportive beauty.So, she dressed sporty... her long legs in a tiny mini-skirt. Game over!
- Ludvine Sagnier, L’instinct de mort & L’ennemi public numéro 1, France-Canada-Italy, 2008. No shortage of French actresses up for the :lover of Jacques Mesrine, a 1959-1979 French Dillinger: bank robber, kidnapper, killer (39 victims,at least). He preferred to see himself, bien sur,as an anarchist.
- Diane Kruger, Mr Nobody, Belgium-Canada-France-Germany, 2008. Belgian auteur Jaco Van Dormael asked her to play Anna, step-sister of his titular hero - aged 120 in 2092. She obviously read the (mundane, pretentious) sf script. Plus: “It doesn’t satisfy me completely, this job. Iwant to travel. Maybe I’ll end up living in Norway, making cakes.” The next year, Green andKruger were rivals for the Green Lantern babe.
- Charlotte Gainsbourg, Antichrist, Denmark-Germany-France-Sweden-Italy-Poland, 2008. She could not get the notorious Danish director Lars Von Trier to fix the boundaries for the sex scenes. He desired to go much further than Bertolucci. (And Von Trier did so in the hardand soft versions of Nymphomaniac, 2012.)
- Diane Kruger, Mr Nobody, 2008. Belgian auteur Jaco Van Dormael’s first choice had to pass.
- Penelope Cruz, Sex and the City 2, 2009. One Euro sex object substituted another. A brave choice as Cruz out-sexed all of the ageing regulars. Simply by not trying as hard as they did.
- Rachel McAdams, The Time Traveler’s Wife, 2008. Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt bought Audrey Niffenegger’s bitterwweet love story in galleys for their Plan B combine. They lost Steven Spielberg as director, then each other… Pitt produced with the titular McAdams, wed to Eric Bana who, well, just kept on disappearing… leaving his clothes behind. “It can be a problem,” he admitted.
- Blake Lively, Green Lantern, 2010. As directors changed from Tarantino, Kevin Smith Zack Snyder (quitting for Watchmen), and Greg Berlanti (the film’s producer and co-scenarist) to, ultimately, 007’s Martin Campbell, so did the candidates for Lantern’s light, his girl Carol Ferris, vp of Ferris Aircraft,.. Eva, Jennifer Garner, Diane Kruger, Keri Russell. Carol, who eventually becomes the evil Star Sapphire, was originally based- byJohn Broome and Gil Kane in1959 -on Elizabeth Taylor.
- Noomi Rapace, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shows, 2010. Suddenly, the Bond find was was up for everything…UK director Guy Ritchiesaw the Spanish Penelope Cruz and all the usual French girls for Sim - Juliette Binoche, Marion Cotillard, Cécile de France, Virginie Ledoyen, Sophie Marceau, Audrey Tautou. And signed a Swede... the star of the Millennium trilogy.
- Olivia Wilde, Cowboys & Aliens, 2010. Daniel Craig heartily backed his Bond Girl for Ella. She refused and Wilde, beaten by Green as Vesper Lynd in Casino Royale substituted. Beautifully.
- Rooney Mara, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, 2010.
- Anne Hathaway, The Dark Knight Rises, 2011.
- Carey Mulligan, The Great Gatsby, 2011. Australian director Baz Luhrmann’s huntfor Daisy in the third Gatsby movie matched all the season’s other major auditions. As if the only actresses left on planet earth were: Green, Jessica Alba, Abbie Cornish, Rebecca Hall, Anne Hathaway, Scarlett Johansson, Keira Knightley, Blake Lively, Rachel McAdams, Natalie Portman, Amanda Seyfried, Olivia Wilde, Michelle Williams. And Mulligan... soon sobbing on a red carpet, after beinghanded a phone. “It was Baz: Hello Daisy!”
- Rosamund Pike, Jack Reacher, 2011.
Never had a French star generated such attention. Eva found herself up for... everything! Such as the tough lawyer pal of ex-military cop-turned-drifter Jack Reacher. Tom Cruise first bought the rights in 2006, even though the hero is 6ft 5ins and 250 lbs of aggressive muscle. Reminiscent of Anne Rice’s capitulation when tiny Tom beame the “very tall” Lestat in Interview With The Vampire, 1994, author Lee Child declared: “Reacher’s size is a metaphor for an unstoppable force - which Cruise portrays in his own way.” And well enough to win his 19th $200m box-office.
- Jessica Biel, Total Recall, 2011. Tied to Marvel’s Avengers. Next Melina, the Resistance fighter, was also offered to Eva Green, Rosario Dawson, Eva Mendes and Paula Patten. The hero succeeding Schwarzenegger was a Colin Farrell in excellent 007-testing mode.
- Diane Kruger, Les adieux à la reine (US: Farewell My Queen), France, 2011.
Change of Marie Antoinette. Good decision. Then, she has a good credo: “If I don’t like something, I don’t think I can even perform. A movie’s from my heart, my soul.” Léa Seydoux stole this one as the servant girl who reads to the queen: the right book to suit the right mood
- Laetitia Casta, Arbitrage, 2011. Time was when no actress would turn down a Richard Gere movie. That was then. Now, they don’t turn down Johnny Depp - except thjey do, allowing Eva left Gere to join Johnny and Tim Burton’s Dark Shadows.
- Gemma Arterton, Hansel And Gretel: Witch Hunters, 2012. Potential Gretels (rebooted as a bounty-hunter) also included Diane Kruger, and Noomi Rapace. Never mind...during a gruelling casting season, Eva made a major impact in her first US TV mini-series, as Morgan inCamelot.
- Rosario Dawson, Trance, 2012. Director Danny Boyle also saw Scarlett Johansson, Zoe Saldana and Melanie Thierry. But would they have agreed to Rosario’s bolder-than-Sharon Stone genitalia scene? Shooting filled a gap in Boyle’s two-year schedule for his stunning opening/closing ceremoniesof London’s 2012 Olympics - and edited after the event.
- ,Scarlett Johansson, Under The Skin, 2012. Many of the same faces from the late 2010 casting season - Eva, Gemma Arterton, Jessica Biel, Abbie Cornish, Megan Fox, January Jones, Blake Lively, Amanda Seyfried, Olivia Wilde - were up for the alien hanging around Glasgow… originally the wife of an alien Brad Pitt, but he couldn’t wait for director Jonathan Glazer to get started on his “chilling masterpiece” (The Guardian).
- Jessica Chastain, The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: His &The Disappearancee of Eleanor Rigby: Hers, 2013. Auditioned for Eleanor, James McAvoy’swife, in the movie twinset of a New York couple’s relationship as told by him… and her.
- Diane Kruger, The Host, 2012. Change of The Seeker in New Zealand director Andrew Niccol’s film of Twilight author Stephenie Meyer’s sf book. Hayley Atwell and Claire Danes were also listed.
- Gal Gadot, Wonder Woman, 2015. On Warner shelves for a full decade (not helped by David Kelley’s disastrous 2011 TVersion), spinning through numerous wonder women directors. the demi-goddess daughter of Zeus, eventually became the Israeli Gadot. “Very different,” she said, “from the experienced, super-confident, grown-up woman” that she introduced in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, 2015. Rivals for the DC Extended Universe included Green, Mischa Barton, Kate Beckinsale, Jessica Biel, Rachel Bilson, Sandra Bullock in 2001 (and for the 2011 tele-film), Bollywood’s Priyanka Chopra in 2006, US wrestling star Chyna, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Mad Men’s busty Christina Hendricks (Nicolas Winding Refn’s choice), Angelina Jolie in 2001 (ten years later she was asked to direct), Cobie Smulders (WW’s voice in The Lego Movie, 2013), Kristen Stewart. The final trio, auditioning in November 2013, were Olga Kurylenko, Elodie Yung and… Gadot.