Melanie Griffith (1957-?)
- Leigh Taylor Young, The Adventurers, 1970. “I hadn’t read the book or thescript but (the producer) said right off I was perfect for the part. Only as a father and a grandfather, he couldn’t possibly ask a virgin to play the kind of scenes the part demanded. Well, I said, you’re a little late.He just sat there and got real red in the face. Angry. ‘Who did it to you?’ he said. ‘I’ll get him!’ Here’sa man making a really sexy picture getting outraged because I wasn’t pure in his sense of the word. Wow!”
- Sissy Spacek, Carrie, 1975. Auditioned for director Brian De Palma. But, apparently, not for Star Wars at the same time, like all the other Carrie White wannabes.
- Jodie Foster, Taxi Driver, 1975.
- Ingrid Brett, The Last Tycoon, 1976. Like co-star Theresa Russell, Ingrid was the best of a poor field for director Elia Kazan “She’s coltish,” said producer Sam Spiegel. “A quality,” noted Elia Kazan, “especially attractive to a pudgy man.”
- 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 Melissa Sue Anderson, Rosanna Arquette, Linda Blair, Jamie Lee Curtis, Bridget Fonda, 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 Griffithj, Isabelle Adjani, Bo Derek, Carrie Fisher, Amy Irving, Mary Steenburgen or Debra Winger.
- Brooke Shields, Tilt,1978. Pinball wizardette.
- Bo Derek, 10, 1979.
- Brooke Shields, The Blue Lagoon, 1979. Auditioned for Emmeline - despite Grease director Randal Kleiser wanting his shipwrecked couple to be naked throughoutthe re-make. (They were not). Shields had her long hair glued to her front - and a nude body double.
- Phoebe Cates, Fast Times At Ridgemont High, 1981. Griffith, Justine Bateman, Carrie Fisher, Tatum O’Neal, Meg Tilly were in the early mix for Linda Barrett in Cameron Crowe’s classic scenario.
- Michelle Pfeiffer, Scarface, 1982. Too hasty for her own good, she rejected the role of Elvira Hancock. But then so did did Rosanna Arquette, Kim Basinger, Colleen Camp, Glenn Close, Geena Davis, Juy Davis, Carrie Fisher, Jodie Foster, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Kay Lenz, Kelly McGillis,Kristy McNichol, Deborah Raffin, Brooke Shields, Sharon Stone, Kathleen Turner.
- Darryl Hannah, Splash, 1983. A mermaid? Moi?
Linda Hamilton, The Terminator, 1983. In all, 52 actresses were considered, seen, or tested for Sarah Connor.James Cameron created her for Bridget Fonda. 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: Griffith, Rosanna Arquette, Kim Basinger, Christy Brinkley, Colleen Camp, Jamie Lee Curtis, Geena Davis, Mia Farrow, Carrie Fisher, Jodie Foster, Teri Garr, Jennifer Grey, 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 TylerMoore, 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 incontention againa 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.
Kelly LeBrock, The Woman In Red, 1983. Griffith passed on Charlotte in the tawdry re-hash of the French winner, Un éléphant ça trompe énormément, 1975, to become Holly in Body Double - a genuinly erotic thriller until Brian De Palma made it.
- 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. Those 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?”The answer was different experiences. Joel’s was “drinking at nine, smoking at 10, sexually active at 11.”
- Anjelica Huston, Prizzi’s Honor, 1984. “So let’s do it. Right here. On the Oriental. With all the lights on.” Maerose Prizzi knew what she wanted, where and when from her Family’s hit man, Jack Nicholson - the unlikeliest Mafioso since the Corleones’ James Caan. Before realising his daughter was Oscar-winning perfection, director John Huston looked at some 17 potential Maeroses. From the sublime Rosanna Arquette, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Liza Minnelli, Demi Moore, Michelle Pfeiffer (been there, done that and got the Married To The Mob and Scarface t-shirts), Debra Winger… to the ridiculous: Griffith, Geena Davis, , Daryl Hannah, Emma Thompson, Sela Ward, Debra Winger… and the damn stupid: Linda Blair, Carrie Fisher, Kelly LeBrock, Heather Locklear, Sarah Jessica Parker, Ally Sheedy.
- Madonna, Desperately Seeking Susan, 1985. “I saw a bunch of actresses for the part,” recalled director Susan Seidelman. Including Griffith, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Kelly McGillis.
- Glenn Close, Fatal Attraction, 1986.
- Jodie Foster, The Accused, 1988.
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: Griffith, Rosanna Arquette, Ellen Barkin, Kim Basinger, Jennifer Beals, Jennifer Grey, 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 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.
- Lolita Davidovich, Blaze, 1989. Difficult, when pregnant (with Dakota Johnson) to strut the stuff of legendary stripper Blaze Starr.“Would you still love me if I had little tits and worked in a fish house?”
- Virginia Madsen, The Hot Spot, 1989. Jodie Foster, Theresa Russell and Uma Thurman were doubtless put off by the nudity required in director Dennis Hopper’s erotic movie. Griffith had a different reason. She pregnant with her second child: Dakota Johnnson, her father, Don Johnson, was Hopper’s amoral cock o’ the walk leading man. (Dakota was the 2014-2018 star of the Fifty Shades of Grey franchise - not steamy as Dad’s movie… or Mum’s 1984 Body Double). Madsen was the supremely sensuous Dolly - finding sex in car more fun than eating cotton-candy barefoot - perfectly matching what Chicago critic Roger Ebert hailed as “a superior work in an old tradition.” Hopper liked to call it Last Tango In Texas. They wuz both right!
- Judith Hoag, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, 1989. For the first live-action Turtle trot, the innovative director of music videos Steve Barron saw many a potential April O’Neill: Griffith, Jennifer Beals, Lorraine Bracco, Sandra Bullock, Anna Kendrick, Nicole Kidman, Winona Ryder, Brooke Shields, Marisa Tomei, Sean Young. TMNT legend states the winning Hoag was never considered for the sequels because she complained so much the violence - and the six-day shooting schedule.
- Angelica Huston, The Grifters, 1989. Toying with his Jim Thompson characters, UK director Stephen Frears considered Melanie, 33, as the mother of John Cusack, 24, opposite Annette Bening, 32, as his lover. Hmm... “She and Melanie are dead ringers which, of course, lent a lot of intrigue to the situation. Then, Melanie got pregnant.” Griffith and Huston later co-starred in the 1995 CBS tele-film, Buffalo Girls.
- Debra Winger, The Sheltering Sky, 1990. Italian maestro Bernardo Bertolucci’s budget restrictions meant that William Hurt-Griffith-Dennis Quaid, became John Malkovich-Debra Winger-Campbell Scott. So reported Juliet Taylor.No one knows better. She was the casting director.
- Madonna, Dick Tracy, 1990. Warren Beatty's production designer Richard Sylbert suggested Melanie or... “Madonna?” cried Beatty. “That's like hiring a country.” He tested unknowns, while Madonna seethed. “Everybody said I'd be a perfect Breathless Mahoney.I waited and waited for Warren to call me.He never did.Finally, I decided to get pushy and called him.It took him a year to make up his mind...He insisted I get fatter. He wanted to pour me into my dress.” And his bed.
- Geena Davis, Thelma & Louise, 1991.
- Sharon Stone, Basic Instinct, 1991.
- 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: Griffith, Rosanna Arquette, Kim Basinger, Halle Berry, Glenn Close (!), Geena Davis, Cameron Diaz, Carrie Fisher, Bridget Fonda, Jodie Foster, 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.
- Andie MacDowell, Four Weddings And A Funeral, 1994. Previously known as: True Love and Near Misses, Loitering in Sacred Places, Rolling in the Aisles and Skulking Around. Obviously, Griffith (Phoebe Cates, Sarah Jessica Parker, Brooke Shields, Marisa Tomei, Jeanne Tripplehorn) had no sense of humour. Or, not when learning that Andie’s cut hit $2m.
- Nicole Kidman, To Die For, 1994.
“You aren't anybody in America if you’re not on TV…” Most bright young things agreed this was a role to die for... the girl who would do anything (murder included) to get on TV, and stay there. They included Griffith, Patricia Arquette, Jennifer Connelly, Joan Cusack, Bridget Fonda, Jodie Foster, Darryl Hannah, Holly Hunter, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Tatum O’Neal, Mary-Louise Parker, Sarah Jessica Parker, Michelle Pfeiffer, 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.
- Sharon Stone, Casino, 1995. Director Martin Scorsese saw all who agreed to test - he needed to see their Vegas look as much as how they handled the lines. "I needed someone who can deliver both."
- Helen Hunt, As Good As It Gets, 1997. The role, opposite Jack Nicholson in Oscar-wnning form, needed A Star.Hunt was a TV star. And Melanie was pregnant with Stella Banderas.
- Nicole Kidman, Bewitched, 2004. Who wants to play wriggly-nosed Samantha? Me, me, chorused... Griffith, Jennifer Aniston, Kim Basinger, Cameron Diaz, Heather Graham (who would have been quirkyiy great), Angelina Jolie, Lisa Kudrow (perfect!), Tatum O'Neal (not so much), Gwyneth Paltrow, Michelle Pfeiffer, Julia Roberts, Meg Ryan, Alicia Silverstone, Hilary Swank, Naomi Watts. Among 35 possibles. Over the years.
- Joanna Kerns, Knocked Up, 2007.