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Mariel Hemingway

 

  1. Jodie Foster, Taxi Driver, 1975.     
  2. 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 Hemingway Melissa Sue Anderson, Rosanna Arquette, Linda Blair, Jamie Lee Curtis, Bridget Fonda, Jodie Foster, 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Rosanna Arquette, The Executioner's Song, 1982.    “Everyone was up for it,” Arquette reported in Deauville, France. Mariel, Nastassja Kinski, Tatum O’Neal, Debra Winger - all a trifle tool urban felt Lawrence Schiller. Enter: Rosanna. “She just caught the real Nicole that I knew,” Larry told me. “The finality of the film should go to her performance.”
  5. Jennifer Beals, Flashdance, 1982.    The “nation-wide search“ (of LA…!!) came down to  20 possibilities for flashprancer Alex Owens.  Mariel,  Jamie Lee Curtis, Bo Derek, Janice Dickinson, Bridget Fonda, Jennifer Grey (yet she won Dirty Dancing), Melanie Griffith, Daryl Hannah, Helen Hunt (hated the script), Jennifer Jason Leigh, Heather Locklear, Andie MacDowell, Kathy Najimy, Tatum O’Neal, Michelle Pfeiffer,  Kyra Sedgwick, Sharon Stone  and Debra Winger, Pix of the final three - Beals, Demi Moore and Leslie Wing - were shown to the studio’s  construction guys by Paramount suits asking: “Which one do you most wanna fuck?”   Dissolve. 
  6. Elizabeth McGovern, Once Upon a Time in America, 1982.   Italian maestro Sergio Leone claimed he interviewed “over 3,000 actors,” taping 500 auditions for the 110 speaking roles in his New York gangster epic.  He certainly saw 33 girls for nymphet Deborah Gelly: Rosanna Arquette, Kim Basinger, Jennifer Beals, Linda Blair, Glenn Close, Jamie Lee Curtis, Geena Davis, Farrah Fawcett, Carrie Fisher, Bridget Fonda, Jodie Foster, Melanie Griffith, Linda Hamilton, Daryl Hannah, Goldie Hawn, Mariel Hemingway, Diane Lane, Jessica Lange, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Heather Locklear, Kristy McNIchol, Liza Minnelli, Tatum O’Neal, Michelle Pfeiffer, Meg Ryan, Susan Sarandon, Cybill Shepherd, Sissy Spacek, Meryl Streep, Kathleen Turner, Sigourney Weaver, Debra Winger. Plus Brooke Shields as the younger version. Deborah was 15 in the first script; McGovern was 20.
  7. Demi Moore, About Last Night, 1985.      A secret for years until Rob Lowe’s bio,  Stories I Only Tell My Friends, revealed he had tested opposite  Mariel (and Melissa Leo) as Debbie.

  8. 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 Hemingway, 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!

  9. Amanda Donohue, The Rainbow, 1989.      Ken Russell's US backers kept saying: “No names, no movie.” Their choices - Mariel, Kelly McGillis, Theresa Russell - sang the same song, too. “The part’s too small.” Russell insisted on Donohue. Not a name, he was told. “She will be when The Lair of the White Worm is released.” Not so but Ken got his way - once Glenda Jackson agreed to join what was, after all, the prequel to their Women In Love..
  10. Sharon Stone, Basic Instinct, 1991.

 

 





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