- AJ Langer, Escape From LA, 1996. Kate turned down playing the rebellious daughter of US president Cliff Robertson because the hero was Snake Plissken aka Dad, aka Kurt Russell. “I didn’t want to be professionally associated with my dad. I just wanted to see if I could do the audition.” Russell’s son, Wyatt, did not mind - he was given a walk-on with Pa.
- Mena Suvari, American Beauty, 1998. Welcome to Hollywood…! For his first LA movie - for a producer called Spielberg! - UK stage director Sam Mendes saw all the current young Hollywood babes for Kevin Spacey’s Lolita-esque infatuation (she was even called… not Haze, but Hayes). And he was turned down by Hudson, Kirsten Dunst, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Alyson Hannigan, Katie Holmes, Brittany Murphy, Leelee Soboeski - and Tiffani Thiessen lost her audition. That’s not Mena on the poster, though; the hand and stomach belong to actress-model Chloe Hunter.
- Zooey Deschanel, Almost Famous, 2000. During her Christmas college break, Zooey read for the casting director, got a call-back, did an improv with writer-director Cameron Crowev and... zilch. Hudson won Anita, the hero’s sister. Then, Sarth Polley dropped out and Hudson ) persuaded Crowe that she, too, could be the “Band Aide” called Penny Lane. “They were frantically trying to find Anita. Cameron went back through his tapes.... called me back in.... didn’t even know that Kate Hudson and I went to high school together. She was a year older than me. We had a couple of classes together.’
- Kirsten Dunst, Spider-Man, 2001. Refused being Spidey’s gal. Mary Jane Watson, in order to be Heath Ledger’s fiance in The Four Feathers.
- Anne Hathaway, The Princess Diaries, 2001. Among 22 youngstars (Jessica Alba to Reese Witherspoon) rejecting the awkward San Francisco teenager being groomed (by Julie Andrews!) to inherit the Genovia throne - after director Garry Marshall’s (rather surprising) first choice of Juliette Lewis quit. And so, Hathaway made her first movie.
- Kirsten Dunst, Spider-Man, 2002. Director Sam Rami’s first choice refused to play Mary Jane and share the famous upside-down kiss with Tobey (Spidey) Maguire.
- Scarlett Johansson, Girl With A Pearl Earring, 2003. “She pursued us for this," said producer and Brit director Mike Newell chose her opposite Ralph Fiennes’ Vermeer. They both followed when Mike had to quit the project. Scarlett was painted by Colin Firth.
- Christina Ricci, Monster, 2003. Rejected a cracking role - lesbian lover of Charlize Theron’s Oscar-winning turn as Daytona Beach prostitute-cum-serial killer Aileen Wuornos.
- Kate Bosworth, Superman Returns, 2005.
- Jodie Foster, Inside Man, 2005. Kate rejected Spike Lee’s invite with good reason. She’d read the script, Chicago critic Rogert Ebert saw the film and still didn’t know who or what Madeleine was. “She is never convincingly explained, and what she does is not well-defined. She’s one of those characters who is all buildup and no delivery” in a a thriller “that’s curiously reluctant to get to the payoff.”
- Jacinda Barrett, The Namesake, 2006. Both Kate and Natalie Portman were talked about to join Bollywoodienne Tabu - by India’s sole international film-maker, Mira Nair.
- Amanda Seyfried, Mamma Mia! 2008. Goldie Hawn’s daughter tried out to be Meryl Streep’s... Oh, Hollywood!
- Olivia Wilde, Butter, 2010. Change of hooker Brooke Swinkowski in - now here’s a first! - a drama about carving sculptures in butter.
- Nicole Kidman, Grace of Monaco, 2012. Also in the mix to play Grace Kelly were: Amy Adams, Elizabeth Banks, Emily Blunt, Jessica Chastain, January Jones, Gwyneth Paltrow, Rosamund Pike, Charlize Theron, Reese Witherspoon. But not Christina Applegate, the young Grace on TV in 1983 when Cheryl Ladd was the older. None of them resembled Her Serene Highness, but then nor did Tim Roth look like Prince Rainier.
- Amanda Seyfried, Lovelace, 2012. Now it's Goldie’s daughter as a porn star? Yes, the two directors – Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman – considered such sacrilege before giving Ms Deep Throat to Olivia Wilde – until her schedules clashed.
- Amy Adams, Big Eyes, 2013. Twenty years after Ed Wood, Tim Burton tackles a second biopic - of 1950s’ painter Margaret Keane’s hjgh and lows (such as hubby claiming credit for her ‘60s work). Burton’s first couple, Kate and Thomas Haden Church. became Reese Witherspoon and Ryan Reynolds and, ultimately, Amy and Christope Waltz.