- Frances McDormand, Blood Simple, 1984. The Coen brothers saw her in New York in Crimes of the Heart - “a serendipitous thing.” She could not accept their film, being committed to Beth Hanley’s nextplay. “They ended up meeting my roommate, and cast her instead.Franand Joel married - and in 1985, we were all living together in Silver Lake, just outside of LA, with Sam Raimi and they said that they'd written this part for me -Raising Arizona! The beginning of my feature film career.”
- Glenn Close, Fatal Attraction, 1987.
- Catherine O’Hara, Home Alone, 1990. An astonishing 37 stars (Harrison Ford, Jack Nicholson, Jessica Lange, Michelle Pfeiffer, etc) were considered for the forgetful parents - nothing roles in a film written or and duly stolen by the stranded kid, Macauley Culkin.
- Susan Sarandon, Thelma & Louise, 1990.
- Sharon Stone, Basic Instinct, 1991.
- Christine Lahti, Leaving Normal, 1992. A flock of women chased after Edward Zwick for some more of his Glory.
- Julianne Moore, Short Cuts, 1992. In Robert Altman’s wish-list for his great tribute to the blue-collar characters created by Raymond Carver. When Bob explained the full frontal nude scene to Moore, she delighted him by mentioningshe was a redhead.
- Amanda Plummer, Pulp Fiction, 1994.
- 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 Hunter, Patricia Arquette, Jennifer Connelly, Joan Cusack, Bridget Fonda, Jodie Foster, Melanie Griffith, Darryl Hannah, 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.
- Helen Hunt, As Good As It Gets, 1997. British director Mike Newell chose Holly plus Kevin Kline and Ralph Fiennes as feuding Old Friends- yet no one would finance two Oscar winners and a nominee! The new team won two more nominations - and won ’em!
- Annette Bening, American Beauty, 1998. Often confused, Holly Hunter and Helen Hunter were both seen about being Kevin Spacey’s loving wife. “Don’t you mess with me, mister, or I’ll divorce you so fast it’ll make your head spin!”
- Alanis Morissette, Dogma, 1999. New Jersey’s (over) writer and director Kevin Smith wrote his view askew of God for Holly. (Oh, that explains the line about The Piano). He’d also contacted Emma Thompson but she was pregnant. Morissette, one of his Bethany choices, opened a window in her world tour. Said Rolling Stone critic Peter Travers: Thou shalt not stop laughing…
- Zach Braff, Chicken Little, 2004. On the initial list to voice the hero of Disney’s paltry poultry pic. As a heroine.
- Joan Cusack, Chicken Little, 2004. And she was also on the voice-choice list for Abby Mallard. So were Jamie Lee Curtis, Geena Davis, Laura Dern, Jamie Donnelly, Jodie Foster, Helen Hunt, Madonna, Sarah Jessica Parker and, of course, Sigourney Weaver. (By now many Alien fans were working at every studio).
- Nicole Kidman, Fur: An Imaginary Portrait of Diane Arbus, 2006. Interest was so scant after Holly played Arbus in an LA reading of Mark Romanek’s script in 1999 that he quit and “by extension,” said Arbus biographer-cum-producer Patricia Bosworth, “I was responsible for my own firing.”