- Olivia Hussey, Romeo and Juliet, 1968. Franco Zeffirelli wanted youngsters - not a rehash of Leslie Howard-Norma Shearer, aged 43 and 36, in 1936. Talent scouts visited schools. "He met me and I was keen ," recalled Anjelica. "I think my father called him said he had plans of his own for me." And she remembers A Walk With Love and Death, 1970, as a most difficult time; "we barely spoke during the shooting." When, at 28, she said she had finally decided to be an actress. Huston pere responded: "Don't you think you're a little old, honey?" Oscar disagreed in 1985, making her the third of the clan to win. When she next met Zeffirelli’s casting director Dyson Lovell, he was producing her TV triumph, Lonesome Dove, 1989.
- Pamela Franklin, Sinful Davey, 1968. Trouble with John Huston directing the Scottish Tom Jones - the true-life grave-robbing, maid-snatching, wife-stealing, jail-breaking, jewel-thieving smuggling pirate called Davey Haggart - was that he wanted his daughter as Annie. This caused serious friction between Huston and producer Walter Mirisch, until he agreed to a test to prove his point - then Huston finally capitulated... and gave Angelica a bit role. Huston later abandoned the film after his first cut. “Disastrous,” said Mirisch. “Unprofessional.”
- Stockard Channing, The Fortune, 1975. Jack Nicholson’s lover seemed to notice the flaws and refused director Mike Nichols’ request to audition as the “mousebed” (sanitary-napkin) heiress snared between Nicholson and pal Warren Beatty. “Absolutely not... I don’t want handouts.” What else was her bits in The Last Tycoon, 1976 and The Postman Always Rings Twice, 1981.
- Cybill Shepherd, Taxi Driver, 1975.
- Ingrid Boulting, The Last Tycoon, 1976. She tested for the largely naked Kathleen Moore. Director Eliza Kazan’s producer, Sam Spiegel, was more keen on Susan Sarandon. Finally they compromised and ruined the movie, by selecting Ms Deer in The Headlights, the model step-daughter of UK director Roy Boulting. She was gorgeous in Richard Avedon’s photographs, didn’t cut the mustard in movement and ruined Kazan’s last stand. Poor girl was so bad for her role, wrote New York Times critic Vincent Canby, she doesn't seem to know how to read a line or where to put her hands. She didn't work in another film for eight years. The tired Spiegel and Kazan, on their last legs, at least gave Anjelica a cameo as the mechante Edna. Fourteen years on, in the same Beverly Drive office, she won the lead (and another Oscar nomination) in Paul Mazursky’s Enemies.
- Susan Sarandon, Pretty Baby, 1977. The rôle 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. French director Louis Malle saw Jack Nicholson for the real-life hydrocephallic photographer Ernest J. Bellocq - and Jack’s lover, Anjelica Huston, for the mother. If selected, they could have ruined the movie. In March that year, Huston had innocently returned home to Nicholson’s house where (unknown to her) Jack’s friend, director Roman Polanski, had been illegally having sex with a 13-year-old girl. All three stars hit the headlines, not the kind of of publicity Paramount would have craved.
- 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.
- 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: Huston, Rosanna Arquette, Kim Basinger, Christy Brinkley, Colleen Camp, Jamie Lee Curtis, Geena Davis, Mia Farrow, Carrie Fisher, Jodie Foster, Teri Garr, Jennifer Grey, Melanie Griffith, 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 Tyler Moore, 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 in contention again a 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.
- Jude Chadwick, This Is Spinal Tap, 1983. Rob Reiner asked her to audition for the group’s rather snobbish English groupie. She reported that that her test was terrible, even though her Notting Hill accent was authentic. Due to her enthusiasm for the project, Reiner gave her what the French call an apparition connected with the famous "too small Stonehenge" sets.
- Annie Potts, Pretty In Pink, 1985. Huston and British Tracey Ullman were in the loop for Iona in John Hughes’ latest teenage angst script - helmed this once by his former assistant Howard Deutch.
- Susan Sarandon, The Witches of Eastwick, 1986.
When Bill Murray lost interest, Huston got Jack Nicholson the movie but lost her audition as Alexandra. Legend claimed that Nicholson allegedly made sure his lover failed her audition because she’d just won an Oscar for their Prizzi’s Honour - and he hadn’t. Bullshit, he said. (Likewise Huston, reportedly both annoyed/pleased that Nicholson did not pressure director George Miller about it). Certainly he’d always helped her career - with The Postmans Always Rings Twice (“her first good role”) and Prizzi’s Honour (“an Oscar!”). Then again, after breaking with another lover, Rebecca Broussard, Jack did junk an entire film he had produced for her, Blue Champagne (and its projected sequel, Love Me If You Can), even though it also featured his daughter, Jennifer. It finally escaped to video in 1992.
- Catherine O’Hara, Beetlejuice, 1987. Destiny! O’Hara was drafted in as Delia Deetz after Huston fell ill. On the set, she met the production designer and became Mrs Bo Welch on April 25, 1992
- 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 for and duly stolen by the stranded kid, Macauley Culkin.
- Kathy Bates, Misery, 1990. In the fray for what became Kathy’s Oscar on March 25, 1991… Huston was most keen on the vindictive fan but into Stephen Frears’ The Grifters. Jessica Lange and Better Midler (!) passed.
- Geena Davis, Thelma & Louise, 1990.
- Susan Sarandon, Thelma & Louise, 1990.
- Sharon Stone, Basic Instinct, 1991.
- Sally Kellerman, Boris and Natasha, 1991. Huston and Danny DeVito were originally cast as the classic cartoon spies Boris Badunov and Natasha Fatale. They became Dave Thomas and Kellerman in what, alas, proved Tony Newley’s final film.
- Christine Lahti, Leaving Normal, 1992. Negotiations with a bunch of star ladies chasing the lead, said director Edward Zwick, were "more protracted than those joining Hong Kong to mainland China."
- Sigourney Weaver, 1492: Conquest of Paradise, 1992. Contacted by Ridley Scott for Spain’s Queen Isabella, when Sigourney was delayed - as Ripley again in the third chapter in the Alien franchise started by Scott in 1979. Then, Ripley called Ridley - Sigourney was available after all!
- Emma Thompson, Remains of the Day, 1993. Mike Nichols could not cut the costs of working with Huston-Jeremy Irons, until simply producing the film, with James Ivory helming his Howard's End couple: Emma-Anthony Hopkins.
- Holly Hunter, The Piano, 1993. Australian director Jane Campion juggled several actresses for her Ada: Huston, Juliette Binoche, Isabelle Huppert, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Madeleine Stowe, Sigourney Weaver. But Holly was able to play most of the piano sequences, herself, as Campion became the first woman to win the Cannes Festival’s best film Palme d'Or.
- 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: Huston, Rosanna Arquette, Kim Basinger, Halle Berry, Glenn Close (!), Geena Davis, Cameron Diaz, Carrie Fisher, Bridget Fonda, Jodie Foster, Melanie Griffith, Daryl Hannah, Mariska Hargitay, Barbara Hershey, 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.
- Sigourney Weaver, Death and the Maiden, 1994. Director Roman Polanski originally went for Huston-Jack Nicholson. Brave man! They'd been separated five years. Braver still, Sean Penn actually got them twogether in The Crossing Guard, 1995.
- Tom Cruise, Interview With The Vampire, 1994.
- Meryl Streep, The Bridges of Madison County, 1995. Angelica was among the all-Americans considered by Warners although the first director, Bruce Beresford, wanted a foreign actress as Francesca.
- Annette Bening, Richard III, 1995. Director Alex Cox's choice of Lady Anne... However, Richard Loncraine made the film.
- Grace Zabriskie, A Bastard Out Of Carolina, TV, 1996. Angelica managed to avoid having to appear in her extremely violent directing debut about rape.
- Greta Scacchi, The Serpent's Kiss, 1996. Suddenly more committed to directing (just as her director brother Danny started acting!), Anjelica withdrew from Philippe Rousselot's debut while promoting Bastard at Cannes - where Scacchi was on Coppola's jury. Handy!
- Jane Horrocks, Bring Me The Head of Mavis Davis, 1997. Surprise choice for a music-world satire that did not work with John Henderson's too-British choices.
- Meryl Streep, Marvin's Room, 1997. Soon after Robert De Niro secured the rights of the 1991 play, Streep was set as Bessie with Huston as Lee - but she switched later to Lee with Diane Keaton as Bessie.
- Kim Basinger, LA Confidential, 1997. Both Huston and Kate Capshaw rejected the role of Lynn Bracken, the hooker plastic-surgeried into a Veronica Lake clone. However, director Curtis Harrington Lynn was only ever offered to Basinger. Either way, the movie was terrific!
- Glenn Close, Cookie’s Fortune, 1999. Anjelica and Frances McDormand, said director Robert Altman. Foolishly, they did not agree. Wimps, he called them, calling on Close and his favourite redhead from Short Cuts, 1993, Julianne Moore.
- Sigourney Weaver, Heartbreakers, 2001. Too close to The Grifters.
- Helen Mirren, Shadowboxer, 2005. One final job for the dying hitwoman in the drecting debut of actor-writer Lee Daniels.
- Meryl Streep, Doubt, 2007. Directing his script of his 2005 Pulitzer Prize-winning Broadway play, John Patrick Shanley first asked Frances to be the dragon nun, Sister Aloysius Beauvier. Next: Huston, Kathy Bates, Annette Bening, Sigourney Weaver - never the original Broadway star and Tony winner Cherry Jones. Then, her pal Meryl became available… She still asked: “Why wasn’t Cherry doing it? She was so amazing! John explained he hadn’t directed that production. He wanted his own hands on this. So, I thought it was really valid and felt that I sure would like a crack at that Sister Aloysius.” Result: Meryl’s 15th Oscar nomination.
- Anamaria Marinca, The Countess, France-Germany, 2009. Czech director Zdenek Troska opened the 21st Century by announcing Cher, Depardieu, Anjelica Huston, in the story of mass-murderer Elizabeth Bathory, the Hungarian countess who kept her (1560-1614) beauty (!) by bathing in the blood of virgin girls. French actress Julie Delpy took over, haphazardly, as writer, composer, director. And star.