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Anjelica Huston


  1. 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," said The Princess of the Huston Realm. 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. 
  2. 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.”
  3. Stockard Channing, The Fortune, 1975.     Jack Nicholson’s  lover  - he called her, Toots - 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.
  4. Cybill Shepherd, Taxi Driver, 1975.    
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Debra Winger, An Officer and a Gentleman, 1981.  “You ain't nothing special. You got no manners, you treat woman like whores and…you got no chance of being no officer.” There was a lot of choppping and changing about the officer and gent’s lady, Paula Pokrifki. Geena Dabvis, Rebecca De Mornay and Meg Ryan auditioned. Then, Paula  became Kim Basinger, then Anjelica Huston, then Jennifer Jason Leigh... JLT departing for Fast Times At Ridgemont Highwas Winger’s lucky day. Although she never got on with Gere (“a brick wall”) and hated the film, despite her Oascar nomination.
  9. Linda Hamilton, The Terminator, 1983.         In all, 55 actresses were considered, seen or tested for Sarah Connor (aged 18; Linda was 27) opposite Arnold Schwarzenegger. Auteur James Cameron created Sarah for Bridget Fonda. She passed; so did Tatum O’Neal. He decided to go older… and Glenn Close won - her schedule didn’t agree. OK, Kate Capshaw! No, she was tied to Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom - and Kathleen Turner was Romancing The Stone. Debra Winger won her audition, said yes… then no. The other 48 ladies were The ’80s Group: Huston, Rosanna Arquette, Kim Basinger, Christy Brinkley, Colleen Camp, Jamie Lee Curtis, Geena Davis, Judy Davis, Mia Farrow, Carrie Fisher, Jodie Foster, Teri Garr, Jennifer Grey, Melanie Griffith, Darryl Hannah, Barbara Hershey, Amy Irving, Diane Keaton, Margot Kidder, Diane Lane, Jessica Lange, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Kay Lenz, Heather Locklear, Lori Loughlin, Kelly McGillis, Kristy McNichol, Michelle Pfeiffer, Deborah Raffin, Meg Ryan, Susan Sarandon, Ally Sheedy, Cybill Shepherd, Brooke Shields, Sissy Spacek, Sharon Stone, Lea Thompson, Sigourney Weaver… one aerobics queen, Bess Motta (she became Sarah’s room-mate, Ginger Ventura), two singers (Madonna, Liza Minnelli), two Brits (Miranda Richardson, Jane Seymour), five essentially funny girls, Goldie Hawn, Rhea Perlman (Mrs Danny De Vito), Gilda Radner, Mary Tyler Moore… plus the new MTM, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, then from Saturday Night Live. 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
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. Isabella Rossellini, Blue Velvet,1985.  The legends vary…  1.  Auteur David Lynch’s first choice for Dorothy Valens was the German star Hanna Schyguylla.  2. Lynch wrote Dorothy for Debbie Harry but she was fed up with playing weirdoes. 3. He moved on to Karen Allen, Rebecca De Mornay, Jodie Foster, Debbie Harry, Helen Hunt, Angelica Huston, Diane Keaton, Helen Mirren, Cybill Shepherd, Sissy Spacek, Sigourney Weaver, Debra Winger - most found Dorothy’s script way too erotic.  4.Lynch then met Isa in a NYC restaurant and fell head over clapperboard in love.  Literally.

  13. 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.

  14. 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
  15. Glenn Close, Fatal Attraction, 1987.
  16. Catherine O’Hara, Home Alone, 1990.  For the zero roles of Macauley Culkin’s forgetful parents (in a film written for and duly stolen by him), an astonishing 66 stars were considered - including 32 later seen for the hot lovers in Basic Instinct:Kim Basinger, Stockard Channing, Glenn Close, Kevin Costner, Jamie Lee Curtis, Michael Douglas, Carrie Fisher, Harrison Ford, Mel Gibson, Jodie Foster, Linda Hamilton, Daryl Hannah, Marilu Henner, Anjelica Huston, Helen Hunt, Holly Hunter, Diane Keaton, Jessica Lange, Christopher Lloyd, Jack Nicholson, Sean Penn, Michelle Pfeiffer, Annie Potts, Kelly Preston, Dennis Quaid, Meg Ryan, Martin Sheen, Sylvester Stallone, Sharon Stone, John Travolta.   Other near Moms were Kirstie Alley, Lynda Carter, Kim Cattrall, Geena Davis, Laura Dern, Jennifer Grey, Gates McFadden, Kelly McGillis, Bette Midler, Ally Sheedy, Mary Steenburgen, Debra Winger… and the inevitable unknown: Maureen McCormick, part of The Brady Bunch for seven 1981 chapters.
  17. 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.
  18. Geena Davis, Thelma & Louise, 1990. 
  19. Susan Sarandon, Thelma & Louise, 1990.
  20. Sharon Stone, Basic  Instinct, 1991.

  21. 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.
  22. 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."
  23. 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!
  24. Holly Hunter, The Piano, Australia-France-New Zealand, 1992.    Kiwi director Jane Campion shuffled several actresses for her Ada: The French Huppert and Binoche, plus Huston, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Madeleine Stowe,  Sigourney Weaver and Sean Young. “Americans are more pugnacious about auditioning,” said Huppert. “I regret not fighting more for the part.” (She simply posed for some period pix and said Campion should look at her films!). Holly was able to perform most of the piano sequences, herself - earning the Oscar and Cannes Festival best actress double whammy. And ten years later, Huppert was…  La Pianiste!
  25. 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.
  26. 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.
  27. 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, he wanted Houston to tie Jack to a chair, stuff his mouth with her panties and prove he is Dr Roberto Mirandca who raped her 14 times when she was a poliical prisoner in an unamed Chile…Bravest of all, actor-turned-director Sean Penn actually got them twogether in The Crossing Guard, 1995.
  28. Tom Cruise, Interview With The Vampire, 1994.  
  29. Wendy Crewson, The Santa Clause,1994.   For the ex-wife of Tim Allen - the man who killed Santa! - Disney looked at Crewson, Huston, Kate Burton, Patrica Clarkson, Sally Field, Jennifer Grey, Goldie Hawn, Patrica Heaton, Nicole Kidman, Mary McDonnell, Pamela Reed, Molly Ringwald, Julia Roberts and Ally Sheedy.Joe Dante, Richard Donner, even Steven Spielberg were Disney’s dream wishes to direct.
  30. 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.

  31. Annette Bening, Richard III, 1995.     Director Alex Cox's choice of Lady Anne... However, Richard Loncraine made the film.
  32. Grace Zabriskie, A Bastard Out Of Carolina, TV, 1996.     Angelica managed to avoid having to appear in her extremely violent directing debut about rape.
  33. 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!
  34. 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.
  35. 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.
  36. 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!
  37. 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.
  38. Queen Latifah, Chicago, 2001.
  39. Sigourney Weaver, Heartbreakers, 2001.     Too close  to The Grifters.
  40.  Helen Mirren,  Shadowboxer, 2005.     One  final job for the dying hitwoman in the drecting debut of actor-writer Lee Daniels.

  41. 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.
  42. 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.













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