- Salma Hayek, Desperado, 1995. They were also rivals for the rapid biopic of the tragic Mexican Tejano singer Selena, dead at 23 - they and some 2,000 others!
- Connie Nielsen, Gladiator, 1999. First, Isabelle Adjani, then Lopez lost out on becoming Roman Emperor Joaquin Phoenix’snearly incestuous sister, Lucilla.
- Salma Hayek, The Wild Wild West, 1999. “The script was so misogynistic,” said Italian star Asia Argento. And, apparently, JLo agreed, while Cruz was tied to her Franco-Spanish film, Volavérunt. Like almost everyone else concerned with the enterprise – including the star and director, Will Smith and Barry Sonenfeld - Hayek hated the movie.
- Elisabeth Shue, Hollow Man, 2000. JLo passed on Dr Linda McKay opposite the invisible Kevin Bacon (typecasting!). Shue wished she had passed. She tore her Achilles tendon in one scene and shooting was delayed until her recovery.
- Rosario Dawson, Pluto Nash, 2000. Halle Berry also escaped being Dina Lake, the singer from earth at Eddie Murphy's 2087 lunar night club. Not released until 2002, the “comedy” scored one of the largest financial losses of any Hollywood movie. Budget: $100m for a US take of… $4.41m.
- Rebecca Romijn, Femme fatale, 2001. Changing his homestead every decade, Brian De Palma moved to Paris - bringing his rubbish with him
- Madeleine Stowe, Imposter, 2001. Seen for May in the Philip K Dick story, relying on footage from Starship Troopers and Armageddon and three CSI stars: Gary Sinise, Gary Dourdan and Adam Rodriguez.
- Salma Hayek, Frida, 2002. Mexicans were not keen on a non-Mexican playing their celebrated artist Frida Kahlo. The reason Lopez, Laura San Giacomo and even the mighty Madonna split, allowing Salma to get on with her labour of love.
- Catherine Zeta-Jones, Chicago, 2002.
- Angelina Jolie, Taking Lives, 2004. UK director Tony Scott (Ridley's brother) also tried Gwyneth Paltrow and Cate Blanchett - but next helmer, DJ Caruso, re-cast the FBI profiler.
- Diane Kruger, Troy, 2004. Diane’s rivals as the face that launched a thousand ships - Helen of Troy - were Halle Berry, Keira Knightley Kristin Kreuk, Sophie Marceau, Connie Nielsen, Catherine Zeta-Jones. You gonna argue with The Times (of London).
- Eva Mendes, Hitch, 2005. Despite his hefty box-office clout as star and producer, Will Smith had no power at all. Not even, apparently, to walk away in disgust… His producers refused a white co-star - “interracial couples are taboo.” Nor a black lover - “and piss off white audiences?” Hispanic was the solution. Eva and J-Lo were two women with much the same philosophy. As Eva put it: “It’s fun to be a woman. It’s fun to flirt and wear make-up and have boobs.”
- Jada Pinkett Smith, Madagascar, 2005. From Lopez and Madonna to Gwen Stefani and… Well, Smith’s husband, Will, had starred as Oscar in DreamWorks’ previous toon, Shark Tale, 2003. So Jada voiced voice of Gloria the Hippo.
Natalie Portman, The Other Woman, 2008. JLo was once keen on the lead but then Portman boarded the cinema version of Ayelet Waldman’s novel, Love and Other Impossible Pursuits, as exec producer and the titular home wrecker Emilia Greenleaf.
- Linda Gray, Dallas, TV, 2011. Efforts were made since 2002 to reboot the iconic series (and tele-films) for the cinema. Result? This pilot for a 2012 series... about JR and Bobby’s rival sons. Directors, stars, genres changed:Robert Luketic, Gurinder Chadha quit, Betty Thomas was to shoot a Southfork comedy; Drew Barrymore, Minka Kelly, Catherine Zeta-Jones were named for Pam, James Brolin as Jock and Jane Fonda, Diane Ladd or Shirley MacLaine as Miss Ellie. The movie idea collapsed when Lopez quit the idea of being JR’s alcoholic wife, Sue Ellen, opposite John Travolta as JR. Finally,the original Sue-Ellen joined the old-timers returning to their 1978-1992 roles.
- Adrianne Palicki. Wonder Woman, TV, 2011. The DC comicbook heroine had not been seen on screens since Lynda Carter ended her four year reign on ABC in 1979.Timethen, said Warner, for a new movie.DC’s testosterone duo, Batman and Superman, had cleaned up,now it up to the beautiful superhuman Amazon warrior Princess Diana of Themysacira, her Lasso of Truth, her indestructible bracelets and (honest) her invisible plane.With who…? Across a decade of plans by producers as diverse as Joel Silver (so wrong) and Joss Whedon (so right), 24 beauties were in the frame: from Madonna to Whedon’s favourite, Cobie Smulders. Then, the film morphedinto an updated TV series by David E Kelley - that, too, was dead after the rushed pilot. Palicki was the sole actress considered for TV - she was previously seen by George Miller for WW in his aborted Justice League, in 2008.
- Juliette Binoche, The 33, 2013. She gave up the main female role in the film of the 2011 Chilean mining accident (with Antonio Banderas, Josh Brolin, Martin Sheen, etc) to continue being an American Idol judge. Not a serious actress, then.