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Drew Barrymore

  1. Heather O'Rourke, Poltergeist, 1981.     Steven Spielberg wanted someone more angelic and preferred Drew as ET’s little Gertie- making her the hottest movie moppet since Shirley Temple. After a fleet of films, she fell to the Barrymore curse: boozing at nine, pot at 10, cocaine at 12, washed up at 13 until a comeback at 17.Heather was not so lucky. She continued into Poltergeist II and III, but was dead at 12 during surgery for congenital intestinal stenosis in 1988.
  2. Aileen Quinn, Annie, 1981.      “Hollywood,” Drew was soon (primed?)  to say, “is a town where bullshit walks and money talks!”
  3. Uma Thurman, Dangerous Liaisons, 1988.  She tested  and was thisclose to being the virginal Cécile until UK director Stephen Frears tested the unknown Uma. And a star was born.  (Idem for screen partner Keanu  Reeves). 
  4. Winona Ryder, Heathers, 1988.     “I was black-listed, big time.I had two, three years of casting directors telling me I’d never work again in this town again.”
  5. Winona Ryder, Great Balls of Fire, 1988.      “When I was growing up, I was one step behind [Ryder] while she was getting everything.When she got Great Balls of Fire, and she was 18 playing 13, I was like: I’m 13 - so why?”
  6. Amy Locane, Cry-Baby, 1989.      “I walked into auditions and casting directors just sat there laughing.” She felt them saying: “Little Miss Drug Addict- like we're reallygoing to give you this job.” John Waters preferred the publicity of casting ex-porn star Traci Lords over an ex-cokehead.
  7. Julia Roberts, Pretty Woman, 1989.
  8. Juliette Lewis, Cape Fear, 1991.       “Even after I’d do a good audition, they copped an attitude like:'Well, you're not going to get this - but you’re not as bad as we thought.' That shit only made me angrier.And through pure ambition, I showed these sons-of-bitches that I can do it.”
  9. Winona Ryder, Edward Scissorhands, 1992.    “Very irritating when I know certain actors - whose names I will not say - are totally fucked up on drugs and are working back to back, yet it gets covered up.”
  10. Kim Basinger, Cool World, 1992.      Basinger’s rivals for Jessica Rabbit reframed as Holli Would (no, really!) were Barrymore and porn star Tracie Lords. My favourite critic Roger Ebert nailed the film’s coffin tight. “Surprisingly incompetent.”  

  11. Winona Ryder, Bram Stoker's Dracula, 1992.     Francis Coppola allegedly mused about Barrymore as Mina Murray. Not for long as Ryder had earned the rôle. To make up from her quitting The Godfather: Part III), she had him the script when it was due as a TV movie by UK helmer Michael Apted. Francey snapped it up. Apted stayed for thewr ide. As exec producer.
  12. Patricia Arquette, True Romance, 1992. “I’m not a whore. I’m a call-girl. There’s a difference, you know!” Quentin Tarantino created Alabama for Joan Cusack. UK director Tony Scott preferred Barrymore, fully booked at the time. So Bridget Fonda, Diane Lane, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Juliette Lewis, Julia Roberts, Kyra Sedgwick, Brooke Shields and (inevitably) Uma Thurman were tipped for the girl… with the name sounding like a Pam Grier role, said QT. (Except she was called Jackie Brown when he directed her in 1997). In Tarantino’s first ending, Clarence was killed and Alabama would turn to crime with Mr. White - he asked about her during Reservoir Dogs, 1991.  
  13. Sharon Case, The Valley of the Dolls, TV, 1994.      Fox hopes for a big movie re-make (with Goldie Hawn), deteriorated into just another tele-trip.
  14. Elizabeth Berkley, Showgirls, 1994.  Scenarist Joe Eszterhas interviewed 50-plus exotic dancers  and, aided by Hawaiian weed, came up with All About Eve in Vegas. And Pamela Anderson, Angelina Jolie, Denise Richards, Charlize Theron and the inevitable unknown, Vanessa Marcil (too shy for nudity), they all fled his sexy heroine, Nomi Malone. Jenny McCarthy was favourite, except she couldn’t dance. Producer Charles Evans then found Elizabeth Berkley, from Saved by the Bell. In one of its 2018 It Happened in Hollywood podcasts, Hollywood Reporter took unseemly delight in reporting she agreed to audition in his New York hotel room – even adding that “after being blown away by her performance,” he convinced Paul Verhoeven to give her a shot. Unable to land his dream mix of Madonna and Drew Barrymore as the 90s Bette Davis and Anne Baxter, the Dutch director decided to create his own star. He failed - andruined Berkley’s career. “If somebody has to be blamed, it should be me because I asked Elizabeth to be abrupt in that way because her character had a history of drug abuse, so I tried to express that through her abruptness."  So Richards won Verhoven’s next flop, Starship Troopers, 1997, and not Berkley. She never made anorher A-List film since Woody Allen’s The Curse of the Jade Scorpion in 2001, yet survived on TV: CSI: Miami, Law & Order, The L Word.
  15. Kristy Swanson, Higher Learning, 1994.     Over-obvious idea as the student finding solace with a Lesbian leader of a women's group after being raped on campus.
  16. Kate Winslet, Titanic, 1996. 
  17. Neve Campbell, Scream, 1996.    "Don't Answer The Phone…"   Director Wes Craven offered the lead but she figured... Don't Open The Door... playing the overture’s Casey would be more fun. Don't Try To Escape.
  18. Asia Argento, B Monkey, 1997.      UK director Michael Caton-Jones quit when Miramax wanted a name instead of Sophia Okenedo as the street girllove object of a middle-class teacher.
  19. Joey Lauren Adams, Chasing Amy, 1996.      The story behind Quentin Tarantino’s favorite 1997 film...  New Jersey auteur Kevin Smith wrote the script for his pals. No, no, said Bob and Harvey Weinstein -  for a $3m budget, they wanted Barrymore, David Schwimmer, Jon Stewart.  No, no, said Smith, he’d make it himself for $250,000  with ex- lover Adams (it was their story), plus Ben Affleck and Jason Lee, and the Miramaxers could buy it for distribution. Done deal!  At that price, what else? 
  20. Winona Ryder, Celebrity, 1997.         They gelled well on Everyone Says I Love You, 1996, - “As long as you don’t sing!” - so Woody Allen chose her for the actress he leaves his wife, Famke Janssen, for. (Just five years after he left Mia Farrow for her adopted daughter, Soon-Yi Previn).  Nola was written for Barrymore. But so was Ever After: A Cinderella Story (her favourite movie). Before Ryder signed on, Kate Winslet was seen. Her Titanic co-star Leonardo DiCaprio was already in the film.

  21. Heather Graham, Boogie Nights, 1997.  Gwyneth Paltrow was the surprise first choice for the erotic scamp, Rollergirl - who never takes her skates off.  Barrymore and Tatum O’Neal were next in the frame and North Carolina newcomer Laurel Holloman tested. But it was Graham who shot the nude scene on her very first day on director Paul Thomas Anderson’s porno-family movie. 
  22. Anne  Heche, Psycho, 1997.       Also up for Marion Cane were Nicole Kidman, Laura Linney and  Julianne Moore when director Gus Van Sant had the nuttiest idea in movie history - re-making the Hitchcock classic, shot for shot.  “So no one else would have to.” (!)  With Heche - and a camerman - who’d never seen the original, work that out. Oh, and Bernard Herrmann’s  score “adapted” by two other guys.
  23. Uma Thurman, The Avengers, 1998.     Instead of Mrs Emma Peel, Drew decided to be (the world's first tattooed) Cinders. One review suggested that Ralph Fiennes in a cat-suit would have been a better Emma than Thurman.
  24. Hilary Swank, Boys Don’t Cry, 1999.      Plan A was Diane Keaton directing Drew as the heroine  hiding her sexual identity crisis  by living as a guy. Plan B was Pennsylvanian auteur Kimberly Peirce helping Swank win her first Oscar.  Her second arrived five years later for Million Dollar Baby.
  25. Angelina Jolie, Lara Croft, Tomb Raider, 2000.  For the girls, Lara Croft is their James Bond.  Well, more of a sexy Indiana Jones.  And 21 hopefuls wanted to bringther sassy, video-game adventurer to life. Demi More was, perhaps, the most keen, but who was simply disregarded. Christina Applegate, Drew Barrymore, Sandra Bullock, Cameron Diaz, Nicole Eggert, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Kate Hudson, Elizabeth Hurley, Ashley Judd, Jennifer Lopez, Gwneth Paltrow, Anna Nicole Smith (a joke, surely), Catherine Zeta-Jones were considered. Fairuza Balk, Natalie Cassidy, Kirsten Dunst and Milla Jovovich auditioned while Denise Richards, Charlize Theron, Uma Thurman and Liv Tyler simply refused. And Lara’s guy (who fled the sequel) was Daniel Craig - complete with a Walther PPK pistolthat he would use again as 007 in Casino Royale, 2005.
  26. Kirsten Dunst, Spider-Man, 2001.
  27. Renée Zellweger, Chicago, 2001.
  28. Anne Hathaway, The Princess Diaries, 2001.    Not interested (nor were 21 other youngstars)in being the awkward San Francisco teenager being groomed (by Julie Andrews!) to inherit the Genovia throne. Of course not. She’d already been through the princess route for Ever After, 1998.
  29. Nicole Kidman, Moulin Rouge! 2001.    Drew auditioned for Satine.  But hey, she was busy enough, thank you. She had three films released that year.  “They didn’t have to be big singers,” director Baz Luhrmann explained about his  needs, “but they had to be able to move you emotionally. Basically, Ewan [McGregor] and Nicole were the best for the job. That's the bottom line of it.”
  30. Kate Bosworth, Beyond The Sea, 2004.    Before Kevin Spacey directed himself as singer Bobby Darin, Barrymore was Barry Levinson's choice for Mrs D- Sandra Dee.

  31. Naomi Watts, King Kong, 2004.      Peter Jackson kept the faith with his fellow down-under dazzler.
  32. Nicole Kidman, Bewitched, 2004.      Who wants to play wriggly-nosed Samantha?  Me, me, chorused…  Drew, Jennifer Aniston, Kim Basinger, Cameron Diaz, Heather Graham (who would have been quirkily great), Angelina Jolie, Lisa Kudrow (perfect!), Tatum O'Neal, Gwyneth Paltrow,  Michelle Pfeiffer, Julia Roberts, Meg Ryan, Alicia Silverstone, Hilary Swank, Naomi Watts. Among 35 possibles..Over the years.
  33. Kate Beckinsale, Click, 2005.   After The Wedding Singer, 1998, and 50 First Dates, 2003, Drew wisely avoided Adam Sandler’s latest unfunny comedy… yet blindly returned to planet Sandler for Blended, 2013. 
  34. Cameron Richardson, Alvin and the Chipmunks, 2006.     Seven guys were up for Dave (Allvviinn!!), just four babes for his, er, babe. Barrymore, Sarah Michele Gellar, Salma Hayek and Jennifer Love Hewitt. But for once, the outsider won: the lively lovely from Baton Rouge became Claire Wilson.
  35. Katherine Heigl, Knocked Up, 2007.










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