- Juliette Binoche, Wuthering Heights, 1993. Never mind, after Much Ado About Nothing and Shooting Fish, she became a Hollywood star when replacing Charlize Theron in Pearl Harbour, 2001.
- Francesca Hunt, The Secret Adventures of Jules Verne, TV, 2000. Two Kates (Beckinsale and Catherine Zeta-Jones) were in the mix for Phileas Fogg’s butt-kicking cousin, Rebecca, in the 22-chapter series inspired by an alternate draft of 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea. Created by Gavin Scott as a second coming of his Young Indiana Jones Chronicles, the stories feature such figures as George Custer, D’Artagnan, Alexandre Dumas, Thomas Edison, Jesse James, Abraham Lincoln, George Quantrill and Queen Victoria.
- Anne Hathaway, The Princess Diaries, 2001. Among 22 youngstars (Drew Barrymore, Cameron Diaz, Reese Witherspoon, etc) rejecting the awkward San Francisco teenager being groomed (by Julie Andrews!) to inherit the Genovia throne - after director Garry Marshall’s (rather surprising) first choice of Juliette Lewis quit.
- Naomi Watts, The Ring, 2002. After Jennifer Connelly, Gwyneth Paltrow fled, the producers felt Kate looked too young to head up the re-make of re-make of Hideo Nakata’s gigantic1998 Japanese horror hit. She showed ’em, by breeding her own Underworld horror series, in 2003.
- Nicole Kidman, Bewitched, 2004. Who wants to play wriggly-nosed Samantha? Me, me, chorused... Jennifer Aniston, Kim Basinger, Cameron Diaz, Heather Graham (who would have been quirkily great), Angelina Jolie, Lisa Kudxrow (perfect!), Tatum O’Neal, Gwyneth Paltrow, Michelle Pfeiffer, Julia Roberts, Meg Ryan, Alicia Silverstone, Hilary Swank, Naomi Watts. Among 35 possibles. Over the years.
- Audrey Tautou, The Da Vinci Code, 2005.
- Kate Bosworth, Superman Returns, 2005.
- Hilary Swank, The Black Dahlia, 2005. Fairuza Balk, Rachel Bilson, Eva Green were up for the femme fatale in Brian De Palma’s disappointing take on the James Elroy book that took 20 years to be be filmed. Yes, but Hilary something extra in her baggage Two Oscars!
- Jodie Foster, The Brave One, 2006. When Foster rushes to the rescue, her price is changing her role… After Kate and Portia De Rossi passed, Neve Campbell and Jose Davis auditoned for Erica - a newspaper reporter until Jodie said that "wasn't as compelling in terms of the narrative" and made her… a radio reporter. In 2001, she changed her Panic Room heroine from Nicole Kidman’s original icy Hitchcockian blonde to a grittier political animal.
- Winona Ryder, The Dilemma, 2010. Winona worked her butt off to win over director Ron Howard. She auditioned twice to be caught between tubby hubby Kevin James and his best pal Vince Vaughn. Rolling Stone critic Peter Travers reported: "You can tell The Dilemma is a dud just from watching the trailer." Owch!
- Sienna Miller, The Trials of Kate McCullough, 2011. Held up on hher husband Len Wiseman’s Total Recall re-make.
- Rachel Weisz, Oz: The Great and Powerful, 2011. Among the many hoping to be the witch Evanora in the Wizard of Oz prequel. Disney, however, had eyes for Rachel, only.
- 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. Time then, 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 favourites, Kate and Cobie Smulders. Then, the film morphed into 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.
- Andrea Riseborough, Oblivion, 2012. One Brit beauty for another when Disney realised it knew diddley-squat about science fiction and let director Joseph Kosinski and his (expensive) scenario go... Well, he had made their Tron: Legacy flopperoo. Also losing out on Vika - opposite Tom Cruise - was Hayley Atwell and Diane Kruger.
- Eva Green, Sin City: A Dame To Kill For, 2013. Ava Lord in Frank Miller and Robert Rodriguez’ Sin City sequel was written for Angelina Jolie with 14 back-ups: Green, Beckinsale, Amy Adams, Elizabeth Banks, Helena Bonham Carter, Anne Hathaway, Salma Hayek, Elizabeth Hurley, Scarlett Johansson, Jennifer Lawrence, Rose McGowan, Sofia Vergara, Rachel Weisz, Michelle Williams.
- Keira Knightley, Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, 2012. Tom Clancy’s CIAnalyst hero, Jack Ryan, has been around since The Hunt For Red October, 1989. Time, then, for a third reboot… Following Alec Baldwin, Harrison Ford and Ben Affleck, young Chris Pine became the fourth Ryan. Also in the mix for his surgeon wife, Cathy, were Jessica Biel, Felicity Jones and, Lost no more, Evangeline Lilly.
- Rachel Weisz, Oz the Great and Powerful, 2012. Disneyland is no Oz. Yet having lost a bundle on the depressing Return To Oz, 1984, the Mouse House primed the pump anew for this dangerously titled flop. Also up for Evanora: Amy Adams, Rebecca Hall, Keira Knightley. Director Sam Raimi’s favourites became Hilary Swank and Michelle Williams. Then, Weisz arrived out of the blue… and blew everyone away. And Williams became an excellent Annie/Glinda.
- Gal Gadot, Wonder Woman, 2015. On Warner shelves for a full decade (not helped by David Kelley’s disastrous 2011 TVersion), spinning through numerous diectors, the demi-goddess daughter of Zeus, eventually became the Israeli Gadot. “Very different,” she said, “from the experienced, super-confident, grown-up woman” that she introduced in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, 2015. Rivals for the DC Extended Universe included Beckinsale, Mischa Barton, Jessica Biel, Rachel Bilson, Sandra Bullock in 2001 (and for the 2011 tele-film), Bollywood’s Priyanka Chopra in 2006, US wrestling star Chyna, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Eva Green, Mad Men’s busty Christina Hendricks (Nicolas Winding Refn’s choice, 2011), Angelina Jolie in 2001 (ten years later she was asked to direct), Cobie Smulders (WW’s voice in The Lego Movie, 2013), Kristen Stewart. The final trio, auditioning in November 2013, were Olga Kurylenko, Elodie Yung and… Gadot.