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Tatum O’Neal

1. - Jodie Foster, Bugsy Malone, 1976. Even at a mere 13, Tatum was too expensive. After becoming (and remaining) the youngest Oscar-winner - at 10 for Paper Moon

2. - Brooke Shields, Pretty Baby, 1978. “My dad turned it down in 1976. It wasn’t right for me. Brooke has always had the face of a beautiful woman.”

3. - 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.

4. - Phoebe Cates, Fast Times At Ridgemont High, 1981. Discusssed for Linda in the classic Cameron Crowe scenario. As were Rosanna Arquette, Justine Bateman, Melanie Griffith, Ally Sheedy, Meg Tilly.

5. - Rosanna Arquette, The Executioner's Song, TV, 1982. Producer-director Lawrence Schiller saw more Nicole Bakers than Gary Gilmores for his film on the life and firing-squad death of Gilmore - first man to be executed since the US government reinstated capital punishment in 1976.

6. - Karen Allen, Split Image, 1983. Producers Jon Peters and Peter Gruber wanted Tatum - with David Carradine, Andrew Stevens. No, said director Ted Kotcheff - Karen, Michael O’Keefe, James Woods. “That’s the way it’s gonna be. Take it or leave it.”


7. - Daryl Hannah, Splash, 1983. A mermaid? Moi?


8. - Demi Moore, St Elmo’s Fire, 1984.

“Everyone wanted that role,” recalled director Joel Schumacher. His office was opposite John Hughes’ where Demi got tired for waiting for him., “I happened to see her running down the hallway. I had my assistant run after her and find out who she was - ‘Demi Moore and she was on General Hospital.’ So I called her agent and she came in and did a reading. There was no one like Demi Moore at that age in the world. In the movie she gets to be sexy, seductive, hilariously funny and dramatic. She becomes a coke head and she tries to kill herself by freezing to death by opening the windows in her apartment. She had to go through 35 different things in the movie. At that age? Pretty fucking amazing, right? There was no one like her.” Hughes and Schumacher were rather like Lucas and Spielberg in the 70s, dipping into the same talent pool. Those Brat Packers Hughes kept in high school, Schumacher made, as here, college kids. Or those who  agreed - Tatum did not.



9. - Kim Basinger, Nine ½ Weeks, 1986. A far less obvious choice than the other early idea of Kathleen Turner. Both refused to be the erotic kind of Elizabeth that was finally played by Kim and assorted body doubles.

10 - Jodie Foster, The Accused, 1987. Jodie was better (although considered “not sexy enough”) and won her first Oscar. Paramount suits perversely saw Rosanna Arquette, Ellen Barkin, Kim Basinger, Jennifer Beals, Jennifer Connelly, Bridget Fonda, Melanie Griffith, Linda Hamilton, Daryl Hannah, Mariel Hemingway, Jennifer Jason-Leigh, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Andie MacDowell, Brigitte Nielsen, Meg Ryan, Sharon Stone, Uma Thurman, etc, among their rape bait fantasies.


11 - Sharon Stone, Basic Instinct, 1991. 

12 - Geena Davis, Angie, 1993. The official reason was Madonna was already booked for Abel Ferrara’s Dangerous Game, 1992. Then, one of her emails was leaked - furious with the head Fox, Joe Roth, for dumping her for a non-Italian in the titular role. In truth, she fled after hearing Roth didn’t want her because she couldn’t carry a movie. (Not that this one did any better without her). Her director, Jonathan Kaplan, also quit and Martha Coolidge took over with her 1991 Rambling Rose star - after some thoughts about a dozen others, from Halle Berry to Meryl Streep. Oh, very Italian!

13 - Janet Gunn, The Quest, 1996. The idea of being Jean-Claude Van Damme’s leading lady fizzled around the same time as their affair.

14 - 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 Kudrow (perfect!), Gwyneth  Paltrow, Michelle Pfeiffer, Julia Roberts, Meg Ryan, Alicia Silverstone, Hilary Swank, Naomi Watts. Among 35 possibles. Over the years.




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