- Jennie Garth, Beverly Hills 90210, TV, 1990-2000. Tried out forKelly Taylor.Then years after the series folded, Gwynnie won the 2,427th star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.And Jennie did not.
- Laura Dern, Jurassic Park, 1992.
- Janeane Garofalo, Reality Bites, 1994. Gwyneth, Anne Heche and Parker Posery auditioned... when no one really knew who they were. Including each other.
- Julia Ormond, Legends of the Fall, 1994. Originally conceived as a starring vehicle for Sean Connery and Tom Cruise. Julia was going through her thoroughlyinexplicable 15 minutes of fame.Brad Pitt was so taken with her test that he chose her for his wife in Se7en - and his lover in life.
- Kristy Swanson, Higher Learning, 1994. She quit director John Singleton’s campus to be the daughter of Jefferson In Paris. (Her mother, Blythe Danner, had played Jefferson's wife in 1776, 1972, just before Gwyneth was conceived).
- Julia Ormond, Sabrina, 1995. Even before the bad casting, director Sydney Pollack's totally unnecessary re-make was already a gross error of judgement. He tested Juliette Binoche and dancer Darcy Bissell and considered Paltrow, Sandra Bullock, Julie Delpy, Cameron Diaz, Demi Moore, Robin Wright, Catherine Zeta-Jones. All better suited than Ormond. So it blows.
- Cameron Diaz, Feeling Minnesota, 1995. The most English of US actresses beat several fast-risers to having Keanu Reeves and Vincent D’Onofrio fight over her. And then changed her mind.
- Kate Winslet, Titanic, 1997.
- Heather Graham, Boogie Nights, 1997. Paul Thomas Anderson’s first idea for Rollergirl in his “porno family” saga.
- Minnie Driver, Good Will Hunting, 1997. The Miramax house pet had competition from nine other youngstars for the (empty) role of Sklylar. When the writer-stars Ben Affleck and Matt Damon, Oscars in hand, thanked Minnie Driver, the simultaneous translation for French TV said they thanked... beaucoup de chauffeurs! (Many drivers).
- Uma Thurman,The Avengers, 1997. Never ask Americans to do a Brit’s work…Warner Bros insisted on Jeremiah Chechik directing the cinemaversion of the hit UK TV series -and the long delayed project suffered the worst casting in decades. As if Ralph Fiennes as John Steed was not alarming enough, Uma as the essentiallyBritish MrsEmma Peel wasa disaster. Gwyneth, Nicole Kidman, Elisabeth Shue, Emma Thompson, had refused. (Diana Rigg, the original Mrs Peel, likewise fled her proffered cameo).Sean Connery was the villain and if heever wondered what 007 would have turned out like in Hollywood, this mess was the answer. Sheer balderdash!
- Drew Barrymore, Ever After, 1998. For the born again Cinderella saga.
- Maria Bello, Duets, 1999. Director Bruce Paltrow’s second and final film was designed for his daughter and her guy, Brad Pitt. They split before production began in 1997. Gwyneth took another role and left the lead to a blonde ER doc. Bruce died in 2002.
- Juliette Binoche, Chocolat, 2000. A bully of blinkered horizons, Miramax co-boss Harvey Weinstein gave the role to Binoche - and then offered it to Paltrow.Gwynnie was Harvey’s Grace Kelly. More like Paul Kelly... as in a richer life off-stage. Just not as promiscuous.
- Charlize Theron, The Yards, 2000. Second script of director James Little Odessa Gray was another Paltrow ’n’ Pitt deal that fell apart as they did.
- Frances O’Connor, AI: Artificial Intelligence, 2001. Julianne Moore was also considered by Gwyneth’s Godfather... Steven Spielberg. She calls him, Uncle Morty.
- Kate Beckinsale, Pearl Harbor, 2001. Busy enough, thank you, with three movies and a Saturday Night Live guest spot.
- Reese Witherspoon, Legally Blonde, 2001. Gwinnie spurned the role that proved Witherspoon’s breakthrough.
- Milla Jovovich, Resident Evil, 2001. Among his Tarantinoesque cast - Mr Grey, Mr Red Ms Black, Dr Green etc - director Paul WS Andeson lost Paltrow and Sarah Michelle Gellar and chose Jovovich, the ex-Mrs Luc Besson Turned out fine for Anderson. He made five sequels with her and they wed 2009. They have two children.
- Naomi Watts, The Ring, 2001. Various Hollywood ladies (Kate Beckinsale, Jennifer Connolly, Jennifer Love Hewitt - good sceamers all!) passed on the re-make of Hideo Nakata’s gigantic 1998 Japanese horror hit.. Then, Naomi was (re)born in David Lynch’s Mulholland Dr, 2001.
- Drew Barrymore, Confessions Of A Dangerous Mind, 2002. George Clooney’s first thought (plus Renée Zellweger) for his directing debut until falling for Drew’s perfect naturalnesss.
- Maggie Gyllenhaal, Secretary, 2002. Maggie made Lee look kinky; with Paltrow, it would have looked like real abuse.
- Julianne Moore, The Hours, 2002. Paltrow and the British Emily Watson were seen for Laura Brown, planning to kill herself with pills in a hotel room. She was not alone. Two other women were determined upon suicide in differing time zones and locales. Including Nicole Kidman with a fake nose as writer Virginia Wolf. Before handing her the Best Actress Oscar, Denzel Washington announced: “The winner… by a nose…”
- Naomi Watts, The Ring, 2002. Various Hollywood ladies (Kate Beckinsale, Jennifer Connolly) passed on the re-make of the Japanese horror champ. Then, Naomi was (re)born in David Lynch’s Mulholland Dr, 2001.
- Renée Zellweger, Chicago, 2002.
- Kate Hudson, How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days, 2002. Ad man v journalist. Posters said the rest: “One of them is lying. So is the other.”
- Rachel Weisz, Runaway Jury, 2002. Six years earlier, director Joel Schumacher asked her to be Edward Norton’s girlfriend - opposite Sean Connery. Instead, Gary Fleder made the John Grisham courtroom thriller with Rachel, John Cusack and Gene Hackman. After Confidence, this was Rachel’s second successive movie with Dustin Hoffman.
- Angelina Jolie, Taking Lives, 2003. British director Tony Scott tried Paltrow and Cate Blanchett for his FBI profiler before quitting for Spy Games with Brad Pitt and Robert Redford.
- Juliane Moore, The Hours, 2003. Three portraits of 20th Century women. The others were Meryl Streep and Nicole Kidman- (winning the Oscar by a (false) nose.
- Jennifer Garner, 13 Going On 30, 2003. Gwynnie and Oscar-winners Hilary Swank and Renée Zellweger were all on the Columbia list to be the 13-year-old in a 30-year-old body...
- 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), Angelinba Jolie, Lisa Kudrow (perfect!), Tatum O'Neal (not so much), Michelle Pfeiffer, Julia Roberts, Meg Ryan, Alicia Silverstone, Hilary Swank, Naomi Watts. Among 35 possibles. Over the years.
- Maggie Gyllenhaal, Happy Endings, 2004.Unable to work, still devastated - “and guilty” -eight months after the death of her idolised father. Jennifer Garner moved in - finally Maggie took over. Witha plus. She did her own singing.
- Naomi Watts, I Heart Huckabee's, 2004. Gwyneth went on the road with her Coldplay rocker guy Chris Martin, to battle her grief, leaving Jude Law, Dustin Hoffman, Isabelle Huppert adrift. Like the script.
- Cate Blanchett, The Life Acquatic with Steve Zissou, 2004. All set to be Jane Winslet-Richardson (named after Kate). And then she wasn’t.
- Kate Beckinsale, The Aviator, 2004. Legendary director Martin Scorsese’s first thought to play Ava Gardner - she could not have been worse than the vapid Kate. He showed her Mogambo and Barefoot Contessa - and Mogambo became a password for them on the set.
- Jennifer Garner, 13 Going On 30, 2004. Hilary Swank and Renée Zellweger were also considered for the teen waking up to find she’s 30. Jennifer, however, happened to be the flavour of the hour as the action-spy Sydney Bristow in Alias, TV, 2001-05.
- Maggie Gyllenhaal, Happy Endings, 2005. Gwyneth, then, Jennifer Garner quit - put off by the prospect of a Tom Arnold sex scene? Maggie took over and stole the whole show. (Arnold was pretty good, too).
- Drew Barrymore, Fever Pitch, 2005.Hollywood re-tread of Nick Hornby’s autobiography, only now the hero’s obsession is with the Boston Red Sox, not Arsenal Football Club..
- Vera Famiga, The Departed, 2006. Also considered for the role of Madolyn: Ashley Judd, Gwyneth Paltrow, Kyra Sedgwick.
- Nicole Kidman, Nine, 2009.
- Jennifer Aniston, Horrible Bosses, 2010.SJP and Naomi Watts were also in the frame for Julia, the queen of sexual harrassment, in this male take on Nine To Five…. While Gwynnie was simply banking her annual $3m for being the facew of Estée Lauder beauty products.
- Malin Ackerman, Rock of Ages, 2011. Gwinnie was up for Constance Sack – like Olivia Wilde - before Akerman nailed it.
- Rosamund Pike, Wrath of the Titans, 2011. Alexa Davalos was “unavailable” for the sequel to Clash of the Titans sequel. South African director Jonathan Leibesman started looking for a new Andromeda through Hayley Atwell, Georgina Haig, Dominique McElligott, Jane Montgomery, Clémence Poésy.
- Nicole Kidman, Grace of Monaco, 2012.Also in the mix to play Grace Kelly were: Amy Adams, Elizabeth Banks, Emily Blunt, Jessica Chastain, Kate Hudson, January Jones, Rosamund Pike, Charlize Theron, Reese Witherspoon. But not Christina Applegate, the young Grace on TV in 1983 when Cheryl Ladd was the older. None of them resembled Her Serene Highness, but then nor did Tim Roth look like Prince Rainier.
- Jessica Biel, Hitchcock, 2012.Hitchcock’s back in business!With two films headlinedby UK actors (Anthony Hopkins, Toby Jones) in bad impressions and fat suits. This is the secondone - Hopkins making Psycho. And telling Janet Leigh: “You can call me Hitch. Hold the cock.” As Leigh was just two years older than the dowdier Vera Miles, most actresses were up for either role: Diana Agron, Camilla Belle, Abby Cornish, Emilie de Ravin, Natalie Dormer, Sarah Gadon, Ashley Greene, January Jones, Kate Mara, Brit Marling, Chloe Sevigny, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Evan Rachel Wood. But Gwyneth was mainly seen for Vera.
- Nicole Kidman, The Secret in Their Eyes, 2014. Kidman was the last minute replacement when Paltrow had to leave the project - a re-make of the 2010 Oscar-winning Argentine thriller, El secreto de sue ojos.