Sarah Jessica Parker
- Brooke Shields, Pretty Baby, 1977. The subject was horrendous - a prostitute allowing her 12-year-old daughter’s virginity to be auctioned off in a brothel in the red-light Storyville district of New Orleans, circa 1917. Elegant French director Louis Malle saw 28 hopefuls and/or instant (parental) refusals for Violet. From Laura Dern aged 10 and future Sex And The City co-stars Cynthia Nixon, at 11, Sarah Jessica Parker, 12 (like Shields) and (the often too buxom) teenagers Melissa Sue Anderson, Rosanna Arquette, Linda Blair, Jamie Lee Curtis, Bridget Fonda, Jodie Foster, Mariel Hemingway, Helen Hunt, Anissa Jones (who tragically ODed at 18 before her audition), Diane Lane, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Kristy McNichol, Tatum O’Neal (Dad said no), Dana Plato (Mom said no), Michelle Pfeiffer, Ally Sheedy, Meg Tilly, Charlene Tilton… to seven twentysomethings. However, no make-up and soft lenses could make 12-year-olds out of Isabelle Adjani, Bo Derek, Carrie Fisher, Melanie Griffith, Amy Irving, Mary Steenburgen or Debra Winger.
- 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.
- Diane Lane, The Outsiders, 1982. Mal paso. Dumb move. SJP rejected an offer from Francis Coppola to play Cherry Valance - and, thereby, Patty in Rumble Fish, 1983, his second consecutive film of a novel by 16-year-old SE Hinton.
- Michelle Meyrink, Revenge of the Nerds, 1983. SJP, Joan Cusack, Jamie Gertz were up for Judy when Robert Carradine and Anthony Edwards led a college nerds’ anti-bully battle by setting up their own frat house. Excellent campus comedy (for once).
- Molly Ringwald, Pretty In Pink, 1985. Although it was obvious that Molly would star - after her two previous John Hughes outings - he kept her in line by seeing SJP, Justine Bateman, Jennifer Beals, Jodie Foster, Diane Lane, Lori Loughlin, Tatum O’Neal and Brooke Shields. Hughes hated his ending (as much as Molly loathed the dress) and rewrote it for another teen triangle, Some Kind of Wonderful, 1986. Ringwald refused to play it again. “I can’t be 16 forever!” Hughes was furious and never worked with her again.
Ally Sheedy, St Elmo’s Fire, 1984. Directors John Hughes and Joel Schumacher were rather like Lucas and Spielberg in the 70s: dipping into the same talent pool. Those Brat Packers Hughes kept in the high school Breakfast Club, Schumacher made, as here, college kids. When Hughes said “Why can’t I make movies like The Lost Boys, Joel?” Schumacher would reply: “Why can’t I make Pretty in Pink?” The answer was different school experiences. Joel’s was “risque and dangerous from a very early age. My father died when I was four, and my mother died at an early age as well. I started drinking at nine, smoking at 10, sexually active at 11....”
- Anjelica Huston, Prizzi’s Honor, 1984. “So let’s do it. Right here. On the Oriental. With all the lights on.” Maerose Prizzi knew what she wanted, where and when from her Family’s hit man, Jack Nicholson - the unlikeliest Mafioso since the Corleones’ James Caan. Before realising his daughter was Oscar-winning perfection, director John Huston looked at some 17 potential Maeroses. From the sublime Rosanna Arquette, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Liza Minnelli, Demi Moore, Michelle Pfeiffer (been there, done that and got the Married To The Mob and Scarface t-shirts), Debra Winger… to the ridiculous : Geena Davis, Melanie Griffith, Daryl Hannah, Emma Thompson, Sela Ward, Debra Winger… and the damn stupid: SJP, Linda Blair, Carrie Fisher, Kelly Lebrock, Heather Locklear, Ally Sheedy.
- Lea Thompson, Howard The Duck, 1985. In the mix for rocker Beverly Switzler were SJP, Paula Abdul, singer Tori Amos, Kim Basinger, Jodi Benson, Phoebe Cates and the well-named Lori Singer. But Thompson nailed it. “And I got to be a rock star. Everybody wants to be a rock star, right? So, I got to sing and wear really crazy hair. It’s unfortunate that it was such a bomb. But, whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” Not sure producer George Lucas would agree. Short of funds to complete his Skywalker Ranch, Lucas sold to Steve Jobs what became… Pixar!
- Jennifer Connelly, Labyrinth, 1985. For (alas) his final film as a director, Muppeteer-in-Chief Jim Henson saw 15 possibles for his adolescent heroine, Sarah, forever in a dreamworld. They included SJP, Yasmine Bleeth, Helena Bonham Carter, Laura Dern, Kerri Green, Mary Stuart Masterson, Laura San Giacomo, Mia Sara, Lili Taylor and Marisa Tomei. Choices reached a final five - Maddie Corman, Jane Krakowski, Ally Sheedy, Sarah Williams… and the stunning Connelly.
- Robin Wright (Penn), The Princess Bride, 1986.
Apart from the future Sex and the City TV star, director Rob Reiner thumbed through a veritable little black book of Hollywood’s new young hotties! SuzyAmis, Valerie Bertinelli, Yasmine Bleeth, Phoebe Cates, Courteney Cox, Kim Delaney, Rebecca de Mornay, Cathryn de Prume, Sherilyn Fenn, Jennifer Grey, Anne Heche, Marg Helgenberger, Lauren Holly, Patsy Kensit, Juliette Lewis, Carey Lowell, Kelly Lynch, Virginia Madsen, Mary Stuart Masterson, Alexandra Paul, Amanda Pays, Mia Sara, Greta Scacchi, Courtney Thorne-Smith, Uma Thurman, Meg Tilly, Charlene Tilton, Nancy Travis, Amy Yasbeck, Sean Young.
- Jennifer Grey, Dirty Dancing, 1986. Strange old world… #1: SJP was turned down for being too old (at 22!) #2 : Grey was chosen - at age 27. #3: Her lover at the time was Matthew Broderick. #4: Broderick wed SJP in 1997.
- Winona Ryder, Beetlejuice, 1987. Finding Betelgeuse was easier for director Tim Burton than unearthing Lydia. He saw SJP, Justine Batman, Jennifer Connelly, Diane Lane, Juliette Lewis, Lori Loughlin, Molly Ringwald, Brooke Shields. And fell for Winona. Didn't we all. She was sweet 17 at the time.
- Kelly McGillis, The Accused, 1987. Sex And The City Lawyer... Paramount suits saw 40 young actresses for the (real life) gang rape victim . Or, their own rape bait fantasies… such as 16-year-old Alyssa Milano! And a further 28 for her defence attorney. Including the Fatal Attraction also-rans (from Catherine to Debra Winger, by way of Diane Keaton and, naturally, Meryl Streep). Plus Blythe Danner, Sally Field, Terri Garr, Mary Gross, Dianne Wiest. A 1982 rape victim herself, McGillis refused Jodie Foster’s Oscar-winning role, and asked to play her lawyer.
- Uma Thurman, Dangerous Liaisons, 1988. SJP said she passed on an offer to be the deflowred virgin, Cécile. UK director Stephn Frears also saw Drew Barrymore before meeting Uma. And a star was born. (Idem for Keanu Reeves in the same film).
Nicole Kidman, Days of Thunder, 1989. When Robin Wright proved unavailable for Dr Claire Lewicki, a dozen actresses were seen, from Parker to Madonna. Having seen Dead Calm, Tom Cruise voted for Kidman - and then wed her: 1990-2001.
- Julia Roberts, Pretty Woman, 1989.
- Juliette Lewis, Cape Fear, 1991.
First thought, among the many - the very many- Christina Applegate, Drew Barrymore, Jennifer Connelly, Shannen Doherty, Nicole Eggeret, Bridget Fonda, Jodie Foster, Helen Hunt, Nicole Kidman, Diane Lane, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Alyssa Milano, Demi Moore, Molly Ringwald, Meg Ryan, Winona Ryder, Brooke Shields, Tiffani Thiessen, Reese Witherspoon - considered by Steven Spielberg and, later, Martin Scorsese for young Danielle Brown... the teenage daughter of Nick Nolte and Jessica Lange. Some found it too sexy and, indeed, few could have equalled the on-heat musk of Juliette’stotally improvised - and one take - seduction scene with Robert De Niro.
- Sharon Stone, Basic Instinct, 1991.
- Laura Dern, Jurassic Park, 1992.
- Sandra Bullock, Speed, 1993. Although sharing the heroics and the driving of the bus-bomb with Keanu Reeves, most girls saw it as The Guy’s film. An amazing 36 refused to be Annie: SJP, Rosanna Arquette, Kim Basinger, Halle Berry, Glenn Close (!), Geena Davis, Cameron Diaz, Carrie Fisher, Bridget Fonda, Jodie Foster, Melanie Griffith, Daryl Hannah, Mariska Hargitay, Barbara Hershey, Anjelica Huston, Diane Lane, Jessica Lange, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Kay Lenz, Alyssa Milano, Demi Moore, Tatum O’Neal, Michelle Pfeiffer, Julia Roberts, Meg Ryan, Winona Ryder, Jane Seymour,Ally Sheedy, Brooke Shields, Meryl Streep(!), Emma Thompson(!), Meg Tilly, Marisa Tomei, Kathleen Turner, Sigourney Weaver and Debra Winger.
- Andie MacDowall, Four Weddings and a Funeral, 1994. SJP did not get the London Carrie, but became the New York Carrie for seven (worst dressed) years of Sex And The City, TV, 1998-2004.. Also on the UK short list: Phoebe Cates, Melanie Griffith, Brooke Shields, Marisa Tomei, Jeanne Tripplehorn.
- Nicole Kidman, To Die For, 1994. “You aren't anybody in America if you’re not on TV…” Most young sparks agreed this was a role to die for - the girl who would do anything (murder included) to get on TV, and stay there. They included SJP, Patricia Arquette, Jennifer Connelly, Joan Cusack, Bridget Fonda, Jodie Foster, Melanie Griffith, Darryl Hannah, Holly Hunter, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Tatum O’Neal, Mary-Louise Parker, Michelle Pfeiffer, Meg Ryan (passing up $5million), Brooke Shields, Uma Thurman. However, Debra Winger simply refused… and Kidman persuaded director Gus Van Sant that she was his destiny.
- Jennifer Aniston, The Object of My Affection, 1997. First Julia Roberts, then SJP and Winona Ryder were seen for the pregnant friend of a gay Paul Rudd in what Chicago’s ace critic Roger Ebert dubbed a seriocom. “The worst kind of sitcom - a serious one.”
- Neve Campbell, The Lion King 2: Simba’s Pride, 1998. The first triumph was Bambi meets Hamlet in Africa, the sequel turned Kovu and Kiara into Romeo and Juliet. Jennifer Aniston was also seen about voicing Simba’s headstrong daughter, Kiara.
- Kirsten Dunst, Spider-Man, 2001.
- 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 (pereect!), Tatum O'Neal (not so much), Gwyneth Paltrpw, Michelle Pfeiffer, Julia Roberts, Meg Ryan, Alicia Silverstone, Hilary Swank, Naomi Watts. Among 35 possibles.. Over the years.
- Joan Cusack, Chicken Little, 2004. To find the right voice for Abby Mallard in Disney’s paltry poultry pic, Disney went through Geeena Davis, Laura Dern, Jamie Donnelly, Jodie Foster, Holly Hunter, Madonna and, of course, Sigourney Weaver. (By now many Alien fans were working at every studio). Plus SJP, when her husband, Matthew Broderick, was in the frame for the titular hero.
- Carla Gugino, Sin City, 2004. Directors Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller also looked at Ashley Judd, Carrie-Anne Moss, Uma Thurman and Naomi Watts for Lucille in their “live” comic-strip.
- Katherine Heigl, Knocked Up, 2007.
- Jennifer Aniston, The Bounty Hunter, 2009. One TV star for another as the ex-wife of the titular Gerard Butler. Aniston called his character Kojak - after the the 1973-1978 TV cop played by her Godfather, Telly Savalas.
- Jennifer Aniston, Horrible Bosses, 2010. In the mix for Charlie Day’s dentist boss - in this masculine take on Nine To Five. No, wait - that won’t work. Dr Harris had to be sexy, indeed an erotomaniac. Agrssively so. As in: “You're gonna give me that dong, Dale.”