- Claire Danes, Little Women, 1994. As sickly Beth for Australian director Gillian Armstrong. Portman’s father gave her a rule to work by: "If I haven’t done it in real life, I shouldn’t do it on-screen." Like interfacing with aliens before Mars Attacks...?
- Kirsten Dunst, Interview With the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles, 1994.
- Claire Danes, Romeo + Juliet, 1996. Considered for Juliet and got as far as flying to Australian director Baz Luhrmann’s hometown of Sydney, to film scenes with Leonardo DiCaprio (as Romeo), when 20th Century Fox couldn’t quite visualize Baz’s off-the-wall concept. “Although she’s a fantastic young actor,” said Baz, “she's a tiny and Leonardo’s 6ft. He's 21, but can look 18. She made him look all of 21, and it just became obscene.” Natalie added: “They said it looked like Leonardo was molesting me...”
- Dominique Swain Lolita, 1997. “It was widely reported that my parents were over-protective prudes. Not so. They just didn’t want to see their 14-year-old having sex with Jeremy Irons. And I would’ve been pretty upset to be in a sex scene... before I’d even experienced it in real life.”
- Christina Ricci, Ice Storm, 1997. “Too much nudity!” She preferred director Ted Demme's Beautiful Girls and Woody Allen’s Everyone Says I Love You. Ricci had also been up for Lolita.
- Scarlett Johansson, The Horse Whisperer, 1997. No to Redford - because of her yes to The Diary of Anne Frank on Broadway.
- Claire Danes, Les miserables, 1997. Not often that a French film-maker’s discovery - Luc Besson found her, at age 12, for Léon, 1994 - has won such global success.
- Bridget Fonda, A Simple Plan, 1998. When UK film-maker John Boorman took over from Ben Stiller and John Dall, he selected a very young wife for Bill Paxton. (By 2006, Bill had three wives in TV’s Big Love).
- Anna Paquin, X-Men trilogy, 1999-2005.
- Kate Hudson, Almost Famous, 2000. Natalie auditioned (opposite Brad Pitt) and writer-producer-director Cameron Crowe (who still has the tape) says her Penny Lane “would’ve been completely fresh. That’s one of the amazing things about the casting process - you get to see different versions of your movie.”
- Jordana Brewster, The Fast and The Furious, 2000. Mia Toretto was written for Eliza Dushku but she passed. Jessica Biel auditioned, as did Portman, Kirsten Dunst, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Bijou Phillips. Brewster returned for chapters 4, 5, 6 and was filming #7 when co-star Paul Walker as killed in an off-duty car crash on November 30, 2013. at age 40. He was not driving.
- Penelope Cruz, All The Pretty Horses, 2001. When Miramax suggested the Star Wars girl as the Mexican rancher’s daughter, actor-director Billy Bob Thornton made the obvious comment. “Lovely girl. Wonderful actress.She ain’t Mexican!”Nor was Penelope.
Nicole Kidman, Cold Mountain, 2002. Auditioned as Ada... awaiting the return of her guy from the Civil War as she runs the family farm with scrappy Ruby.
- Anna Paquin, Darkness, 2002. Spanish director Jaume Balagueroworkedhard on tryingto land Natalie. “I don’t go wagging my boobs around in people’s faces.”
- Kate Hudson, Le Divorce, 2002. Tied to Cold Mountain as Merchant-Ivory went modern-day.Theyreally missed the corsets.
- Jennifer Garner, Daredevil, 2003. Also considered for Elektra:Jessica Alba, Jolene Blalock, Neve Campbell, Penelope Cruz, Portia de Rossi, Claire Forlani, Angie Harmon, Salma Hayek, Katie Holmes, Milla Jovovich, Nicole Kidman, Lucy Liu,Mia Maestro,Rhona Mitra, Bridget Moynahan, Kyra Sedgwick, Charlize Theron, Reese Witherspoon. Plus Norwegian ballet dancer Natassia Malthe, who became Typhoid in Garner’s Elektra spin-off.
- Diane Kruger, Troy, 2004. According to the daily newspaper The Times of London (actresses competing for the role included Halle Berry, Keira Knightley Kristin Kreuk, Jennifer Lopez. Sophie Marceau, Connie Nielsen,Catherine Zeta-Jones.
- Romola Garai, Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights, 2004. Natalie and Ricky Martin were dream-team choices for Katey and Javier.
- Naomi Watts, King Kong, 2005.Back in 1998, New Zealand’s iconic director Peter Jackson wanted Kate Winslet - his Heavenly Creatures was her first movie in 1994. He then looked at everyone else...
- Kate Bosworth, Superman Returns, 2006.
- Anne Hathaway, Becoming Jane, 2006. For the unknown Jane Austen and her romance with a young Irishman. Hathaway worked with a dialect coach- as did Natalie for the movie she chose instead, Milos Forman’s Goya’s Ghosts, 2006.
Jacinda Barrett, The Namesake, India-US, 2006. Kate Hudson was also in the frame to join Bollywood star Tabu in the feature from by India’s sole international film-maker, Mira Nair.
- Cate Blanchett, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, 2007.
- Amy Adams, Doubt, 2008. Directing the film version of 2005 Pulitzer Prize-winning play, John Patrick Shanley, invited Natalie to play the young nun bringing a problem toSister Meryl Streep's attention. “Natalie was very interested,” he said, “but kept saying she had a problem… She didn’t understand celibacy.”
- Gemma Arterton, Wuthering Heights, 2009. Natalie jumped out of the Emily Bronte projectalmostas quickly as she’d leapt in.Her Heathcliff, Michael Fassbender, also quit -providing big breaks for Bondacious Gemma and Gossip Girl hunk Ed Westwick. “We’ve cast it as written,” said producer Robert Bernstein. "Heathcliff's a teen and the story takes him into his early 20s. Cathy is just as young."
- Mandy Moore, Tangled, 2009. “Being a Disney Princess,” said Mandy, “is every girl's ultimate dream.” Also in the Rapunzel frame for Disney's 50th toon feature: Portman, Kristin Chenoweth, Reese Witherspoon - and the co-stars of Frozen, Kristen Bell and Idina Menzel. In fact, Portman’s audition work was used to voice for early pencil drawn tests of the heroine.
- Cate Blanchett, Robin Hood, 2009. Before Sienna Miller was set as the maid, er widow Marion (sic), Natalie was among several Sherwood candidates: Emily Blunt, Scarlett Johansson, Angelina Jolie, Zooey Deschanel. Then, Sienna dropped out and a whole new search began...
- Cate Blanchett, Robin Hood, 2009. Before Sienna Miller quit as maid, er widow Marion (sic), Portman had been among several Sherwood candidates: Emily Blunt, Zooey Deschanel, Scarlett Johansson, Angelina Jolie and Saoirse Ronan.
- Kate Hudson, The Killer Inside Me, 2009. As directors changed from Andrew Dominik and Marc Rocco to Michael Winterbottom, so did the favourites to play. Amy Stanton,battered girlfriend of the mild-spoken, intellectual psychopath. The other choices included Katherine Heigl, Sienna Miller, Michelle Williams and, finally,Kate.
- Scarlett Johansson, Iron Man 2, 2009. Scarlett proved her commitment to becoming Natalie Rushman aka Natalie Romanoff aka Black Widow - by dying her blonde tresses... scarlett. Those who did not included Portman, Jessica Alba, Gemma Arterton, Jessica Biel, Emily Blunt, Eliza Dushku and Angelina Jolie. Portman later played another Marvel character, Jane Foster, in Thor, 2010.
- Rooney Mara, Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, 2010.
- Carey Mulligan, The Great Gatsby, 2011. Australian director Baz Luhrmann’s hunt for Daisy in the third Gatsby movie matched all the season’s other major auditions. As if the only actresses left on planet earth were: Portman, Jessica Alba, Abbie Cornish, Eva Green, Rebecca Hall, Anne Hathaway, Scarlett Johansson, Keira Knightley, Blake Lively, Rachel McAdams, Amanda Seyfried, Olivia Wilde, Michelle Williams. And Mulligan... soon sobbing on a red carpet, after being handed a phone. “It was Baz: Hello Daisy!”
- Noomi Rapace, Prometheus, 2011. Among the season’s usual testees chasing Ridley Scott’s (is it?/it isn’t/oh yes, it is) Alien prequel - Gemma Arterton, Abbie Cornish, Anne Hathaway, Carey Mulligan, Olivia Wilde. The initially cast Charlize Theron switched toMeredith Vickers, instead. Then,Ridley Scott beat all Hollywood to signing The Girl of the Hour - aka Lisbeth Salander, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, inSweden’s Millennium trilogy.
- Doona Bae, Cloud Atlas, US-Germany-Hong Kong-Singapore, 2011. In London, circa 2004, while shooting V For Vendetta for the Wachowski siblings (Lana and Andy at the time, now Lana and Lilly) Natalie gave David Mitchell’s novel to them. Throughout the years of writing a script with German director pal Tom Tykwer, Portman was promised Somni-451 and five other roles (like Halle Berry, Tom Hanks, etc). During the wait for a budget, Portman became pregnant - she got a thanks credit. Her successor, the South Korean model turned actress, also appeared in the next Wachowski project, Jupiter Ascending, 2014.
- Amy Adams, Man of Steel, 2011
- Anne Hathaway, The Dark Knight Rises, 2011.
- Sandra Bullock, Gravity, 2012. Once Angelina Jolie passed (twice), they all wanted the 3D sf special written by Mexican director Alfonso Cuaron and his son, Jonas - Natalie, Abbie Cornish , Marion Cotillard, Rebecca Hall, Scarlett Johannsson, Blake Lively, Sienna Miller, Casey Mulligan, Naomi Watts, Olivia Wilde… Becausethe female astronauts is alone on-screen for most of the movie. Sorry about that, George Clooney.
- Penelope Cruz, The Counselor, 2012. Ridley Scott looked atNat and then voted Cruz.Her husband, Javier Bardem, was also cast - although, for the first time in a filmtogether, they never shared a scene.
- Rosamund Pike, Gone Girl, 2013. Emily Blunt, Abbie Cornish, Julianne Hough, Rooney Mara, Charlize Theron, Olivia Wilde, Reese Witherspoon were also discussed for Amy, who goes missing on her wedding anniversary. A great Briton won…
- Mila Kunis, Jupiter Ascending, 2013. After Portman (wisely) quit her second Wachowski siblings’ movie (Cloud Atlas was the first), Rooney Mara was seen before Kunis, a Portman pal and her Black Swan co-star, became Jupiter Jones, a toilet cleaner when first met. Hence Houston critic Chris Sawin said the s(l)oppy 2015 release was “more of a motivational video for janitors and housemaids everywhere than a satisfying piece of entertainment.” Oh dear.
- Marion Cotillard, Macbeth, 2014. The French Oscar-winner was a surprise replacement when Portman changed her mind about being Lady Macbeth - opposite Michael Fassbender, the fourth of the X-Men guys to play the role, after James McAvoy, Ian McKellan and Sir Patrick Stewart. By now Portman was running her own show with Handsomecharlie Films.
- Lily James, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, 2014. All set for the revisionist Elizabeth Bennet until delays clashed with her schedule. Portman remained on board as one of seven producers while Lily Collins, Anne Hathaway, Scarlett Johansson, Mila Kunis, Blake Lively, Rooney Mara, Emma Stone and Mia Wasikowska were rung up Jane Austen flagpoles.
- Kate Winslet, Steve Jobs, 2015. In the frame for Joanna Hoffman - Jobs’ most trusted friend and consort, part of both the Macintosh and NeXT teams.