- Sigourney Weaver, Ghostbusters, 1983. Dan Aykroyd’s original scenario would have cost $200m to make. Ivan Reitman, producer-director and eventual voice of the ghosts Zuul and Slimer), told him to cut the futuristics. “Ghosts in modern day New York are more interesting than ghosts in space.” He then started hunting for Dana and saw the unknown Julia but Sigourney won him over by suggesting she should be possessed at one point. Right!
- Melissa Leo, All My Children, TV, 1984-1985. Melissa beat Julia to the role of Linda Warner on the daytime soap, later joined the Homicide series and returned to good movies in 21 Grams, 2003.
- Stacy Edwards, Santa Barbara, TV, 1984-1993. Another soap went down the drain - with it, the doubtful pleasure of being Hayley Benson.
- Frances McDormand, Darkman, 1990. About to sign on when a previous project, so long delayed that she thought it dead was ready to roll. Cue Roy Orbison: Pretty Woman.
- Elizabeth Pena, Jacob's Ladder, 1990. Not written as an Hispanic but UK director Adrian Lynne said: “Elizabeth is a beautiful and talented woman. I never gave it much thought where she came from.” (Cuba).
- Wendy Gazelle, Triumph of the Spirit, 1990. “I’m 23. I’m not ready yet to give up glamour roles.” No one suggested that. Just to play, this once, a Holocaust victim.
- Imogen Stubbs, True Colours, 1991.
Refused point-blank to work with Herbert Ross again - even after Steel Magnolias won her an Oscar nod. He is known for bullying, torturing his sobbing female stars. “You gave me a hard time,” she told him. “I was trying to get a performance out of you,” he told her.
- Kim Basinger, The Marrying Man, 1991. Julia was keen on the Neil Simon romance once Disney dropped Herb Ross. Kim returned, fell in love with Baldwin and they gave Disney hell. Then they wed and. gave each other hell.
- Sofia Coppola, The Godfather: Part III, 1991.
- Sharon Stone, Basic Instinct, 1991.
- Dolly Parton, Straight Talk, 1992. The producer played it herself after waiting seven years for the likes of Julia, Goldie Hawn, Bette Midler to play the radio phone-in hostess.
- Laura Dern, Jurassic Park, 1992. Some 25 ladies voted against Dr Ellie Sattler- not the finest woman’s role in a Spielberg movie.They included survivors of the Fatal Attraction/Basic Instinct campaigns… Julia, Jamie Lee Curtis, Geena Davis, Bridget Fonda, Jodie Foster, Jennifer Grey, Linda Hamilton, Daryl Hannah, Helen Hunt, Kelly McGillis, Michelle Pfieffer, Ally Sheedy, Sigourney Weaver Debra Winger, Robin Wright. And among newer contestants:Juliette Binoche, Sandra Bullock, Joan Cusack, Sherilyn Fenn,Teri Hatcher, Helen Hunt, Elizabeth Hurley, Laura Linney, Julianne Moore, Julianne Moore, Gwyneth Paltrow and Sarah Jessica Parker.
- Bridget Fonda, Point Of No Return, 1993. French réalisateur Luc Besson wanted Joel Schumacher to re-make his Nikita with Julia. “Only way I could honour his compliment to me is not to insult him by imitating him,” said Joel. “It’s too French and too soon. Why can’t they take all the millions they’ll spend on an US version and just promote the hell out of Luc’s orginal and get all America to see it.” Jodie Foster had little hesitation in refusing the re-hash (as cumbersome as its title). Likewise, Winona Ryder. New director John Badham (!) somehow spurned Halle Berry, Daryl Hannah and Nicole Kidman. And stuck closer to Besson's film than gaffer tape.
- Laura Dern, Jurassic Park, 1992.
- Meg Ryan, Sleepless In Seattle, 1993. . “I loved it!” Just not enough as The Comeback Movie after a two years hiatus, even if her Pretty Woman director Garry Marshall was musing about making it. Then, Nora Ephron rewrote it as When Harry Met Sally Meets When Sam Met Suzy Same writer, Nora Ephron. Same Sally - Meg Ryan in the second of three ephemeral movies with Tom Hanks. ..“Oh that’s good,” felt Roberts. “They’re not going to screw it up.” Also forgetting that romcoms are rarely plausible: Jennifer Jason Leigh, Nicole Kidman, Demi Moore, Michelle Pfeiffer. And a surprise Brit - Natasha Richardson.
- Mary Stuart Masterson, Benny & Joon, 1993. Julia and Tom Hanks were MGM’s opening gambit for the weirdo lovers. Next: Tim Robbins and Susan Sarandon. Finally: Johnny Depp and MSM.
- Uma Thurman, Even Cowgirls Get The Blues, 1993. Too busy. Or, she was after reading it!
- Demi Moore, Indecent Proposal, 1993. Studio chief Sherry Lansing tried hard to persuade her out of her sabbatical... as a wife sold by her husband for a $1m for one night only with a zillionaire.
- Jeanne Triplehorn, The Firm, 1993. Why play second fiddle to lawyer Tom Cruise when she was first violin in another John Grisham legal thriller, The Pelican Brief.
- Wynona Ryder, House of Spirits, 1993. Danish director Bille August won top ladies Glenn Close, Vanessa Redgrave, Meryl Streep. But not Julia. He gave her role to his wife, Pernilla August - and then, having made her pregnant, he sent for Winona.
- Madeleine Stowe, Blink, 1993. One of seven offers (this one from UK director Michael Apted) before deciding to come back with The Pelican Brief.
- Sharon Stone, Sliver, 1993. In the Robert Evans mix - simply to force Stone to agree. As in: Oh no, she’s not having my role...!!!
- 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:Julia, 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, Sarah Jessica Parker, Michelle Pfeiffer, 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.
- Julia Ormond, Sabrina, 1995. Director Sydney Pollack had little luck in landing A Name. Meg Ryan, Robin Wright also (wisely) refused to walk where Audrey Hepburn had so memorably trod.
- Linda Fiorentino, Jade, 1995. Never keen on the “misguided” idea of Julia and Tom Cruise, scenarist Joe Eszterhas told director William Friedkin: “By trying to rewrite it, instead of directing it, you are your own worst enemy - taking... a hit movie and turning it into a failed movie. Why?”
- Sandra Bullock, In Love and War, 1996. Julia was always UK director Richard Attenborough’s first choice, but the longer he waited for backing, the older she got. Finally, she preferred My Best Friend's Wedding. Rightly so.
- Uma Thurman, Batman & Robin, 1996.
- Gina Gershon, This World, Then The Fireworks, 1997. US director Michael Oblowitz suggested real-life siblings for the twincestuous pair in Jim Tho mpson’s pulp thriller. “I wanted Julia and Eric but everyone freaked out at that idea!” Especially Julia and Eric.
- Jennifer Aniston, The Object of My Affection, 1997. First Julia, then Sarah Jessica Parker and Winona Ryder passed on the pregnant friend of a gay Paul Rudd in what Chicago’s ace critic Roger Ebert called it a seriocom - “the worst kind of sitcom - a serious one.” UK veteran Nigel Hawthorne stole the entire movie as a character not in Stephen McCauly’s novel.
- Nicole Kidman, The Avengers, 1998. Turned down Mrs Peel opposite Ralph Fiennes. Wisest decision of her life!
- Anne Heche, Six Days, Seven Nights, 1997. No sign of Harrison Ford when the plane crash was first slated for Julia.
- Gwyneth Paltrow, Shakespeare In Love, 1998.
Julia went good Will hunting... About six years before the film was finally made, Julia was cast as the Bard’s muse, Viola. She quit after failing, over a Dublin weekend, to persuade Daniel Day-Lewis to be Shakespeare. Bard timing! He was preparing for In The Name Of The Father, 1993, and when he’s doing one film, he never talks about another. Studio chief Tom Pollack is reputed to have complained: “Couldn’t she have waited to fuck himuntil we had his name on a piece of paper.”
- Penelope Allen, The Thin Red Line, 1998. Seen by producer Mike Medavoy for the only female role in Terrence Malick’s comeback after 20 years away.
- Rene Russo, Thomas Crown Affair, 1999. US director John McTiernan wanted her for Faye Dunaway’s 1968 role but he was just a gun for hire. Pierce Brosnan was the star - and producer.
- Drew Barrymore, Charlie’s Angels, 2000. Here, Drew was the producer - making an estimated $100m from the two movies.That same year, Julia became the first actress to be paid $20m for asingle film - Erin Brockovich. (Got an Oscar for it, too!).
- Julianne Moore, The Shipping News, 2000. Columbia Pictures wanted Julia or Meg… First director Billy Bob Thornton wanted his gal, Laura Dern. Finally, the studio approved Julianne as Wavery Prowse.
- Catherine Zeta-Jones, America’s Sweetwearts, 2001. Ace critic Roger Ebert saw this messy look at Hollywood clichés as a new take on Singin’ in the Rain, even listing who plays who’s 1951 rôle. Such as Roberts as Debbie Reynolds. Oh really? (Much closer to the UK’s 1954 Simon and Laura). Originallly, Julia was offered, well, her own sister - an egomaniacal movie queen - but preferred to be her gofer sister, and the true love of her ex, John Cusack… as Gene Kelly. According to Rog. She should have gone for a tighter, funnier script.
- Kirsten Dunst, Spider-Man, 2001.
- Jennifer Lopez, Chambermaid, 2002. Now it was producer Julia! She said No to acting in the comedy - and Yes to her Shoelace Productions taking it over from John Hughes.
- Catherine Zeta-Jones, Intolerable Cruelty, 2002. Everyone had a line in it, even the Coen brothers, when director Jonathan Demme got interested - and obviously had it re-spun anew - with Julia-Richard Gere in mind as the gold-digger and the top divorce lawyer. Finally, the Coens made it with George Clooney and Catherine.
- Nicole Kidman, Cold Mountain, 2002. Both Julia and Natalie Portman and were discussed for Ada.... running the family farm while awaiting the return of her guy (Jude Law) from the Civil War
- Renée Zellweger, Chicago, 2002.
- Angelina Jolie, Beyond Borders, 2002. Julia, Meg Ryan and Catherine Zeta-Jones were seen for the London society woman in love with Clive Owen’s doctor in war-ravaged Ethiopia.
- Emma Thompson, Angels In America, TV, 2003. One of legendary director Robert Altman’s selections in 1994. Forever on/off, Tony Kushner’s two-part Broadway hit went on to PJ Hogan and Neil LaBute before Mike Nichols made it an exceptional HBO event.
- Nicole Kidman, Cold Mountain, 2003. Too cold, apparently.
- 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!), Tatum O'Neal (not so much), Gwyneth Paltrow, Michelle Pfeiffer, Meg Ryan, Alicia Silverstone, Hilary Swank, Naomi Watts. Among 35 possibles. Over the years.
- Sandra Bullock, Infamous, 2006. Very keen on portraying author Harper Lee in the second film within a year about Truman Capote. She quit when pregnant with her twins: Phinneaus and Hazel Moder.
- Meg Ryan, The Women, 2007. After 15 years trying to make her version of MGM’s magic, the fizz had left the bubbly for the TV Murphy Brown creator Diane English. Egos hit the fan during the 1996 read-through as both Roberts and Ryan fought over Norma Shearer’s old role. Reminiscent of the billing battles between Shearer and Rosalind Russell in 1938.
- Annette Bening, The Women, 2007. Julia would have been great in Rosalind Russell’s shadow, but wanted the other woman. Few of Diane’s cast(s) could match the 30s ladies. Not Candice Bergen, Debi Mazar, who stayed aboard, nor Marisa and Blythe Danner who split.
- Sandra Bullock, The Proposal, 2008. Legend insists that Julia refused to lower her price, so Sandra Bullock became the New York book editor scheming to wed her assistant to avoid deportation back to Canada.
- Halle Berry, Things We Lost In The Fire, 2008. Once greatly interested in “best unmade script of 2007” by Chicagoan Allan Loeb, a compulsive gambler since age ten.
- Sandra Bullock, The Blind Side, 2009. Some time before Bullock refused the script three times, Roberts was requested for Leigh Anne Tuohy, who changes the world of a homeless black teen in Mississippi. A newly blonde Bullock was worried about playing a devout Christian and then so badly (she thought) that she nearly quit. Guess who won the next Best Actress Oscar on March 7, 2010?
- Lynn Collins, John Carter of Mars, 2010. Julia was due as the humanoid Martian princess Dejah Thoris rescued by Tom Cruise as a US Civil War somehow soldiering on - on Mars - when Disney first planned the film with John McTiernan directing, 17 years before. Now it was Lynn and Taylor Kiitsch among four-armed Green Martians in a live-action debut for Andrew Stanton (Finding Nemo, WALL-E). Celestial justice as back in 1931, it was Looney Tunes director Bob Clampett who nearly beat Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, to being the first toon feature with a version of Carter.
- Salena Gomez, Monte Carlo, 2010. Age difference. Nicole Kidman and Julia were attached to the first script of the Headhunters, before it won a teen spin (what else with Disney money?) about twp Monaco tourists. One called Grace, the other is Kelly. (Owch!) Kidman stayed aboard as co-producer. And went on to play the village-sized country’s princess, Grace Kelly, in the 2014 Cannes festival opener: Grace of Monaco.
- Taylor Schilling, Atlas Shrugged: Part 1, 2010.
- Mia Wasikowska, Tracks, 2012. The first of various moves to film Robyn Davidson’s novel happened before Mia was born in 1989. Both Julia and Nicole Kidman had previously been up for the heroine - trekking through 1,700 miles of West Australian desert with four camels and a dog.
- Keira Knightley, A Dangerous Method, 2011. Sabina Spielrein, the young Russian coming between psychiatrists Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud with her serious psychological issues, was first scripted (the spanking and all) for Julia, 17 years earlier, by her 1995 Mary Reilly scenarist Christopher Hampton. When nothing ever happened to Sabina in Hollywood, he turned his script into a stage play, The Talking Cure, 2002, which is how director David Cronenberg came to hear of it...