- Katharine Ross, The Stepford Wives, 1975. One of Bryan Forbes’ seven possible Joannas. Other included Diane Keaton, Tuesday Weld.
- Cybill Shepherd, Taxi Driver, 1975.
- Ingrid Boulting, The Last Tycoon, 1975. Mike Nichols felt sorry for young actresses. “Can you imagine coming up to meet Sam Spiegel, Harold Pinter and me - terrifying!” Each director saw Kathleen differently: Anjelicia Huston, Kate Nelligan and Sarandon (recommended by Deborah Kerr’s novelist husband, Peter Viertel). Before Elia Kazan’s enormous error of UK director Roy Boulting’s model step-daughter. Having voted Sarandon, Spiegel was horrified. The public, likewise. Poor girl was as bad for her role as De Niro was as F Scott Fitzgerald’s myhthical Thalbergesque producer Monroe Stahr. Hence, this was, alas, Elika Kazan’s final film.
- Talia Shire, Rocky, 1976.
- Liza Minnelli, Arthur, 1980. Arthur went from John Belushi and Bud Cort to Michael Palin and John Travolta as thoughts for his ideal woman Linda Marolla included Susan, Mia Farrow, Farrah Fawcett, Goldie Hawn, Barbara Hershey, Diane Keaton, Jessica Lange, Cybill Shepherd, Meryl Streep - and Tuesday Weld, already in the throes of divorcing the titular Dudley Moore.
- Genevieve Bujold, Tightrope, 1983. As Clint Eastwood told his lover and often co-star, Sondra Locke, on his previous venture, City Heat: “I can’t make my career decisions on whether or not you get some job!” Susan rejected this scenario (as he should have done, not being up to the complexities of the role. Sondra suggested Bujold... and indeed, Carrie Snodgress for his next Western, Pale Rider.
- Linda Hamilton, The Terminator, 1983. In all, 52 actresses were considered, seen, or tested for Sarah Connor.James Cameron created her for Bridget Fonda. She passed; so did Tatum O’Neal. He decided to go older… Glenn Close won - her schedule didn’t agree. OK, Kate Capshaw! No,she was tied to Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom - just as Kathleen Turner was Romancing The Stone. Debra Winger won her audition, said yes… then no. The other ladies were:Sarandon, Rosanna Arquette, Kim Basinger, Christy Brinkley, Colleen Camp, Jamie Lee Curtis, Geena Davis, Mia Farrow, Carrie Fisher, Jodie Foster, Teri Garr, Jennifer Grey, Melanie Griffith, Darryl Hannah, Goldie Hawn, Barbara Hershey, Angelica Huston, Amy Irving, Diane Keaton, Margot Kidder, Diane Lane, Jessica Lange, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Kay Lenz, Heather Locklear, Lori Loughlin, Kelly McGillis, Kristy McNichol, Madonna, Liza Minnelli, Mary Tyler Moore, Rhea Perlman(!), Michelle Pfeiffer, Gilda Radner(!), Deborah Raffin, Miranda Richardson, Meg Ryan, Jane Seymour, Ally Sheedy, Cybill Shepherd, Brooke Shields, Sissy Spacek, Sharon Stone, Sigourney Weaver. Most were in contention again a few years later for Fatal Attraction (won by Close) and The Accused (going to Foster and McGillis).
- Kathleen Turner, Romancing The Stone, 1984. "I was unwilling to give up a play.”
- Cher, The Witches of Eastwick, 1987.
Cher used all her increasing clout for... well, “betrayal,” Susan said on being given the sexually frustrated cellist after being assured of what she considered the more central role of the man-hungry sculptress. “Either you leave and everyone will make sure you don’t work for a year, or you find a way to be professional and do the best job you possibly can. The experience hardened me. In hindsight, I’m proud… that I took an absolutely humiliating experience and turned in a fairly decent performance.” In “satanical slime,” according to some United Congregationalists - the film was made.
- Catherine Hicks, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, 1985. Eddie Murphy was not happy with an UFO expert scientist. He wanted to be an Enterprise officer or… an alien! When Paramount decided against mixing its Beverly Hills Cop with Starfleet, he became… a woman. Dr Gillian Taylor was won by Hicks from Sarandon.
- Glenn Close, Fatal Attraction, 1987.
Kelly McGillis, The Accused, 1988. 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 Attractionoster was her clingy also-rans (from Sarandon to Debra Winger, by way of Diane Keaton and, naturally, Meryl Streep). Plus Blythe Danner, Sally Field, Terri Garr, Mary Gross, Kathleen Turjner, Sigourney Weraver, Dianne Wiest. A 1982 rape victim herself, McGillis refused tyeh lead role but agreed to play the lawyer on condition that Foster was her client..
- Kathy Bates, Fried Green Tomatoes, 1991. Not often that someone else is better suited to a role than the almighty Suze.
- Michelle Pfeiffer, Batman Returns, 1991.
- Kathleen Turner, Serial Mom, 1993. Moral: You only make John Waters films on the way down...
- Mary Stuart Masterson, Benny & Joon, 1993. Considered with her guy, Tim Robbins, for the bizarre lovers after Julia Roberts and Tom Hanks spurned MGM’s offer.
- Alberta Watson, Spanking the Monkey, 1993. Susan and fellow A-Listers Faye Dunaway and Jessica Lange spurned director David O Russell’s offer to be Mrs Aibelli. They didn’t like the title (USlang for masturbation), nor Mrs A committing incest with her medical student son. The Canadian Alberta (no kidding!) snapped up what became her favourite character. “I’m not a name with an image to protect. The subject was incest. It didn’t scare me at all. I seized the character and made her something. She was a deeply disturbed woman with a roller coaster of emotions. Her son visits for the summer and she’s laid up in a cast with a broken leg and things get out of hand.”
- Dana Delany, Exit To Eden, 1994. Sarandon and Theresa Russell were in the frame before Ann Rice’s S&M novel was prettywomanised into another Garry Marshall comedy. (But a flop this time).
- Meryl Streep, The Bridges of Madison County, 1995. Also short-listed for author Robert Waller’s Italian war bride Francesca were:Jacqueline Bisset, Claudia Cardinale,Catherine Deneuve, Jessica Lange, Sophia Loren, Isabella Rossellini, Susan Sarandon. After tentative efforts by directors BruceBeresford, Mike Newell, Sydney Pollack and the mighty Steven Spielberg, Clint Eastwood took over the helm. And casting. In a trice.For one of his finest films.
- Nicole Kidman To Die For, 1995. Another example of her agelessness: Susan was much older than the Meg Ryanish clones being seen by boring director Gus Van Sant.
- Barbara Hershey, Portrait Of A Lady, 1995. “The first time I’ve turned something down that really upset me because I think she’s a great director.” She was Jane Campion and she understood how Sarandon put he family first. Shooting was switched from summer to November when her daughter was stressed about entering middle school. “I bring my kids everywhere, not just because I feel it’s best for them but because I know I can’t work away from them. I’d just be too unsettled.”(Result : a first Oscar nomination for Hershey).
- Irène Jacob, Victory, 1996. Paramount offered Godfather II, Graham Greene’s Honorary Consulor a remake of A Place in the Sun, yetauteur Louis Malle was more keen on having the studio back his 20-year-old dream project - the JosephConrad classic. On Long Island and his French estate, Le Coual, he was forever working - with Sarandon as his new lover - on the script. But Paramount was not as keen as it had been for its 1940 version. Gradually, shooting was planned, a France-Australia-Germany-Canada co-production in Indonesia and the Philippines for July-September 1979. Malle and Susan went to Atlantic City, instead. Jacob, the stunning Swiss actress, had made her debut in Malle’s Oscar-nominated Au revoir les enfants, 1987.
- Annette Bening, Mars Attacks! 1998. Warren Beatty was Tim Burton’s first choice for US President. He passed (well, maybe he’d really run for the Whitge House one day). His pal Jack Nicholson took over and Mrs Beatty became his wife - not the First Lady (that was Glenn Close), but the boozy dame wed to Nicholson’s unnecessary second role of a Vegas casino boss. She had been first aimed at Sarandon.
- Meryl Streep, Into The Woods, 2013
- Sela Ward, Graves, TV, 2015. When Sarandon split - “artistic differences” - Lionsgate voted for Ward as the politically ambitious ex-First Lady wife of former US President Grave (Nick Nolte), now trying to right the wrongs of some of his policies from 20 year ago. Not so much satire as pure science fiction.