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Jane Seymour

  1. Cybill Shepherd, Taxi Driver, 1975
  2. Sissy Spacek, Carrie, 1976.  There would be  other Carries later on stage and screen (and almost a TV series) but none had the Spacek magic. Stephen King’s kinetic heroine was 16 and yet the candidates ranged from Linda Blair avoiding any more Exorcists at 17, Melanie Griffith (Tippi Hedren’s daughter and De Palma’s 1984 Body Double) and Theresa Russell, both 19 -  to Glenn Close, 29, and Farrah Fawcett and Jill Clayburgh…  at 32!  Betsy Slade was director Brian De Palma’s earliest choice, then her 1973 Our Time co-star Pamela Sue Martin, then Amy Irving (who wed his pal, Steven Spielberg).  Sondra Locke’s agent told her to pass. Also seen: Catherine Hicks, Anjelica Huston, Margot Kidder, Christine Lahti, Jessica Lange, Kay Lenz, ex-MGM kid actor Terri Nunn, Bernadette Peters, Theresa Russell, Jane Seymour, Cybill Shepherd, PJ Soles, the unknown Meryl Streep (!), Kathleen Turner, Sigourney Weaver, Dianne Wiest (future Oscar-winner for two of her five Woody Allen films), Cindy Williams, Debra Winger. Sissy knew director DePalma (hubby Jack Fisk was his art director), she was seriously pissed that she’d only been offered Sue or Chris and not The Role.  Fisk persuaded him to test her and she blew the opposition away. Sissy was 25. Yet, absolutely perfect! Fledgling film-makers De Palma and George Lucas held joint  auditions for Carrie and for Princess Leia, Lucas chose another Carrie…

  3. Carrie Fisher, Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope, 1976.

  4. Rachel Ward, The Thorn Birds, TV, 1983.    Officially, the producers said she was not vulnerable enough. This is what Jane said really went down: “After I had my first child, I stopped breastfeeding early because I’d been told that there was a possibility that I might star in the mini series... which I wanted more than life itself. Everything went great in the test until we did the love scene. Unexpectedly my milk came in! In my pink 1930s negligeeit’s a wet T-shirt contest! I looked up and it was just terrible. There was a big puddle of white milk all over Richard Chamberlain’s bare chest. I mean a puddle. This was a serious incident. His reaction was not good.”
  5. Linda Hamilton, The Terminator, 1983.         In all, 55 actresses were considered, seen or tested for Sarah Connor (aged 18; Linda was 27) opposite Arnold Schwarzenegger. Auteur James Cameron created Sarah for Bridget Fonda. She passed; so did Tatum O’Neal. He decided to go older… and Glenn Close won - her schedule didn’t agree. OK, Kate Capshaw! No, she was tied to Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom - and Kathleen Turner was Romancing The Stone. Debra Winger won her audition, said yes… then no.   The other 48 ladies were The ’80s Group: Rosanna Arquette, Kim Basinger, Christy Brinkley, Colleen Camp, Jamie Lee Curtis, Geena Davis, Judy Davis, Mia Farrow, Carrie Fisher, Jodie Foster, Teri Garr, Jennifer Grey, Melanie Griffith, Darryl Hannah, Barbara Hershey, Anjelica Huston, Amy Irving, Diane Keaton, Margot Kidder, Diane Lane, Jessica Lange, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Kay Lenz, Heather Locklear, Lori Loughlin, Kelly McGillis, Kristy McNichol, Michelle Pfeiffer, Deborah Raffin, Meg Ryan, Susan Sarandon, Ally Sheedy, Cybill Shepherd, Brooke Shields, Sissy Spacek, Sharon Stone, Lea Thompson, Sigourney Weaver… one aerobics queen, Bess Motta (she became Sarah’s room-mate, Ginger Ventura), two singers (Madonna, Liza Minnelli), two Brits (Miranda Richardson, Jane Seymour), five essentially funny girls, Goldie Hawn, Rhea Perlman (Mrs Danny De Vito), Gilda Radner, Mary Tyler Moore…   plus the new MTM, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, from Saturday Night Live. Most were in contention again a few years later for Fatal Attraction (won by Close) and The Accused (going to Foster and McGillis). Ten years later (after T2), Linda gave birth to Cameron’s daughter and Josephine’s parents wed in 1997… for two years.
  6. Twiggy, The Doctor and the Devils, 1985.     Director Lawrence Schiller’s choice for Jennie Bailey when preparing the 32-year-old and sole script of  Dylan Thomas, the self-styled “Rimbaud of Cymdonkin Drive”... eventually produced by Mel’s Brooksfilm combine – after a record 37-year  delay between the completion and shooting of a script.
  7. Glenn Close, Fatal Attraction, 1986.

  8. Jodie Foster, The Accused, 1988.
    Awful thing to say. Except it is true. Jodie Foster would never have won her (first) Oscar for this trenchant drama - if actress Kelly McGillis had not been raped in 1982… At first, the role of the rape victim Sarah Tobias was written for Andie MacDowell. She passed. The Paramount suits then saw 34 other young actresses for the (real life) victim. Or, for their own rape bait fantasies - including 16-year-old Alyssa Milano! Foster was refused a test because she was “not sexy enough”! And, anyway, the studio had decided upon McGillis, a high flyer in  Paramount’s Witness and Top Gun. And, naturally, she refused point-blank! She knew what it was to be brutally raped and Kelly had no wish to revisit the horror and agony of her own assault six years earlier. The suits were annoyed. They needed her. She was hot at the box-office, their box-office. They had made her a star!! Eventually, McGillis agreed to play Sarah’s defence attorney - on condition that unsexy Jodie played Sarah! The suits caved, tested Foster and the rest is Oscar history… So is the huge list of talent also seen for Sarah.   Starting with the Fatal Attraction also-rans:  Seymour, Rosanna Arquette, Ellen Barkin, Kim Basinger, Jennifer Beals, Jennifer Grey, Melanie Griffith, Linda Hamilton, Darryl Hannah, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Diane Keaton, Demi Moore, Kelly Preston, Meg Ryan, Sharon Stone, Meryl Streep, Debra Winger.   And moving on to the younger Melissa Sue Anderson (trying to break her Little House on the Prairie image), Justine Bateman, Valerie Bertinelli, Phoebe Cates, Jennifer Connelly, Joan Cusack, Judy Davis, Kristin Davis, Bridget Fonda, Annabeth Gish, Mariel Hemingway, Kelly LeBrock, Virginia Madsen, Brigitte Nielsen, Tatum O’Neal, Molly Ringwald, Mia Sara, Ally Sheedy, Brooke Shields, Uma Thurman.  Oh, and Julia Louis-Dreyfuss, said the suits, was “too nice.” Rape victims shouldn’t be nice? Oh, Hollywood!

  9. Geena Davis, Thelma & LouIse, 1990.
  10. 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:Seymour, 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, Julia Roberts, Meg Ryan, Winona Ryder, Ally Sheedy, Brooke Shields, Meryl Streep (!), Emma Thompson (!), Meg Tilly, Marisa Tomei, Kathleen Turner, Sigourney Weaver and Debra Winger.
  11. Michelle Forbes, Battlestar Galactica, TV, 2004.      With twins to raise at home, one hit series was enough. So Dr Quinn, Medicine Woman, 1992-98, passed on being Admiral Helena Cain... for just three episodes. Michelle was rewarded with her own BSG tele-movie, Razor, 2007.

 

 






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