Aurelle Doazan, L’Ami de Vincent, France., 1982. Fast-rising casting director Dominque Besnehard adored Binoche (like so many others), and advised her to lie about her date of birth to suit the role but realisateur Pierre Granier-Deferre didn’t fall for it.
- Sandrine Bonnaire, A nos amours, France, 1983. “My first rendez-vous I was told to see [director] Maurice Pialat in the next half-hour. I dashed off with some friends in their car, doing my make-up as we went. And I never wear make-up! But I did the lot, lipstick, everything - horrible! I arrived in a state but he was quite at ease, his feet up on his desk. Behind him was an American poster of Diva. He asked if I'd seen the film, I said yes and he said I could go. I was so surprised . I stayed there for a few seconds before realising I’d not got the role!” (A film extra won it and a new French star was born).
- Isabelle Pasco, Hors-la-loi (Outlaws!), France, 1984. Inspired by Coppola’s Outsiders, realisateur Robin Davis, wanted unknowns. He told his casting director Dominque Besnehard: Find me a new James Dean and Natalie Wood. Fifteen of them! The new Natalie they did find didn’t excite productuer Alain Sarde. He said Binoche was not sexy enough. (Nor was Pasco but she had been sent to auditions by Polanksi, so she had to be sexy). Meanwhile, realisateur André Téchiné took one look at Binoche’s test and quickly spirited her away for his sexy Rendez-vous. She was only paid the same as the extras but this is the film that launched her on the the road to… a dozen years later - a support Oscar for The English Patient. While Davis’ film flopped and he spent the rest of his career - 30 years - in TV.
- Patricia Barzyk, La machine à découdre, France-Italy, 1985. Not quite the Liliane that Jean-Pierre Mocky was searching for. (He found her in his next wife, an ex-Miss France 1980). However, the “amoral moralist” of French realisateurs was, quite taken with the debutante. He never asked to see her as naked as Liliane would be for most of the action.“But she was fine!”
- Myriem, Roussell, Je vous salue Marie (US: Hail Mary), France-Switzerland-UK, 1985. It was Jean-Pierre Mocky who sent her to see directorJean-Luc Godard for the titular Marie.“He often recruited in my breeding ground.”
- Myriem Roussel, Bleu comme l'enfer, France, 1985. Preferred Mauvaise sang, her first film with future lover, director Leos Carax. Not the last project she sacrificed in order to work for him.
- Nadia Mourouzi, Ο Μελισσοκόμος, Greece-France-Italy, 1986. Greek auteur Theo Angelopulos suddenly dropped Binoche for an unknown local opposite Marcello Mastroianni. This did no tbother Paris producer Marin Karmitz so much as it meant Binoche was free to join Bleue, the start of Polish auteur Krzyzstof Kieslowski’s Trois coleurs trilogy:Bleue,. Blanc, Rouge (Three Colours: Blue, White, Red) trilogy about the French love of liberty, equality, fraternity.
- Giulia Boschi, Chocolat, France-West Germany-Cameroon, 1988. All was set for Claire Denis’ directing debut except Binoche kept everyone waiting on her decision. Finally, Denis found “exactly what I wanted” in the young Italian from MichaelCimino’s The Sicilian, 1987.
- Alison Doody, Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade, 1989. This time she was tied to over-schedule, over-budget and, naturally, over-indulgent Leos Carax venture: Les Amants de Pont Neuf. (She even begged President Mitterrand for help; he said he’d like her for a mistress)
- Maria de Medeiros, Henry and June, 1990. Director Philip Kaufman's inevitable first choice, but she was delayed - forever - on the Leos Carax debacle.
Irene Jacob, La double vie de Veronique, France-Poland, 1991 .One more of the many she refused while awaiting someone to bridge the budget gap of Pont Neuf'. She later inaugurated Krzysztof Kielowski's Trois coleurs with Bleu.
- Béatrice Dalle, Lafilledel'air, France, 1992. Announced in October 1991 but too busy (internationally, this time) for this straight-from-French-headlines tale of a wife choppering her husband out of jail.
- Laura Dern, Jurassic Park, 1992.
- Embeth Davidtz, Schindler's List,1993.A third non to Steven Spielberg. This timethe excuse was one he valued highly. She was pregnant.
- Holly Hunter, The Piano, 1993. Australian director Jane Campion considered several actresses for herAda:Juliette, Isabelle Huppert, Angelica Huston, Jennjfer Jason Leigh, Madeleine Stowe and Sigourney Weaver. But Holly was able to play most of the piano sequences, herself, helping Campion become the first woman to win the Cannes Festival’s best film Palme d'Or.
- Isabelle Huppert, La Séparation, France, 1994. First of two films shelost opposite Daniel Auteuil. She was pregnant’ then, LucieAubrac (she was sacked). Realisateur Patrice Leconte finally co-starredthem, sublimely,in his 16th film, La veuve de Saint-Paul, 1999.
- Michelle Pfeiffer, Wolf, 1994. Sharon Stone also rejected it.“I have no regrets,” said Juliette in 2008. “My life is full.”
- Geraldine Pailhas, Le Garçu, France, 1995. Not much to play asthe faithful wife ofa wandering Gérard Depardieu.
- Julia Ormond, Sabrina, 1995. Director Sydney Pollack tested Binoche and dancer Darcy Bissell and considered, Sandra Bullock, Julie Delpy, Cameron Diaz, Demi Moore, Gwyneth Paltrow, Robin Wright, Catherine Zeta-Jones. He later commented: "In the movie business, people are lemmings. They flock to the new. Whatever it is." Well, it sure wasn’t Ormond. Her 15 minutes lasted less than five.
- Emmanuelle Béart, Mission Impossible, 1995. Director Brian De Palma invited her to play Claire opposite Tom Cruise. She was right to say: Non, merci! Proved to be a role Miss Piggy could have played. On the phone
Carole Bouquet, Lucie Aubrac, France,1996. Dropped by French realisateur Claude Berri after the first 15 days shooting due to a conflict about his "treatmentof history" - Lucie and her husband were legends of the French Resistance."What really upset me was... creating something that did not happen. You can't work with a director who is so possessive about his film, it's a nightmare."
- Julianne Moore, The Lost World: Jurassic Park, 1997. Her fourth rejection of Steven Spielberg Again, she said she would make the sequel if she could play a dinosaur. Ho-ho! Yet she agreed to Godzilla, 2013. Because (a) Her son, Raphael, was a ’zilla fan and (b) UK director Gareth Edwards’ invitation called her The Queen of Acting.
- Mira Sorvino,Lulu on the Bridge, 1998. The role, basically, was Louise Brooks' Lulu but Paul Auster's directing debut clashed with Binoche's post-Oscar schedules. She is thanked in the movie credits.
- Renée Zellweger, Bridget Jones's Diary, 2000. Well, it was for Miramax… Sight & Sound, the British Film Institute magazine, said Zellweger’s accent was“just a little too studidly posh.” So what would Binoche’s have been?
- Saffron Burrows, Miss Julie, 1998. Mike Figgis’ initial plan to let loose Binoche and Nicolas Cage on Strindberg was ruined by directing Cage to a 1996 Oscar in the Leaving Las Vegas. LAgents got busy and Cage’s salary leapt from $200,000 to $20m.
- Audrey Tautou, The Da Vinci Code, 2005.
- Isabelle Huppert, Une barrage contre le Pacifique, France, 2007. In the mix for Cambodian director Rithy Pan’s drama of a young rice-farmermother of two battling both the sea and corrupt colonialism in French Indochina, circa. 1931.
- Laura Linney, The Other Man, 2008 .No difference as UKdirector Sir Richard Eyre (knighted for his theatre work) uncharacteristically buried his terrific cast (Liam Neeson, Antonio Banderas) in dreary film-making.
- Kate Winslet, The Reader, 2008. One of the producers was her English Patientdirector, Anthony Minghella (sadly dead before the film opened) and he sent for for - that film’s 1996 Oscar-winner -when Kate was delayed on Revolutionary Road, and Nicole Kidman, 2006 Oscared actress in the same director Stephen Daldry’s The Hours, was pregnant. Kidman pal Naomi Wattswas also considered and new French rave, Marion Cotillard, the 2007 Oscar-winning actress. Finally,Kate was free and became the 2008 Oscar-winning actresss.
- Nicole Kidman, Nine, 2009.
Noomi Rapace, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shows, 2010. Director Guy Ritchie saw all the usual French girls for Sim - Binoche, Marion Cotillard, Penelope Cruz, Cécile de France, Eva Green, Virginie Ledoyen, Sophie Marceau, Audrey Tautou. And signed a Swede... the star of the Millennium trilogy.
- Michelle Pfeiffer, New Year’s Eve, 2011. Michelle picked up what Binoche threw away - director Garry Marshall’s kinda-sequel to his 2009Valentine’s Day.
- Kylie Minogue, Holy Motors, France, 2011. After three (awfuyl) cult films together - Boy Meets Girl, Mauvais Sang, Les Amants du Pont Neiuf - “we didn’t get along.,” said oddball auteur Leos Carax. “And it was maybe a bad idea to begin with. Already people are saying Holy Motors is a film about my films. If Juliette had been in it, it would have been even worse.”About films, he added:“You make them for dead people and then show them to living people.”Ah!
- Jacqueline Bisset, Welcome To New York, 2013. Allegedly jealous that director Abel Ferrara was more fascinated by Gérard Depardieu than her, Adjani quit the role of the thinly disguised Madame Dominique Strauss-Kahn. Three new candidates loved the script - switched from a conspiracy thriller to a vibrant study of the weaknesses of the human soul – but Binoche, Kristin Scott Thomas and Beatrice Dalle were all booked. Bisset was suggested by Depardieu, playing DSK… er Georges Devereaux.. The ex-Mrs DSK, journo Anne Sinclair said “I’m not attacking this filth, I’m vomiting on it.”
- Bérénice Bejo, The Childhood of a Leader, 2014. Change of The Mother in US actor Brady Corbet’s directing debut, a study of emerging evil - inspired by the childhoods of various 20th Century despots.