- Cathy Moriarty, Raging Bull, 1980. Sharon had dropped out of college, waitressed, managed a backgammon store and modelled in New York and Europe while trying to crash movies. Scorsese remembered her audition and she became another De Niro wife in Casino... in a 100-day shoot some 15 years later!
- Elizabeth McGovern, Ragtime, 1981."My first audition was for [Czech director] Milos Forman who got on his knees and begged me, 'Just say the words.' And I sat in the chair and cried."
- Michelle Pfeiffer, Scarface, 1982. Tested as the glacial Elvira Hancock. As did Rosanna Arquette, Kim Basinger, Colleen Camp, Glenn Close, Geena Davis, Carrie Fisher, Jodie Foster, Melanie Griffith, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Kay Lenz, Kelly McGillis,Kristy McNichol, Deborah Raffin, Brooke Shields, Kathleen Turner.
- Daryl Hannah, Splash, 1983. A mermaid? Moi?
- 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. Hedecided to go older…Glenn Close won - her schedule didn’t agree. OK, Kate Capshaw! No,she was tied toIndiana 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 46 ladies were: Sharon, 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, Diane Keaton, Amy Irving, 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, Susan Sarandon, Jane Seymour, Ally Sheedy, Cybill Shepherd, Brooke Shields, Sissy Spacek, Sigourney Weaver. Most were incontention againa 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.
- Kate Capshaw, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, 1984.
- Elisabeth Shue, Adventures in Babysitting, 1986. For his helming debut, Gremlins writer Chris Columbus saw just about every gal in town for the explosive night of babysitter Chris Parker: a project hangingaround (with Jane Fonda) since the 60s. Twenty years on, Jane’s niece, Bridget Fonda, was booked. Kathleen Turner was the next “first choice.” Louis-Dreyfuss auditioned - and passed toJodie Foster.. But she also passed - toMichelle Pfeiffer… and she quit for The Witches of Eastwick! More auditions were held for: Sharon, Justine Bateman (her TV series, Family Ties, cancelled that idea!), Melanie Griffith, Andie MacDowell, Tatum O’Neal, Brooke Shields. Columbus refused Kelly McGillis and Valerie Bertinelli lost out to Shue on the final day.
- Victoria Tenant, Flowers in the Attic, 1986. Director Jeffrey Bloom (Wes Craven had quit) interviewed many actresses, but no stars, for “My favourite was a very, very young and delightful new actress, Sharon Stone… but couldn’t convince the many producers.” Then, to please the book’s teenage fans with a PG rating, the suits - seven producers, two studios! - re-cut the true story (apparently with a chainsaw), killing all scenes of incest and of Corrine stripping in front of her father to be whipped by her mother… Tenant refused to shoot the crappy new ending and stormed out. Author Virginia C Andrews’ first sequel book, Petals on the Wind, was made for TV as late as 2014, with Heather Graham as Corrine.
- Glenn Close, Fatal Attraction, 1987.
- Kirstie Alley, Cheers, TV, 1987-1993. Kim Cattrall, Marg Helgenberger and Sharon Stone auditioned as Rebecca Howe. Their day would come. Cattrall in 94 chapters of Sex and the City, 1998-2004; Helgenberger solving 265 cases CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, 2000-2015 (her last boss being Mr Cheers, himself, Ted Danson); and Stone going commando in Basic Instinct in 1992.
- 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: Stone, 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, Jane Seymour, 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!
- Sean Young, The Boost, 1988. Sharonloves to kid James Woods: "You didn't cast me in The Boost!" Jimmy replies: "Look, I paid the price!" - in a notoriously bad-ending affair with Young.\
- Kim Basinger, Batman, 1988.
- Nicole Kidman, Days of Thunder, 1989. When Robin Wright proved unavailable for Dr Claire Lewicki,a dozen actresses were seen, from Stone to Madonna. Having seen Dead Calm, Tom Cruise voted for Kidman - and then wed her: 1990-2001.
- Penelope Ann Miller, Dead Bang, 1990.
Looking for a partner for Don Johnson, director John Frankenheimer told me how he was "just bowled over by this beautiful girl who can act" on TV's War and Remembrance - Sharon. "I had a terrific fight with my producer. 'You can't use her. She looks exactly like Don Johnson.' I said: You're crazy. If Don Johnson looked like that, I'd be married to him!" She made Frankenheimer’s next film, The Year of the Gun. "I never offered it to anyone else."
- Lena Olin, Havana, 1990. Well out of it! Not even Robert Redford and a $45m budget could turn this mid-70s' turkey into a latterday Casablanca.
- Madonna, Dick Tracy, 1990. Not quite Sharon's year... She did not stand much chance when Warren Beatty, the square-jawed hero and director, was (as usual) grooming his latest lover for the role of... Breathless Mahoney. When told Madonna said she wanted to kiss her, Stone commented: "Not in this lifetime. Why? Because I'm the only one she hasn't done it to."
- Catherine O’Hara, Home Alone, 1990. An astonishing 37 stars (Harrison Ford,Jack Nicholson, Jessica Lange, Michelle Pfeiffer, etc) were considered for the forgetful parents - nothing roles in a film written for and duly stolen by the stranded kid, Macauley Culkin.
- Sean Young, Blue Ice, 1992. Basic Instinct helped rescue Sharon from such smallfry - even opposite Michael Caine.
- Rene Russo, In the Line of Fire, 1992. Nobody in their right minds turns down Clint Eastwood! Gossip says she stonewalled for a "major rewrite." "Clint's divine but there was nothing to the part." She suggested the "cool" notion of changing John Malkovich's villain to a villainess. "Truth is," she says, "the script, as it existed, was perfect."
- Meg Ryan, Sleepless In Seattle, 1993. Beaten to it after Julia Roberts quit negotiations. "I never felt like The Project came along after Basic Instinct." True.
- Bridget Fonda, Point Of No Return, 1993. "Every actress wanted this role - the right age or not," laughed director John Badham, about re-treading Luc Besson's French Nikita. "I definitely wanted someone young. Otherwise it's like casting Diana Ross in The Wiz."
- Nancy Travis & Amanda Plummer, So I Married An Axe Murderer, 1993. Tri-Star would not agree to her idea of playing both parts, the wife and her sister...
- Nancy Travis, So I Married An Axe Murderer, 1993. ... so, forget it!
- Halle Berry, The Flintstones, 1994. Stripping off with Sylvester Stallone in The Specialist prevented her taking on the (one joke) slinky secretary called Sharon Stone. Halle took it on as Rosetta Stone. Berry and Stone had one helluva fight (nine days of shooting) as heroine and villain in Catwoman, 2004.
- Michelle Pfeiffer, Wolf, 1994. No to Clint Eastwood, now no to Jack Nicholson and Mike Nichols. "I read it when it was about a man who so disliked people, he became a wolf so he didn't have to deal with them anymore. And he had this veterinarian girlfriend. Then, I read a more recent script that lost its source of humour, where she was sort of a weird hippie kinda chick."
- Lolita Davidovich, Intersection, 1994.
"I was offered the other part. Several times." The full team, Richard Gere, director Mark Rydell, scenarist Marshall Brickman, assumed she'd want the sexy mistress. Never assume about Sharon... She insisted on testing to prove she had the depth to play a wife and mother. "She improvised right on the spot," said Gere. And got the wife - and $3m. "People tend to say it was eroticism and exposure of her pubic hair that made her a star," said Rydell. "She’s one of the best actresses we have." Not enough to save this (running on empty) re-make of Les choses de la vie, France, 1970.
- Rosie O'Donnell, Exit To Eden, 1994. No SM for SS. She steered clear of the hedonistic island resort from Anne Rice's novel. Director Garry Marshall then prettywomanised it into a (flop) comedy. Rosie has the same effect on Chicago critic Roger Ebert as fingernails on a blackboard: "she's harsh and abrupt and staccato and doesn't seem to be having any fun. She looks mean. "
- Bridgette Wilson, Mortal Kombat, 1995. For the (weak) movie of the video-game, Stone, Cameron Diaz and Dina Meyer (from Starship Troopers) were beaten to hardboiled cop Sonya Blade by… well, she was still plain Wilson at the time, five years before marrying a certain US tennis champ and becoming Bridgette Wilson-Sampras.
- Gina Gershon, Showgirls, 1995. Aka Thrashdance! Sharon auditioned even after all her pubic-flash complaints about the same Dutch director Paul Verhoeven on Basic Instinct. For what the Boston Globe called “your basic sleazeathon du jour,” Gina refused to reprise Sharon’s leg-crossing.
- Linda Fiorentino, Jade, 1995. Wise to avoid a third Joe Eszterhas script. Particularly one re-honed - ruined! - by director William Friedkin. He made it more plop than flop; a second Eszterhas script eviscerated by the critics within three weeks.
- Uma Thurman, Batman & Robin, 1996.
- Kate Winslet, Titanic,1996.
- Al Pacino, The Devil's Advocate, 1997. As the script hung around (hurt by the similar Tom Cruise movie, The Firm), Sharon was suggested as Satan. No comment.
- Jennifer Lopez, U Turn, 1997. Stone vs Stone! A new flavour had hit town and suited auteur Oliver Stone's wallet. Sharon had wanted more money than J Lo for screwing Sean Penn on a pile of banknotes!
- Cate Blanchett, Oscar And Lucinda, Australia, 1997. Gillian Armstrong defied the Money Men’s advice and stuck to the local girl making good in Bruce Beresford's Paradise Road. "It's a testament to the power of Australian directors, who will not compromise their artistic integrity," praised Cate. "I'm filled with admiration and gratitude." And talent.
- Julia Ormond, Sibirskiy tsiryulnik/The Barber of Siberia, Russia, 1998. Sharon obviously sensed it would never match the beauteous magic of Dark Eyes by the same director, Nikita Mikhalkov, in 1987.
- Uma Thurman, The Avengers, 1998. The big-screen's Emma Peel needed some pizzazz. Instead, as one UK critic, it got smug and spacey. (Not, alas, Kevin Spacey).
- Sophie Marceau, The World Is Not Enough, 1999.
- Winona Ryder, Mr Deeds, 2002. One of the offers she had to refuse on while waiting for Basic Instinct II. Or, so she claimed when suing producers Andrew Vajna and Mario Kassar. Surely having to miss an Adam Sandler film is somethingto thank them for!
- Adrianne Palicki. Wonder Woman, TV, 2011. The DC comicbook heroine had not been seen on screens since Lynda Carter ended her four year reign on ABC in 1979.Timethen, said Warner, for a new movie.DC’s testosterone duo, Batman and Superman, had cleaned up,now it up to the beautiful superhuman Amazon warrior Princess Diana of Themysacira, her Lasso of Truth, her indestructible bracelets and (honest) her invisible plane. With who…? Across a decade of plans by producers as diverse as Joel Silver (so wrong) and Joss Whedon (so right), 24 beauties were in the frame: from Sharon (in 2000)to Whedon’s favourite, Cobie Smulders. Then, the film morphedinto an updated TV series by David E Kelley - that, too, was dead after the rushed pilot. Palicki was the sole actress considered for TV - she was previously seen by George Miller for WW in his aborted Justice League, in 2008.
- Julia Roberts, The Normal Heart, TV, 2013. Stone, Annette Bening, Julia (who passed first time around) and, of course, Barbra Streisand were due to play AIDS researcher Dr Emma Brookner as Barbra spent ten “earnest and passionate” years trying to mount and direct a screen version of the Larry Kramer’s 1985 play. He complained he’d be dead before she managed it – nothing, of course, to do with him insisting on $1m for his script which must be used without changes He next accused Streisand of making Emma the most important role, when she only offered to play her, as well as helming, to help raise a budget. Kramer couldn’t give it away over the next decade, until hot shot TV producer Ryan Murphy talked HBO into a deal… and worked with Kramer on the script for three years on “40/45% new material… similar to the play and very different.” As Barbra always wanted. Plus starring Mark Ruffalo, her own choice for Ned Weeks, based on Kramer, and his tireless AIDS activism.
- Joely Richardson, Papa, Canada-Cuba-US, 2014. “Chaotic! Nutty! Every day a new drama. But you know… it’s up there with my best experiences. Fantastic!” Joely on playing Ernest Hemingway's fourth wife, Mary, in the first US feature to shoot inn Cuba since the 1959 revolution. Richardson was seven years Stone’s junior. Veteran Adrian Sparks played Hemingway, his chief stage role since 2005.