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Uma Thurman

  1. Robin Wright (Penn), The Princess Bride, 1986.    Too exotic looking! Director Rob Reiner thumbed through a veritable little black book of Hollywood’s new young hotties!Suzy Amis, Valerie Bertinelli, Yasmine Bleeth, Phoebe Cates, Courteney Cox, Kim Delaney, Rebecca de Mornay, Cathryn de Prume, Sherilyn Fenn, Jennifer Grey, Anne Heche, Marg Helgenberger, Lauren Holly, Patsy Kensit, Juliette Lewis, Carey Lowell, Kelly Lynch, Virginia Madsen, Mary Stuart Masterson, Sarah Jessica Parker, Alexandra Paul, Amanda Pays, Meg Ryan, Mia Sara, Greta Scacchi, Annabella Sciorra, Kyra Sedgwick, Tori Spelling, Catherine Mary Stewart, Brenda Strong, Courtney Thorne-Smith, Meg Tilly, Charlene Tilton, Nancy Travis, Amy Yasbeck, Sean Young.

  2. 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: 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, Sharon Stone, Meryl Streep, Debra Winger.   And moving on to the younger Thurman, 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.  Oh, and Julia Louis-Dreyfuss, said the suits, was “too nice.” Rape victims shouldn’t be nice? Oh, Hollywood!

  3. Melanie Griffith, Bonfire of the Vanities, 1989,  "Uma's a great actress," agreed director Brian De Palma, "but she isn't comedic. Tom Hanks is a natural comedian and he wasn't able to play off her.  She didn't have the comic timing. You either have it or you don't." As the film's flop proved about  De Palma. And the worst cast film of the decade.  I mean, Bruce Willis as a UK journalist,  Tom Hanks as a Master of the Universe.   I mean, c’mon
  4. Jennifer Connolly, The Hot Spot, 1989.    Sharing Sam Shepard as her drifter lover with Anner Archer- that was one plan. Then, UK director Mike Figgis left and Dennis Hopper took overfor a sulphuric film noir. “A superior work in an old tradition,” said Chicago critic Roger Ebert.   Hopper liked to call it Last Tango In Texas. They wuz both right!
  5. Julia Roberts, Pretty Woman, 1989.
  6. Mary Stuart Masterson, Fried Green Tomatoes, 1990.   In the mix for lesbian Idgie Threadgood, who  formed a lesbian couple with Mary-Louise Parker’s Ruth. This much is clear from film (and Fannie Flagg’s book), despite the suits cutting their love scene  to make them, well,  just good friends. Director Jon Avnegt felt their food fight represented their sex scene. So now we know what all those silent custard pie fights were all about… 
  7. Sharon Stone, Basic Instinct,  1991.
  8. Patricia Arquette, True Romance,1992.     “I’m not a whore. I’m a call-girl. There’s a difference, you know!” Quentin Tarantino created Alabama for Joan Cusack. UK director Tony Scott preferred Drew Barrymore, fully booked at the time.  So Bridget Fonda, Diane Lane, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Juliette Lewis, Julia Roberts, Kyra Sedgwick, Brooke Shields and (inevitably) Uma Thurman were tipped for the girl…  with the name, said QT, sounding like a Pam Grier role!  (Except she was named Jackie Brownwhen he directed her in 1997).In Tarantino’s first ending, Clarence was killed and Alabama would turn to crime with Mr. White - he’s asked about her during Reservoir Dogs, 1991.  Thurman went on to star in QT’s Pulp Fictionand Kill Bill: Vol 1 and 2.
  9. Amanda Plummer, Pulp Fiction, 1993.    
  10. Julia Roberts, Mary Reilly, 1994.     UK director Stephen Fears had first hoped for a reunion with his Dangerous Liaisons find. 

  11. Nicole Kidman, To Die For, 1994.     Most young sparks agreed this was a role to die for... Including Thurman, Patricia Arquette, Jennifer Connelly, Joan Cusack, Bridget Fonda, Jodie Foster, Melanie Griffith, Darryl Hannah, Holly Hunter, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Tatum O’Neal, Mary-Louise Parker, Sarah Jessica Parker, Michelle Pfeiffer, Brooke Shields, Uma Thurman. However, Meg Ryan (passing up $5m) and Debra Winger simply refused… and Kidman persuaded director Gus Van Sant that she was his destiny.
  12. Kate Winslet, Titanic, 1996. 
  13. Renée Zellweger, Jerry Maguire, 1996.   “You had me at Hello…”Once Tom Hanks passed and Tom Cruise breathed a sigh of relief, auteurCameron Crowe started searching for The Girl: Dorothy Boyd.   Thurman, Patricia Arquette, Cameron Diaz, Bridget Fonda, Janeane Garofalo, Nicole Kidman, Jennifer Lopez, Courtney Love, Parker Posey, Molly Ringwald, Winona Ryder, Mira Sorvino, Marisa Tomei, even Zellweger, came and went. Recommended by Edward Burns (one of the Jerry possibles),  Connie Britton made a good test with Cruise and she was Dorothy - depending on Zellweger’s call back meeting with him.“We have video of that because I was filming,” Crowe told Mike Fleming Jr for Deadline Hollywood’s 20-years-later feature in 2017, “and you just see something happen when Tom sees her. He lights up … As Jerry discovers Dorothy, we discover Renee. That was a very personal thing for me and the way I feel about movies.”
  14. Jodie Foster, Contact, 1997.     Jodie disagreed with Australian director George Miller about the scenario.  Warners called  Uma - until Jodie approved the re-write for new helmer Robert Zemeckis.
  15. Helena Bonham Carter, The Wings of the Dove, 1997.    Due opposite Rufus Sewell as Henry James’ dying American heiress. “That fell apart,” said Sewell. By then time Humpty-Dumpty was put back together again, Umaand Sewell were gone.
  16. Jennifer Aniston, Object Of My Affection, 1998.    Uma was to be in love with a gay Keanu Reeves. Aniston was already Friendly with the new gay  Paul Rudd - a guest for 17 episodes of her TV series, Friends during 2002-04.
  17. Kate Hudson, Almost Famous, 2000.    Looking for his Penny Lane groupie (based on Pennie Trumble, aka Pennie Lane), in his semi- autobiographical look back to his Rolling Stone reporter “daze,” Cameron Crowe saw all of LA’s bright young things… Neve Campbell, Claire Danes, Kirsten Dunst, Jenna Elfman, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Anne Heche, Rose McGowan, Bridget Moynahan, Brittany Murphy, Christina Ricci, Rebecca Romijn, Chloe Sevigny, Mena Suvari.   Next? Uma passed and the winner, Sarah Polley, split. (Silly girls).  Crowe then chose Kate because “she seemed more like a free spirit.”  But, but, but… Sevigny was the t freest spirit in all Hollywood! 
  18. Angelina Jolie, Lara Croft, Tomb Raider, 2000.For the girls, Lara Croft is their James Bond. Well, more of a sexy Indiana Jones. And 21 hopefuls wanted to bringther sassy, video-game adventurer to life. Demi More was, perhaps, the most keen, but who was simply disregarded. Christina Applegate, Drew Barrymore, Sandra Bullock, Cameron Diaz, Nicole Eggert, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Kate Hudson, Elizabeth Hurley, Ashley Judd, Jennifer Lopez, Gwneth Paltrow, Anna Nicole Smith (a joke, surely), Catherine Zeta-Jones were more serioiusly considered. Fairuza Balk, Natalie Cassidy, Kirsten Dunst and Milla Jovovich auditioned while Denise Richards, Charlize Theron, Uma Thurman and Liv Tyler simply refused. And Lara’s guy (who fled the sequel) was Daniel Craig - complete with a Walther PPK pistol that he would use again as 007 in Casino Royale, 2005.
  19. Rebecca Romijin, Femme Fatale, 2001. Pregnant. And director Brian De Palma  - trying to be a realisateur by living and working in Paris - did not wait for her like Tarantino did for Kill Bill. 2003.
  20. Miranda Otto, The Lord of the Rings trilogy, 2001-2003.

  21. Liv Tyler,  The Lord of the Rings trilogy, 2001-2003.
  22. Kirsten Dunst, Spider-Man, 2001.
  23. 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, Julia Roberts, Meg Ryan, Alicia Silverstone, Hilary Swank, Naomi Watts. Among 35 possibles. Over the years.
  24. Carla Gugino, Sin City, 2004.  Directors Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller also looked at Ashley Judd, Carrie-Anne Moss, Sarah-Jessica Parker and Naomi Watts for Lucille in their  “live” comic-strip.
  25. Katherine Heigl, Knocked Up, 2007.
  26. Winona Ryder, Cheaters, 2010. Uma flew herself to the auditions - and then back home, empty-handed as the ’80s iconette consolidated her comeback...caught between tubby hubby KevinJames and best pal Vince Vaughn.
  27. Alicia Vikander, The Danish Girl,2015.    The role? Gerda Wegener, the Californian-born wife of Danish painter Einar Wegener. In 1930, he was one of the first men to surgically become a woman: Lili Ebe.  First choice Charlize Theron dropped out in 2008. Gwyneth Paltrow moved in. but split for more family time. Thurman entered the mix, then Edith Piaf - Marion Cotillard - in 2010. Rachel Weisz followed in 2011 and, finally, Vikander played Greta for UK director Tom Hooper… opposite Eddie Redmayne as her husband. 
  28. Alexandra Staden, My Name Is Modesty: A Modesty Blaise Adventure, 2003. Closer to author Peter O’Donnell than Joseph Losey’s 1965 campy rubbish, this 18-day quickie was simply made to allow Miramax to retain the rights for an 007-ish series to star… Natasha Henstridge, Nicole Kidman, Jennifer Lopez, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Tarantino’s girl, Mira Sorvino, or his very own Dietrich: Uma Thurman. Plus Russell Crowe as sidekick Willie Garvin.  We all know what happened to Miramax and how the brothers running it named their next combine after themselves. Weinstein. So, like  Sidney Gilliatt’s 60s’ British Lion version  and the ABC plans for a 1982 series with Amnn Turkel, Quentin Tarantino’s dream project never happened. He had trailed his interest  by having John Travolta found reading an O’Donnell book on the john in Pulp Fiction.  Twice!












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