Jennifer Connelly, Labyrinth, 1985. For (alas) his final film as a director, Muppeteer-in-Chief Jim Henson saw 15 possibles for his adolescent heroine, Sarah, forever in a dreamworld. They included Tomei, Yasmine Bleeth, Helena Bonham Carter, Laura Dern, Kerri Green, Mary Stuart Masterson, Sarah Jessica Parker, Laura San Giacomo, Mia Sara and Lili Taylor. Choices reached a final five - Maddie Corman, Jane Krakowski, Ally Sheedy, Sarah Williams… and the stunning Connelly.
]Judith Hoag, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, 1989. For the first live-action Turtle trot, the innovative director of music videos Steve Barron saw many a potential April O’Neill: Tomei Jennifer Beals, Lorraine Bracco, Sandra Bullock, Melanie Griffith, Anna Kendrick, Nicole Kidman, Sean Young. TMNT legend states the winning Hoag lost the sequels because she had complained so much the violence - and the six-day shooting schedule.
- Annabella Sciorra, Jungle Fever, 1991. Clashed with My Cousin Vinny... which netted Marisa's Oscar.
- Nicole Kidman, My Life, 1992. Mary-Louise Parker also tested for the role of Gail Jones - the wife about to have a child and lose hubby Michael Keaton to cancer.
- Uma Thurman, Mad Dog And Glory, 1992. "I was really close..."
- Geena Davis, Angie, 1994. "It just didn't work out." Madonna dropped out and Marisa didn't feel like making a career of supplanting her (after Untamed Heart).
- 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: Marisa, 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, Jane Seymour, Ally Sheedy, Brooke Shields, Meryl Streep(!), Emma Thompson(!), Meg Tilly, Kathleen Turner, Sigourney Weaver and Debra Winger.
- Uma Thurman, Pulp Fiction, 1993.
- Amanda Plummer, Pulp Fiction, 1993.
- Bridget Fonda, It Could Happen To You, 1994. Another Madonna pass and this time Marisa said no more waitresses (also after Untamed Heart!), not even the one from the headline and original title: Cop Gives Waitress $2million Tip.
- Andie MacDowell, Four Weddings And A Funeral, 1994. A big regret… "I almost did it. But my grandfather was sick at the time, and I didn't want to leave… I'm sure it would have been fine with him, but I felt like I didn't want to go anywhere." Also on the Carrie list : Phoebe Cates, Melanie Griffith, Sarah Jessica Parker, Brooke Shields, Jeanne Tripplehorn.. They all missed Andie’s cut… $2m!
- Kristen Scott Thomas, Richard III, 1995. Backed out at the last minutefromIan McKellan's modernised Shakespeare that was never ready to roll - to join to a Gérard Depardieuproject in no such danger (as he was producing), Unhook The Stars, 1996.
- Cameron Diaz, Feeling Minnesota, 1996. Too expensive for the girl between (mismatched) brothersKeanu Reeves and Vincent D'Onofrio.
- Renée Zellweger, Jerry Maguire, 1996. Scenarist-director Cameron Crowe had a great time also seeing...Cameron Diaz, Bridget Fonda, Janeane Garofalo, Parker Posey, Winona Ryder. Then,Crowe saw Renée in The Whole Wide World, 1996. And she stole Crowe's movie!
- Julianne Moore, Boogie Nights, 1997.Passed on auteur Paul Thomas Anderson’s offer to play a porno queen called Amber Waves.
- Patricia Arquette, Human Nature, 2001. Director Steven Soderbergh's casting for Lila Jute. His version would have been a far superior movie but he was sidetracked by Out of Sight, changing his and George Clooney's careers forever.
- Salma Hayek, Frida, 2002. Like Madonna (again!) and Laura San Giacomo, Marisa had been in the running for one of the various projects on the Mexican painter Frida Kahlo - when the most determined took off. And collected two Oscars.
- Renée Zellweger, Chicago, 2002.
- Carrie Fisher, The Women, 2007. After 15 years trying to make her version of MGM’s 1938 magic, the fizz had left the bubbly for the TV Murphy Brown creator Diane English. Few among her cast(s) could match Norma Shearer, Joan Crawford and Rosalind Russell.
- Emily Mortimer, More As This Story Develops, TV, 2011. The Oscar-winner had several meetings with scenarist-creator Aaron Sorkin about his new HBO series - he also saw her off-Broadway play Marie and Bruce. The role of a news show exec producer was her’s. Or so it seemed. Then, Sorkin met with the Brit.
- Paula Patton, 2 Guns, 2012. The role? Denzel Washington’s lover – on and off. Rather like the tired thriller. Helmers changed from Antoine Fuqua and Bondsmith Martin Campbell to, finally, the Icelandic Baltasar Kormákur.
- Emily Mortimer, The Newsroom, TV, 2012-2014. The TV news producer making Jeff Daniels the moral compass of his ACN team moved to the UK’s feisty Mortimer when negotiations collapsed with Tomei. Winning the support actress Oscar for My Cousin Vinny on March 29 1993 never helped her career at all.