- Cybill Shepherd, Taxi Driver, 1975.
- Christine Jones, Annie Hall, 1976.
“Oh, that was my dream. To be in a Woody Allen film!” And she was - after winning her first movie audition for Dorrie, “the girl he tries to re-create the same love affair with after Annie Hall, but she doesn't have the same sense of humour, so it doesn't work.” And then Weaver decided to stay with to “this multiple schizophrenic”” in the revue, Das Lusitania Songspiel, written by her best friend, playwright Christopher Durang. Woody just shrugged his shoulders at the news. “But I was so flustered, I walked right into the broom closet. I thought it was the exit…” That helped him remember her for “one day in this smaller part. A lot of it got cut out. I had this scene where we were in bed. I was reading the National Review and eating crackers…and he's on the phone with Annie Hall in California. We also did The Sorrow and the Pity scene at the end…Diane Keaton was with Walter Bernstein and I was with Woody Allen. I’m still so proud of it today…” Finally, she was on-screen for six seconds. “But unless you know my raincoat, you'll miss me.”
- Susan Sarandon, Pretty Baby, 1977. The rôle was horrendous - the prostitute allowing her 12-year-old daughter’s virginity to be auctioned off in a brothel in the red-light Storyville district of New Orleans, circa 1917.Elegant French director Louis Malle saw 28 possible little Violets - and another 15 actresses for her mother: Weaver, Candice Bergen, Cher, Glenn Close (passed), Mia Farrow, Farrah Fawcett (passed), Jane Fonda with Jodie Foster as her daughter), Goldie Hawn (prefered Foul Play), Anjelica Huston, Diane Keaton, Liza Minnelli, Cybil Shepherd, Sissy Spacek, Meryl Streep. Malle and Sarandon became lovers and also made Atlantic City together in 1980… the year he married Bergen until his 1995 death.
- Debra Winger, Urban Cowboy, 1980. Usually, she was "too tall!" This once, she was "too old" by five years for John Travolta.
- Kathleen Turner, Body Heat, 1981. "I didn't do it because my agent [Sam Cohn] was convinced that [writer-director] Lawrence Kasdan was a pervert. There were all these 'He goes down on her' and 'She goes down on him' in the script. So that was out. But I don't see myself as selling sex in any way." So what was the star-making end of Alien all about in 1979?
- Kathryn Harrold, Yes, Giorgio, 1982. Mario Lanza's MGMusicals turned Luciano Pavarotti on to opera... and to this $15m turkey, only one of six film offers he ever accepted. Weaver had more sense and passed. "If the movie is a catastrophe," said Pavarotti, "then I will be what I was before." It was. He was - and for evermore.
- 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. He decided to go older… Glenn Close won - her schedule didn’t agree. OK, Kate Capshaw! No, she was tied to Indiana 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: Cameron’s Ripley, 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, Hannah, Goldie Hawn, Barbara Hershey, Angelica Huston, Amy Irving, Diane Keaton 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, Sharon Stone. 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.
- Lonette McKee, The Cotton Club, 1984. "It was for a kinda Brechtian whore, sexy and savvy - and people think of me in upscale terms." She passed. Correctly. Considering the setting was the Harlem night spot, it was more likely that the showgirl Lila Rose Oliver would be black. Hence: McKee, a Spike Lee regular in Jungle Fever, Malcolm X, He Got Game, She Hate Me.
- Kay Lenz, House, 1985. Despite her impact as William Holden’s perfect mistress - young, sassy, sexy - in Clint Eastwood’s Breezy, 1972, Kay never reached stardom. Yet she beat the not inconsiderable Sigourney and Glenn Close for the lead in this horror about a man and his zombies. Some critics saw it as a comedy, others as a farce.
- Brigitte Nielsen, Red Sonja, 1985. Sandahl Bergman beat Weaver to the titular heroine… and was then switched to Queen Gedren. Better than Arnold Schwarzenegger. His Conan was cut.
- Kim Basinger, 9 1/2 Weeks, 1986. Too sexy again for the actress who once said she "wanted to make a hard-core porn film." Also, she was as nude as Kim in that same year in Half Moon Street. UK director Adrian Lyne had also seen Demi Moore, Tatum O’Neal, Isabella Rossellini, Dominique Sanda, Kathleen Turner, Sigourney Weaver. And Andie MacDowell who thought the script was borderline sleaze. Oh,baby, it was way over the border!
- Holly Hunter, Broadcast News, 1987. Tallest girl on James Brooks' short-list. "I get sent the roles Meryl's not doing."
- Glenn Close, Fatal Attraction, 1987.
- Kelly McGillis, The Accused, 1988. Paramount suits saw 40 young actresses for the (real life) gang rape victim. Or, their own rape bait fantasies… such as 16-year-old Alyssa Milano! And a further 27 for her lawyer. Including Fatal Attraction also-rans from Geena Davis, Sally Field, Goldie Hawn, Barbara Hershey, Tuesday Weld - to Diane Keaton, Meryl Streep and Debra Winger, who were offered both roles. Plus Weaver, Beverly D’Angelo, Blythe Danner, Carrie Fisher, Teri Garr, Mary Gross, ,Kathleen Turner, Dianne Wiest. A 1982 rape victim herself, McGillis refused the lead. She had no wish to revisit the horror and pain of her own assault six years earlier. Obviously. However, she agreed to play Sarah’s defence attorney - on condition that the studio-described “unsexy” Jodie, and no one else, played Sarah! The suits caved, tested Foster and the rest is Oscar history… dated March 29, 1989.
- Natasha Richardson, The Handmaid's Tale, 1989. She pulled out of playwright-scenarist Harold Pinter's version of the Margaret Attwood novel - pregnant with her and Jim Simpson’s only child, Charlotte.
- Nicole Kidman, Dead Calm, 1989. Weaver and Debra Winger had both been attached to star
- 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.
- Geena Davis, Thelma & Louise, 1990.
- Susan Sarandon, Thelma & Louise, 1990.
- Sharon Stone, Basic Instinct, 1991.
- Laura Dern, Jurassic Park, 1992.
- Holly Hunter, The Piano, 1993. Australian director Jane Campion with several actresses for her Ada: Sigourney, Juliette Binoche, Isabelle Huppert, Angelica Huston, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Madeleine Stowe. But Holly was able to perform most of the piano sequences, herself - as Campion become the first woman to win the Cannes Festival’s best film Palme d'Or.
- 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: Sigourney, 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, Marisa Tomei, Kathleen Turner and Debra Winger.
- Anjelica Huston, Buffalo Girls, TV, 1995. Keen to be Calamity Jane in the tele-adaptation of Larry McMurtry's novel.
- Barbara Hershey, The Portrait of a Lady, 1995. After Susan Sarandon had to quit director Jane Campion’s take on the Henry James classic, Weaver also passed on Madame Serena Merle. Result: a first Oscar nomination for Hershey.
- Diane Keaton, Marvin’s Room, 1996. Angelica Huston, Kathleen Turner Weaver, they all wanted to work with Meryl Streep!
- Glenn Close, 101 Dalmatians, 1996. Close passed due to her Broadway musical, Sunset Blvd. Weaver also refused to be Cruella DeVille, by which time. Broadway had had enough of Norma Desmond and Close was free to eat the scenery... She reprised Cruella in 102 Dalmatians, 2000, with the only other actors to be in both Disney movies: Tim McInnerny as her butler Alonzo.
- Miranda Richardson, Alice In Wonderland, TV, 1999. Schedules prevent Weaver becoming... what else but the Queen of Hearts! (Martin Short was the Mad Hatter, Whoopi Goldberg, the Cheshire Cat and Peter Ustinov, the Walrus).
- Jamie Lee Curtis, Freaky Friday, 2003. Annette Bening, Weaver, Michelle Trachtenberg were second, third, fourth choices for the mother swopping lives with her teenage daughter… just for one day. First idea had been Jodie Foster, of course - the kid in the ’76 version. Jodie felt such casting gimmicks ruined movies.
- Joan Cusack, Chicken Little, 2004. To find the right voice for Abby Mallard in Disney’s paltry poultry pic, Disney went through JLC, Geeena Davis, Laura Dern, Jamie Donnelly, Jodie Foster, Holly Hunter, Madonna and, of course, Sigourney Weaver. (By now many Alien fans were working at every studio).
- Virginia Madsen, The Astronaut Farmer. 2006. As the titular Billy Bob Thornton's wife for the film-making Polish twins, Mark and Michael. "I've always admired Margaret Rutherford. Like her I'd like to play Miss Marple when I'm 80."
- Lena Olin, Awake, 2006. Score one for Sweden...! Lena beat off two other contenders for Hayden Christensen’s mother - Sigourney and Helen Mirren.
- Meryl Streep, Doubt, 2007. Directing his script of his 2005 Pulitzer Prize-winning Broadway play, John Patrick Shanley first asked Frances to be the dragon nun, Sister Aloysius Beauvier. Next: Weaver, Kathy Bates, Annette Bening, Anjelica Huston - never the original Broadway star and Tony winner Cherry Jones. Then, her pal Meryl became available… She still asked: Why wasn’t Cherry doing it? - “she was so amazing! John explained he hadn’t directed that production. He wanted his own hands on this. So, I thought it was really valid and felt that I sure would like a crack at that Sister Aloysius.” Result: Meryl’s 15th Oscar nomination.
- Carlo Gugino, Watchmen, 2008. Early ideas for Silk Spectre/Sally Jupiter were Weaver, Jessica Biel, Jamie Lee Curtis, Hilary Duff, Hilarly Swank - as directors changed from Terry Gilliam and Paul Greengrass to Darren Afronofsky and, ultimately, Zack Snyder.