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Catherine Zeta-Jones

  1. Julia Ormond,  First Knight, 1994.  CZJ lost Guinevere opposite Sean Connery’s Arthur - but won him for the Entrapment thriller four years later.  With a Euro premiere during the 1999 Cannes festival. Ormond’s salary was $350,000, Connery and Richard Gere’s added up to $14m. Chivalry is dead.
  2. Julia Ormond, Sabrina, 1995.   Even before the bad casting, director Sydney Pollack's totally unnecessary re-make was already a gross error of judgement. He tested Juliette Binoche and dancer Darcy Bissell and considered Zeta-Jones, Sandra Bullock, Julie Delpy, Cameron Diaz, Demi Moore, Gwyneth Paltrow, Robin Wright. All better suited than Ormond. So it blows.
  3. Jennifer Lopez, Money Train, 1996.    With her long black hair, Hollywood only thought of Latino roles for the Welsh beauty, which is how Catherine found herself in the last three with Cameron Diaz and Jennifer Lopez!
  4. Heather Graham, Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me, 1998.   The Welsh beauty was on the short list - with Graham. And winning Felicity Shagwell, said Graham, saved her from a soft-porn career. Not having had a decent offer since Boogie Nights, 1997 (a film about porno), she was close to signing for a lesbian sex-film. She later bought a DVD of the movie; her comments were not recorded. This second Austin Powers title was difficult to translate (politely) abroad. Hence: The Spy Who Treated Me Nicely (Singapore), …Who Groped Me (Croatia), …Who Liked Me A Lot (China) and in Norwway it was The Spy Who Ejaculated On Me.
  5. Sophie Marceau, The World Is Not Enough,1999.
  6. Francesca Hunt, The Secret Adventures of Jules Verne, TV, 2000. Two Kates (Beckinsale and Catherine Zeta-Jones) were in the mix for Phileas Fogg’s butt-kicking cousin, Rebecca, in the 22-chapter series inspired by an alternate  draft of 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea.  Created by Gavin Scott as a second coming of his  Young Indiana Jones Chronicles, the stories feature such figures as George Custer, D’Artagnan, Alexandre Dumas, Thomas Edison, Jesse James,  Abraham Lincoln,  George Quantrill and Queen Victoria.
  7. Angelina Jolie, Lara Croft, Tomb Raider, 2000.   For 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.
  8. Nicole Kidman, Moulin Rouge, 2001.   Australian directing wiz Baz Luhrmann tested Catherine, Kidman and Renée Zellweger for Satine. Catherine really wanted it, Nicole got it.  “They didn't have to be big singers,” Baz explained, “but they had to be able to move you emotionally. Basically, Ewan [McGregor] and Nicole were the best for the job. That's the bottom line of it.”  Catherine and Renée then got Chicago.  A hot trio! Catherine and Nicole collected Oscars on the same night  in 2003.  One year later, Renée got hers for co-starring with Kidman in Cold Mountain, 2003.
  9. Renée Zellweger, Bridget Jones's Diary, 2001.   Among the dozen nearly-Brendas- from outrageous ideas like Catherine and Nicole Kidman (far too beautiful for a dumpy dowdy) to more sensible Rachel Griffiths and Emma Thompson.
  10. Renée Zellweger, Chicago, 2002.

  11. Halle Berry, Die Another Day, 2002.
  12. Angelina Jolie, Beyond Borders, 2002. Julia Roberts and  Meg Ryan were seen for the London society woman in love with Clive Owen’s doctor in war-ravaged Ethiopia  when CZJ was pregnant with daughter Carys Zeta Douglas. That ruled her out of  tough locations in Africa, Thailand and Europe - but proved a plus for  Traffic
  13. Rachel Weisz, About A Boy, 2002.  Preferred enjoying being a real mum to her two-year-old Dylan Michael Douglas than playing a single mom seduced by Hugh Grant as perNick Hornby's novel.
  14. Emmy Rossum, The Phantom of the Opera, 2003.   Divorce! Andrew Lloyd Webber’s 1990 plan for Joel Schumacher directing the original West End stars blew up when the composer divorced Sarah Brightman and the returns for Evita were non-ecstatic. CZJ, Charlotte Church, Anne Hathaway, Katie Holmes, Keira Knightley and Kate Winslet were also short-listed listed for Christine Daaé.

  15. 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… CZJ, Natasha Henstridge, Nicole Kidman, Jennifer Lopez, Mira Sorvino or Quentin Tarantino’s  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 Ann Turkel, Quentin Tarantino’s dream project never happened. He had trailed his interest by having John Travolta found reading a Modesty book on the john in Pulp Fiction.  Maybe Harvey Weinstein's alleged inappropriate touching of the director's then-lover, Sorvino (among other allegations about the producer abusing Asia Argento, Salma Hayek, Rose McGowan, Gwyneth Paltrow, etc) was why the big film version was never happened... although such storieshad not  stopped Tarantino making six features  for Weinstein including Kill Bill and Django Unchained.  He later moved far  from the producer, admitting: “I knew enough to do more than I did.... I wish I had taken responsibility for what I heard.” 

  16. Angelina Jolie, Alexander, 2004.   Playing Alexander’s mother, Angelina was less than a year older than Colin Farrell. Catherine was a mere seven years his senior.
  17. Diane Kruger, Troy, 2004.    Kruger's rivals as the face that launched a thousand ships - Helen of Troy - were Halle Berry, Keira Knightley Kristin Kreuk, Jennifer Lopez, Sophie Marceau, Connie Nielsen.You gonna argue with The Times (of London)...?
  18. Kate Bosworth, Superman Returns, 2005.
  19. Angelina Jolie, Mr & Mrs Smith, 2004.  A married couple of assassins (he’s Brad Pitt) are hired to kill each other! Pitt quit when Nicole Kidman had to leave and  returned only when her final replacement was, well,  When Brad Met Angelina! Also chased in the meantime were CZJ, Cate Blanchett, Eva Green, Gwen Stefani and the unlikeliest Mrs Smith of ’em all, Bollywood’s gorgeous Aishwarya Rai Bachchan. The legend insists that Catherine spurned it because Nicole Kidman did! 
  20. Tea Leoni, Fun with Dick and Jane, 2004.    First named substitute for Cameron Diaz in there-makeof the Jane Fonda-George Segal comedy opposite Jim Carrey.

  21. Asia Argento, Marie Antoinette, 2005.    Both Catherine and Angelina Jolie spurned Sofia Coppola’s Madame Du Barry. Italian horrorsmith Dario Argento’s daughter was the fourth such directorial kin in the the bubblegum version of of history. Francis Coppola’s Sofia also directed John Boorman’s Katrine andJohn Huston’s Danny.
  22. Nicole Kidman, Nine, 2009.
  23. Gerard Butler, Law Abiding Citizen, 2009.    The anti-hero taking revenge on a DA for making a deal with one of his family’s killers was first due to be an anti-heroine.
  24. Matt Smith, Doctor Who, TV, 2010.     Biggest surprise among the BBC’s ideas for the 11thDoctor was the Welsh diva - already committed to a Broadway revivalof A Little Night Music that year.
  25. Angelina Jolie, The Tourist, 2010.    In 2004, auteur Jerome Salle made a neat little thriller called Anthony Zimmer - Hitchcockian ordinary man in extraordinary happenings. It took Hollywood five years to re-make it, aka ruin it... Catherine was the first keen on being The Mystery Woman (Sophie Marceau in the original). With Swedish Lasse Hallstrom keen on directing in 2007, she signed a contract... of 45 pages!  Next possibility - Charlize Theron opposite Tom Cruise - didn’t gell, either. Indeed,nor did Angelina and Johnny Depp on-screen.
  26. Julia Ormond, My Week With Marilyn, 2010.  Declined an invite to play Vivien Leigh in the movie about the making of The Prince and the Showgirl with Monroe and Laurence Olivier in London, 1956 - for the best of reasons.  To tend husband, Michael Douglas, during his cancer treatment.
  27. 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 Catherine (in 2005) to Whedon’s favourite, Cobie Smulders. Then, the film morphed into 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.
  28. Meryl Streep, Into The Woods, 2013.
  29. Frances de la Tour, Into The Woods, 2013.






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