- Hayden Panettiere, Heroes, TV, 2006-2010. It was, said Emma, her rock bottom moment in LA.“I could hear that, in the other room, a girl had just gone in and they were saying, ‘You are our pick … On a scale of 1 to 10 you’re an 11.’ I went home and just had this meltdown.” She had quit school to try her luck in LAand was soon working... at a dog bakery. And studying at an online class. By the summer of 2011, she was in three big movies -The Help, Friends with Benefits and Crazy, Stupid, Love - and Panettiere was not.
- Megan Fox, Transformers, 2006. Both Emma and Amanda Seyfried auditioned for the role of Mikeala Banes – named after (less pretty) director Michael Bay.
- Scout Taylor-Compton, Halloween, 2007. Tried out for the lead in director Rob Zombie’s all “new” Halloween franchise. The original 1977 director John Carpenter gave Rob his blessing - “make it your own."
- Amber Heard, Zombieland, 2008. First booked for the girl named 406, Stone was promoted to Wichita (the heroes were Columbus and Tallahassee!) in the funny road movie full of zombies. Chicago criic Roger Ebert likened them to “the Energizer Bunnies of corpses, existing primarily to be splattered.”
- Kristen Bell, Burlesque, 2009. Jessica Biel and Lindsay Lohan were also seen for Cher’s first (and last) musical. But Emma was the top star Christina Aguilera’s first and only choice to play Nikki.
- Jamie Chung, Sucker Punch, 2010. Up for the scantily-clad Amber, mental asylum inmate, dancer and hooker… (It’s that kinda movie). Auteur Zack Synder’s “swords-and-corsets fantasy” (Washington Post) follows Emily Browning’s Baby Doll in three differing worlds, er, levels of consciousness. Yeah, that kinda movie. She peferred Easy A withjoining Stanley Tucci.
- Brie Larson, 21 Jump Street, 2011. Up for tthe female lead in the movie version of Johnny Depp’s 1980s’ TV series - until stuck (!) on The Amazing Spider-Man. No matter, because the important roles belonged to Schmidt and Jenko - Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum, as surprisingly good as the film. . Larson was known as Toni Collette's rebellious daughter in United States of Tara, TV, 2009-2012. And won the 2016 Best Actress Oscar for Room.
- Ambyr Childers, The Master, 2011. To her own surprise, the lovely blonde daytime soap alumna of All My Children (she was Colby Chandler for 139 episodes, 2006-2008) beat off such stellar opposition as Emma, Jennifer Lawrence and Amanda Seyfried and Deborah Ann Woll to become Elizabeth in director Paul Thomas Anderson’s first outing since his 2007 double-Oscar-winning There Will Be Blood.
- Mia Wasikowska, Crimson Peak, 2013. When Emma had go leave Mexican director Guillermo del Toro’s movie, Mia strolled in - just as Benedict Cumberbatch was substituted by Tom Hiddleston.
- Elizabeth Banks, The Lego Movie, 2013. The original idea of auteurs Phil Lord and Christopher Miller was Amy partnering Robert Downey Jr. Finally, Emma played Lucy aka Wyldstyle. It was her voicing debut – same for Alison Brie, Morgan Freeman, Chris Pratt, Cobie Smulders, Channing Tatum and Billy Dee Williams. Emma won Woody Allen'’s Magic in the Moonlight, instead.
- Emily Blunt, Into The Woods, 2013.
- Margot Robbie, Focus, 2014. First, Stone and Kristen Stewart passed, then, Jessica Biel, Rose Byrne, Jennifer Lawrence, Olivia Munn, Rosamund Pike and Michelle Williams were assessed for Jess, the beauty being coached in grifting techniques by an adoring Will Smith. Robbie was on holiday on a Croatian island when called to an New York audition. She packed in 20 minutes, and by catamaran, bus, two planes (waiting six hours for each), losing her luggage at JFK and wearing only denim shorts, shirt and no make-up, she got to the audition on time. Smith did not. “Hey, I was coming from Queens.” “Yeah?” snapped Robbie, “Well, I just came from an island off Croatia and I’m here on time.” She reckoned that outburst won her the movie.
- Margot Robbie, The Legend of Tarzan, 2014. Far too busy with Woody Allen, Cameron Crowe and Ryan Gosling to be Jane on the vine with Swedish hunk Alexander Skarsgård as the first 21st Century ape-man. Not released until 2016.
- Laurie Holden, Dumb and Dumber To, 2014. As per usual, any sequel 20 years after the original always displays extreme desperation… Holden had also played an Adele in an earlier Jim Carrey film, The Majestic, 2001.
- Lily James, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, 2014. Natalie Portman was set for the revisionist Elizabeth Bennet until delays clashed with her schedule. She remained on board as one of seven producers while Stone, Lily Collins, Anne Hathaway, Scarlett Johansson, Mila Kunis, Blake Lively, Rooney Mara and Mia Wasikowska were rung up Jane Austen flagpoles. Stone had already made one trip to Zombieland, 2009, and passed on a second in June 2011.
- Phyllis Smith, Inside Out, 2014. As Pixar got inside the head of young Riley, we meet her five main emotions - Joy, Fear, Anger, Disgust… and Stone was first lined up for Sadness. Smith hails from The Office - like Mindy Kling (Disgust), Bill Hader (Fear) and Rashida Jones (Cool Girl's Emotions).
- Kate McKinnon, Ghostbusters, 2015. Or Ghostbusterettes… Finally, after a wait of 27 years, a third ’busters movie. This time, they’re all women. Pail Feig women like Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig and… well, it was going to be Stone or Anna Faris, Jennifer Lawrence, Rebel Wilson. Stone passed. Two Amazing Spider-Man films were tentpoles enough. “The script was really funny. It just didn't feel like the right time for me. A franchise is a big commitment… Maybe I need a minute before I dive back into that water.” Instead, she became Woody Allen’s new muse. Twice.