- Saoirse Ronan, Atonement, 2006. At age 18, Abbie was discussed for the 13-year-old Briony - but she was committed to Bess Throckmorton in Elizabeth - The Golden Age.
- Lily Cole, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, 2007. He loves women, just can’t pick ’em... Director Terry Gilliam voted in the flame-haired model for Valentina (to be promised to the Devil at 16) over Gemma, Abbie, Romola Garai, Jena Malone and Mia Wasikowska.
- Taylor Schilling, The Lucky One, 2007. Katie Cassidy was also in the mix for Beth - who saved the life of Zac Efron’s Marine in Iraq. Or, so he believes.
- Evan Rachel Woods, The Wrestler, 2008. Director Darren Aronofsky’s first choice for the titular Mickey Rourke’s estranged daughter suddenly quit. Or Evan became available.
- Gemma Arterton, Wuthering Heights, 2009. When Natalie Portman split and no one took Lindsay Lohan seriously (as if they could), Abbie was in - and then out as the 15th screen Catherine Earnshaw. Heathcliff also switched from Michael Fassbender to Ed Westwick.
- Cameron Diaz, The Green Hornet, 2010. Part of the early ideas - opposite Vince Vaughn, then Mark Wahlberg - for Lenore Case. A zero role, said my favourite critic, Roger Ebert, simply allowing “the camera to cut to her from time to time, which is pleasant but unsatisfying.” Undefeated, Abbie went on to fight for...
Emily Blunt, The Adjustment Bureau, 2010. How did you guys meet? In the oddest Meet Cute! Congressional candidate Matt Damon walked into a men’s room just as ballerina Emily left one of the stalls… Explain that on the campaign trail. Except that proved the least of their problems… as this is a Philip K Dick story.
Taylor Schilling, The Lucky One, 2011. Cornish and Katie Cassidy were the unlucky ones - losing out on being Zac Efron’s lover in the chickflick about a Marine searching Louisiana for the woman he’s sue was his good luck charm during the Iraq war.
- Carey Mulligan, The Great Gatsby, 2011. ...and lost that, too. Australian director Baz Luhrmann said he was privileged to explore the manipulative Daisy Buchanan “with some of the world’s most talented actresses, each one bringing their own particular interpretation, all of which were legitimate and exciting” - Abbier, Rebecca Hall, Keira Knightley, Blake Lively, Rachel McAdams, Natalie Portman, Amanda Seyfried, Michelle Williams and the girl up for six films that 2010 autumn, Scarlett Johansson. Yet it was Carey sobbing on a red carpet, after being handed a phone. “It was Baz: Hello Daisy!”
- Noomi Rapace, Prometheus, 2011. Ridley Scott beat all Hollywood to signing for The Girl of the Hour - aka Lisbeth Salander in Sweden’s Millennium trilogy. And so, Noomi beat Abbie, Gemma Arterton, Anne Hathaway, Carey Mulligan, Natalie Portman, Olivia to the (is it?/it isn’t/oh yes, it is) Alien prequel. The initially cast Charlize Theron switched to Meredith Vickers, instead.
- Blake Lively, Savages, 2011 Up against Blake and Olivia Wilde again... When Jennifer Lawrence split for the Hunger Games trilogy, Oliver Stone considered Abbie as the girl mixed up with two pot-growing brothers... and kidnapped by a Mexican drug cartel.
- Ruth Wilson, The Lone Ranger, 2011.Jessica Chastain, Sarah Gadon, Andrea Riseborough were also run up the flagpole to be Rebecca Reid opposite the lone Armie Hammer and Johnny Depp’s Tonto. Not to mention the horse - Hi Ho Silver! Rebeccawent to another beauteous Brit - mightily acclaimed for two BBC TV shows, Jane Eyre and Luther.
- Scarlett Johansson, Under The Skin, 2012. Many of the same faces from the late 2010 casting season - Abbie, Jessica Biel, Gemma Arterton, Megan Fox, Eva Green, January Jones, Blake Lively, Olivia Wilde - were up for the alien hanging around Glasgow… originally the wife of an alien Brad Pitt, but he couldn’t wait for director Jonathan Glazer to get started on his “chilling masterpice” (The Guardian).
- Sandra Bullock, Gravity, 2012. Angelina Jolie quit as the outer-space partner of first, Robert Downey Jr, and finally, George Clooney, in the sf two-hander. Abbie was among that season’s usual suspects as her replacement: Marion Cotillard, Rebecca Hall, Salma Hayek, Scarlett Johannsson, Blake Lively, Sienna Miller, Carey Mulligan, Natalie Portman, Naomi Watts, Rachel Weisz, Olivia Wilde.... Because the female astronaut is alone on-screen for most of the movie. (Sorry about that, George).
- Scarlett Johansson, Hitchcock, 2012. Hitchcock’s back in business! With two films headlined by UK actors (Anthony Hopkins, Toby Jones) in bad impressions and fat suits. This is the second one - Hopkins making Psycho And telling Janet Leigh: “You can call me Hitch. Hold the cock.”
- Jessica Biel, Hitchcock, 2012. As Janet Leigh was just two years older than the dowdier Vera Miles, most actresses were up for either role: Cornish, Diana Agron, Camilla Belle, Emilie de Ravin, Natalie Dormer, Sarah Gadon, Ashley Greene, January Jones, Kate Mara, Brit Marling, Gwyneth Paltrow, Chloe Sevigny, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Evan Rachel Wood.
- Rosamund Pike, Gone Girl, 2013. Emily Blunt, Julianne Hough, Rooney Mara, Natalie Portman, Charlize Theron, Olivia Wilde, Reese Witherspoon were also discussed for Amy, who goes missing on her wedding anniversary. A great Briton won…
- Sarah Gadon, Dracula Untold, 2014. Cornish was due for Mirena, wife of the dreaded Vlad, when Universal planned to start rebooting its 30/40s’ monster movies… with the first Hollywood Dracula number for14 years. He flopped. Well, he was no superhero!