Cher (Cherilyn Sarkesian)
- Faye Dunaway, Bonnie and Clyde, 1966.
- Nancy Sintra, Speedway, 1968. With his hayseed manager, the self-styled Colonel Parker, forever refusing any grown-up films, the poor, dumb Elvis was even stuck with hand-me-downs from Sonny & Cher.
- Stockard Channing, The Fortune, 1975. Exactly what the flop comedy needed. Mike Nichols rejected her. "There are two kinds of girls in the world: the kind you wanna fuck and the kind you don't." He felt the role called for the latter and for him, Cher wasn't "suitable." "But I'm talented," she yelled. "If you can't see it now, you'll be sorry one day." Took him nine years to find out - making her the lesbian in Silkwood, 1983.
- Jill Clayburgh, Gable & Lombard, 1976. She did not even acknowledge receiving the script from Canadian director Sidney J Furie. Wise, if ill-mannered
- Jessica Lange, King Kong, 1976. "I did the test as a lark. I was pregnant at the time, or else I probably would have done it - just to work." The baby meant it was Lange calling the $1.7m mechanical simian assembly: "You goddamn chauvinist pig ape." When people asked Jessica if Kong hurt her career, she replied: "What career? I didn't have one before. Nobody gave a rat's ass about my work..." until Bob Fosse rescued her in All That Jazz leading to The Postman Always Rings Twice, Frances and an Oscar for Tootsie.
- Barbra Streisand, A Star Is Born, 1976.
- Talia Shire, Rocky, 1976.
- Susan Sarandon, Pretty Baby, 1977. The rôle was horrendous - a prostitute allowing her 12-year-old daughter’s virginity to be auctioned off in a brothel in the red-light district of New Orleans, circa 1917. Elegant French director Louis Malle saw 28 possible little Violets - and another 15 actresses for her mother: Cher, Candice Bergen, 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, Sigourney Weaver. Malle and Sarandon became lovers and also made Atlantic City together in 1980… the year he married Bergen until his 1995 death.
- Stockard Channing, The Fish That Saved Pittsburg, 1979. Quit, late in the day, as Mona, the astrologist saving the assses of the Pittsburg Pythons basketball team as... the Pittsburg Pisces!
- Lorna Luft, Grease 2, 1981. Cher fled Paulette Rebchuck because of a pitiable salary and an incomplete script - not to mention being being way too old for Rydell High at 35. Luft is Judy Garland’s daughter, making her movie debut at… 29. Two singers offered fellow student Shaton Zinone, Kim Carnes and Debbie Harry, were… 34!
- Jamie Lee Curtis, Grandview USA, 1984. "Listen, I didn't want to lead a pack of teenyboppers. I'll be 40 before long... I chose Mask, instead."
Kathleen Turner, Crimes of Passion, 1984. UK director Ken Russell’s first thought for Joanna Crane, aka the hooker China Blue, as over-ze-top Russellmania hits LA again.
- Madonna, Desperately Seeking Susan, 1985. Not a bad idea
- Rosanna Arquette, 8 Millions Ways To Die, 1986. Three leading ladies for 8 Million... Mask made Cher a movie star in 1985. Yet she wasn’t eager to sign for other films. She was announced as Jeff Bridges’ co-star on April 29, 1985 - 15 days later it was the turn of Jamie Lee Curtis...
- Diane Keaton, Baby Boom, 1987. "I have to fall in love with a script."
- Whoopi Goldberg, Fatal Beauty, 1987. Title suited Cher much better!
- Glenn Close, Fatal Attraction, 1987.
- Theresa Russell, Black Widow, 1987. "For me, it's about life experiences. Making films and... growth in life is real intertwined."
- Susan Sarandon, The Witches of Eastwick, 1987. "I don't want Jane, I wanna be Alexandra," shouted Cher. And got her way. First Sarandon knew about Cher's coup was when location shooting started.
- Charles Grodin, Midnight Run, 1987. Robert De Niro was happy with his skip-tracer, something quiet after his Al Capone in The Untouchables. Yet, from Cher to Williams, Paramount could not find anyone to co-star. Picking up the show, Universal (too) rapidly signed Grodin, who had all the charisma of a sandfly. Said Cher: "I have to find a character to express who I am - and that's not easy."
- Anjelica Huston, The Witches, 1989. No surprise that UK director Nicolas Roeg considered Cher as Roald Dahl’s Grand High Witch. He’d worked his dramatic magic with other singers: David Bowie and Art Garfunkel. But Cher had already been a (much better looking) Eastwick witch. Two years later, Huston would take Morticia Addams from Cher.
- Kathleen Turner, War of the Roses, 1990. "I knew that was going to be a hit. A great script but... kinda mean. I'd lived it for real. I didn't want to do it for money."
Meryl Streep, She-Devil, 1990. "Scared shitless" by her Moonstruck Oscar, she spent three years choosing her next film and this is the one she most wanted.
- Melanie Griffith, Working Girl, 1990. "I act really great but I don't think of myself as an actress. I don't do it for a living."
- Anjelica Huston, The Grifters, 1990. Her Oscar-inflated price was too high for UK director Stephen Frears and his producer - Martin Scorsese.
- Susan Sarandon, Thelma & Louise, 1990.
- Anjelica Huston, The Addams Family, 1991. Losing interest (or trust) in movies, she stayed home with her own family.
- Michelle Pfeiffer, Batman Returns, 1991.
- Christine Lahti, Leaving Normal, 1992. Backed away from director Edward Zwick's second feature (a kind of Thelma and Louise Revisited) as the waitress was a cousin of her role in Come Back To The 5 & Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean.. Besides she was busy with her infomercials.
- Lorraine Bracco, Medicine Man, 1992. “Cher, you're perfect,” said Hollywood director Martin Ritt, inviting her to be female Marlow investigating a Kurtzian Jack Nicholson in what was to be Road Show in 1984. “I haven’t had this feeling since I met Sally Field and I immediately knew she was Norma Rae.” However, Ritt never left the garage but came back to Cher when producer Donna Dubrow took it on after Marty’s death in 1990. Cher preferred the zillion more bucks from her Heart of Stone tour. When delighted with Ritt, Cher had designed a tee-shirt with “MGM Rocks” in rhinestones. On discovering he was also checking out Mary Steenburgen and Debra Winger, Cher made another. “MGM Sucks.”
- Julie Kavner, This Is My Life, 1992. Fox wanted the Jewish housewife struggling to be a stand-up comic to be Cher, Bette Midler or Michelle Pfeiffer.
- Whoopi Goldberg, Sister Act, 1992. When Bette Midler pulled out, Disney execs ran Cher up the flagpole. Few Burbank suits saluted.
Brad Pitt, Interview With The Vampire, 1994.
- Meryl Streep, The Bridges of Madison County, 1995. Among the hopefuls group (Anjelica Houston, Jessica Lange, Susan Sarandon, etc) before Clint sent for “our best actress.”
- 3Sigourney Weaver, Heartbreakers, 2001. A sexual Grifters. Angelica Huston was also considered - to rip off guys with daughter Jennifer Aniston.
- Lorraine Bracco, Riding in Cars With Boys, 2001. When director James L Brooks obtained the rights in ’89, it was to team Cher and Debra Winger as mother and daughter. Bracco mothered Drew Barrymore.
- Julie Delpy, The Countess, France-Germany, 2009. Czech director Zdenek Troska opened the 21st Century by announcing Cher as Elizabeth Bathory, the Hungarian countess who kept her (1560-1614) beauty by bathing in the blood of virgin girls. (Aha!) Also announced (also to their surprise): Gérard Depardieu, Anjelica Huston. French actress Julie Delpy took over, haphazardly, as writer, composer, director. And star.
- Larry David, The Three Stooges, 2011. The Farrelly brothers’ tribute flop started with the newborn trio being dumped outside an orphanage run by... Sister Mary-Mengele. Richard Jenkins was first choice for the nun, then Cher - until the great David became free. (He had often played Larry Fine in Stooges sketches on his 1980s TV series, Fridays). Didn’t save the movie, a loser from the get-go. The Farrellys may love and adore them (hence their own un-subtle comedies like Dumb and Dumber) but there are just not that many fans of the Stooges fans - and their slap-happy boinks, pokes, slaps, nyuk-nyuks, nyaaahhhs - in one US township, let alone the world.
- Meryl Streep, Into The Woods, 2013