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Glenn Close


  1. Sissy Spacek, Carrie, 1976.  There were other Carries later on (even a TV series was planned) but none had the Spacek magic…  Betsy Slade was director Brian De Palma’s earliest choice (due to her abortion-seeking teen in Our Time, 1973), then her co-star Pamela Sue Martin, then Amy Irving (who wed his pal, Steven Spielberg). Linda Blair auditioned but avoided all post-Exorcist typecasting. Farrah Fawcett was stuck in Charlie’s Angels.  Sondra Locke’s agent told her to pass. Also seen: Jill Clayburgh, future bunny-boiler Glenn Close and Melanie Griffith (who became De Palma’s Body Double, 1984).  Slade only made one other film, a short, her final work in 1991; her 15 other screen roles were for TV. Sissy knew director Palma  (her husband Jack Fisk was his  art director) and was seriously pissed that he’d only offered her Sue or Chris and not TheRole.  Fisk persuaded him to test her and she blew all opposition out of the park. Carrie was 17, Sissy was  25.  Yet, absolutely perfect!
  2. 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 Storyville district of New Orleans, circa 1917. Elegant French director Louis Malle saw 28 possible little Violets - and another 15 actresses for her mother: Close (passed), Candice Bergen, Cher, 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.
  3. Cybill Shepherd, Taxi Driver, 1975.
  4. Elizabeth McGovern, Once Upon a Time in America, 1982.   Italian maestro Sergio Leoneclaimed he interviewed “over 3,000 actors,” taping 500 auditions for the 110 speaking roles in his New York gangster epic.  He certainly saw 33 girls for nymphet Deborah Gelly: Rosanna Arquette, Kim Basinger, Jennifer Beals, Linda Blair, Glenn Close, Jamie Lee Curtis, Geena Davis, Farrah Fawcett, Carrie Fisher, Bridget Fonda, Jodie Foster, Melanie Griffith, Linda Hamilton, Daryl Hannah, Goldie Hawn, Mariel Hemingway, Diane Lane, Jessica Lange, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Heather Locklear, Kristy McNIchol, Liza Minnelli, Tatum O’Neal, Michelle Pfeiffewr, Meg Ryan, Susan Sarandon, Cybill Shepherd, Sissy Spacek, Meryl Streep, Kathleen Turner, Sigourney Weaver, Debra Winger. Plus Brooke Shields as the younger version. Deborah was 15 in the first script; McGovern was 20.
  5. Michelle Pfeiffer, Scarface, 1982.     Director Brian De Palma chose Glenn but producer Martin Bregman said she’d be “only half a hooker.” He also turned down: Rosanna Arquette, Kim Basinger, Colleen Camp, Geena Davis, Carrie Fisher, Jodie Foster, Melanie Griffith, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Kay Lenz, Kelly McGillis, Kristy McNichol, Deborah Raffin, Brooke Shields, Sharon Stone, Kathleen Turner.
  6. Vanessa Redgrave, The Bostonians, 1984.    Glenn backed out, naturally, when Redford "insisted" she join his comeback, The Natural. “Finally, I got to play opposite every woman’s fantasy. And never got to touch him!”
  7. Francesca Annis, Dune, 1984.
  8. 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… 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: 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, Darryl 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, Sigourney Weaver. 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.
  9. 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 Close and Sigourney Weaver for the lead in this horror about a man and his zombies. Some critics saw it as a comedy, others as a farce.
  10. 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 28 for her defence attorney. Including the Fatal Attraction also-rans (from Beverly to Debra Winger, by way of Diane Keaton and, naturally, Meryl Streep) plus Blythe Danner, Sally Field, Terri Garr, Mary Gross, Kathleen Turner, Sigourney Weaver, Dianne Wiest. A 1982 rape victim herself, McGillis refused Jodie Foster’s Oscar-winning role, and asked to play her lawyer.

  11. Theresa Russell, Physical Evidence, 1989.     Devised as a Jagged Edge sequel. But the ’85 stars, Glenn-Robert Loggia, became Russell-Burt Reynolds.
  12. 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.
  13. Geena Davis, Thelma & Louise, 1990.
  14. Susan Sarandon, Thelma & Louise, 1990.
  15. Catherine O’Hara, Home Alone, 1990.  For the zero roles of Macauley Culkin’s forgetful parents (in a film written for and duly stolen by him), an astonishing 66 stars were considered - including 32 later seen for the hot lovers in Basic Instinct:Kim Basinger, Stockard Channing, Glenn Close, Kevin Costner, Jamie Lee Curtis, Michael Douglas, Carrie Fisher, Harrison Ford, Mel Gibson, Jodie Foster, Linda Hamilton, Daryl Hannah, Marilu Henner, Anjelica Huston, Helen Hunt, Holly Hunter, Diane Keaton, Jessica Lange, Christopher Lloyd, Jack Nicholson, Sean Penn, Michelle Pfeiffer, Annie Potts, Kelly Preston, Dennis Quaid, Meg Ryan, Martin Sheen, Sylvester Stallone, Sharon Stone, John Travolta.   Other near Moms were Kirstie Alley, Lynda Carter, Kim Cattrall, Geena Davis, Laura Dern, Jennifer Grey, Gates McFadden, Kelly McGillis, Bette Midler, Ally Sheedy, Mary Steenburgen, Debra Winger… and the inevitable unknown: Maureen McCormick,  part of The Brady Bunch for seven 1981 chapters.
  16. Sharon Stone, Basic Instinct, 1991.
  17. Sigourney Weaver, 1492, 1992.     Close and Kathleen Turner were beaten to the Queen Isabella cameo in the Gérard Depardieu-is-Columbus epic, helmed by the man who made Weaver a star in Alien. Ridley Scott.
  18. Rene Russo, In the Line of Fire, 9
  19. Barbara Hershey, A Dangerous Woman, 1993.     Director Stephen Gyllenhaal’s first choice as the aunt and protector of a “slow” Debra Winger.
  20. Emma Thompson, The Remains of the Day, 1993.      Glenn chased it when Mike Nichols was due to helm (with Jeremy Irons). Director James Ivory kept the faith with his Howard’s End couple, Emma and Anthony Hopkins.

  21. Gene Hackman, The Firm, 1993.       In an effort to pep up the thriller, director Sydney Pollack tried changing the sex of the chief of the Mafia-backed law company. However, Glenn (and Meryl Streep) had a Portugal date for...
  22. Sandra Bullock, Speed, 1993.       Aw c’mon! This is the one and only time that Glenn was in the mix for the same role as such equals as… Rosanna Arquette, Cameron Diaz, Carrie Fisher, Bridget Fonda, Daryl Hannah, Kay Lenz, Alyssa Milano, Demi Moore, Tatum O’Neal, Sarah Jessica Parker and Ally Sheedy. A further 25 (including aw c’mon, Meryl Streep and Emma Thompson) also refused to help Keanu Reeves save passengers of a bus with a bomb on it. What was Fox thinking!
  23. Meryl Streep, The House of Spirits, 1994.       Five years earlier... Now Meryl became Clara and Glenn played her sister-in-law, Férula. Both, almost everyone in the film, were (stupidly) too Anglo to be Chilean.
  24. Sigourney Weaver, Death and the Maiden, 1993.      Director Roman Polanski preferred Sigourney.
  25. Annette Bening, Richard III, 1996,       Glenn and Meryl Streep (again!) proved too busy for Lady Anne opposite Sir Ian McKellan.
  26. Helen Mirren,Teaching Mrs Tingle, 1998.  Gillian Anderson, Sally Field and Sigourney Weaver must have been stunned to find themselves short-listed in the same company as eternal rivals Glenn Closeand  Meryl Streep  for the  thoroughly nasty history teacher. "Helen Mirren is one of the greatest living actresses," said auteur Kevin Williamson.  "She elevated Mrs. Tingle to a new level."  She called it a dream role, because of laying on a bed most days, tied up by her students.
  27. Charlotte Rampling, The Cherry Orchard, 1999.      Making director Robert Altman’s Cookie’s Fortune made it impossile for Glenn to take over Ranyevskaya when Helen Mirren bolted.
  28. Cher, Tea With Mussolini, 1999.      Director Franco Zeffirelli talked to various 50-somethings (Close, Diane Keaton, etc) about becoming the eccentric, wealthy, much-wed American adventuress and Italophile Elsa Morgenthal Strauss-Armistan - based on the childhood chapter of Zeffirelli’s autobiography.
  29. Stockard Channing, Anything Else, 2003.     Woody Allen’s first choice was unavailable and Channing was back in favour due to being The West Wing’s First Lady .
  30. Meryl Streep, The Manchurian Candidate, 2004.     “I’ve often been mistaken for Meryl Streep, although never on Oacar night.”

  31. Meryl Streep, Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events, 2004. Meryl’s daughter, a big fan of the books, insisted her mother play Aunt Josephine when new director Brad Silberling substituted Tim, Burton, Johnny Depp and Close.
  32. Jessica Lange, Therese, 2012.    Actor and stage director Charlie Stratton spent years - “decades!” - preparing his film directing debut (after shorts and TV work) - his version of Emile Zola’s 1867 classic, Thérèse Raquin. Finally, money bags opened and all lights turned green when he landed Close as the heroine’s mother - a prize indeed. After losing all her Oscar nominations to Meryl Streep, Close was reborn as a hot TV star due to the Damages series, 2007-2013. Shooting began in East Europe and then her husband suffered a heart attack and she had to withdraw. Some 26 hears after their Fatal Attraction rivalry, Jessica (also a hot TV series star due to American Horror Story, 2011- ) got the role.










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