Dame Joan Collins
- Eunice Gayson, Miss Robin Hood, 1953. Future producer Michael Medwin recalls testing opposite Joan - “far too glamorous, too wildly exotic for the part.”
- Susan Shentall, Romeo and Juliet, 1954. Out to lunch as always, The Rank Organisation decided she was the perfect Juliet. "This did not please either Signor Castellani or myself," said Joanie. "I didn't think I was the Juliet type. I'd always preferred parts with more muscle." She made several tests, one with the eventual Romeo, Laurence Harvey, but became hysterical when director Renato Castellani insisted she have an aristocratic nose job.
- Ava Gardner, The Barefoot Contessa, 1954. Or what one US critic called: A Star is Stillborn... Auteur Joseph L Mankiewicz checked over several Euro-newcomers for the story based on Rita Hayworth. Ava loved the film, hated the hype: "That damn advertising line "The World's Most Beautiful Animal" will probably follow me around until the end of time." Joan was far more suited to being Evelyn Nesbit Thaw. The Girl In The Red Velvet Swing.
- Brigitte Bardot, Doctor At Sea, 1955. Rank’s Naughty Girl tested with The Idol of the Odeons, Dirk Bogarde. “We slithered around self-consciously on creamy satin sheets, I wearing a pink baby-doll nightgown, he a bemused expression. We attempted to look as though we were made for each other but we were seriously ill-matched.”
- Felicia Farr, The Last Wagon, 1956. No! So she was suspended by Fox, losing $2,000 a week.
- Terry Moore, Between Heaven and Hell, 1956. Joanie was seen for Jenny - finally given toTerry.
- Heather Sears, The Story of Esther Costello, 1956. One year earlier, Sam Fuller was due to writer-direct but could never obtain any of the actresses on his short-list for the mute and blind heroine: Collins, Jean Simmons, Susan Strasberg, Natalie Wood. Romulus made it a UK film and Sears won British Academy Award for Best Actress. Joan Crawford played her healthy protector.
- Debra Paget, Omar Khayyam, 1956. In the Persian frame for Sharain were Collins, Yvonne De Carlo, Joanne Dru and Donna Reed. Persia was played by California’s Indio and Palm Springs
- Jean Seberg, Saint Joan, 1957. Although a trifle old at 24 for the 19-year-old Maid of Orleans, the tyrannical producer-director Otto Preminger was intrigued by Hollywood’s latest British beauty import - as The Girl in the Red Velvet Swing and holding her own with Bette Davis in The Virgin Queen. Preminger also considered such unlikely Joans as Ursula Andress, Julie Andrews, Anne Bancroft, Claire Bloom, Carol Burnett, Angie Dickinson, Sophia Loren, Shirley MacLaine, Mary Tyler Moore, Kim Novak (from Otto’s Man With The Golden Arm, 1955), Debbie Reynolds, Maggie Smith, Liz Taylor and… Mamie Van Doren!
- Maria Schell, The Brothers Karamazov, 1957. Two years earlier, German producer Eugene Frenke wanted Collins as Grushenka for English and German versions of a Philip Yordan scenario. Frenke had tried before in 1942 with Anna Sten, his wife since 1932.
- Jeanne Crain, Madison Avenue, 1962. Carry on suspension... Lover Warren Beatty's career decisions were right but expensive.
- Mary Ure, Sons and Lovers, 1960. Another Warren Beatty veto. He thought it unappealing. Producer Jerry Wald promised to make the role more palatable. "But when I read the final script, these changes had not been incorporated. Warren encouraged me to walk... Of course, his motives were not exactly selfless. He didn’t want me to go to England and leave him! (Still unused by movies, he was on Broadway in A Loss of Roses). "Don't go, Butterfly," he begged. "Don't leave your Bee." Yeah, well...
- Elizabeth Taylor, Cleopatra, 1962.
- Ava Gardner, 55 Days At Peking,1963. Charlton Heston thought Ava didn’t have the right aristocratic stuff to be Baroness Natalie Ivanoff. Also considered: Deborah Kerr, Dana Wynter. And Melina Mercouri wanted major re-writes. Said Heston: "Don't they all?"
- Carroll Baker, The Carpetbaggers, 1963.
"Wonderful part, honey," said her agent. "Terrific role, the money's great. They really want you." And Mrs Tony Newley crowed back: "Would they really want me if they knew I was six months pregnant?" Joanie would have been a far better - and sultrier - Rina Marlowe. Never drawing the line at showing just a bare back all the time, that’s for sure.
- Sue Lloyd, The Ipcress File, 1965. She was seen for Agent Jean Courtney - to add some glam to the Len Deighton drabness.
- Jacqueline Bisset, Casino Royale, 1966.
- Ann-Margret, Carnal Knowledge, 197l. Join the club! Nedw York stage-screen director Mike Nichols also rejected: Dyan Cannon, Jane Fonda, Raquel Welch, Natalie Wood.
- Carroll Baker, Baba Yaga (US: Baby Yaga, Devil Witch), Italy-France, 1973. All the fading sex sirens were in Rome movies... So when Anne Heywood backed out, it was easy to contact Joanie, and then Baker about being the (modern) witch from Guido Crepax’s erotic comicbook.
- Farrah Fawcett, Sunburn, l979. Bianca Jagger was also discussed, Collins settled for a smaller role.
- Angie Dickinson, Death Hunt, 1981. As one Internet critic put it, Angie is in the film, for reasons that can only have to do with the boredom of shooting in the Arctic full of guys: Bronson, Marvin Carl Weathers, Ed Lateur, Andrew Stevens.