- Jodie Foster, Taxi Driver, 1975.
- Brooke Shields, Pretty Baby, 1977. The subject 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 hopefuls and/or instant (parental) refusals for Violet. From Laura Dern aged 10 and future Sex And The City co-stars Cynthia Nixon, at 11, Sarah Jessica Parker, 12 (like Shields) and (the often too buxom) teenagers Arquette, little Melissa Sue Anderson on the prairie, Linda Blair, Jamie Lee Curtis, Bridget Fonda, Jodie Foster, Mariel Hemingway, Helen Hunt, Anissa Jones (who tragically ODed at 18 before her audition), Diane Lane, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Kristy McNichol, Tatum O’Neal (Dad said no), Dana Plato (Mom said no), Michelle Pfeiffer, Ally Sheedy, Meg Tilly, Charlene Tilton… to seven twentysomethings. However, no make-up and soft lenses could make 12-year-olds out of Isabelle Adjani, Bo Derek, Carrie Fisher, Melanie Griffith, Amy Irving, Mary Steenburgen or Debra Winger.
- Brooke Shields, The Blue Lagoon, 1979. Auditioned for Emmeline - despite Grease director Randal Kleiser wanting his shipwrecked couple to be naked throughout the re-make. (They were not). Shields had her long hair glued to her front - and a nude body double
- Cherie Currie, Foxes, 1979. Sex and the underage American teenage girl… Two films had the same subject that year. Arquette, Diane Lane, Jennifer Jason Lewis and Kristy McNichol (who won the other one, Little Darlings) were seen before runaway Annie went to Currie of… wait for it… The Runaways band. She only made six other movies; Hansel & Gretel: Warriors of Witchcraft in 2012 was her first for 22 years!
- Phoebe Cates, Fast Times At Ridgemont High, 1981. Discusssed for Linda in the classic Cameron Crowe scenario. As were, Justine Bateman, Melanie Griffith, Ally Sheedy, Meg Tilly.
- Michelle Pfeiffer, Scarface, 1982. Too hasty for her own good, she rejected the role of Elvira Hancock. But then so did Kim Basinger, Colleen Camp, Glenn Close, Geena Davis, Judy Davis, Carrie Fisher, Jodie Foster, Melanie Griffith, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Kay Lenz, Kelly McGillis, Kristy McNichol, Deborah Raffin, Brooke Shields, Sharon Stone, Kathleen Turner.
- 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… Glenn 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: 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.
- Daryl Hannah, Splash, 1983. She auditioned for Madison - the mermaid in Tom Hanks’ life.
- Roxanne Hart, Highlander, 1985. Actresses listed by Australian director Russell Mulcahy for the role of Brenda J Wyatt also included Brooke Adams, Jennifer Beals - and Tanya Roberts, far more keen on joining 007 in A View To A Kill.
- Kim Greist, Brazil, 1985. A rare Terry Gilliam error. He met all the mid-20s possibles: Rae Dawn Chong, Jamie Lee Curtis, Rebecca De Mornay, Kelly McGillis, Madonna. And fell for an unknown riddled with so many problems, he kept having to shorten her role. “Kim just wasn’t getting it.”
- Glenn Close, Fatal Attraction, 1986.
- Jodie Foster, The Accused, 1988.
An awful thing to say. Except it is true. Jodie Foster would never have won her (first) Oscar for this trenchant drama - if actress Kelly McGillis had not been raped in 1982… At first, the role of the rape victim Sarah Tobias was written for Andie MacDowell. She passed. The Paramount suits then saw 34 other young actresses for the (real life) victim. Or, for their own rape bait fantasies - including 16-year-old Alyssa Milano! Foster was refused a test because she was “not sexy enough”! And, anyway, the studio had decided upon McGillis, a high flyer in Paramount’s Witness and Top Gun. And, naturally, she refused point-blank! She knew what it was to be brutally raped and Kelly had no wish to revisit the horror and agony of her own assault six years earlier. The suits were annoyed. They needed her. She was hot at the box-office, their box-office. They had made her a star!! Eventually, McGillis agreed to play Sarah’s defence attorney - on condition that unsexy Jodie played Sarah! The suits caved, tested Foster and the rest is Oscar history… So is the huge list of talent also seen for Sarah. Starting with the Fatal Attraction also-rans: Arquette, Ellen Barkin, Kim Basinger, Jennifer Beals, Jennifer Grey, Melanie Griffith, Linda Hamilton, Darryl Hannah, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Diane Keaton, Demi Moore, Kelly Preston, Meg Ryan, Jane Seymour, Sharon Stone, Meryl Streep, Debra Winger. And moving on to the younger Melissa Sue Anderson, (trying to break her Little House on the Prairie image), Justine Bateman, Valerie Bertinelli, Phoebe Cates, Joan Cusack, Jennifer Connelly, Judy Davis, Kristin Davis, Bridget Fonda, Annabeth Gish, Mariel Hemingway, Kelly LeBrock, Virginia Madsen, Brigitte Nielsen, Tatum O’Neal, Molly Ringwald, Mia Sara, Ally Sheedy, Brooke Shields, Uma Thurman. Oh, and Julia Louis-Dreyfuss, said the suits, was “too nice.” Rape victims shouldn’t be nice? Oh, Hollywood!
- Julia Roberts, Pretty Woman, 1989.
- Geena Davis, Thelma & Louise, 1990.
- Lorraine Bracco, Radio Flyer, 1991. A Richard Donner switch when replacing writer-director David Mickey Evans, bumped down to exec producer by Michael Douglas. Debra Winger had also been sought. Douglas also barred Winger from his Shining Through that year as he had for Romancing The Stone, in 1984.
- Sharon Stone, Basic Instinct, 1991.
- Sandra Bullock, Speed, 1993. Although sharing the heroics and the driving of the bus-bomb with Keanu Reeves, most girls saw it as The Guy’s film. An amazing 36 refused to be Annie: Rosanna, Kim Basinger, Halle Berry, Glenn Close (!), Geena Davis, Cameron Diaz, Carrie Fisher, Bridget Fonda, Jodie Foster, Melanie Griffith, Daryl Hannah, Mariska Hargitay, Barbara Hershey, Anjelica Huston, Diane Lane, Jessica Lange, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Kay Lenz, Alyssa Milano, Demi Moore, Tatum O’Neal, Sarah Jessica Parker, Michelle Pfeiffer, Julia Roberts, Meg Ryan, Winona Ryder, Jane Seymour, Ally Sheedy, Brooke Shields, Meryl Streep (!), Emma Thompson (!), Meg Tilly, Marisa Tomei, Kathleen Turner, Sigourney Weaver and Debra Winger.
- Uma Thurman, Pulp Fiction, 1993. Became Jody, instead: drug dealer’s wife, body piercing queen - “ear, nipple, eyebrow, nostril, lip, clitoris, tongue.”
- Nicole Kidman, To Die For, 1994. Most young sparks agreed this was a role to die for... Including Arquette, Jennifer Connelly, Joan Cusack, Bridget Fonda, Jodie Foster, Melanie Griffith, Darryl Hannah, Holly Hunter, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Tatum O’Neal, Mary-Louise Parker, Sarah Jessica Parker, Michelle Pfeiffer, Meg Ryan, Brooke Shields, Uma Thurman.
- Renée Zellweger, Bridget Jones's Diary, 2000. Both Arquette sisters - Patricia and Rosanna - were among some 21 considerations for the lumpy, dumpy London office worker and diarist.
- Uma Thurman, Kill Bill Vol 1, 2003. Ultimately. Quentin Tarantino waited for Uma to have her son: Levon Roan Thurman-Hawke.