Jodie Foster, Taxi Driver, 1975.
Jennifer Jason Leigh, Fast Times At Ridgemont High, 1981. Discusssed for Stacy in the classic Cameron Crowe scenario.
- Michelle Pfeiffer, Scarface, 1982. Although far too tall for the titular Al Pacino, Geena tested as the glacial Elvira Hancock. So did Rosanna Arquette, Kim Basinger, Colleen Camp, Glenn Close, 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. Hedecided to go older…Glenn Close won - her schedule didn’t agree. OK,Kate Capshaw! No,she was tied toIndiana 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: Geena,Rosanna Arquette, Kim Basinger, Christy Brinkley, Colleen Camp, Jamie Lee Curtis, 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.
- Pamela Stephenson, Saturday Night Live, TV, 1984-1985. Geena almost won a regular spot on the in-comedy show but exec producer Dick Ebersol preferred a more known actress and finally settled on New Zealander Pamela Stephenson - totally unknown in the US! She was first non-American SNL player. Pamela quit acting in ’87 to marry her partner, Scots comic Billy Connolly, earn a psychology doctorate and become a clinical psychologist and writer: Dr Pamela Stephenson Connolly.
- Gale Barle, The Ratings Game, TV, 1983. The tall Geena was tested for various roles in the TV satire - such as Hamilton’s Girl. And went in to another TV send-up opposite Dabney Coleman as egotistical chat show host Buffalo Bill of the WBFL station in Buffalo, NY.
- Anjelica Huston, Prizzi’s Honor, 1984. “So let’s do it. Right here. On the Oriental. With all the lights on.” Maerose Prizzi knew what she wanted, where and when from her Family’s hit man, Jack Nicholson - the unlikeliest Mafioso since the Corleones’ James Caan. Before realising his daughter was Oscar-winning perfection, director John Huston looked at some 17 potential Maeroses. From the sublime Rosanna Arquette, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Liza Minnelli, Demi Moore, Michelle Pfeiffer (been there, done that and got the Married To The Mob and Scarface t-shirts), Debra Winger. To the ridiculous: Davis, Melanie Griffith, Daryl Hannah, Emma Thompson, Sela Ward, Debra Winger. And the damn stupid: Linda Blair, Carrie Fisher, Kelly LeBrock, Heather Locklear, Sarah Jessica Parker, Ally Sheedy.
- Sissy Spacek, Crimes of the Heart, 1986. Davis auditioned but... Sissy spaceked!
- Glenn Close, Fatal Attraction, 1987.
- Susan Sarandon, Bull Durham, 1987. The film that started the 23 year love affair of co-stars Sarandon and Tim Robbins. In 1990, Geena and Sarandon became the iconic Thelma & Louise.
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 27 for her lawyer. Including Fatal Attraction also-rans from Davis, Goldie Hawn, Barbara Hershey, Tuesday Weld - to Diane Keaton, Meryl Streep and Debra Winger, who were offered both roles. Plus Beverly D’Angelo, Blythe Danner, Sally Field, Carrie Fisher, Teri Garr, Mary Gross, Kathleen Turner, Sigourney Weaver, Dianne Wiest. A 1982 rape victim herself, McGillis refused the lead. She had no wish to revisit the horror and pain of her own assault six years earlier. She had no wish to revisit the horror and pain of her own assault six years earlier. Obviously. However, she agreed to play Sarah’s defence attorney - on condition that the studio-described “unsexy” Jodie, and no one else, played Sarah! The suits caved, tested Foster and the rest is Oscar history… dated March 29, 1989.
Nicole Kidman, Dead Calm, Australia, 1988. Geena was up for Rae Ingram. Then, Kidman auditioned...
Julia Roberts, Pretty Woman, 1989.
- Saffron Henderson, The Fly II, 1989. Yeah, come join the sequel, Geena - but, er, your character is knocked off real early, OK?
- Anjelica Huston, The Grifters, 1990. At first, producer Martin Scorsese and UK director Stephen Frears were thinking about Melanie Griffith as John Cusack’s mother. But she was pregnant. OK then, Davis. But no, Huston got “the role of my life.” And a second Oscar nomination. (Kathy Bates won for Misery, rejected by Huston). And all this after Frears had spent an entire evening to explaining why she wasn’t right for Lilly Dillon!
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.
- Susan Sarandon, Thelma & Louise, 1990.
- Annette Bening, Bugsy, 1991. Geena met with Warren Beatty and Barry Levinson. But Annette had Beatty's baby and married the man! And trey had three more children.
- Penelope Ann Miller, Other People's Money, 1991. Canadian director Norman Jewison lost Michelle Pfeiffer (and Hoffman) and started all over... Geena had won her Accidental Tourist Oscar when Lawrence Kasdan felt Miller too young for the role.
- Sharon Stone, Basic Instinct, 1991.
- Laura Dern, Jurassic Park, 1992. Some 25 ladies voted against Dr Ellie Sattler - not the finest woman’s role in a Spielberg movie. They included survivors of the Fatal Attraction/Basic Instinct campaigns… Geena, Jamie Lee Curtis, Bridget Fonda, Jodie Foster, Jennifer Grey, Linda Hamilton ,Daryl Hannah, Helen Hunt, Kelly McGillis, Michelle Pfieffer, Julia Roberts, Ally Sheedy, Sigourney Weaver, Debra Winger, Robin Wright. And among newer contestants:Juliette Binoche, Sandra Bullock, Joan Cusack, Sherilyn Fenn, Teri Hatcher, Helen Hunt, Elizabeth Hurley, Laura Linney, Julianne Moore, Gwyneth Paltrow and Sarah Jessica Parker.
- Sharon Stone, Sliver, 1993. Producer Robert Evans kept telling Stone's agent he was thisclose to closing with Geena. He hit upon the rght name! Sharon apparently loathed Geena for making Sharon a mere second choice for what proved her breakthrough, Basic Instinct. She did not want Sliver, said Evans, "but she sure in hell didn't want Geena to have it."
- Marisa Tomei, Untamed Heart, 1993. Very keen on what was then The Baboon Heart. The producers were very not.
- 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: Geena, Rosanna Arquette, Kim Basinger, Halle Berry, Glenn Close (!), 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 andDebra Winger.
- Uma Thurman, Pulp Fiction, 1994.
Meryl Streep, The Bridges of Madison County, 1994. A change in directors (Sidney Pollack to Bruce Beresford to Clint Eastwood) meant Davis was out and “our best actress” (said Clint - and his mum!) was in. Davis made Cutthroat Island - and plummeted from the A to Z-List overnight.
- Demi Moore, Disclosure, 1994. Novelist and co-producer Michael Crichton's first choice when Czech director Milos Forman was set to make the film. And that was one of the reasons he quit.
- Michelle Pfeiffer, Wolf, 1994. After coming close with Revenge, 1990, and Legends of the Fall, 1994 Jack Nicholson finally made a script by his novelist pal Jim Harrison. Geena did not.
- Cindy Crawford, Fair Game, 1995. Real actresses, then models, were seen for what had been Brigitte Nielsen’s role in Sylvester Stallone’s Cobra, 1986. Sly refused the re-tread.
- Holly Hunter, Copy Cat, 1995. Geena was also considered for another teaming with Sigourney Weaver, Counterstrike.
- Julia Roberts, Runaway Bride, 1999. Davis-Harrison Ford became a Class of ’90 reunion: Julia-Richard Gere. Made sense! Except this was no Pretty Woman II. Which is what the customers wanted.
- Cameron Diaz, Gangs of New York, 2001. Geena was among many actresses attached (momentarily) to the Martin Scorsese project. The weakest of whom was... Diaz.
- Anne Hathaway, The Princess Diaries, 2001. Among 22 youngstars (Drew Barrymore, Cameron Diaz, Reese Witherspoon, etc) rejecting the awkward San Francisco teenager being groomed (by Julie Andrews!) to inherit the Genovia throne - after director Garry Marshall’s first choice (shock!) of Juliette Lewis quit.
- Joan Cusack, Chicken Little, 2004. To find the right voice for Abby Mallard in Disney’s paltry poultry pic, Disney went through Davis, Jamie Lee Curtis, Laura Dern, Jamie Donnelly, Jodie Foster, Helen Hunt, Holly Hunter, Madonna and, of course, Sigourney Weaver. (She had Alien fans in every studio). Plus Sarah Jessica Parker, when her husband, Matthew Broderick, was in the frame for the titular hero.
- Joe Mantegna, Criminal Minds, TV, 2009-2013. How do you persuade her to succeed Mandy Pantinkin as a simple head honcho of the FBI profilers... when she had just been Commander In Chief…? Michael Keaton and Harvey Keitel also refused to join the next 210 episodes.