- Rachel Ward, The Thorn Birds, TV, 1983. Wise gal. Rachel Who…??!
- Michelle Pfeiffer, Scarface, 1982. She passed on being Al Pacino’s main squeeze: Elvira Hancock. As did Rosanna Arquette, Kim Basinger, Melanie Griffith, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Brooke Shields, Kathleen Turner,
- Linda Hamilton, The Terminator, 1983. She refused Sarah Connor. But then so did (among many others) Rosanna Arquette, Kim Basinger, Colleen Camp, Glenn Close, Geena Davis, Carrie Fisher, Jodie Foster, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Kay Lenz, Kelly McGillis, Kristy McNichol, Deborah Raffin, Brooke Shields, Sharon Stone, Kathleen Turner.
- Meryl Streep, Out of Africa, 1984. Between Audrey Hepburn and Meryl (or if you go back far enough, between Greta Garbo and Meryl - oh yes!), the role of (the author) Karen Blixen was offered to Judy.
- Kelly McGillis, Top Gun, 1985. Take my breath away…
- Elisabeth Shue, Adventures in Babysitting, 1986. Not quite the kind of Hollywood movie that Davis was seeking. For his directing debut, Gremlins writer Chris Columbus saw just about every gal in town for the explosive night of babysitter Chris Parker: a project hanging around (with Jane Fonda) since the 60s. Twenty years on, Jane’s niece Bridget Fonda was booked. Next, Justine Bateman, Valerie Bertinelli, Jodie Foster, Melanie Griffith, Julia Louis-Dreyfuss, Tatum O’Neal, Michelle Pfeiffer, Sharon Stone auditioned and Columbus refused Kelly McGillis.
- 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: Rosanna 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 Davis, Melissa Sue Anderson (trying to break her Little House on the Prairie image), Justine Bateman, Valerie Bertinelli, Phoebe Cates, Jennifer Connelly, Joan Cusack, 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!
- Holly Hunter, Broadcast News, 1987. Auteur James Brooks was impressed, of course he was. As future co-star Peter Weller declared: “She’s really sexy, a fabulous kisser. She’s like a cushion of clouds. Judy’s like a Ferrari, man. You just crank it up, sit in and it just goes.”
- Debra Winger, The Sheltering Sky, 1990. Losing Italian director Bernardo Bertolucci’s version of Paul Bowles hurt.
- Sigourney Weaver, Death And The Maiden, 1995. Landing Roman Polanski to direct, producer Thom Mount suggested Davis, Stephen Rea, Sam Neill. Warners preferred Weaver, Ben Kingsley, Stuart Wilson.
- Goldie Hawn, Everyone Says I Love You, 1996, “She plays comedy, she plays drama, she projects intelligence, she’s sexy,” says Woody Allen about Judy. “There’s nothing you could want that isn’t there.”
- Marianne Faithfull, Marie Antoinette, 2005. Director Sofia Coppola first considered Judy for Maria Theresa - then kept her at the chateau Versailles as the Comtesse de Noailles in the bubblegum version of history.
- Michelle Fairley, 24: Live Another Day, 2014. Quit as Margo “for personal reasons” in Kiefer Sutherland’s 24 series special… which stated shooting in London some eight years after it was first announced.