Jamie Lee Curtis

  1. Linda Blair, The Exorcist, 1972.
  2. Brooke  Shields, Pretty Baby, 1977.  The plot sickens… A prostitute allows 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 29 hopefuls and/or instant (parental) refusals for  pretty little 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 JLC, little Melissa Sue Anderson on the prairie, Rosanna Arquette, Linda Blair, 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 (pre-Dallas) … 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.
  3. Brooke Shields, The Blue Lagoon, 1979.    Auditioned for Emmeline – despite Grease director Randal Kleiser wanting his shipwrecked couple to be naked throughoutt he re-make. (They were not).  Shields had her long hair glued to her front – and a nude body double.
  4. Pamela Sue Martin, The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries,  TV, 1979.  The girl detective was created in 1930 by publisher Edward Stratemeyer (penned by various writers sharing the Carolyn Keene pseudonym) as a counterpart to The Hardy Boys books – and they joined up for the 1977-1979 ABC series. JLC lost Nancy to PSM, who quit before the end of the second season, fed upl with cthe show’s changed directions  –  and JLJ (switching her credit to Janet Julian in 1981) took over for the season’s final four episodes.  By Season Three, Nancy was dumped and the Hardys ruled!
  5. Jennifer Beals, Flashdance, 1982.  The “nation-wide search“ (of LA…!!) came down to 20 possibilities for flashprancer Alex Owens. JLC, Bo Derek, Janice Dickinson, Bridget Fonda, Jennifer Grey (yet she won Dirty Dancing), Melanie Griffith, Daryl Hannah, Mariel Hemingway, Helen Hunt (hated the script), Jennifer Jason Leigh, Heather Locklear, Andie MacDowell, Kathy Najimy, Tatum O’Neal, Michelle Pfeiffer,  Kyra Sedgwick, Sharon Stone and Debra Winger. Pix of the final three – Beals, Demi Moore and Leslie Wing – were shown to the studio’s  construction guys by Paramount  suits asking: “Which one do you most wanna fuck?”   Dissolve. 
  6. 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 Pfeiffer, 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.
  7. Linda Hamilton, The Terminator, 1983.    In all, 55 actresses were considered, seen or tested for Sarah Connor (aged 18; Linda was 27) opposite Arnold Schwarzenegger. Auteur James Cameron created Sarah for Bridget Fonda. She passed; so did Tatum O’Neal. He decided to go older… and Glenn Close won – her schedule didn’t agree. OK, Kate Capshaw! No, she was tied to Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom – and Kathleen Turner was Romancing The Stone. Debra Winger won her audition, said yes… then no. The other 48 ladies were The ’80s Group: JLC, Rosanna Arquette, Kim Basinger, Christy Brinkley, Colleen Camp, Geena Davis, Judy Davis, Mia Farrow, Carrie Fisher, Jodie Foster, Teri Garr, Jennifer Grey, Melanie Griffith, Darryl Hannah, Barbara Hershey, Anjelica Huston, Amy Irving, Diane Keaton, Margot Kidder, Diane Lane, Jessica Lange, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Kay Lenz, Heather Locklear, Lori Loughlin, Kelly McGillis, Kristy McNichol, Pfeiffer, Deborah Raffin, Meg Ryan, Susan Sarandon, Ally Sheedy, Cybill Shepherd, Brooke Shields, Sissy Spacek, Sharon Stone, Lea Thompson, Sigourney Weaver… one aerobics queen, Bess Motta (she became Sarah’s room-mate, Ginger Ventura), two singers, (Madonna, Liza Minnelli), two Brits (Miranda Richardson, Jane Seymour), five essentially funny girls, Goldie Hawn, Rhea Perlman (Mrs Danny De Vito), Gilda Radner, Mary Tyler Moore…plus the new MTM, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, from Saturday Night Live. 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.
  8. Ally Sheedy, St Elmo’s Fire, 1984.    Directors John Hughes and Joel Schumacher were rather like Lucas and Spielberg in the 70s:dipping into the same age talent pool. The Brat Packers Hughes kept in the high school Breakfast Club, were college kids for Schumacher.  When Hughes said “Why can’t I make movies like The Lost Boys, Joel?”  Schumacher would reply: “Why can’t I make Pretty in Pink?” The answer was different school experiences.  Joel’s was “drinking at nine, smoking at 10, sexually active at 11.”

  9. Melanie Griffith, Body Double, 1984.
    INT. BRIAN De PALMA’S HOME, November 1983. The director is playing Trivial Pursuit (would I lie?) with guests Curtis, Melanie Griffith and her husband Seven Bauer (a De Palma regular since Scarface). They play on until the wee small hours aided not by booze or drugs, as you would presume just coffee and water. With a John Travolta project falling apart at the financial seams, De Palma talks up another idea, his Rear Window-cum-Vertigo (actually, claustrophobia) – Variety will call it a sexpenser – percolating since he required a nude body double for Angie Dickinson during Dressed To Kill, 1979. He offers Curtis the lead – a porno star called Holly Body.  Enough with hookers, awready, said he.    What about me, cries Griffith. You wanna try, asks De Palma, causing Bauer to spill his coffee… De Palma then shows them a porno starring his first Holly choice: Annette Haven. She eventually teaches Griffith all the right moves. Melanie said that Holly greatly led to her winning Something Wild, 1986, and Working Girl, 1988. Footnote: De Palma wanted real sex in the film, the studio did not. He would have been wiser dumping his leading man. Craig Wasson was a disaster.

  10. Kim Greist, Brazil, 1985.  Hollywood journo Jack Mathews said if director Terry Gilliam had been more political he could have avoided the Universal release hassles by using Curtis, who happened to be…  the god-daughter of Universal chief Lew Wasserman.  Far better than Greist, as another Python, John Cleese, proved by co-starring Jamie in his A Fish Called Wanda, 1988. Then again, women are Terry Gilliam’s weakest casting points…  Ellen Barkin was his favourite for Jill, yet hefell for an unknown riddled with so many problems. “Kim just wasn’t getting it.” She gave him so much trouble, during one love-scene with Jonathan Pryce that Gilliam strode off the set. “Kim, do the scene yourself and let me know when you’ve  got it done.  I’m off.” He kept having to shorten her role and even resorted to her wearing a bandage for “more personality.” Not necessary if he’d chosen from his eight other interviewees: JLC, Rosanna Arquette, Rae Dawn Chong, Rebecca De Mornay, Kelly McGillis, Madonna, Michelle Pfeiffer, Kathleen Turner.

  11. Rosanna Arquette, 8 Million Ways To Die, 1986.   Often up for the same roles, this time Arquette beat JLC to the draw as the main squeeze of Lawrence Block’s down on his luck cop Matthew Scudder – an out-on-his-ass private dick – who was Liam Neson in A Walk Among The Tombstones, 2013.
  12. Meg Ryan, Innerspace,  1986.   The very title comes from dialogue in the film that inspired this spoof: Fantastic Voyage, 1965. Hero Dennis Quaid  is miniaturised into a capsule  and injected into Martin Short’s butt. (Never that funny). For the secondary rôle of Quaid‘s girl, 22 actresses were seen, auditioned and/or tested: Karen Allen, Jamie Lee Curtis, Beverly d’Angelo, Jodie Foster, Linda Hamilton, Anjelica Huston, Amy Irving (being wed to exec producer Steven Spielberg didn’t help!), Amy Madigan, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, Demi Moore, Michelle Pfeiffer, Molly Ringwald Julia Roberts, Rene Russo, Ally Sheedy, Elisabeth Shue, Madeleine Stowe, Sigourney Weaver, Claudia Wells, Sean Young. And, of course, Meg – and Quaid married her during 1991-2001.

  13. Michelle Pfeiffer, The Witches of Eastwick, 1987.     One of the many mentioned as studio tried to convince Bill Murray to be Darryl Van Horne.

  14. Glenn Close, Fatal Attraction, 1987.
  15. 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, Teri Garr, Mary Gross, Dianne Wiest.  A 1982 rape victim herself, McGillis refused Jodie Foster’s Oscar-winning role, but asked to play her lawyer.
  16. Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, The Abyss, 1989. “I almost cast her,”admits director James Cameron, “but Kathrynstopped me.” Kathryn Bigelow was about to be his new wife- andwanted Jamie for Blue Steel, 1990.
  17. Julia Roberts, Pretty Woman, 1989.
  18. 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 Bunchfor seven 1981 chapters.
  19. Kelly Lynch, Curly Sue, 1990.    “That was another movie that started out as one movie and ended up being another movie entirely,” reported Kelly. “But a great experience… like a throwback to one of those Depression-era movies that you’d seen Jean Harlow in.” Kirstie Alley, Jamie Lee Curtis, Geena Davis, Laura Dern, Linda Hamilton (off shooting Terminator 2), Goldie Hawn, Andie MacDowell, Olivia Newton-John, Kathleen Turner, Sigourney Weaver were also suggested for  the cynical Chicago lawyer missed up with a Paper Moon II act: Jim Belushi and  young Alisan Porter.   Critic Roger Ebert fell for John Hughes’ final film  – “could have been written by Damon Runyon, illustrated by Norman Rockwell and filmed by Frank Capra.”
  20. Sharon Stone, Basic Instinct, 1991.

  21. Laura Dern, Jurassic Park, 1992.     
  22. Ally Walker, Brittle Glory, 1996.     Part of Stewart Schill’s hype in Cannes 1995 said she would play her Dad, Tony Curtis’ daughter in a film few expected on Cannes screens in ’96 – and shot as The Continued Adventures of Reptile Man and his Faithful Sidekick, Tadpole.
  23. Carrie Fisher, Scream 3, 1999.    More Ghostface murders begin during the shooting of Stab 3… the horror flick within the horror flick!  With an increased budget of $40m ($25m more than the first Scream), the production could afford to go after a few names for Bianca Burnette.  And not just the routine telly-kids from Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Dawson’s Creek.  However, targets, like JLC and Heather Locklear, suddenly went deaf,
  24. Renée Zellweger, Chicago, 2001.
  25. Joan Cusack, Chicken Little, 2004.     To find the right voice for Abby Mallard in Disney’s paltry poultry pic, Disney went through JLC, Geena Davis, Laura Dern, Jamie Donnelly, Jodie Foster, Helen Hunt, Holly Hunter, Madonna and, of course, Sigourney Weaver. (By now many Alien fans were working at every studio). Plus Sarah Jessica Parker, when her husband, Matthew Broderick, was in the frame for the titular hero.  
  26. Sigourney Weaver, Avatar, 2008.      JLC and Jodie Foster were in the frame for biologist Dr Grace Augustine. But then this was a James Cameron movie, In fact, his biggest space fantasy! So, Grace had to be Ripley! Naturally, she then channeled him for the rôle… “A brilliant, approach-driven, idealistic perfectionist. ” With, she added, “a great heart underneath.”
  27. Carlo Gugino, Watchmen, 2008.      Not so much “Who watches the watchmen?” as Aristotle asked, but who them playeth? As Alan Moore’s forcibly retired superheroes were called back to duty in an alternate 1985 America, JLC, Jessica Biel and Sigourney Weaver was considered for Sally Jupiter aka Silk Spectre (the mother of Laurie, Silk Spectre II, doncha know). Warners then took over the rights. And went cheaper.











 Birth year: Death year: Other name: Casting Calls:  27