Jennifer Beals


  1. Maureen Teefy, Grease 2, 1981.   Beals turned down Sharon for the far better Flashdance. Teefy came from the better Fame. Patrica Birch choreographed the first Grease – which never indicated she could direct. This abysmal sequel proved it. Grease 3 somehow churned into Disney’s High School Musical… 24 years later!
  2. Ola Ray, Thriller, 1983.    Rejected an offer from John Landis for the ($900,000) short which became the most famous and influential music video in history. Michael Jackson chose Landis because Jacko loved An American Werewolf In London. (“Michael, what about the sex?” “I closed my eyes”). Jacko nearly pulled the plug when not knowing which was worse for his Jehovah’s Witness religion – promoting “demonology” or Ola having been Playboy’s Miss June 1980. Landis saved both situations: She’s not a Playmate in this (true) and Bela Lugosi was a devout Christian (untrue). Landis got his way and opened it in a cinema, the star-packed 500-seater Crest Theatre. Standing ovation! And Eddie Murphy yelling: “Show the goddam thing again.” And they did. Landis and Ola had to sue to get their money. “I got the fame,” she said, “I didn’t get the fortune.” She quit Hollywood dreams after “so many big-name directors told me that if I wanted to do films, I had to sleep with them.”
  3. Apollonia, Purple Rain, 1983.    A lovers’ tiff supposedly caused Vanity to quit Prince’s classic just days before shooting started. Flashdancer Beals was swiftly contacted. And just as quickly passed – too busy studying at Yale. Director Albert Magnoli saw 100 girls. The last was Patricia Kotero, re-named Apollonia by Prince, after the first Mrs Michael Corleone in The Godfather. “She saved the day,”  said keyboardist Lisa Coleman. “She was an actress. So the poor thing was thrown into the studio: Here, you have to sing this. She was like: Oh my God, I don’t know how to sing. She did the best she could. I doubled her vocals on Take Me With U.”
  4. Demi Moore, St Elmo’s Fire, 1985.  The Flashdance find was busy – studying American literature at Yale. Director Joel Schumacher finally got her for his short-lived 2000 Malibu Road TV series, as, she laughed: “A criminal defence lawyer with a drinking problem after her cop fiance is killed.”
  5. Molly Ringwald, Pretty In Pink, 1985. Although it was obvious that Molly would star – after her two previous John Hughes outings – he kept her in line by seeing Beals, Justine Bateman, Jodie Foster, Diane Lane, Lori Loughlin, Tatum O’Neal, Sarah Jessica Parker and Brooke Shields. Hughes hated his ending (as much as Molly loathed the dress) and rewrote it for another teen triangle, Some Kind of Wonderful, 1986. Ringwald refused to play it again. “I can’t be 16 forever!” Hughes was furious and never worked with her again.
  6. Roxanne Hart, Highlander, 1985.    Some 16 guys were up for Christophe(r) Lambert’s immortal clansman, Connor McLeod.  But as many as 24 women for  Brenda Wyatt, the modern-day forensics cop bedded by him. Brooke Adams… who must have felt  she had as great chance, having already successfully partnered Connery in The Great Train Robbery, 1978, and Cuba, 1979. Her rivals  were  Karen Allen, Rosanna Arquette, Jennifer Beals, Lorraine Bracco, Elisabeth Brooks, Kate Capshaw, Glenn Close, Lisa Eilbacher, Linda Fiorentino, Kim Greist (Terry Gilliam’s huge Brazil error), Linda Hamilton, Diane Lane, Carolyn McCormick, Demi Moore, Annette O’Toole, Elizabeth Perkins, Tanya Roberts (booked for 007’s View to a Kill),  Annabella Sciorra, Diane Venora, Sela Ward, Sigourney Weaver and (phew!) Sean Young.   Broadway’s rank outsider won!
  7. Glenn Close, Fatal Attraction, 1986.

  8. 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: Beals, Rosanna Arquette, Ellen Barkin, Kim Basinger, 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.   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!

  9. Judith Hoag, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, 1989.     For the first live-action Turtle trot, the innovative director of music videos Steve Barron saw many a potential April O’Neill: Beals, Lorraine Bracco, Sandra Bullock, Melanie Griffith, Anna Kendrick, Nicole Kidman, Winona Ryder, Brooke Shields, Marisa Tomei, Sean Young. TMNT legend states the winning Hoag was never considered for the sequels because she complained so much the violence – and the six-day shooting schedule.
  10. Sharon Stone, Basic Instinct, 1991.
  11. Rosanna Arquette, Pulp Fiction, 1993.
  12. Gillian Anderson, The X Files, TV, 1993-2018.  Once all signed uop as Fox Mulder, David Duchovny suggested his former Yale classmate for Dana Scully…And  more than likely her name came up again when Gillian became pregnant and the Fox suits wanted to drop her.  The show’s creator Chris Carter refused.  (And became her daughter’s godfather).  He knew had had a winner in Anderson.  Indeed, she became the first actress to win an Emmy, a Golden Globe and a SAG Award in the same year – and, at 29, she was the youngest winner of a Primetime Emmy award since Lindsay Wagner, at 28,  for Bionic Woman (of all things) in 1977.
  13. Elizabeth Berkley, Moving Malcolm, 2003.        Sorry, can’t do it after all – but I know someone who can. And should! (And did).
  14. Sharon Lawerence, Rizzoli & Isles, TV, 2012-2016.    Beals lost out to Lawrence – returning to the  police world (after six years as the NYPD Blue’s assistant DA, not forgetting  her serial killer in  Law and Order:SV) for this latest take on Cagney & Lacey. Her rôle as forensic pathologist  Dr Hope Martin, was he biological mother of Boston’s Chief Medical Examiner Dr Maura Isles. Martin thought Maura died as a baby, yada, yada, yada. 
  15. Halle Berry, John Wick Chapter 3: Parabellum, 2018   Still in need of a haircut and a real beard, Wick III kicked off  when his his dog is klilled (“It wasn’t just a puppy”) and the Latin title explodes: “If you want peace, prepare for war.” Not much room then for a girl alongside Keanu Reeves.  Shortlisted for Sofia were Beals, Marion Cotilliard, Penelope Cruz, Salma Hayek, Eva Longoria, Uma Thurman, Marisa Tomei. Halle had the edge. She’d worked with James Bond… played Catwoman… and won an Oscar! 









 Birth year: Death year: Other name: Casting Calls:  15