Jodie Foster


  1. Tatum O’Neal, The Bad News Bears, 1975. All set to be Amanda Whurlitzer when she ran to Taxi Driver. Kristy McNichol was asked next, and then Tatum, who had a little something the others did not. An Oscar.    And, eventually, a nickname. Peter O’Toole christened her: Midget..

  2. Carrie Fisher, Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope, 1976.

  3. Brooke Shields, Pretty Baby, 1977.     Being the kid hooker in Taxi Driver was enough, thank you…! Foster (due as Jane Fonda’s daughter) preferred Candleshoe in the UK, the last of her four Disney films, indeed her last film for three years, until Carny and Foxes, in 1980. 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 29 (often too buxom) teenagers hopefuls and/or instant (parental) refusals for pretty little Violet. From Laura Dern aged 10 to future Sex And The City co-stars – Cynthia Nixon, at 11, Sarah Jessica Parker, 12 (like Shields). Plus  Melissa Sue Anderson, Rosanna Arquette, Linda Blair, Jamie Lee Curtis, Bridget Fonda, 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.

  4. Brooke Shields, Tilt, 1978.   Rudy Durand (co-writer and director) went with Shields, even though his backers had agreed to the higher-priced Foster. The film not released until 1981 on Showtime and NBC TV.

  5. Mariel Hemingway, Manhattan, 1978. With his Chaplinesque eye for young flesh, Woody Allen wanted Foster for the girl he keeps trying to break up with. Hemingway won, said the wags, because she was younger! Actually, at 17, she was a year older. (Age difference between Woody and Mariel was 25 years). Three years earlier, Jodie had beaten Mariel to Taxi Driver. Woody hated this mixture of Annie Hall and Interiors so much, he offered a movie for free if UA dumped it. “At this point in my life, if this is the best I can do, they shouldn’t give me money to make movies.”

  6. 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.

  7.  Kristy McNichol, Little Darlings, 1979.      Preferring the similar Foxes, Foster passed Angel to Kristy McNichol… who lost one of the other foxy gals to Cherie Currie.

  8. Brooke Shields, Endless Love, 1980.      Now this doesn’t happen very often… Shirley Knight was displeased with Brooke Shields as her teenage daughter and set about re-casting Jade. She gave a list of better prospects to her director Franco Zeffirelli. Including Foster, Rosanna Arquette, Linda Blair, Bo Derek, Carrie Fisher, Melanie Griffith, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Kristy McNichol, Michelle Pfeiffer.   Knight wuz right. They were all better, with the possible exception of beauteous Bo. Zeffirelli, however, was a very Italian macho maestro. He was the boss. OK, ready Brooke – and… action! Just do your best. OK?

  9. Jennifer Jason Leigh, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, 1981.    The US high school movie..! Researched and written by Cameron Crowe, directed by Amy Heckerling.   The rôle: Brad’s foxy sister, Stacy. The choices: Foster (studying at Yale), Ellen Barkin, Diane Lane, Lori Loughlin, Michelle Pfeiffer, Kelly Preston, Brooke Shields, Elizabeth Shue. Few were keen on joining Richard Romanus in full-frontalism. (The love scene was cut to avoid an X-rating!).

  10. Diane Lane, Ladies and Gentlemen, The Fabulous Stains, 1981.      Dreamgirls meet Spinal Tap – almost. Director Lou Adler tells it like it is – almost – as a three girl group who cannot sing or play guitars surpass The Looters, Metal Corpses among other rising/fading stars.

  11. Jennifer Jason Leigh, The Best Little Girl in the World, TV, 1981.   An actors’ strike delayed production. When everything was ready to roll again, Foster was too busy studying at Yale to play an anorexic teenager.

  12. Kristy McNichol, White Dog, 1981.   “EVERYONE’S FIRST CHOICE WAS JODIE,” growled maverick auteur Samuel Fuller in his usual capitals. Including Foster. Except her dance card was full. Along came Kristy. “Her enthusiasm, her authenticity, her easygoing Smile won me over.”

  13. 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.
  14. Michelle Pfeiffer, Scarface, 1982.   Too hasty for her own good, she rejected the role of Elvira Hancock. So did all the usual sexpots… Rosanna Arquette, Kim Basinger, Colleen Camp, Glenn Close, Geena Davis, Carrie Fisher, Melanie Griffith, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Kay Lenz, Kelly McGillis, Kristy McNichol, Deborah Raffin, Brooke Shields, Sharon Stone, Kathleen Turner.

  15. Madeleine Potter, The Bostonians, 1982.  Foster and Mary Elizabethj Mastrantoni were also seen  by the glorious Merchant Ivory team –   producer Ismail Merchant, director James Ivory and scenarist Ruth Prawer Jhabvala – for the role of Verena Tarrant in their second of their three superbly crafted adaptations of Henry James novels. Jodie was nicknamed Midget by Peter O’Toole when they made  TV Svengali in New York, 1982.

  16. Daryl Hannah, Splash, 1983.      A mermaid – moi?!   That’s what they all said, more or less. Except Debra Winger who longed to be Madison. (Director Ron Howard did not agree). “They all” were… Foster (she was booked into The Hotel New Hampshire),Rosanna Arquette, Melanie Griffith, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, General Hospital soap queen Genie Francis, Diane Lane, Tatum O’Neal, Michelle Pfeiffer, Tanya Roberts (booked for Sheena: Queen of the Jungle), Ally Sheedy, Brooke Shields (studying French Literature at Princeton), PJ Soles, Sharon Stone, Kathleen Turner, Lisa Whelchel (from The Facts of Life, 1979-1988), Debra Winger. Plus two Brits: Lynne Frederick and Fiona Fullerton – impressive as the daughters of Nicholas and Alexandra, 1970. Oh and PJ Soles, who was originally chosen to co-star with… Bill Murray – as Disney’s new (“adult”) Touchstone unit rushed Splash into production to beat Warren Beatty’s similar “half-human-half-kipper” tail. Mermaid.

  17. Tanya Roberts, Sheena, 1983. Only took 46 years to make a movie of the female Tarzan, Sheena, Queen of the Jungle–  launched in Jumbo Comics  #1 in 1937.   There was a 1955-1956 TV series with the great Irish McCalla, but who should be the big screen jungle girl? Bo Derek and Raquel Welch made sense – but Jodie Foster?? (Anyway, she couldn’t  leave Yale for seven months, mostly in Kenya). The film flopped and earned five Razzie nominations for Worst Picture, Director, Actress, etc.. And yet, 16 years later Sheena returned to the tube with Gena Lee Nolin.  But unlike Tanya Roberts’ publicity pix, GLN’s did not reveal pubic hair.

  18.  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.   James Cameron auteured 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: Foster, Rosanna Arquette, Kim Basinger, Christy Brinkley, Colleen Camp, Jamie Lee Curtis, Geena Davis, Judy Davis, Mia Farrow, Carrie Fisher, 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, Michelle 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, then 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.

  19. Elizabeth McGovern, Once Upon A Time in America, 1983.       Italian maestro Sergio Leone’s first choice for Deborah Gell, the dancer lover of James Woods’ somewhat psychotic Max… in Leone’s ninth and (alas) last film. Unceremoniously slashed by 90 minutes by the LA suits for the US market, churning it into a load of old bollocks. Unforgivable!

  20. Demi Moore, St Elmo’s Fire, 1984.   “Everyone wanted that role,” recalled director Joel Schumacher. His office was opposite John Hughes’ where Demi got tired for waiting for him., “I happened to see her running down the hallway. I had my assistant run after her and find out who she was – “Demi Moore and she was on General Hospital.” So I called her agent and she came in and did a reading. There was no one like Demi Moore at that age in the world. In the movie she gets to be sexy, seductive, hilariously funny and dramatic. She becomes a coke head and she tries to kill herself by freezing to death by opening the windows in her apartment. She had to go through 35 different things in the movie. At that age? Pretty fucking amazing, right? There was no one like her.” Hughes and Schumacher were rather like Lucas and Spielberg in the 70s, dipping into the same age talent pool. Those Brat Packers Hughes kept in high school, Schumacher made, as here, college kids. Or those who agreed – Jodie did not.

  21. Molly Ringwald, The Breakfast Club, 1984.        John Hughes was most keen on Foster to head his second auteur outing. She wisely passed. Way too old at 22 for Claire Standish, just perfect for Hughes’ Sixteen Candles find, at 16… like her second-time Hughes movie co-star Anthony Michael Hall. They dated between the two movies.

  22. Molly Ringwald, Pretty In Pink, 1985.      John Hughes loved Jodie Foster, Part II. But same as before. Too old to be one of Hughes’ teenage-angsters. Justine Bateman, Jennifer Beals, Diane Lane, Lori Loughlin, Tatum O’Neal, Sarah Jessica Parker and Brooke Shields were also in the Andie mix. Ringwald loved the disc and thw film, but loathed the actual dress… Hughes hated his ending 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 with the star he discovered for his previous three films and never worked with her again.

  23. Isabella Rossellini, Blue Velvet, 1985.   The legend varies…  1.  Auteur David Lynch’s first choice for Dorothy Valens was the German star Hanna Schyguylla.  2. Lynch wrote Dorothy for Debbie Harry but she‘d had enough of weirdoes. 3. He moved on to Karen Allen, Rebecca De Mornay, Jodie Foster, Debbie Harry, Helen Hunt, Angelica Huston, Diane Keaton, Helen Mirren, Cybill Shepherd, Sissy Spacek, Sigourney Weaver, Debra Winger – most found Dorothy’s script way too erotic.  4.Lynch then met Isa in a NYC restaurant and fell head over clapperboard in love.  Literally.
  24. Kelly McGillis, Top Gun, 1985.   In the script, instructor Charlotte “Charlie” Blackwood at the elite USNavy flying school was a bimbob called Kirsten Lindstrom. No, no and no, said Paramount boss Dawn Steel. “Make her a real woman – and intelligent – or no movie.”  The writers  idn’t have to look far for inspiration. They based Charlie on a civvy flying  instructor, Christine Fox, they met during reseach at San Diego’s Marine Corps Air Station Miramar. Fiirst in the frame were: Jodie, Carrie Fisher, Linda Hamilton, Darryl Hannah, Diane Lane, Tatum O’Neal, Sarah Jessica Parker, Brooke Shields. And, of course, Debra Winger, from the movie’s obvious inspiration – Officer and Gentleman!  Linda Fiorentino refused the film which she saw as a glorification of war. Anyway, the suits preferred an unknown and were bowled over by McGillis in Witness.  (She’d got on better with Harrtson Ford  in that film than Cruise in this). Fox did better than any of them, retiring  in 2014 when Acting Deputy Secretary of Defence, the highest post achieved  by  woman  at the US Defense Department. When is her film being made?

  25. Elisabeth Shue, Adventures in Babysitting, 1986.       Back in the 60s, teenage babysitter Chris Parker was set for Jane Fonda. By the 80s, her logical heir, her niece Bridget, was not interested. Julia Louis-Dreyfus was signed, followed by Jodie Foster, then it became a battle between Kathleen Turner (the fourth #1 choice), Justine Bateman, Valerie Bertinelli, Judy Davis, Melanie Griffith, Andie MacDowell, Kelly McGillis (spurned by director Christopher Columbus), Tatum O’Neal (who simply fled), Michelle Pfeiffer (preferring The Witches of Eastwick… until she made it!), Brooke Shields and Sharon Stone.

  26. 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.

  27. Glenn Close, Fatal Attraction, 1987.

  28. Anjelica Huston, The Witches, 1988.  Olivja  Hussey topped  author Ronald Dahl’s wish list for Miss Ernst, aka The Grand High Witch. However, Anjelica was on Nic Roeg’s list. And he was the director!  He took his time combing through the 13 other candidates:  From Linda Blair (little Regan grew up to be a witch?), Genevieve Bujold, Cher, Frances Conroy, Faye Dunaway, Jodie Foster, Liza Minnelli, Susan Sarandpn, Sigourney Weaver to true Brits Fiona Fullerton, Helen Mirren, Vanessa Redgrave… and the sole Black star considered, Eartha Kitt.  Together with Bancroft, they all escaped eight  hours of make-up each  day!  Appalled by the vulgar bad taste and :actual terror” in the film, Dahl threatened to take his name off it.  Jim Henson talked him out  of it for the Muppeteer’s final production.  
  29. Natasha Richardson, The Handmaid’s Tale, 1989.   German director Volker Schlondorff also thought of Sigourney Weaver.

  30. Michelle Pfeiffer, The Fabulous Baker Boys, 1989.   After Debra Winger fled, Foster, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Madonna, Brooke Shields – were up for Susie the chanteuse. None of them – especially, Madonna, who found the script ”too mushy” – could equal the heat of Pfeiffer’s sensuous Making Whoopee rendition atop a piano Only took six hours to shoot!

  31. Nicole Kidman, Days of Thunder, 1989.   Dr Claire Lewicki was aimed at all the usual misses. Foster, Kim Basinger, Sandra Bullock, Heather Locklear, Madonna, Sarah Jessica Parker, Michelle Pfeiffer, Molly Ringwald, Julia Roberts, Meg Ryan, Ally Sheedy, Brooke Shields, Sharon Stone, Robin Wright. And a newcomer to such rosters: the Irish Alison Doody. They all passed what was a formulaic Tom Cruise movie – ie, all about Cruise as a cocky young talent, with an older mentor, older (even taller) woman, and surpassing his enemies… literally, in this chapter, as a Daytona NASCAR driver. He chose Kidman, after seeing Dead Calm, and promptly married her (1990-2001). And she learned about superstar formulas. When she asked to study neurosurgery for her surgeon’s role, she was told, basically, not to be so silly.

  32. Sadie Benning, Me and Rubyfruit, 1989.
    Unknown US director Sadie Benning asked Foster twice to head   up a four-minute film… based on Rita Mae Brown’s novel. Jodie passed, also twice. Therefore, So Benning became the unsympathetic, cliched and confused teenager in a grainy mix of home-movie and video-diary.   The first of Benning’s eleven shorts between 1989-1999, Me’s only known cinema screening was during a 2008 documentary festival in Copenhagen.  

  33. Julia Roberts, Pretty Woman, 1989.

  34. 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 Bunch for seven 1981 chapters.

  35. Virginia Madsen, The Hot Spot, 1989.      Dennis Hopper and Foster made the studio-butchered Catchfire earlier that year – and did not gell. (She yelled Cut! during one scene!). Put off by the required nudity, Foster refused this far better, highly erotic movie. (She also, allegedly, warned off Meryl from working with him). Debra Winger had been his initial choice. He also checked Theresa Russeel. And Melanie Griffith, pregnant with Dakota Johnson, who grew up into the Fifty Shades of Grey soft-core sex franchise. (Her father, Don Johnson, plaued this film’s amoral, cock o’ the walk drifter). Ultimately Virginia Madsen was the supremely sensuous Dolly – finding sex in car more fun than eating cotton-candy barefoot – perfectly matching what Chicago critic Roger Ebert hailed as “a superior work in an old tradition.” Hopper liked to call it Last Tango In Texas. They wuz both right!
  36.  Susan Sarandon, Thelma & Louise, 1990.

  37. Juliette Lewis, Cape Fear, 1991.     Oldest, with Jennifer Jason Leigh, at 29 of the many – Christina Applegate, Drew Barrymore, Jennifer Connelly, Shannen Doherty, Nicole Eggeret, Bridget Fonda, Helen Hunt, Nicole Kidman, Diane Lane, Alyssa Milano, Demi Moore, Sarah Jessica Parker, Molly Ringwald, Meg Ryan, Winona Ryder, Brooke Shields, Tiffani Thiessen, Reese Witherspoon – considered by Steven Spielberg and, later, Martin Scorsese for the teen daughter of Nick Nolte and Jessica Lange: Danielle Bowden. (Nancy in the 1962 original). Some found it too sexy and, indeed, few could have equalled the on-heat musk of Juliette’s totally improvised – and one take – seduction scene with Robert De Niro.

  38. Kim Basinger, The Marrying Man (UK: Too Hot To Handle), 1991.     Showed interest after Disney refused to meet director Herbert Ross’ price to direct Meg Ryan-Alec Baldwin – resulting in Basinger-Baldwin and writer Neil Simon’s “worst professional experience.”

  39. Sharon Stone, Basic Instinct, 1991.

  40. Rene Russo, Lethal Weapon 3, 1991.  For a lively addition to the fast-tiring franchise, director Richard Donner leafed through Kirstie Alley, Joan Cusack, Geena Davis, Laura Dern, Jodie Foster, Linda Hamilton, Michelle Pfeiffer, Brooke Shields… and a “too young” Winona Ryder -to be Lorna Cole, an Internal Affairs cop who, after a few suspicions, becomes the partner of Riggs and Murtaugh duo, aka Mel Gibson and Danny Glover. And she survived into #4.   Carrie Fisher was the #3 script doctor but Lorna’s best line – “Close is a lingerie shop without a front window” – was a Russo ad lib.

  41. Jennifer Jason Leigh, Rush, 1992.     Foster named but first-time director Lili Zanuck held out for JJL as the narc – after what the actress called “so many great parts in not-great movies.”

  42.  Meg Ryan, Sleepless in Seattle, 1992.     Big error.. But she was not alone in refusing the big rom-com hit.  A ridiculous idea, said Basinger of the romcom plot of a kid trying to get his father Tom Hanks together  with  Meg Ryan in When Harry Met Sally Meets When Sam Met Suzy.  Same writer, Nora Ephron.  Same Sally. Also forgetting that romcoms are rarely plausible: Jodie, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Nicole Kidman, Demi Moore, Michelle Pfeiffer, Julia Roberts. And a surprise Brit. Natasha Richardson. And so it became the second of three Tom Hanks-Meg Ryan triumphs.

  43. Kyra Sedgwick, Singles, 1992.      For Linda,  fledgling auteur Cameron Crowe obviously rushed for safety to Jennifer Jason Leigh,  from  his breakthrough, Fast Times At Ridgemont High, 1982.   She agreed then changed her mind and he went to Foster, Mary Stuart Masterson and…  Kyra.

  44.  Uma Thurman, Jennifer Eight, 1992.       “It’s insane we even have to go through a test,” producer Scott Rudin told UK writer-director Bruce Robinson, “when we all know we;re gonna end up offering it to Jodie.” Not so insane. She refused it! Rudin had produced her directing debut, Little Man Tate, 1991, in a state of what she called healthy mistrust. “I’d certainly never put myself in a position where he could hurt me.”

  45. Demi Moore, A Few Good Men, 1992.        And fewer good women.
  46. Uma Thurman, Even Cowgirls Get The Blues, 1992.     Well out of it. Gus Van Sant certainly was. (And he directed it).

  47. Juliette Binoche, Damage, UK-France, 1992.       Impressed by Silence of the Lambs, Paris auteur Louis Malle first thought of Jodie as the girl sexually involved with the British parliamentarian father of her fiancée – in Malle’s penultimate movie.

  48. Bridget Fonda, Point Of No Return, 1992.       Foster had little hesitation in refusing the Hollywood re-hash (as cumbersome as its title) of réalisateur Luc Besson’s much sharper 1989 French hit, La femme Nikita. Winona Ryder also passed…. while director John Badham (!) somehow spurned Halle Berry, Daryl Hannah, Nicole Kidman and Julia Roberts for the hit-woman!
  49. Laura Dern, Jurassic Park, 1992.   

  50. Geena Davis, Angie, 1993.      The official reason for Foster was that Madonna was booked for Abel Ferrara’s Dangerous Game, 1992.   Then, one of the singer’s emails was leaked – furious with the head Fox, Joe Roth, for dumping her for a non-Italian in the titular role. In truth, Madonna fled after hearing Roth didn’t want her because she couldn’t carry a movie. (Not that this one did any better without her). Her director, Jonathan Kaplan, also quit and Martha Coolidge took over with her 1991 Rambling Rose star – after some thoughts about a dozen others, from Halle Berry to Meryl Streep. Oh, very Italian!

  51. Jennifer Jason Leigh, The Hudsucker Proxy, 1993.     This once, the Coen brothers’ struck out. Happens to the best of film-makers.

  52. Denzel Washington, Philadelphia, 1993.    His Silence of the Lambs Oscar-winner was one of director Jonathan Demme’s early plans for the lawyer acting for another lawyer – sacked because he had AIDS.

  53. 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 usuals refused to be Annie: Foster, Rosanna Arquette, Kim Basinger, Halle Berry, Glenn Close (!), Geena Davis, Cameron Diaz, Carrie Fisher, Bridget Fonda, 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.

  54. Nicole Kidman, To Die For, 1994.    “You aren’t anybody in America if you’re not on TV…”  Most young sparks agreed this was a role to die for… the girl who would do anything (murder included) to get on TV, and stay there. They included Foster, Patricia Arquette, Jennifer Connelly, Joan Cusack, Bridget Fonda, Melanie Griffith, Darryl Hannah, Holly Hunter, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Tatum O’Neal, Mary-Louise Parker, Sarah Jessica Parker, Michelle Pfeiffer, Meg Ryan (passing up $5m), Brooke Shields, Uma Thurman. However, Debra Winger simply refused… and Kidman persuaded director Gus Van Sant that she was his destiny.

  55. Robin Wright Penn, Forrest Gump, 1995.   After nine years, two scripts, several actors and directors refusing, the problem became Jenny… Robert Zemeckis was upset when his first choice refused.. As did Nicole Kidman and Demi Moore. The film still managed six Oscars..

  56. Patricia Arquette, Beyond Rangoon, 1995.     Michelle Pfeiffer pulled out and attempts were made to rope in Foster  Or, Meryl Streep.
  57. Kate Winslet, Titanic, 1996.

  58.  Sean Penn, The Game, 1996.       For his first film since Seven, 1994, director David Fincher wanted to work with Foster. And vice versa. But he would not agree with her signature fetish about altering things…   Fincher cast her as Michael Douglas’ sister. No, she said, she wanted to be his daughter. Both men disagreed (Douglas, just 17 years older, had already played Jodie’s father in the 70s) and turned the sister into a brother. Fincher gave in over Panic Room, 2001, when Foster churned (the injured) Nicole Kidman’s icy Hitchcockian blonde into a grittier, political action-Mom. Then, in 2006, Foster changed her Brave One heroine from newspaper reporter – not “compelling in terms of the narrative” – to… radio reporter!

  59. Julia Roberts, Conspiracy Theory, 1997.        Although faxing-pals since Maverick, Foster still had to turn down working with Mel Gibson again due to Contact. Winona Ryder also passed and Roberts went conspiritorial with Gibson.

  60. Jennifer Aniston, The Object of My Affection, 1997.     Years before the project took off, novelist Stephen McCauley asked Foster to make the film of his book. She waited and waited but was long gone by 1987… when Sarah Jessica Parker replaced the fleeing Julia Roberts and Winona Ryder… before Aniston became Nina Borowski. Jodie was right… Chicago critic Roger Ebert dubbed it a seriocom – “the worst kind of sitcom – a serious one.”

  61. Kate Capshaw, The Love Letter, 1998,       Peter Ho-Sun Chan, one of the Chinese film industry’s superstar directors, longed to work with Foster. He just chose the wrong time to invite her into his screen version of Cathleen Schine’s novel about a misunderstood love letter. Jodie was pregnant with her first son Charles Foster (but no Kane).  Mrs Spielberg substituted.

  62. Gwyneth Paltrow, Shakespeare In Love, 1998.   She fled from Viola de Lesseps as directors kept changing: Kenneth Branagh, Kevin Reynolds, Edward Zwick.

  63. Ashley Judd, Double Jeopardy, 1999.       Still pregnant. And yet, the film eventually opened only one month before her first film made after the baby, Anna and The King. Michelle Pfeiffer, Meg Ryan, Brooke Shields also passed.

  64. Cate Blanchett, The Gift, 2000.     Directors switched, from William Friedkin to (co-writer) Billy Bob Thornton, when Foster was due to star. Sam Rami helmed the radiant Aussie.

  65. Lucy Liu, Charlie’s Angels, 2000.  Tele-tycoon Aaron Spelling decided to put Aaron’s angels on the big screen  (to help generate a new series on the small). His first new  trio: MTV discovery Jenny McCarthy, ex-Spice Girl Geri Halliwell and 007’s Hong Kong martial arts superstar. Then, Drew Barrymore showed him how to do it. with the  third  of her numerous (canny) productions. Just look at the 25 girls she shuffled to find the right  angel Alex Munday: Aaliyah (“too young”), Jennifer Aniston, Asia Argento, Halle Berry, Lara Flynn Boyle, Helena Bonham Carter, Penélope Cruz, Kristin Davis, Jodie Foster, Angie Harmon (stuck on Law & Order),  Salma Hayek, Ashley Judd, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Nia Long, Gwyneth Paltrow, Tiffani Thiessen, Uma Thurman, Liv Tyler,  Kate Winslet, Reese Witherspoon, Robin Wright, Renée Zellweger, Catherine Zeta-Jones… And two singers: Lauryn Hill and another  Spice Girl: Victoria Beckham.

  66. Julianne Moore, Hannibal, 2000.       No matter the 15 re-writes and other inducements, Jodie decided against reprising her FBI agent Clarice Starling in the (bad) Silence of the Lambs sequel.

  67. Diane Lane, Unfaithful, 2001. For his passionate US update of Madame Bovary, UK director Adrian Lyne saw six potential husbands, three lovers… And as many as 15 cheating wives: Lane, Josie Davis, Kristin Davis, Portia de Rossi, Jodie Foster (she preferred Panic Room), Angelina Jolie, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Jennifer Lopez, Alyssa Milano, Meg Ryan, Kyra Sedgwick, Brooke Shields, Tori Spelling, Hilary Swank, Kate Winslet.    

  68. Kirsten Dunst, Spider-Man, 2001.

  69.  Renée Zellweger, Chicago, 2002.

  70. Mary-Louise Parker, Angels In America, TV, 2003.    Among  Robert Altman’s line-up before the controversial Tony Kushner  two-part Broadway play was filmed by Mike Nichols for HBO. And for the first time in the 35 years since The Graduate,  Nichols thought of Jodie for a role.  Three, in fact, – Nurse Emily, Homeless Woman and an Angel –  as man t of the  cast played more than a single part, Meryl, Streep had four, a male Rabbi included – in his magnum opus for HBO.   But he had just finished making Wit with Emma… “I don’t direct movies,” he once said. “I cast them.”

  71. Jamie Lee Curtis, Freaky Friday, 2003.       A mother and teenage daughter swop lives… just for one day. Producer Andrew Gunn tried to persuade Foster to be Mom as she was the kid in the ’76 original. No way, said Jodie, such casting gimmicks overshadowed any movie’s merit.

  72. Cate Blanchett, Veronica Guerin, 2003.        As the life of the murdered Irish journalist moved into the firm, if not necessarily accurate hands of producer Jerry Bruckheimer.

  73. Joan Cusack, Chicken Little, 2004.      To find the right voice for Abby Mallard in Disney’s paltry poultry pic, Disney went through Foster, Jamie Lee Curtis, Geena Davis, Laura Dern, Jamie Donnelly, 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.

  74. Ashley Judd, Bug, 2005.      William ExorcistFriedkin first wanted Jodie for his latest stab at horror – more intense on-screen than at the box-office.  Judd subbed Foster for the second time. Although hardly an equal talent.  Not even close.

  75. Leslie Mann, Knocked Up, 2006.

  76. Elizabeth Banks, W, 2008.       In the loop for Laura, wife of the “Mission [never] Accomplished” 43rd US President, George W Bush, in Oliver Stone’s rushed to judgement bio. W was Josh Brolin with Colin Hanks among his speechwriters; Banks had co-starred in Steven Spielberg’s Catch Me If You Can, 2001, with their father James Brolin and Tom Hanks. Foster would bd better POTUS than W ever was.

  77. Julia Roberts, Valentine’s Day, 2009.     Jennifer Anniston and Sandra Bullock also passed on Captain Kate Hazeltine – in the 21-star-jammed LA take on Love Actually Julia said: Sure. Of course, she did. The director was the man behind her breakthrough, Pretty Woman, in 1989. “I owe my career to Garry,” she said. “There was no known reason for him to hire me… and even he was puzzled by his decision.” Julia was paid $3. this time. Or, about $12,000 per each of her Kate’s 251 words.

  78. Sigourney Weaver, Avatar, 2008.      Foster and Jamie Lee Curtis were in the frame for biologist Dr Grace Augustine. But then this was a James Cameron movie – 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.”

  79. Diane Lane, Man of Steel, 2011.

  80. Nicole Kidman, Stoker, 2012.      Big switch for the first English-language film of South Korean director Chan-wook Park (Oldboy), His first choice of Foster and Carey Mulligan became Kidman and Mia Wasikowska as the mother and daughter troubled by the most mysterious Uncle Charlie since Hitchcock’s Shadow of a Doubt some 60 years earlier.

  81.  Mary-Louise Parker, RIPD, 2012.   Turned down the woman offering dead cop Ryan Reynolds a 100-year job, partnering Jeff Bridges, in the Rest In Peace Department. Great title. Film, not so much.

  82. Julianne Moore, Carrie, 2012.   For the third version,, Moore beat Foster to Carrie’s nutcase Mama, just as she had Hannibal in 2000. (Sissy Spacek had been supposedly considered!). The 1976 Carrie marked Stephen King’s first screen  credit  – this was  the 168th  of his staggering 312 credits.

  83. Juliane Moore,  The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1,  2013. 

  84. Amanda Seyfried, Mank. 2019.  David Fincher had been waiting since the 90s to direct his father’s script about the Citizen Kane scenarist Herman J Mankiewicz.  David then wanted Kevin Spacey as Mank and Jodie as Marion Davies, the actress-mistress of Press baron William, Randolph Hearst (aka Charles Foster Kane!).  “It completely fell apart,” said David, mainly due to his insistence on shooting in black-white. “Polygram got cold feet because of all kinds of truly stupid boilerplate stuff involving output deals in Central America. We’d have had to shot the film in color and then corrected it and do a black-and-white version…”  His father died of  cancer in 2003.




 Birth year: 1962Death year: Other name: Casting Calls:  84