Kate Beckinsale


  1. Juliette Binoche, Wuthering Heights, 1993.    Never mind, after Much Ado  About Nothing and Shooting Fish, she became a Hollywood star when replacing Charlize Theron in Pearl Harbour, 2001.
  2. Francesca Hunt, The Secret Adventures of Jules Verne, TV, 2000.    Two Kates (Beckinsale and Catherine Zeta-Jones) were in the mix for Phileas Fogg’s butt-kicking cousin, Rebecca, in the 22-chapter series inspired by an alternate  draft of 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea.  Created by Gavin Scott as a second coming of his  Young Indiana Jones Chronicles, the stories feature such figures as George Custer, D’Artagnan, Alexandre Dumas, Thomas Edison, Jesse James,  Abraham Lincoln,  George Quantrill and Queen Victoria.
  3. Cameron Diaz, Gangs of New York, 2000.  For Martin Scorsese, casting was easy. In 1978, Dan Aykroyd-John Belushi were Amsterdam and The Butcher.  (What?!!) Or, Mel Gibson-Willem Dafoe. By 1984, Malcolm McDowell-Robert De Niro. Finally, Leonardo DiCaprio-Daniel Day Lewis. Much harder to locate the real prim pickpocket Jenny Everdeane. For the brothers blue, she would have been Jane Fonda. When Buffy The Vampire Slayer got into Sarah MIchelle Gellar’s way, Marty cecked Christina Applegate (from his 1990 Cape Fear auditions), Kate Beckinsale, Kirsten Dunst, Eliza Dushku, Heather Graham, Bryce Dallas Howard, Alyssa Milano, Natalie Portman, Christina Ricci, Winona Ryder, Mena Suvari… and chose Sarah Polley. Except the suits insisted on a “bankable star.” As if Scorsese-DiCaprio-Day Lewis weren’t enough. Diaz’s six week contracted lasted six months – and did her no good at all! 
  4. 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 (rather surprising) first choice of Juliette Lewis quit.
  5. Naomi Watts, The Ring, 2002.     After Jennifer Connelly, Gwyneth Paltrow fled, the producers felt Kate looked too young to head up the re-make of re-make of Hideo Nakata’s gigantic1998 Japanese horror hit.   She showed ’em, by breeding her own Underworld horror series, in 2003.

  6. Nicole Kidman, Bewitched, 2004.     
    For inexplicable reasons, Hollywood kept trying to make a movie out of the  1968-1972 ABC sitcom about a good-looking witch and a Dagwood husband.  In 1993, Penny Marshall was going to direct Meryl Streep as Samantha, then passed the reins to Ted Bissell and he died in 1996 when his Richard Curtis script was planned as Melanie Griffths’ comeback.  Nora Ephron co-wrote and directed this lumbering version about an ego-driven actor trying to save his career with a Bewitched re-hash, but with the emphasis on him (of course) as Darrin, rather than the unknown he chose for Samatha because she can wiggle her nose…  (You didn’t need a nose to know it stank).  Over the years, 37 other ladies were on the Samantha wish-list. Take a deep breath… Kate Beckinsale, Sandra Bullock, Jennifer Connelly, Cameron Diaz, Heather Graham, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Angelina Jolie, Ashley Judd, Julianne Moore, Gwyneth Paltrow, Michelle Pfeiffer, Molly Ringwald, Meg Ryan, Winona Ryder, Brooke Shields, Charlize Theron, Naomi Watts, Renee Zellweger.  Plus seven Oscar-winners:  Kim Basinger, Tatum O’Neal, Julia Roberts, Meryl Streep, Hilary Swank, Charlize Theron, Reese Witherspoon… two Friends: Jennifer Aniston and Lisa Kudrow…eleven other TV stars: Christina Applegate, Patricia Arquette, Kristin Davis, Teri Hatcher, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Helen Hunt, Jenny McCarthy, Alyssa Milano, Brittany Murphy, Sarah Jessica Parker, Alicia Silverstone… even  Drew Barrymore and Uma Thurman, who had already re-kindled Charlie’s Angels and The Avengers.

  7. Audrey Tautou, The Da Vinci Code, 2005.
  8. Kate Bosworth, Superman Returns, 2005.
  9. Hilary Swank, The Black Dahlia, 2005.    The end of Brian De Palma!  He took James Ellroy’s masterpiece and chopped it up as badly as the pooor 1947 victim of a mutilation murder in LA, unsolved to this day. Admittedly, what we saw was Universal’s cut of De Palma’s cut but he still messed with the book and bizarre casting – such as selecting Swank over Beckinsale, Fairuza Balk, Rachel Bilson and Eva Green as the femme fatale caught between two cops. Rolling Stone critic Peter Travers buried the filmDe Palma throws everything at the screen, but almost nothing sticks.” The tragedy is that David Fincher gave up his three-hour, black-white plan when convinced he could  never make it exactly as he saw it in his head. 
  10. Jodie Foster,  The Brave One,  2006.   When Foster rushes to the rescue, her price is changing her role… After Kate and Portia De Rossi  passed, Neve Campbell and Jose Davis auditoned for Erica – a newspaper reporter until Jodie said that  “wasn’t as compelling in terms of the narrative”  and made her…  a radio reporter.  In 2001,  she changed her Panic Room heroine from Nicole Kidman’s original icy Hitchcockian blonde to a grittier  political animal. 

  11. Winona Ryder, The Dilemma, 2010.    Winona worked her butt off to win over director Ron Howard. She auditioned twice to be caught between tubby hubby Kevin  James and his best pal Vince Vaughn. Rolling  Stone critic Peter Travers reported:  “You can tell The Dilemma is a dud just from watching the trailer.” Owch!
  12. Sienna Miller, The Trials of Kate McCullough, 2011.    Held up on  hher husband  Len Wiseman’s Total Recall re-make.
  13. Rachel Weisz, Oz: The Great and Powerful, 2011.     Among the many hoping to be the witch Evanora in the Wizard of Oz prequel.  Disney, however, had eyes for Rachel, only.
  14. Rachel Weisz, The Bourne Legacy, 2011.  Three was enough for Matt Damon. (Until 2015…!)  The studio did not agree and kept the franchise alive by rebooting Jason Bourne as Aaron Cross (Jeremy Renner)  – another victim of US secret service’s  Program.  Weisz won Dr Marta Shearing from a dozen other hopefuls: Eliza Dushku, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Milla Jovovich Kristin Kreuk, Diane Kruger, Jennifer Lawrence, Blake Lively, Michelle Monaghan, Elizabeth Olsen and three Kates: Beckinsale, Bosworth and Mara.  Why? Because as Chicago critic Roger Ebert pointed out she spends more time on-screen than is usual for women in actioners, is not just around for sex and “her performance stands up strongly beside Renner’s.” Bravo!
  15. Adrianne Palicki. Wonder Woman, TV, 2011.    The DC comicbook heroine had not been seen on screens since Lynda Carter ended her four year reign on ABC in 1979. Time then, said Warner, for a new movie.DC’s testosterone duo, Batman and Superman, had cleaned up, now it up to the beautiful superhuman Amazon warrior Princess Diana of Themysacira, her Lasso of Truth, her indestructible bracelets and (honest) her invisible plane.  With who…? Across a decade of plans by producers as diverse as Joel Silver (so wrong) and Joss Whedon (so right), 24 beauties were in the frame: from Madonna to Whedon’s favourites, Kate and Cobie Smulders. Then, the film morphed into an updated TV series by David E Kelley – that, too, was dead after the rushed pilot. Palicki was the sole actress considered for TV – she was previously seen by George Miller for WW in his aborted Justice League, in 2008.
  16. Andrea Riseborough, Oblivion, 2012. One Brit beauty for another when Disney realised it knew diddley-squat about science fiction and let director Joseph Kosinski and his (expensive) scenario  go…  Well, he had made their Tron: Legacy flopperoo. Also losing out on Vika – opposite Tom Cruise – was Hayley Atwell and Diane Kruger. 
  17. Eva Green, Sin City: A Dame To Kill For, 2013.     Ava Lord in Frank Miller and Robert Rodriguez’ Sin City sequel was written for Angelina Jolie with 14 back-ups: Green, Beckinsale, Amy Adams, Elizabeth Banks, Helena Bonham Carter, Anne Hathaway, Salma Hayek, Elizabeth Hurley, Scarlett Johansson, Jennifer Lawrence, Rose McGowan, Sofia Vergara, Rachel Weisz, Michelle Williams.
  18. Keira Knightley, Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, 2012.     Tom Clancy’s CIAnalyst hero, Jack Ryan, has been around since The Hunt For Red October,  1989.  Time, then, for a third reboot… Following Alec Baldwin, Harrison Ford and Ben Affleck, young Chris Pine became the fourth Ryan. Also in the mix for his surgeon wife, Cathy, were  Jessica Biel, Felicity Jones and, Lost no more,   Evangeline Lilly.
  19. Rachel Weisz, Oz the Great and Powerful, 2012.  Disneyland is no Oz. Yet having lost a bundle on the depressing Return To Oz, 1984, the Mouse House primed the pump anew for this dangerously titled flop. Also up for Evanora: Amy Adams, Rebecca Hall, Keira Knightley. Director Sam Raimi’s favourites became Hilary Swank and Michelle Williams. Then, Weisz arrived out of the blue… and blew everyone away. And Williams became an excellent Annie/Glinda.
  20. Gal Gadot, Wonder Woman, 2015.   Kate was first up for WWa long time ago, when [producer] Joel Silver was involved with it. It would have been a terrible movie based on the script that I read. But it worked out beautifully. That was a wonderful film that Gal did.”  The project had been on Warner shelves for a full decade (not helped by David Kelley’s disastrous 2011 TVersion), spinning through numerous diectors, the demi-goddess daughter of Zeus, eventually became the Israeli Gadot.“  Very different, she said, from the experienced, super-confident, grown-up woman she’d teaser-trailed that year in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, 2015.  Her rivalsfor the DC Extended Universe included Beckinsale, Mischa Barton, Jessica Biel, Rachel Bilson, Sandra Bullock in 2001 (and for the 2011 tele-film), Bollywood’s Priyanka Chopra in 2006, US wrestling star Chyna, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Eva Green, Mad Men’s busty Christina Hendricks (Nicolas Winding Refn’s choice, 2011), Angelina Jolie in 2001 (ten years later she was asked to direct), Cobie Smulders (WW’s voice inThe Lego Movie, 2013), Kristen Stewart. The final trio, auditioning in November 2013, were  Olga Kurylenko, Elodie Yung and… Gadot.

  21. Alicia Vikander, Tomb Raider, 2017.    Lara Croft is the girls’ James Bond.  Many tried to succeed Angelina Jolie  from her 2000 version – she won it from  20 candidates.  Two dozen lost to the Swedish Vikander, on a roll with her 2016 Danish Girl Oscar and Ex Machinarobot…The Franchise Brigade was represented by two from the Percy Jackson flicks (Alexandra Daddario, Rosario Dawson), two Terminators (Emilia Clarke, Summer Glau), two Underworlders (Kate Beckinsale, Rhona Mitra) and three Twilighters (Ashley Greene, Nikki Reed and Kristen Stewart who simply refused). Plus 007’s Gemma Arterton, Harry Potter’s Emma Watson, Marvel’s Wanda Maximioff (Elizabeth Olsen), Star Wars’Daisy Ridley, Transformers’ Megan Fox, TRON’s Olivia Wilde, X Men’s Jennifer Lawrence,  Other also-rans were: Jessica Biel (as perfect as Dawson), Emily Blunt, Emily Browning, Cara Delevingne (Vikander’s co-star in Tulip Fever,2017), Nina Dobrev, Anne Hathaway, Sienna Miller (too mild, surely), Saoirse Ronan and Moon’s Kaya Scodelario.
  22. Emily Blunt, Mary Poppins Returns, 2017.   When Walt Disney made the first Poppins, he mused over Bette Davis, Angela Lansbury or Mary Martin for Mary but by 1963, he had only one star in mind. Julie Andrews.  For this reboot, Disney suits went through no less than 37 contenders… Two Desperate Housewives:Kristin Davis, Teri Hatcher. Two Friends:Jennifer Aniston, Lisa Kudrow. Two Brat Packers: Molly Ringwald, Winona Ryder.  Two of the three authors of The Penis Song: Christina Aplegate, Cameron Diaz. Three sirens: Kim Basinger, Heather Graham Uma Thurman. Four ex-child stars: Drew Barrymore, Alyssa Milano, Tatum O’Neal, Brooke Shields. Ten Oscar-winners: Sandra Bullock, Helen Hunt, Angelina Jolie, Julianne Moore, Tatum O‘Neal, Julia Roberts, Hilary Swank, Charlize Theron, Reese Witherspoon, RenéeZellweger. Plus: Patricia Arquette, Melanie Griffith, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Ashley Judd, Gwyneth Paltrow, Sarah Jessica Parker, Michelle Peiffer, Meg Ryan, Alicia Silverstone, Naomi Watts. But just two Brits: Kate Beckinsale  – and the winning Emily.








 Birth year: Death year: Other name: Casting Calls:  22