Marisa Tomei


  1. Jennifer Connelly, Labyrinth, 1985.  For Muppeteer-in-Chief Jim Henson’s sequel to his Dark Crystal (and alas his final film), 14 actresses were candidates for Sarah – Yasmin Bleeth,  Helena Bonham Carter, Maddie Corman, Laura Dern, Kerri Green, Jane Krakowski,  Mary Stuart Masterson, Sarah Jessica Parker, Mia Sara, Laura San Giacomo, Ally Sheedy, Lily Taylor and Marisa Tomei.  They all lost the election to the stunning Connelly…  opposite David Bowie. The wondrous names of folk in JK Rowling’s Potterverse (Moggle, Dometrious, etc) seem inspired by such Hensonversers as Ambrosius, Didymus, Hoggle, Ludo…

  2. Jodie Foster, Five Corners, 1986.  Jodie and Marisa were in the (small) mix for the role of Linda in a John Patrick’s script looking back onm growing up in New Yok and posing the question “Has anyone ever died of a bad literary device?” Jodie won. And lost. As Washjngton Post critic Hal Hinson complained: “This isn’t really the kind of role she can do much with.”  The producers included George Harrison.  Hence, In My Life is on the soundtrack.

  3. 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: Tomei Jennifer Beals, Lorraine Bracco, Sandra Bullock, Melanie Griffith, Anna Kendrick, Nicole Kidman, Sean Young. TMNT legend states the winning Hoag lost the sequels because she had complained so much the violence – and the six-day shooting schedule.

  4. Julia Roberts, Pretty Woman, 1989.
  5. Annabella Sciorra, Jungle Fever, 1991.     Clashed with My Cousin Vinny…  which netted Marisa’s Oscar.
  6. Sharon Stone, Basic Instinct, 1991.
  7. Nicole Kidman, My Life, 1992.   Mary-Louise Parker  also tested for the role of Gail Jones – the wife about to have a child and lose hubby Michael Keaton to cancer.
  8. Uma Thurman, Mad Dog And Glory, 1992.    “I was really close…”
  9. Geena Davis, Angie, 1994.    “It just didn’t work out.”  Madonna dropped out and Marisa didn’t feel like making a career of supplanting her (after Untamed Heart).
  10. 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 refused to be Annie: Marisa, Rosanna Arquette, Kim Basinger, Halle Berry, Glenn Close(!), Geena Davis, Cameron Diaz, Carrie Fisher, Bridget Fonda, Jodie Foster, 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, Kathleen Turner, Sigourney Weaver and Debra Winger.

  11. Uma Thurman, Pulp Fiction, 1993.
  12. Amanda Plummer, Pulp Fiction, 1993.

  13. Andie McDowell,Four Weddings and a Funeral, 1993.Phoebe Cates, Melanie Griffith, Sarah Jessica Parker, Brooke Shields, Jeanne Tripplehorn… “We met 16 actresses when we went to LA,”producer Duncan Kenworthy told Deadline Hollywood 25 years later special. Triple-namers Jennifer Jason Leigh and Mary Stuart Masterson auditioned.  Marisa Tomei won. “I almost did it.But my grandfather was sick at the time, and I didn’t want to leave…  I’m sure it would have been fine with him, but I felt like I didn’t want to go anywhere.”  Said Kenworthy:  “So we had no-one. When we heard that Andie was able to meet, we found her very impressive” Her cut came to… $2m!   

  14. Bridget Fonda, It Could Happen To You, 1994.    Another Madonna pass and this time Marisa said no more waitresses (also after Untamed Heart!), not even the one from the headline and original title: Cop Gives Waitress $2million Tip.

  15. Kristen Scott Thomas, Richard III, 1995.    Backed out at the last minutefromIan McKellan’s modernised Shakespeare that was never ready to roll – to join to a Gérard Depardieuproject in no such danger (as he was producing), Unhook The Stars, 1996.
  16. Cameron Diaz, Feeling Minnesota, 1996.   Too expensive for the girl between (mismatched) brothersKeanu Reeves and Vincent D’Onofrio.
  17. Renée Zellweger, Jerry Maguire, 1996.   “You had me at Hello…”Once Tom Hanks passed and Tom Cruise breathed a sigh of relief, auteur Cameron Crowe started searching for The Girl: Dorothy Boyd. Tomei, Patricia Arquette, Cameron Diaz, Bridget Fonda, Janeane Garofalo, Nicole Kidman, Jennifer Lopez, Courtney Love, Parker Posey, Molly Ringwald, Winona Ryder, Mira Sorvino, Uma Thurman, even Zellweger, came and went. Recommended by Edward Burns (one of the Jerry possibles), Connie Britton made a good test with Cruise and she was Dorothy – depending on Zellweger’s call back meeting with him. “We have video of that because I was filming,”Crowe told Mike Fleming Jr for Deadline Hollywood’s 20-years-later feature in 2017, “and you just see something happen when Tom sees her. He lights up… As Jerry discovers Dorothy, we discover Renee. That was a very personal thing for me and the way I feel about movies.”
  18. Julianne Moore, Boogie Nights, 1997.    Director Paul Thomas Anderson’s exploration of the 70s porno biz as a family unit needed a mother figure. Porno film director Burt Reynolds was Pop, and his Seka-like star, Amber Waves, was Mom.  First choice Tomei passed and Moore’s matched the PTA film. Perfection. Her husband was played by real porno stud Johnny Dough; the cast already included a John Doe in his honour.
  19. Patricia Arquette, Human Nature, 2001.      Director Steven Soderbergh’s casting for Lila Jute.  His version would have been a far superior movie but he was sidetracked  by Out of Sight, changing his and George Clooney’s careers forever.
  20. Salma Hayek, Frida, 2002.       Like Madonna (again!) and Laura San Giacomo, Marisa  had been in the running for one  of the various projects on the Mexican painter Frida Kahlo – when the most determined took off.  And collected two Oscars.

  21. Renée Zellweger, Chicago, 2002.
  22. Carrie Fisher, The Women, 2007. After  15 years trying to make  her version of MGM’s 1938 magic,  the fizz  had left the bubbly for the TV Murphy Brown creator Diane English.  Few among her cast(s)  could match Norma Shearer, Joan Crawford and Rosalind Russell.
  23. Emily Mortimer, More As This Story Develops, TV, 2011.    The Oscar-winner had several meetings with scenarist-creator Aaron Sorkin about his new HBO series – he also saw her off-Broadway play Marie and Bruce. The role of a news show exec producer was her’s. Or so it seemed. Then, Sorkin met with the Brit.
  24. Paula Patton, 2 Guns, 2012.   Tomei and Ellen Pompeo were in the frame for Debs.  But would they have agreed with Patton’s  decision to be topless in  a bed scene with Denzel Washington.  She told Icelandic director Baltasar Kormáku: “I can’t believe they would get dressed so soon after making love.”
  25. Emily Mortimer, The Newsroom,  TV,  2012-2014.  The TV news producer making Jeff Daniels the moral compass of his ACN team moved to the UK’s feisty Mortimer when negotiations collapsed with Tomei. Winning the support actress Oscar for My Cousin Vinny on March 29 1993 never helped her career at all. 
  26. Halle Berry, John Wick Chapter 3: Parabellum, 2018.  Still in need of a  haircut and a real beard, Wick III kicks off  when his his dog is klilled (“It wasn’t just a puppy”) and the Latiin title explodes: “If you want peace, prepare for war.” Not much room then for a girl alongside Keanu Reeves.  Shortlisted for Sofia were Tomei, Jennifer Beals, Marion Cotilliard, Penelope Cruz, Salma Hayek, Eva Longoria, Uma Thurman. Halle had the edge. She’d worked with James Bond… played Catwoman… and won an Oscar! 




 Birth year: Death year: Other name: Casting Calls:  26