Michelle Williams


  1. Lauren Ambrose, Where The Wild Things Are, 2005.       Williams and Chloe Sevigny were also seen (and heard) for the voice of KW – “an eight-foot-tall Neanderthal, that looks just like me,” said Ambrose. Catherine O’Hara and the great James Gandolfini voiced other grouchy things…. Warner Bros hated the non-kidstuff result (exactly why Disney gave up on Maurice Sendak’s book in the 80s) and rejigged Spike Jonze’s film and then, the release for four years!   

  2. Olivia Thirlby, What Goes Up, 2008.      Nine other actors were in (and out) during the much delayed and budget-slashed mess about a New York journo involved with the youth population of the small home of town of “the first teacher in space” Christa McAuliffe – when she dies in the 1986 Challenger Shuttle explosion.

  3. Kate Hudson, The Killer Inside Me, 2010.      As directors changed from Andrew Dominik and Marc Rocco to Michael Winterbottom, so did the favourites to play Amy Stanton, girlfriend of the mild-spoken, intellectual psychopath. From Michelle to Katherine Heigl, Sienna Miller, Natalie Portman and, finally, Kate.
  4. Carey Mulligan, The Great Gatsby, 2011.    Australian director Baz Luhrmann’s hunt for Daisy in the fourth Gatsby movie since 1926 matched all the season’s other major auditions.As if the only actresses left on planet earth were: Williams, Jessica Alba, Abbie Cornish, Eva Green, Rebecca Hall, Anne Hathaway, Scarlett Johansson, Keira Knightley, Blake Lively, Rachel McAdams, Natalie Portman, Amanda Seyfried, Olivia Wilde. And Mulligan… soon sobbing on a red carpet, after  being  handed a phone. “It was Baz:  Hello  Daisy!” (Except, sadly, she wasn’t).
  5. 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, Kate Beckinsale, Rebecca Hall, Keira Knightley, Kristen Stewart.. Director Sam Raimi’s favourites became Williams and Hilary Swank. Then, Weisz arrived out of the blue… and blew everyone away. And Williams was excellent as Annie/Glinda.
  6. Rooney Mara, Side Effects, 2012.          “My last film,” said Steven Soderbergh. Hardly surprising when he wasn’t allowed to select his own leading lady! Despite his track record, his producers refused his Blake Lively choice – like Lindsay Lohan before her. He searched on through Williams, Emily Blunt, Alice Eve, Imogen Poots, Amanda Seyfried and Olivia Wilde before the suits agreed on Rooney. She quit Zero Dark Thirty, 2011, to take over as Emily. Happily, Soderbergh returned to directing for the cinema with Logan Lucky, 2017.
  7. Amber Heard, Machete Kills, 2012.    Michelle passed Miss San Antonio to Amber in Danny Trego’s sixth outing as Machete Cortez.
  8. Eva Green, Sin City: A Dame To Kill For, 2014.   Williams, Helena Bonham Carter, Anne Hathaway, Salma Hayek, Scarlett Johansson, Angelina Jolie, Jennifer Lawrence, Rose McGowan, Rachel Weisz were all up for the dame in question. Ava.  Variety critic Justin Chang was unmoved by the movie. . “ Rare indeed is the movie that features this many bared breasts, pummeled crotches and severed noggins and still leaves you checking your watch every 10 minutes.”
  9. Jessica Chastain, Miss Julie, 2013.     My Week Wih Marilyn’s sumptuous Monroe, circua 2011, was Norwegian actress-director Liv Ullmann’s first choice to play Strindberg’s Froken Julie, reset in 1890 Northern Ireland. (Hence the valet is Colin Farrell). The cast had more sparks than the film. Ullmann should have known better. She was Julie on stage in 1991 directed by her ex-lover, the legendary Ingmar Bergman… a decidedly tough act to follow. 
  10. Margot Robbie, Focus, 2014.   First, Kristen Stewart and Emma Stone  passed, then,  Williams, Jessica Biel, Rose Byrne, Jennifer Lawence, Olivia Munn and Rosamund Pike were assessed for Jess, the beauty being coached in grifting techniques by an adoring Will Smith.  Robbie was on holiday on a  Croatian island  when called to an New York audition. She packed in 20 minutes, and by  catamaran, bus, two planes (waiting six hours for each), losing her luggage at JFK and wearing only denim shorts, shirt and no make-up,  she got to the audition on  time. Smith did not. “Hey, I was coming from Queens.” “Yeah?” snapped Robbie, “Well, I just came from an island off Croatia and I’m here on time.” She reckoned that  outburst won her the movie.
  11. Jennifer Jason Leigh, The Hateful Eight, 2014.  In a snit when his script wes leaked,   this is the Tarantino  film that  nearly wasn’t. And isn’t. A movie, that is. It’s a single-set stage play with enough speechifyin’ for a UN climate congress. Never mind, Quentin loved his second Western (third if you count Reservoir Dogs). Or was it just the search for his Daisy Domergue among Williams, Geena Davis, Jennifer Lawrence, Demi Moore, Katiee Sackhoff, double Oscar-winner Hilary Swank, Amber Tamblyn (excellent, if too young, during  the public April script reading at LA’s United Artists theatre), Evan Rachel Wood, Robin Wright  No, it was the movie. “I’m crazy, gaga, eyes popping out of my head happy with this film.”  No, he was  “crazy, gaga, eyes popping out of my head happy with this film.” Good for him. Not for us.  He was punching below his weight.

  12. Nicole Kidman, The Upside, 2017.   Bizarre to find such A-Listers as  Kidman, Jessica Chastain and Michelle Wiilliams in contention for such a a third wheel role… a typically Hollywood re-hash of a gigantic French hit: Untouchables, 2012.

  13. Jessica Chastain, Scenes From a Marriage, TV, 2020.   Williams was in, then decided to be out of the HBO  version of  Ingmar Bergman’s 1973 classic account of  the disintegration of a marriage – starring Erland Josephson  and Liv Ullman… and based on Bergman’s  relationship with Ullmann.  In need of a new wife, Oscar Isaac suggested  Chastain   Hollywood’s finest actress since Meryl  Streep – and already his wife in A Most Violent Year, 2013. Her commitments that year forced her to quit headlining Blonde about Marilyn Monroe – played by Williams in My Week With Marilyn, 2010. 



 Birth year: Death year: Other name: Casting Calls:  12