Sandra Bullock


  1. Nicole Kidman, Days of Thunder, 1989.      Dr Claire Lewicki was aimed at all the usual misses. Bullock, Kim Basinger, Jodie Foster, 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. 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.
  2. 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: Bullock, Jennifer Beals, Lorraine Bracco, 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.
  3. Virginia Madsen, Candyman, 1992.      Virginia’s availability ruled out the unknown Bullock, said producer Alan Poul – later renowned for producing TV’s Six Feet Under, 2001-2005.
  4. Laura Dern, Jurassic Park, 1992.  
  5. Nicole Kidman, Batman Forever, 1994
  6. Courteney Cox, Friends, TV, 1994-2004.   
  7. Julia Ormond, Sabrina, 1995.       She felt she could not match Audrey Hepburn’s original. And that the role was marked by sexism. Next? Bullock, Juliette Binoche, dancer Darcy Bissell, Julie Delpy, Cameron Diaz, Demi Moore, Gwyneth Paltrow, Robin Wright, Catherine Zeta-Jones. All better suoited than Ormond. So it blows.
  8. Julia Roberts, Runaway Bride, 1996.       Sandra and Travolta became – obviously!  – Julia Roberts and Richard  Gere.
  9. Ashley Judd, Simon Birch, 1997.    Sandra was up for the hero’s mother,  Rebecca Wentworth, in the moved that could never be filmed, according to its  author John Irving.  Consequently, he refused to allow the film to have the same title as his novel: A Prayer for Owen Meaey. But he liked it enough  to make a cameo as a butcher  sweeping his sidewalk.
  10. Carrie-Anne Moss, The Matrix, 1998.      A self-admitted bum move… The legend insisted that Bullock refused to be Trinity as she couldn’t imagine herself acting opposite see the Warner choice for neo-noir Neo. Yes, but which Neo… ? Nicolas Cage, Tom Cruise, Johnny Depp, David Duchovny, Leonardo DiCaprio, Val Kilmer, Ewan McGregor, Lou Diamond Phillips, Brad Pitt or Will Smith? Hmm, then again. she had, of course, made Speed with Reeves in 1983.

  11. Meryl Streep, Music of the Heart, 1999.       “I wasn’t going to come all this way to make a non-genre film just to make somebody else’s movie !” Auteur Wes Craven (on a break from horror) dropped Madonna – she wanted to make the story about the teacher’s sex-life rather than making violinists out of poor Harlem kids. He considered Bullock and Meg Ryan before going for broke and contacting Streep. “His words seduced me. I had to do the movie.” Besides eeould any of the others   have toiled as valiantly as Streep – practising the violin, six hours a day for eight weeks?
  12. Christina Ricci, Prozac Nation, 2000. Drew Barrymore and Sandra Bullock passing on Elizabeth led to Christina Ricci’s first nude scene. She called it “frightening” and only agreed (it wasn’t) in the script) if she had a closed set and co-star Michelle Williams watched the monitor to approve the images.  She was ”naked” on the  poster and accepted future nudity requests. 
  13. Meg Ryan, Kate & Leopold, 2001.        Dropped out after six years of waiting for the modern day New York gal and a 19th Century duke to start  time-travelling.
  14. Angelina Jolie, Lara Croft, Tomb Raider, 2000.  For the girls, Lara Croft is their James Bond.  Well, more of a sexy Indiana Jones.  And 212 hopefuls wanted to bringther sassy, video-game adventurer to life. Demi More was, perhaps, the most keen, but who was simply disregarded. Christina Applegate, Drew Barrymore, Victoria Beckham, Sandra Bullock, Cameron Diaz, Nicole Eggert, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Kate Hudson, Elizabeth Hurley, Ashley Judd, Jennifer Lopez, Gwyneth Paltrow, Anna Nicole Smith (a joke, surely), Catherine Zeta-Jones were considered. Fairuza Balk, Natalie Cassidy, Kirsten Dunst and Milla Jovovich auditioned while Denise Richards, Charlize Theron, Uma Thurman and Liv Tyler simply refused. And Lara’s guy (who fled the sequel) was Daniel Craig – complete with a Walther PPK pistol that he would use again as 007 in Casino Royale, 2005.
  15. Renée Zellweger, Chicago, 2001.
  16. Jodie Foster, Panic Room, 2001.       For his first film since his legendary Fight Club, director  chose Nicole Kidman over Bullock – and then had  Foster take over when  Kidman’s Moulin Rougue knee injury flared up anew. For rushing to the rescue, Foster’s price is changing her role… So, Kidman’s original icy Hitchcockian blonde became  a grittier  political action-Mom.  In 2006, Jodie  changed her Brave One heroine  from newspaper reporter – not  “compelling in terms of the narrative” – to… radio reporter!
  17. Jennifer Lopez, Maid in Manhattan, 2002.    They all passed on being the Chicago hotel chambermaid falling for… Ralph Fiennes?!
  18. Jennifer Lopez, Enough, 200l.     Last person expected to play a girl called Slim,  J Lo collected TV men Dan Futterman  (Judging Amy), Noah Wyle (ER) –  even Billy Campbell (Once and Again), who  replaced Dylan McDermott  (The Practice) as her abusive husband.
  19. Catherine Zeta-Jones, Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas, 2002.  For DreamWorks’ last hand-drawn 2-D toon, CZJ was  the winer of the Marina mix of Sandra Bullock, Teri Hatcher, Catherine Keener, Lisa Rinna and Reese Witherspoon.
  20. Meg Ryan, Against The Ropes, 2003.       As boxing trainer Jackie Kallen. And her next pass would have put her in the ring – and, possibly, Oscar’s spotlight.
  21. Uma Thurman, Prime, 2004.       Brooklyn auteur Ben Younger wasn’t about to make the script changes Bullock required and he recast Meryl Streep’s psychiatric patient with Thurman. They discuss Uma’s boyfriend, who proved to be Streep’s son. “His penis is so beautiful,” confidedUma, “I just want to knit it a hat.” It’s possible Sandra was freeing herself for…

  22. 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.

  23. Hilary Swank, Million Dollar Baby, 2004.
  24. Catherine Keener, Capote, 2005.       For Harper Lee, friend of writer (and liar) Truman Capote and author of To Kill A  Mockingbird.
  25. Meg Ryan, 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  Joan Crawford, etc. Bullock was keen on  being Mary Haines (ex-Norma Shearer). Julia Roberts fought Ryan for the same role… 
  26. Charisma Carpenter,The Expendables, 2009.       Auteur and star Sylvester Stallone first offered Agent Lickson to Sandra – she had first achieved stardom opposite him in Demolition Man, 1993. (Sly also tried to make their co-star, Wesley Snipes, into an expendable).
  27. Julia Roberts, Valentine’s Day, 2009.         Far too busy earning her double-whammy worst/best actress awards – the Razzie and Oscar forAll About Steve and Blind Side, 2009, to join the 21-star-jammed LA take on Love Actually. Julia said: Sure. Of course, she did. The director was the manbehind her breakthrough, Pretty Woman, in1989. “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.
  28. Jennifer Garner, The Odd Life of Timothy Green, 2011.      One of various Bullock refusals after the scripts poured in following her Oscar for The Blind Side.  Garner snapped up what critic Roger Ebert called ”a warm and lovely fantasy…  the kind of full-bodied family film being pushed aside in favor of franchises and slam-bang confusion.” 
  29. 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.Timethen, 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 Bullock to Madonna. Then, the film morphed into anupdated 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.
  30. Amy Adams, Trouble With The Curve, 2011.     The running order was Bullock,  Adams and  Reese Witherspoon to join  Clint Eastwood’s first acting role for four years. Bullock  had earlier been up for Clint’s Million Dollar Baby

  31. Cameron Diaz, Gambit, 2012.     First Sandra Bullock, then Aniston – but how could any girl refuse an eccentric and unpredictable Texas rodeo queen called PJ Puznowski… in a Coen brothers’ script opposite Hugh Gant…  or, finally, new Oscar-winner Colin Firth.
  32. Cameron Diaz, Annie, 2014.      Winning Miss Hannigan from Bullock, Diaz pulled out rather took many stops as the boozy, blowsy loser in every foster mum of the year award… in what the New York Times called a “hacky, borderline-incompetent production”!
  33. Gal Gadot, Wonder Woman, 2015.       On Warner shelves for a full decade (not helped by David Kelley’s disastrous 2011 TVersion), spinning through numerous directors, 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 rivals for the DC Extended Universe included Bullock in 2001 (and for the 2011 tele-film), Mischa Barton, Kate Beckinsale, Jessica Biel, Rachel Bilson, 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 in The Lego Movie, 2013), Kristen Stewart. The final trio, auditioning in November 2013, were Olga Kurylenko, Elodie Yung and… Gadot.
  34. 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.











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