Sarah Jessica Parker

  1. Brooke Shields, Pretty Baby, 1977.    The plot sickens… A prostitute allows 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 hopefuls and/or instant (parental) refusals for pretty little Violet. From Laura Dern aged 10 and future Sex And The City co-stars Cynthia Nixon, at 11, Sarah Jessica Parker, 12 (like Shields) and (the often too buxom) teenagers Melissa Sue Anderson, Rosanna Arquette, Linda Blair, Jamie Lee Curtis, Bridget Fonda, Jodie Foster, 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 (pre-Dallas)… 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Diane Lane, The Outsiders, 1982.    Mal paso. Dumb move. SJP rejected an offer fromFrancis Coppola’s intensive ensemble casting sessions at Stage Five of his Zoetrope Studios – “go right on Marlon Brando Way. Follow it to Budd Schulberg Avenue and it’s just next to the commissary.”  He also saw Heather Lagenkamop, Brooke Shields, and Helen Slater for Cherry Valance …
  4. Diane Lane, Rumble Fish, 1982.  …  and, thereby, Patty in Coppola’s s second consecutive film of a novel by 16-year-old SE Hinton. 
  5. Michelle Meyrink, Revenge of the Nerds, 1983.      SJP,  Joan Cusack, Jamie Gertz were up for  Judy when Robert Carradine and Anthony Edwards led  a college nerds’ anti-bully battle by setting up their own frat house.   Excellent campus comedy (for once). 
  6. Ally Sheedy, St Elmo’s Fire, 1984.    One studio chief called the life-after-college pals “the most loathsome humans” he’d ever read.  Nobody liked the script, the song, most casting ideas and the title – one Columbia suit spent 35 memo pages on why it should be Sparks or The Real World and not after an obscure meteorological phenomenon! Co-scenarist Carl Kurlunder told all to Deadline Hollywood for  the 35th anniversary in July 2020 – ten days after the death of his co-writer and director Joel Shumacher. They saw hundreds (“if not thousands”) of actors –  including SJP, Jamie Lee Curtis, Bridget Fonda, Melanie Griffith, Jennifer Jason Leigh, , Meg Ryan, Brooke Shields, Elisabeth Shue  and Lea Thompson for the young architect Leslie Hunter.  Among the rejectees were Anthony Edwards, Linda Hamilton, Crispin Glover and Joel felt Madonna would not be keen on an ensemble.  After all, the cast was soon called The Brat Pack.  
  7. Anjelica Huston, Prizzi’s Honor, 1984.     “So let’s do it.  Right here. On the Oriental. With all the lights on.” Maerose Prizzi knew what she wanted, where and when from her Family’s hit man, Jack Nicholson – the unlikeliest Mafioso since the Corleones’ James Caan. Before realising his daughter was Oscar-winning perfection, director John Huston looked at some 17 potential Maeroses. From the sublime Rosanna Arquette, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Liza Minnelli, Demi Moore, Michelle Pfeiffer (been there, done that and got the Married To The Mob and Scarface t-shirts), Debra Winger… to the ridiculous : Geena Davis, Melanie Griffith, Daryl Hannah, Emma Thompson, Sela Ward, Debra Winger… and the damn stupid: SJP, Linda Blair, Carrie Fisher, Kelly Lebrock, Heather Locklear, Ally Sheedy.
  8. Molly Ringwald, Pretty In Pink, 1985.     Although it was obvious that Molly would star – after her two previous John Hughes outings – he kept her in line by seeing SJP, Justine Bateman, Jennifer Beals, Jodie Foster, Diane Lane, Lori Loughlin, Tatum O’Neal and Brooke Shields. Hughes hated his ending (as much as Molly loathed the dress) 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 and never worked with her again.
  9. Lea Thompson, Howard The Duck, 1985.     In the mix for rocker Beverly Switzler were SJP, Paula Abdul, singer Tori Amos, Kim Basinger, Jodi Benson, Phoebe Cates and the well-named Lori Singer. But Thompson nailed it. “And I got to be a rock star. Everybody wants to be a rock star, right? So, I got to sing and wear really crazy hair. It’s unfortunate that it was such a bomb. But, whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” Not sure producer George Lucas would agree. Short of funds to complete his Skywalker Ranch, Lucas sold to Steve Jobs what became… Pixar!
  10. Jennifer Connelly, Labyrinth, 1985.    . For Muppeteer-in-Chiefg Jim Henson’s sequel to his Dark Crystal (and alas his final film), 14 actresses were candidates  for Sarah – SJP, Yasmin Bleeth,  Helena Bonham Carter, Maddie Corman, Laura Dern, Kerri Green, Jane Krakowski,  Mary Stuart Masterson, Mia Sara, Laura San Giacomo, Ally Sheedy, Lily Taylor and Marisa Tomei.  They all lost the election to 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… 

  11. 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 I won’t sanction the movie.”  The writers didn’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: SJP, Carrie Fisher, Jodie Foster, Linda Hamilton, Darryl Hannah, Diane Lane, Tatum O’Neal, 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 Defense, the highest  post achieved by woman at the US Defense Department. Where’s her film?
  12. Robin Wright (Penn), The Princess Bride, 1986.  Apart from the future Sex and the City TV star, director Rob Reiner thumbed through a veritable little black book of Hollywood’s new young hotties!   Suzy Amis, Valerie Bertinelli, Yasmine Bleeth, Phoebe   Cates, Courteney Cox, Kim Delaney, Rebecca de Mornay, Cathryn de Prume, Sherilyn Fenn, Jennifer Grey, Anne Heche, Marg Helgenberger, Lauren Holly, Patsy Kensit, Juliette Lewis, Carey Lowell, Kelly Lynch, Virginia Madsen,  Mary Stuart Masterson, Alexandra Paul, Amanda Pays, Mia Sara, Greta Scacchi, Courtney Thorne-Smith, Uma Thurman, Meg Tilly, Charlene Tilton, Nancy Travis, Amy Yasbeck, Sean Young.  

  13. Jennifer Grey, Dirty Dancing, 1986.       
    The “million dollar title” was dreamt up  by Eleanor Bergstein before  starting her script about her earlier years – ”a porno title,” complained Patrick Swazye!  MGM, Miramax, Orion, Warner,  Universal, they all rejected the project as “too girly.” Hadn’t they seen Flashdance? (Even Paramount passed and it had made Flashdance!). Deciding to make movies, Vestron Video supplied the meagre budget after falling for the story  among 4,999 other dumped scenarios.   Mindy Cohn (Velma ‘s voice in the  Scooby-Doo! toons) was an unavailable first choice for Baby Houseman.  Next? Sarah Jessica Parker, Winona Ryder, Sharon Stone,  while Bergstein (who’d picked Swayze) saw Pia Zadora as her younger self. Off to her audition, Jennifer Grey said to her father, Cabaret star Joel Grey: “Wish me luck, Daddy.”  She didn’t need it. Although ten years older than Baby, she nailed it. The girls  and  guys (Benicio Del Toro, Patrick Swayze,  Billy Zane Adrien Zmed among the Johnnies), interchanged  in further tests to find The Couple.  Jennifer Grey begged: “Anyone but Patrick!” They had a good/bad history filming Red Dawn, 1983, but put their differences aside.  After all… “Nobody puts Baby in a corner.”  Vestron  was  not sure what it hard and asked The Rose producer  Aaron Russo to take a look. His avice: “Burn the negative and collect the insurance”! The little film that grew is still making $1m per year…  The fllm’s hit song  – (I’ve Had) The Time of My Life” –  led  to something new at weddings: You can now lift the bride…  (Oh and Swayze turned down $6m or the sequel).

  14. Winona Ryder, Beetlejuice, 1987.     Finding Betelgeuse was easier for director Tim Burton than  unearthing Lydia.   He saw  SJP, Justine Batman, Jennifer Connelly, Diane Lane, Juliette Lewis,  Lori Loughlin, Molly Ringwald, Brooke Shields. And fell for Winona. Didn’t we all. She was sweet 17 at the time. 
  15. Kelly McGillis, The Accused, 1987.   Sex And The City Lawyer… Paramount suits saw 40 young actresses for the (real life) gang rape victim .  Or, their own rape bait fantasies… such as 16-year-old  Alyssa Milano!  And a further 28 for her defence attorney. Including the Fatal Attraction also-rans (from Catherine to Debra Winger, by way of Diane Keaton and, naturally, Meryl Streep).  Plus Blythe Danner, Sally Field, Terri Garr, Mary Gross, Dianne Wiest. A 1982 rape victim herself, McGillis refused Jodie Foster’s Oscar-winning role, and asked to play her lawyer.
  16. Uma Thurman, Dangerous Liaisons, 1988.     SJP said she passed on an offer to be the deflowred virgin, Cécilede Volanges. UK director Stephn  Frears also saw Drew Barrymore before meeting Uma.  And a star was born.  (Idem for Keanu  Reeves in the same film). Fairuza Balk was Cecile the Milos Forman’s version, Valmont, also shot in various French chateaux in that summer of ’88.  (I know because I was working on the Frears’ set for weeks). As for Uma – a star was born! Idem for Keanu Reeves in the same film.
  17. Melanie Griffith, Working Girl, 1988.  “If you ever want to make money, do Cinderella,” said Mike Nichols. Even better if he’s directing – despite a coke-head  star. (He made Her Highness Melanie Griffith pay $80,000 from her salary for having to close down shooting one night due to her wasted condition). Fox never wanted her, anyway, but Njchols was Nichols; he ruled. “She incarnated Tess and there was no great version of the movie without her,” declared producer Douglas Wick.   The earliest notion was Madonna. Mike rang producer Douglas Wick: ”Turn on your TV. Madonna’s on The Tonight  Show.  See what you think of her…” They also saw Lorraine Bracco (devastated after, she thought nailing her test), Goldie Hawn (bit old at 43), Diane Lane, Shelley Long, Demi Moore, Sarah Jessica Parker.  Plus Michelle Pfeiffer and Meryl Streep for Tess or her wicked witch boss, Katharine; won by Sigourney Weaver. (Some 26 years later, Griffith’s daughter, Dakota Johnson, headed the darker and, supposedly, more erotic version of the office power-play tale in Fifty Shades of Grey).
  18. Nicole Kidman, Days of Thunder, 1989.     Dr Claire Lewicki was aimed at all the usual misses. SJP, Kim Basinger, Sandra Bullock, Jodie Foster, Heather Locklear, Madonna, 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 begged time to study neurosurgery for her surgeon’s role, she was told, basically, not to be so silly.
  19. Julia Roberts, Pretty Woman, 1989.

  20. Juliette Lewis, Cape Fear, 1991.
    First thought, among the many  – the very many– Christina Applegate, Drew Barrymore, Jennifer Connelly, Shannen Doherty, Nicole Eggeret, Bridget Fonda, Jodie Foster, Helen Hunt, Nicole Kidman, Diane Lane, Jennifer Jason  Leigh, Alyssa Milano, Demi Moore, Molly Ringwald, Meg Ryan, Winona Ryder, Brooke  Shields, Tiffani Thiessen, Reese Witherspoon – considered  by Steven Spielberg and, later, Martin Scorsese  for young Danielle Brown… the teenage  daughter of Nick Nolte and Jessica Lange.  Some found it too sexy and, indeed, few could have equalled the on-heat musk of Juliette’stotally improvised – and one take – seduction scene with Robert De Niro.

  21. Sharon Stone, Basic Instinct, 1991.
  22. Laura Dern, Jurassic Park, 1992.    
  23. 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: SJP, 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, 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.
  24. Andie MacDowall, Four Weddings and a Funeral, 1994.       SJP did not get the London Carrie, but became the New York Carrie for seven (worst dressed) years of Sex And The City, TV, 1998-2004..  Also on the UK short list: Phoebe Cates, Melanie Griffith, Brooke Shields, Marisa Tomei, Jeanne Tripplehorn.
  25. 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 SJP, Patricia Arquette, Jennifer Connelly, Joan Cusack, Bridget Fonda, Jodie Foster, Melanie Griffith, Darryl Hannah, Holly Hunter, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Tatum O’Neal, Mary-Louise Parker, Michelle Pfeiffer, Meg Ryan (passing up $5million), Brooke Shields, Uma Thurman. However, Debra Winger simply refused… and Kidman persuaded director Gus Van Sant that she was his destiny.
  26. Maria Pitillo, Godzilla, 1997.    Pitillo won the Golden Raspberry award as the Worst Support Actress. A star was not born.  But if Audrey Timmonds had been played by: Connelly, Sarah Jessica Parker (she wed the unlikely hero, Matthew Broderick, 19 days into the shoot), Parker Posey, Winona Ryder or Renée Zellweger?  No, the film just  stank.  Jennifer Aniston, The Object of My Affection, 1997.  First Julia Roberts, then SJP and Winona Ryder were seen for the pregnant friend of a gay Paul  Rudd in what Chicago’s ace critic Roger Ebert dubbed a seriocom. “The worst kind of sitcom – a serious one.”
  27. Jennifer Aniston, The Object of My Affection, 1997.  Brooklyn social-worker Nina Borowski is pregnant, falling for a gay guy and wanting to raise her child with him.  Nothing is that simple…  Casting went through two other couples: Sarah Jessica Parker-Robert Downey Jr and Uma Thurman-Keanu-Reeves (someone loved Stephen Frears’ Dangerous Liaisons), before settling upon Jennifer Aniston-Pau; Rudd.  Winona Ryder, Kyra Sedgwick and Debra Winger were also in the Nina mix. But just not as as famous as Friends!
  28. Neve Campbell, The Lion King 2: Simba’s Pride, 1998.     The first triumph was Bambi meets Hamlet in Africa, the sequel turned Kovu and Kiara into Romeo and Juliet. Jennifer Aniston was also seen about voicing Simba’s headstrong daughter, Kiara.
  29. Kirsten Dunst, Spider-Man, 2001.

  30. 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… twoFriends: 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.

  31. Joan Cusack, Chicken Little, 2004.    To find the right voice for Abby Mallard in Disney’s paltry poultry pic, Disney went through Geeena Davis, Laura Dern, Jamie Donnelly, Jodie Foster, Holly Hunter, Madonna and, of course, Sigourney Weaver. (By now many Alien fans were working at every studio). Plus SJP, when her husband, Matthew Broderick, was in the frame for the titular hero.
  32. Carla Gugino, Sin City, 2004.     Directors Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller also looked at Ashley Judd, Carrie-Anne Moss, Uma Thurman and Naomi Watts for Lucille in their “live” comic-strip.
  33. Katherine Heigl, Knocked Up, 2006.
  34. Jennifer Aniston, The Bounty Hunter, 2009.   The titular Gerard Butler is arresting his ex-wife.  Jennifer Aniston for skipping bail in the first of two films wrested away from SJP.  Buy why did she both wither this drek? Chicago critic Roger Ebert put  it: “a film with no need to exist.”    
  35. Jennifer Aniston, Horrible Bosses, 2010.   SJP and Naomi Watts were also seen about being the over-sexed dentist, having blatant hots for her assistant Charlie Day. Agressively so. As in:  “You’re gonna give me that dong, Dale.” Aniston was the surprise of the “funny and dirty film,” said Chicago critic Roger Ebert.  ”Her career has drifted into such shallows that it’s possible to forget how good she was in a film like The Good Girl;.  Here she has acute comic timing and hilariously enacts alarming sexual hungers.”  
  36. Juno Temple, Maleficent, 2012.  Another fairy tale joins the Hollywood reboots, telling all from the viewpoint of Sleeping Beauty’s nemesis – the titular Angelina Jolie, no less. But who should play the fairies: Knotgrass, Fittle and Thistletwit. DIsney ideas ranged from reviving  the Hocus Pocus trio  of Bette Midler, Kathy Najimy, Sarah Jessica Parker to Judie Dench, Emma Thompson,  Tara Reid  (or Lindsay Lohan) – to, finally,  Imelda Staunton, Lesley Manville and Juno Temple.  Not released until 2014.
  37. 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:  37