Sarah Michelle Gellar


  1. Drew Barrymore, ET, the Extra-Terrestrial, 1981. SMG auditioned for Gertie. So did Juliette Lewis, but her father, actor Geoffrey Lewis, reportedly made her turn down… the fourth highest-grossing movie of all time. The most famous  Indian auteur, Satyajit Ray, said it  plagiarized his 1967 script, The Alien, once due for Marlon Brando and Peter Sellers… but no Gertie!  

  2. Elisa Donovan, Clueless, 1994.   Amber was SMG’s except her soap, All My Children, refused to give one of its children time off to make director Amy Heckerling’s Beverly Hills flip-side of her Fast Times at Ridgemont High. She missed a treat. “A smart and funny movie,” said Chicago critic Roger Ebert, ”and the characters are in on the joke.”

  3. Claire Danes, Romeo + Juliet, 1996.     The future Buffy The Vampire Slayer was still stuck in the All My Children soap.
  4. Melissa Joan Hart, Sabrina, The Teenage Witch, TV, 1996-2003.  Up for what became 163 episodes about Sabrina discovering she’s a witch at age 16 (MJH was 20!) One year later, SMG hit back as as Buffy The Vampire Slayer, which also ended its run in 2003.
  5. Charisma Carpenter, Buffy The Vampire Slayer, TV, 1997-2003. SMG auditioned for Cordelia andCharisma for  Buffy – and Joss Whedon (wisely) swopped ’em. For his “high school as a horror movie” series in small-town America. An uncredited exec producer of the show was Dolly Parton’s Sandollar combine.  Oh, and Buffy was the original  name of… Yoda!
  6. Jennifer Love Hewitt, I Know What You Did Last Summer, 1997.   After they both lost Juliet, SMG auditioned for Julie – and was given Helen. And vice-versa for JLH. A triumph for two girls with three names.
  7. Tara Reid, Urban Legend, 1997.   SMG was selected as Sasha but could not get days off from her slasher series….
  8. Jordana Brewster, The Faculty, 1998.    Buffy co-star Charisma Carpenter also refused to be Delilah. Too close to Buffydom.
  9. Claire Danes, The Mod Squad, 1998.      The terrible cinema version of a lamebrain series, might actually have worked better with Buffy as Julie Barnes.
  10. Mena Suvari, American Beauty, 1998. Welcome to Hollywood…! For his first LA movie – for a producer called Spielberg!  – UK stage director Sam Mendes saw all the current young Hollywood babes for Kevin Spacey’s Lolita-esque infatuation (she was even called…  not Haze, but  Hayes). And he was turned down by SMG, Kirsten Dunst, Alyson Hannigan, Katie Holmes, Kate Hudson, Brittany Murphy, Leelee Soboeskii  – and Tiffani Thiessen lost her audition.  That’s not Mena on the poster, though; the hand and stomach belong to actress-model Chloe Hunter.

  11. Helena Bonham Carter, Fight Club, 1999.  Director David Fincher looked everywhere for his Marla Singer.  Sarah Michelle Gellar, Winona Ryder, Kyra Sedgewick, Renee Zellweger. Plus two great Brits: supermodel Vanessa Angel (71 screen roles since 1985), and Anna Friel. After seeing her Wings of the Dove, Fincher wanted HBC, the suits wanted the better known Reese Witherspoon, and Reese wanted out – ‘too dark!”  Courtney Love claimed the film’s star, Brad Pitt, had her dropped because she wouldn’t let him play her late husband in a  Kurt Cobain biopic.  Team Pitt said “You cannot be fired for a job you didn’t get.” And, anyway directors select actors, not actors…  and yet co-star Edward Norton vetoed any idea of New Jersey comic Janeane Garofalo as she “didn’t have the chops to do it.”HBC modelled Marla on the final years of Judy Garland.  Fincher even called her Judy on-set get her back in her mindset.
  12. Anna Paquin, X-Men quartet, 1999-2013.    “Mutation: it is the key to our evolution.”  RLC and the Canadian Katharine Isabelle were the main contenders for Marie D’Ancanto/Rogue. Followed by Kirsten Dunst, SMG and Christina Ricci. Natalie Portman rejected the rôle but  changed her mind about comix as Jane Foster in the Marvelverse Thor and Avengers movies. (RLC and Paquin  were co-starred in She’s All That, 1999)
  13. Cameron Diaz, Gangs of New York, 2000.  For Martin Scorsese, casting was easy. In 1978, Dan Aykroyd-John Belushi were Amsterdam and The Butcher.  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 checked 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! 
  14. Jordana Brewster, The Fast and The Furious,  2000.    Vin Diesel ‘s sister, Mia Toretto,  was written for Eliza Dushku but she passed.   SMG  auditioned, as did Jessica Biel, Kirsten Dunst, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Bijou Phillips  and Natalie Portman. Brewster  then didn’t make another film  for three yearsf and eventually  re-franchised in  chapters 4, 5, 6 and was filming #7 when co-star Paul Walker as killed in an off-duty  car crash on November 30, 2013. At age 40. He was not driving.
  15. Susan Ward, The In Crowd, 2000.      Turned down the role of Brittany Foster. Good thinking.
  16. Portia de Rossi, Who Is Cletis Tout? 2001.     The Ally McBeal discovery wasperfect for the mistaken identities comedy.
  17. Milla Jovovich, Resident Evil, 2001.   Among his Tarantinoesque cast – Mr Grey, Mr Red Ms Black, Dr Green etcdirector Paul WS Anderson’s hope of the Buffy The Vampire Slayer couple, SMG and David Boreanaz turned into Jovovich and (the Hollywood wasted) Eric Mabius. Turned out fine for Anderson. He wed Jovovich in 2009. They have two children.
  18. Jennifer Lopez, The Wedding Planner, 2001.    All change! Due to their Buffy and Bedazzled skeds, SMG and Brendan Fraser churned into Lopez and Matthew McConaughey – at $9m for her and $5m for him.
  19. Anne Hathaway, The Princess Diaries, 2001.   Among 22 youngstars (Jessica Albato Reese Witherspoon) 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.
  20. Cameron Diaz, Gangs of New York, 2001.   Buffy to the rescue! Saving her  from the nothing role of Jenny Everdeane. They just needed a girl on the poster… Such a zero no one  remembers Jenny’s  impact (come again!) on the  1863 drama of  Daniel Day Lewis v Leonardo DiCaprio. Maybe if  director Martin Scorsese hadn’t been forced to cut one  entire hour…

  21. Toni Collette, In Her Shoes, 2005.    First idea of director Curtis Hanson was Toni as Maggie Feller and SMG as her sister Rose. When Gellar quit the project, Toni became Rose and Cameron Diaz became Maggie.
  22. Cameron Richardson, Alvin and the Chipmunks, 2006.     Seven guys were up for Dave (Allvviinn!!), just four babes for his, er, babe. SMG, Drew Barrymore, Salma Hayek and Jennifer Love Hewitt. But for once, the outsider won: the lively lovely from Baton Rouge became Claire Wilson.
  23. Claire Danes, Stardust, 2007.    “I’d have loved to have done it – are you kidding? But it was Freddie’s turn.” Husband Freddie Prinze Jr, that is. He  was filming in New York, so she wasn’t free for Scotland.. and Robert De Niro, Sienna Miller, Michelle Pfeiffer. That was their other vow when marrying in  2002 – no conflicting work schedules so they could always be together. Anne Hathway and Scarlett Johansson also passed.
  24. Amanda Peet, Quantum Quest: A Cassini Space Odyssey, 2009.    SMG had been intalks to voice Ranger inthe science fiction toon… featuring both Hayden Christiensen and Chris Pine, aka the younger versions of Anakin Skywaker and James T Kirk.
  25. Emily Blunt, Gulliver’s Travels, 2009.   Change of Princess Mary in theupdated reboot of Jonathan Swift (ie Jack Black was Gulliver!). “I was very burnt out after Buffy,” recalled SMG about her 1997-2003 series.“It was exhausting. I was essentially 18 on the pilot and 24 and married by the time we finished, and I’d never had any time (to myself).  I did the show and movies during weekends and hiatus time.”
  26. 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!
  27. 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 Whedon’s Bufy to his new favourite, Cobie Smulders. Then, the film morphedinto 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.
  28. Gal Gadot, Wonder Woman, 2015.  On Warner shelves for a full decade (not helped by David Kelley’s disastrous 2011 TVersion), spinning through numerous wonder women 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 SMG, Mischa Barton, Kate Beckinsale, Jessica Biel, Rachel Bilson, Sandra Bullock in 2001 (and for the 2011 tele-film), Bollywood’s Priyanka Chopra in 2006, US wrestling star Chyna, 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.








 Birth year: Death year: Other name: Casting Calls:  28