Tatum O’Neal


  1. Jodie Foster, Bugsy Malone, 1976.       Even at a mere 13, Tatum was too expensive. After becoming (andremaining)the youngest Oscar-winner- at 10 for Paper Moon.

  2. 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.   “My dad turned it down in 1976. It wasn’t right for me.”   Elegant French director Louis Malle saw 29 hopefuls and/or instant (parental) refusals for pretty 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 O’Neal (Dad said no), 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, Dana Plato (Mom said no), Michelle Pfeiffer, Ally Sheedy, Meg Tilly, Charlene Tilton… 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.

  3. Brooke Shields, The Blue Lagoon, 1979.      Auditioned for Emmeline – despite Grease director Randal Kleiser wanting his shipwrecked couple to be naked throughoutthe re-make. (They were not). Shields had her long hair glued to her front – and a nude body double.
  4. Phoebe Cates, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, 1981.       The US high school movie..! Researched and written by Cameron Crowe, directed by Amy Heckerling. In their Linda loop – “We can’t even get cable TV here, Stacy, and you want romance!” – were Tatum, Rosanna Arquette, Justine Bateman, Carrie Fisher, Melanie Grifth, Ally Sheedy, Meg Tilly.
  5. Karen Allen, Split Image, 1981.   Producers Jon Peters and Peter Gruberwanted Tatum – with David Carradine, Andrew Stevens. No, saidd irector Ted Kotcheff – Karen, Michael O’Keefe, James Woods.“That’s the way it’s gonna be. Take it or leave it.”
  6. Elizabeth McGovern, Once Upon a Time in America, 1982.   Italian maestro Sergio Leone claimed he interviewed “over 3,000 actors,” taping 500 auditions for the 110 speaking roles in his New York gangster epic.  He certainly saw 33 girls for nymphet Deborah Gelly: Rosanna Arquette, Kim Basinger, Jennifer Beals, Linda Blair, Glenn Close, Jamie Lee Curtis, Geena Davis, Farrah Fawcett, Carrie Fisher, Bridget Fonda, Jodie Foster, Melanie Griffith, Linda Hamilton, Daryl Hannah, Goldie Hawn, Mariel Hemingway, Diane Lane, Jessica Lange, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Heather Locklear, Kristy McNIchol, Liza Minnelli, Tatum O’Neal, Michelle Pfeiffer, Meg Ryan, Susan Sarandon, Cybill Shepherd, Sissy Spacek, Meryl Streep, Kathleen Turner, Sigourney Weaver, Debra Winger. Plus Brooke Shields as the younger version. Deborah was 15 in the first script; McGovern was 20.
  7. Rosanna Arquette, The Executioner’s Song, TV, 1982.    Producer-director Lawrence Schiller saw more Nicole Bakers than Gary Gilmores for his film on the life and firing-squaddeath of Gilmore – first man to be executed since the US government reinstated capital punishment in 1976.
  8. Jennifer Beals, Flashdance, 1982.      The “nation-wide search“ (of LA…!!) came down to  20 possibilities for flashprancer Alex Owens.  Tatum,  Jamie Lee Curtis, Bo Derek, Janice Dickinson, Bridget Fonda, Jennifer Grey (yet she won Dirty Dancing), Melanie Griffith, Daryl Hannah, Mariel Hemingway, Helen Hunt (hated the script), Jennifer Jason Leigh, Heather Locklear, Andie MacDowell, Kathy Najimy, Michelle Pfeiffer, Kyra Sedgwick, Sharon Stone  and Debra Winger. Pix of the final three – Beals, Demi Moore and Leslie Wing – were shown to the studio’s  construction guys by Paramount suits asking: “Which of these women do you most wanna fuck?”   Dissolve.
  9. Daryl Hannah, Splash, 1983.  A mermaid?  Moi? That’s what they  all said, more or less.  Except Debra Winger who longed to be  Madison. (Director Ron Howard did not agree). The full 19 options were… Hannah, Rosanna Arquette, Jodie Foster (she was booked into The Hotel New Hampshire), General  Hospital  soap queen Genie Francis, Melanie Griffith, Diane Lane, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Tatum O’Neal, Michelle Pfeiffer, Molly Ringwald, Tanya Roberts (booked for Sheena: Queen of the Jungle), Ally Sheedy, Brooke Shields (studying French Literature at Princeton), Sharon Stone, Kathleen Turner, Lisa Whelchel (from The Facts of Life, 1979-1988), Debra Winger.  Plus two Brits, Lynne Frederick and Fiona Fullerton – impressive as the daughters of Nicholas and Alexandra, 1970.  Oh and PJ Soles, who was originally chosen to co-star with… Bill Murray – as Disney’s new (“adult”) Touchstone unit rushed Splash into production to beat Warren Beatty’s similar “half-human-half-kipper” tail. Mermaid.
  10. Linda Hamilton, The Terminator, 1983.         In all, 55 actresses were considered, seen or tested for Sarah Connor (aged 18; Linda was 27) opposite Arnold Schwarzenegger. Auteur James Cameron created Sarah for Bridget Fonda. She passed; so did Tatum O’Neal. He decided to go older… and Glenn Close won – her schedule didn’t agree. OK, Kate Capshaw! No, she was tied to Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom – and Kathleen Turner was Romancing The Stone. Debra Winger won her audition, said yes… then, no.   The other 48 ladies were The ’80s Group: Rosanna Arquette, Kim Basinger, Christy Brinkley, Colleen Camp, Jamie Lee Curtis, Geena Davis, Mia Farrow, Carrie Fisher, Jodie Foster, Teri Garr, Jennifer Grey, Melanie Griffith, Darryl Hannah, Barbara Hershey, Anjelica Huston, Amy Irving, Diane Keaton, Margot Kidder, Diane Lane, Jessica Lange, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Kay Lenz, Heather Locklear, Lori Loughlin, Kelly McGillis, Kristy McNichol, Michelle Pfeiffer, Deborah Raffin, Meg Ryan, Susan Sarandon, Ally Sheedy, Cybill Shepherd, Brooke Shields, Sissy Spacek, Sharon Stone, Lea Thompson, Sigourney Weaver… one aerobics queen, Bess Motta (she became Sarah’s room-mate, Ginger Ventura), two singers (Madonna, Liza Minnelli), two Brits (Miranda Richardson, Jane Seymour), five essentially funny girls, Goldie Hawn, Rhea Perlman (Mrs Danny De Vito), Gilda Radner, Mary Tyler Moore…plus the new MTM, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, from Saturday Night Live. Most were in contention again a few years later for Fatal Attraction (won by Close) and The Accused (going to Foster and McGillis). Ten years later (after T2), Linda gave birth to Cameron’s daughter and Josephine’s parents wed in 1997… for two years.
  11. Demi Moore, 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! “Everyone wanted that role,” recalled director Joel Schumacher  about Julianna Van Patten, aka Jules – Joan Cusack, Jodie Foster, Tatum O’Neal, Lea Thompson. (He felt Madonna would not be keen on an ensemble.  After all, the cast was soon called The Brat Pack). For a film called Demi got tired for waiting to see auteur  John Hughes about Weird Science  in his office opposite Joel’s. “I happened to see her running down the hallway. ‘That’s Jules!’ I had my assistant run after her and find out who she was – Demi Moore and she was on General Hospital. So I called her agent, she came in and did a reading. There was no one  in the world like Demi Moore at that age. In the movie she gets to be sexy, seductive, hilariously funny and dramatic. She becomes a coke head and tries to kill herself by freezing to death…” Demi knew the territory. So did Joel. He’d  “almost self-destructed in his 20s,” said Kurlander. “I recall him vowing that Demi could go kill herself on someone else’s movie.  He gave her an ultimatum: go to rehab and get clean before the movie started, or they would recast her part… [with Madonna or Jenny Wright, who played Rob Lowe’s long-suffering wife]. To Demi’s great credit, she rose to the occasion and got sober.”  Joel loved her. “She had to go through 35 different things in the movie. At that age? Pretty fucking amazing, right?”

  12. Kathleen Turner, Prizzi’s Honour, 1984.     “Do I ice her? Do I marry her?” Conundrum for Charley Partanna, hit-man for the Prizzi Family, when he falls for a fellow contractor: Irene Walker. Given the perversity of Hollywood minds, it is, perhaps, no surprise, that O’Neal and daughter Tatum were in the charts for the gun-toting lovers. Huston (who gave his daughter Angelica the better role of Maerose Prizzi), had five more Irenes and ten other Charleys in mind, so whether he ever actually envisaged the O’Neals together as the deadly duo, or to be couple with womeone else, has never been explained and confirmed. nNor denied
  13. Molly Ringwald, Pretty In Pink, 1985.     Although it was obvious that Molly would star – following her two previous John Hughes outings – he kept her in line by seeing O’Neal, Justine Bateman, Jennifer Beals, Jodie Foster, Diane Lane, Lori Loughlin, Saraha Jessica Paker 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.
  14. 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: Tatum, Carrie Fisher, Jodie Foster, Linda Hamilton, Darryl Hannah, Diane Lane, Sarah Jessica Parker, 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, retiiring  in 2014 when Acting Deputy Secretary of Defense, the highest post achieved  by  woman  at the US Defense Department. When is her film being made?
  15. Kim Basinger, Nine ½ Weeks, 1986.        A far less obvious choice than the other early idea of Kathleen Turner. Both refused to be the erotic kind of Elizabeth that was played by Kim and assorted body doubles. 11 – Molly Ringwald, Pretty In Pink, 1985. Although it was obvious that Molly would star – following her two previous John Hughes outings – he kept her in line by seeing O’Neal, Justine Bateman, Jennifer Beals, Jodie Foster, Diane Lane, Lori Loughlin, Saraha Jessica Paker 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.
  16. Elisabeth Shue, Adventures in Babysitting, 1986.      Back in the 60s, teenage babysitter Chris Parker was set for Jane Fonda. By the 80s, her logical heir, her niece Bridget, was just not intersted. Julia Louis-Dreyfus was signed, followed by Jodie Foster, then it became a battle between Kathleen Turner (the fourth #1 choice), O’Neal (who simply fled), Justine Bateman, Valerie Bertinelli, Judy Davis, Jodie Foster, Melanie Griffith, Andie MacDowell, Kelly McGillis (spurned by director Christopher Columbus), Michelle Pfeiffer (she preferred The Witches of Eastwick.. until she made it!), Brooke Shields and Sharon Stone.
  17. Kim Basinger, Nine ½ Weeks, 1986.      A far less obvious choice than the other early idea of Kathleen Turner. Both refused to be the erotic kind of Elizabeth that  played by Kim and assorted body doubles.

  18. Jodie Foster, The Accused, 1988.  
    Awful thing to say. Except it is true. Jodie Foster would never have won her (first) Oscar for this trenchant drama – if actress Kelly McGillis had not been raped in 1982… At first, the role of the rape victim Sarah Tobias was written for Andie MacDowell. She passed. The Paramount suits then saw 34 other young actresses for the (real life) victim. Or, for their own rape bait fantasies – including 16-year-old Alyssa Milano! Foster was refused a test because she was “not sexy enough”! And, anyway, the studio had decided upon McGillis, a high flyer in  Paramount’s Witness and Top Gun. And, naturally, she refused point-blank! She knew what it was to be brutally raped and Kelly had no wish to revisit the horror and agony of her own assault six years earlier.  The suits were annoyed. They needed her. She was hot at the box-office, their box-office. They had made her a star!! Eventually, McGillis agreed to play Sarah’s defence attorney – on condition that unsexy Jodie played Sarah! The suits caved, tested Foster and the rest is Oscar history… So is the huge list of talent also seen for Sarah.   Starting with the Fatal Attraction also-rans: Rosanna Arquette, Ellen Barkin, Kim Basinger, Jennifer Beals, Jennifer Grey, Melanie Griffith, Linda Hamilton, Darryl Hannah, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Diane Keaton, Demi Moore, Kelly Preston, Meg Ryan, Jane Seymour, Sharon Stone, Meryl Streep, Debra Winger.   And moving on to the younger O’Neal, Melissa Sue Anderson (trying to break her Little House on the Prairie image), Justine Bateman, Valerie Bertinelli, Phoebe Cates, Jennifer Connelly, Joan Cusack, Judy Davis, Kristin Davis, Bridget Fonda, Annabeth Gish, Mariel Hemingway, Kelly LeBrock, Virginia Madsen, Brigitte Nielsen,  Molly Ringwald, Mia Sara, Ally Sheedy, Brooke Shields, Uma Thurman.  Oh, and Julia Louis-Dreyfuss, said the suits, was “too nice.” Rape victims shouldn’t be nice? Oh, Hollywood!

  19. Julia Roberts, Pretty Woman, 1989. 
  20. Sharon Stone, Basic Instinct, 1991.
  21. Geena Davis, Angie, 1993.    The official reason was Madonna was already booked for Abel Ferrara’sDangerous Game, 1992.Then, one of heremails was leaked – furious with the head Fox, Joe Roth, for dumping her for a non-Italian inthe titular role.In truth, she fled after hearing Roth didn’t want her because she couldn’t carry a movie. (Notthat this one did any better without her). Her director, Jonathan Kaplan, also quit and Martha Coolidge took over with her 1991 Rambling Rose star – after some thoughts about a dozen others, fromHalle Berry to Meryl Streep.Oh, very Italian!
  22. 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: Tatum, 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, Sarah Jessica Parker, 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.  
  23. 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 O”Neal, 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, Sarah Jessica Parker, Michelle Pfeiffer, Meg Ryan (passing up $5m), Brooke Shields, Uma Thurman. However, Debra Winger simply refused… and Kidman persuaded director Gus Van Sant that she was his destiny.
  24. Janet Gunn, The Quest, 1996.    The idea of being Jean-Claude Van Damme’s leading lady fizzled around the same time as their affair.
  25. Heather Graham, Boogie Nights, 1997.  Gwyneth Paltrow was the surprise first choice for the erotic scamp, Rollergirl –  who never took her skates off.   O’Neal and Drew Barrymore were next in the frame and North Carolina newcomer Laurel Holloman tested. But it was Graham who shot the nude scne on her very first day on director Paul Thomas Anderson’s exploration of the 70s porno biz as a family unit  – Burt Reynolds’ film-maker and Julianne Moore’s porno star being “the parents.”
  26. Kirsten Dunst, Spider-Man, 2001.
  27. Nicole Kidman, Bewitched, 2004.    Who wants to play wriggly-nosed Samantha? Me, me, chorused… Jennifer Aniston, Kim Basinger, Cameron Diaz, Heather Graham (who would have been quirkily great), Angelina Jolie, Lisa Kudrow (perfect!), Gwyneth Paltrow (not so much), Michelle Pfeiffer (ah!) , Julia Roberts (aha!), Meg Ryan, Alicia Silverstone, Hilary Swank, Naomi Watts. Among 35 possibles. Over the years.
  28. Meryl Streep, The Devil Wears Prada, 2005.   Sixteen other women were up for Vogue editor Anna Wintour (er, Miranda Priestley!) in the delightful look at the real fashion world, based on the  tell-all  by Lauren Weisberger,  who used to work for Wintour (but claimed it wasn’t  about her!  Seven only had the wherewithall to match Meryl Streep:  Jennifer Aniston, Glenn Close (fed up of villains), Angelina Jolie, Michelle Pfeiffer, Helen Mirren, Julia Roberts and Hilary Swank. “Sinfully funny, deliciously glossy,” said Rolling Stone critic Peter Travers. “Streep knocks every laugh out of the park More remarkably, she humanises a character who was little more than a bitch… on the page.” The remaining what-were-they-thinking candidates had been Kim Basinger, Cameron  Diaz, Heather Graham, Lisa Kudrow, Tatum O’Neal, Gwyneth Paltrow, Meg Ryan, Alicia Silverstone and  Naomi Watts. 
  29. Jennifer Aniston, She’s Funny That Way, 2013.  Or Squirrels to the Nuts (a Lubitsch line from Cluny Brown, 1945), when director Peter Bogdanovich was due to helm it with Tatum, his 1972 Paper Moon star. “This movie is my gift to her.”  But everything fell apart after the sudden death of her intended co-star John Ritter in 2003.  Tatum had a cameo in the new version (the old title being cut for sounding too kiddyish).  Other cameos went to Michael Shannon and Quentin Tarantino.
  30. 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, Renée Zellweger. 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:  30