Ashley Judd


  1. Pamela Anderson, Home Improvement, TV, 1991-1997.    Lisa, the Tool Girl, was given to Judd but her agent advised concentration on film, not TV offers. The show’s producer Matt Williams later directed her 15th movie,  Where The Heart Is, 2000. Judd is descended on her mother’s side from Jane Seymour, third of  Henry VIII’s six wives; she died giving birth to the future King Edward VI. Meanwhile, enter: Anderson, Playboy’s favourite cover girl (and almost the inventor of sex-tapes) for 24 episodes… leading her to the jigglevision Baywatch, 1992-1997.
  2. Milla Jovovich,Kuffs, 1992.    Ashley preferred a smaller part to the “indignity” of a leading role requiring nudity.”I won’t disrobe and destroy, in one motion,everything my family stands for.” Her family are the C&W singers: Naomi and Wynonna Judd.
  3. Courtney Love, The People vs Larry Flynt, 1996 The subject was the porno king behind America’s Hustler magazine – a more gynecological version of Playboy.  T0 be played by Woody Harrelson. But who should be his wife, a bisexual stripper named Althea Leasure? Patricia Arquette, Showgirls’ Elizabeth Berkley, Georgina Cates, Cameron Diaz, Rachel Griffiiths, Ashley Judd, Mira Sorvino (too busy playing Marilyn) – and Kimberly Williams-Paisley,who refused all nudity. Finally, Czech director Milos Forman chose  Kurt Cobain’s widow, Courtney Love.  Well, she had once been a stripper, herself.  ‘I’m not a woman, I’m a force of nature.”
  4. Carrie-Anne Moss, Memento, 1999.    Director Christopher Nolan got stuck in the J pages when trying to locate the best Natalie: Judd, Famke Janssen, Angelina Jolie.  He then whetted his thumb and flicked through M…
  5. Angelina Jolie, Lara Croft, Tomb Raider, 2000.  For the girls, Lara Croft is their James Bond.  Well, more of a sexy Indiana Jones.  And 22 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, Gwneth 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 pistolthat he would use again as 007 in Casino Royale, 2005.
  6. Lucy Liu, Charlie’s Angels, 2000. Tele-tycoon Aaron Spelling decided to put Aaron’s angels on the big screen  (to help generate a new series on the small). His first new  trio: MTV discovery Jenny McCarthy, ex-Spice Girl Geri Halliwell and 007’s Hong Kong martial arts superstar. Then, Drew Barrymore showed him how to do it. with the  third  of her numerous (canny) productions. Just look at the 25 girls she shuffled to find the right  angel Alex Munday: Aaliyah (“too young”), Jennifer Aniston, Asia Argento, Halle Berry, Lara Flynn Boyle, Helena Bonham Carter, Penélope Cruz, Kristin Davis, Jodie Foster, Angie Harmon (stuck on Law & Order),  Salma Hayek, Ashley Judd, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Nia Long, Gwyneth Paltrow, Tiffani Thiessen, Uma Thurman, Liv Tyler, , Kate Winslet, Reese Witherspoon, Robin Wright, Renée Zellweger, Catherine Zeta-Jones… And two singers: Lauryn Hill and another  Spice Girl: Victoria Beckham.
  7. Jennifer Connelly, A Brilliant Mind, 2001.   If the choice of the right actor to  portray the schizophrenic Noble Prize-winning mathematician John Forbes Nash Jr was vital,  selecting his screen wife was even more so   – hence an Oscar for Connelly and not for Russell Crowe.  The other candidates included Julie Bowen, Toni Collette, Claire Danes, Geena Davis, Kirsten Dunst, Portia De Rossi, Claire Forlani, Rachel Griffiths, Teri Hatcher, Famke Janssen, Ashley Judd, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Catherine McCormack, Mary McCormick, Mia Maestro, Rhona Mitra, Julia Ormond, Amanda Peet, Christina Ricci, Meg Ryan, Chloe Sevigny, Alicia Silverstone, Mira Sorvino, Hilary Swank, Charlize Theron, Uma Thurman, Rachel Weisz.  PS Emily Watson was rejected as “too British” – while Salma Hayek was seen because  Alicia Nash came from El; Salvador… which must have meant the others were too American, Australian,  South African, etc. Director Ron Howard seemed to forget they were all actresses. Odd that, as he used to be one.
  8. Cate Blanchett, The Lord of the Rings trilogy, 2001-2003.
  9. Renée Zellweger,Chicago, 2002.
  10. 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.

  11. Halle Berry, Catwoman, 2004.    She passed – ironically – to be Cat on a Hot Tin Roof on Broadway. Would Pitof have also made Judd look as bad as The Halle Cat- as Berry was named by cast and crew.
  12. Rachel McAdams, The Notebook, 2004.     Rachel McAdams  beat many people (Britney Spears, included) wanting to be Allie.
  13. Hilary Swank, Million Dollar Baby, 2004.
  14. Carla Gugino, Sin City, 2004.    Directors Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller also looked at Carrie-Anne Moss, Sarah Jessica Parker, Uma Thurman and Naomi Watts for  Lucille in their  “live” comic-strip.
  15. Naomi Watts, King Kong, 2005.      Peter Jackson saw all the beauties LA had to offer and kept thefaith withdown-under talent.
  16. Sharon Stone, Basic Instinct 2, 2005.      There was a moment in her high priced revenge for being trapped (said she) into flashing her pubic hair in the first film (which just happened to make her a global star!) when  Sharon Stone refused to be Catherine Trammell again.  MGM ran to  Ashley – or Demi Moore. And, my goodness, who was that rushing back into the fold?  And for what, an obvious flop before one scene was shot in anger… As in: What  the hell can she do for an encore?
  17. Vera Famiga, The Departed, 2006.    Also considered for the role of Madolyn: Patricia Arqauette, Gwyneth Paltrow, Kyra Sedgwick.
  18. Annette Bening The Women, 2007.     Judd was (obviously)  keen  on the old Rosalind Russell role, but after  15 years trying to writer-direct 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  the  30s ladies like  Norma Shearer, Joan Crawford and Rosalind Russell.
  19. Julianna Marguiles, The Good Wife, TV, 2009-2015.   The ER star   admitted she had been “sloppy thirds” for the titular Alicia Florrick.  Actually, she was sloppy fourths…   Her rivals  had been Judd, Helen Hunt and the one Juliana didn’t seem to know about: Elisabeth Shue. 
  20. 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.
  21. Julie Bowen, Rapunzel’s Tangled Adventure, TV, 2017-2020.  Change of voice for Queen Arianna of Corona – and mother of Mandy Moore as  Princess Rapunzel in the Disney toon series…   after Tangled, 2010, and before Tangled Ever After, 2012.





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