Audrey Hepburn


  1. Veronica Hurst, Laughter In Paradise, 1950.     A theatre gig prevented Hepburn winning a decent little role. Al  she had time for was to be a nightclub’s Cigarette Girl. Enough to get her noticed… Years later, Billy Wilder decreed: What Audrey Hepburn had, you couldn’t teach, you couldn’t even learn it. God kissed her on the cheek and there she was.” 
  2. Deborah Kerr, Quo Vadis, 1950.     Director John Huston selected Gregory Peck for Marcus Vinicius and Elizabeth Taylor for Lygia. When Peck’s eye infection delayed shooting, the Lygia substitutes included Audrey, Kathleen Bryon,Janet Leigh.
  3. Leslie Caron, An American in Paris, 1950.    She was among the girls Gene Kelly saw while casting in London.  He told his friend, the Bond and Superman scenarist Tom Mankiewicz: ”I knew she was magic. And she could dance a litile. But she was a hoofer. I needed someone who could also dance ballet. The next thjng I know, Willy Wyler casts her in Roman Holiday and the rest is history. Damn!”
  4. Joan Rice,  Blackmailed,  1951.      With the part of Alma still  uncast,  the future French auteur – Roger Vadim (Brigitte Bardot’s future mentor-husband-director) and realisateur Marc Allegret – took off to a London nightclub. “There was this incredibly attractive young person introducing  the cabaret,” recalled Vadim.  “About  18,  in a brief  costume  of  sequins and ostrich feathers and with so much style I suggested we test her.  She read for us and would’ve been good but the producer felt she would not photograph well and never make it in movies.” The producer with  the typical  British  ignorance  about  women was Harold Huth.
  5. Nadia Gray, Valley of the Eagles, 1951.      Director Terence Young’s test proved she was not strapping  enough for his  heroine. Always impressed by his kindness,  Audrey finally worked with Young, as Wait Until Dark’s blind victim…  16 years on!  They discovered  that they  had first met as young nurse (16) and wounded paratrooper in a Dutch hospital after the  WWII  battle of Arnhem,
  6. Pauline Stroud, Lady Godiva Rides Again, 1951.     Too, er,  sparse – naturally – for a beauty-contest winner flopping in showbiz. Pauline made three more films,  only.
  7. Dorothy Tutin, The Beggar’s Opera, 1952.      First Deanna Durbin in 1947, next Audrey  was all but  set for Polly Peacham  when, look out! –   Laurence Olivier’s old  MacHeath was back in town…  
  8. Claire Bloom, Limelight, 1951.      For what proved his last film made in America, Charles Chaplin saw the unknown Hepburn for his leading lady: ballerina Thereza.  As he sailed to the UK for the world premiere, Chaplin received the news that he was banned from returning to the US – for being a Communist! The cinema’s  finest star spent the rest of his life in Vevey, Switzerland.
  9. Eileen Moore, I Vinti (The Vanquished), Italy-France, 1953.     For his third film, Italian maestro-to-be Michelangelo Antonioni collated  three shorts based on true murders committed by post-war youth in France, Italy and the UK.  The best was the Brit chapter, much of which (body found in a park,  conceited hero, tennis match)  led to Blow Up a dozen years  later.  Just as he lost Brigitte Bardot for the French tale,  he couldn’t land  Audrey – “unfortunately on her way to Hollywood.”Moore was the first wife (1954-1962) of UK star George Cole.
  10. Gloria Talbot, We’re No Angels, 1954.   Change of Isabelle, daughter of Leo G Carroll and Joan Bennett in the well nigh perfect (originally French) comedy. About three cons escaping Devil’s Island: Humphrey Bogart, Aldo Ray and Peter Ustinov. No matter, as Sabrina Hepburn got Bogie for a co-star that year.  

  11. Jean Simmons, Desirée, 1954.  Simmons strode in where Hepburn feared to tread… as Daisy Rae. as Marlon Brando’s Napoléon  insisted on calling his fiancée…Montgomery Clift refused to be Napoléon. Louis Jourdan, although he was French, didn’t stand a chance – Brando would be cheaper, owing Fox a movie to make up for refusing The Egyptian.  And he’d sell more tickets. And he did. Desirée was a much bigger hit than On the Waterfront.  Go figure.  
  12. Anne Baxter, The Ten Commandments, 1954.
  13. Elizabeth Taylor, Giant, 1955.
  14. Jane Wyman, Miracle in  the Rain, 1955.     Producer Frank P Rosenberg got the rights to the Ben Hecht’s weepie back from  Italian   hands  – with Audrey in mind for the lonely woman meeting a lonelier Van Johnson in a rainy New York. Trouble was,  every  producer had Audrey  in mind.  
  15. Ava Gardner, The Little Hut, 1956.     After an aborted UK version for Zsa Zsa Gabor and the third of her nine husbands, George Sanders, the first US idea was another married couple: Hepburn and Mel Ferrer. Plus David Niven, who stayed aboard for the MGM version – with Ava Gardner, Stewart Granger. All three are marooned on a desert island. Pause for sniggers. 
  16. Mitzi Gaynor, South Pacific, 1957.     “Can’t sing?  Nor can I!!”  For his Nellie Forbush from Little Rock, Josh Logan saw ’em all: Audrey, Doris Day, Ginger Rogers,  Elizabeth Taylor. The original Nellie, Mary Martin, was thought too old at 45 to repeat her Broadway role in the Pulitzer Prize-winner.Stage-screen director Joshua Logan chose Mitzi after also considering Doris Day, Judy Garland, Patti Page, Ginger Rogers, Elizabeth Taylor.
  17. Jean Seberg, Saint Joan, 1957.       Refused, the legend goes, because producer-director Otto Preminger would not consider husband Mel Ferrer as the Dauphin –  a surprising cameo from Richard Widmark.
  18. Miiko Taka, Sayonara, 1957.    “I couldn’t possibly play an Oriental” –  not even one becoming Marlon Brando’s lover – said  Audrey, suggested alongside Jennifer Jones for Hana-Ogi.. “No one would believe me; they’d laugh. It’s a lovely script, however I know what I can and can’t do. And if you did persuade me, you would regret it, because I would be terrible.” After searching for a replacement out  East,  non-actress  Miiko (Seattle-born Betty Ishimoto) was found working at a  travel agency… in Los Angeles.
  19. Ava Gardner, The Sun Also Rises,1957.     “I do not want to play a nymphomaniac,” said Audrey about Brett Ashley. “I guess you’ll do,” Hemingway told Ava.  ”You’ve got some vestige of class.”
  20. Kim Novak, Vertigo, 1957.     In the summer of ’56, when  Lana Turner proved too pricey and Vera Miles too pregnant, Hepburn made it known she was very keen on the dual role of Madeleine Elster/Judy Barton. But she didn’t fit the bill for Alfred Hitchcock s most personal film (the reason his wife hated it). In the 2012 Sight & Sound critics’ poll,  Vertigo replaced Citizen Kane as the greatest film of all time. Hitch would not agree. He felt Novak was all wrong and  blamed its failure on Stewart being  too old  – and never worked with him again.

  21. Leslie Caron,  Gigi, 1957.     The French author Colette and the musical’s lyricist Allan Jay Lerner both wanted Hepburn as the titular mistress-in-training. (Shocking!). She was too busy.  Because  of playing the same Gigi on Broadway 219 times – leading to her movie breakthrough, Roman Holiday
  22. Marilyn Monroe, Some Like It Hot, 1958.      Can’t sing, Part Two… The friendship of two jazzmen hiding from The Mob in a girls’ band was the story.“Which made Billy [Wilder] think,” said one of his stars, Tony Curtis. “If Sugar was the weakest part, he needed to give it the strongest casting.” Audrey was no jazz chanteuse.   Elizabeth Taylor was a sudden widow. What about Marilyn – now ya talking!!  “She looked on the screen,” said Wilder, “as if you could reach out and touch her.”
  23. Ingrid  Bergman, The Inn of  Sixth Happiness,  1958.      More correct casting  for  the tiny Welsh  missionary  Gladys Alyward,  than  “the Swedish ox.”
  24. Jean Seberg, Bonjour tristesse, 1958.       Otto Preminger, producer-directing,  wanted Cary Grant and Audrey as the father and daughter in French girl novelist FrançoiseSagan’s second book.  Five years later, the couple were lovers in Charade.
  25. Christine Carère, A Certain Smile, 1958.      Françoise Sagan’s next book did notappeal and director Jean Negulesco’s “newAudrey” later wed controversial auto-legend John DeLaurean...
  26. Millie Perkins, The Diary of Anne Frank, 1958.   The  poor, teenage Holocaust heroine deserved better than this… Director George Stevens’ collected papers reported a major search for a “new face” for Anne. More than 2,000 girls were seen in Europe (particularly Amsterdam where she lived) and Israel… such as Oshra El Kayam, Karin Wolfe. Plus US actresses Perkins, Janet Margolin, , Marianne Sarstadt, Tuesday Weld, Natalie Wood – and Broadway’s Anne, Susan Strasberg. Anne’s father, Otto Frank suggested Audrey. Born just 39 days before Anne, Hepburn was now too old at 29 to play a teenager. Also, she had no wish to relive the the Nazi horrors she had seen and heard growing up in Holland.   “Impossible to even consider the role…. it would cause a breakdown.” She actually preferred being directed (badly) by husband Mel Ferrer in Green Mansions.
  27. Deborah Kerr, Beloved Infidel, 1958.     For Sheila Graham’s book detailing her love affair with novelist F Scott Fitzgerald, producer Jerry Wald first planned Mel Ferrer and his wife, Audrey Hepburn, for the Hollywood couple. Director Henry King chose Gregory Peck and Kerr… who tried to rewrite her part, despite Graham having lived it and written all about it in her autobiography!  
  28. Leslie Caron, Fanny, 1960.    Another French classic… She passed. Wisely.  In the Marcel Pagnol stage,  screen, even musical classic, Fanny – the  Marseilles beauty – was 18. Audrey was 31.  (Caron was 30). 
  29. Jean Simmons, Spartacus, 1960.    It’s only an epic, Ingrid!  The grterat Bergman was not alone in refusing to be Kirk Douglas’ lover, Varinia. Hepburn, Elsa Martinelli (she’d made The Indian Fighter with Douglas in 1955) and Jeanne Moreau also backed off. As did Simmons until asked to replace the unsatisfactory German, Sabine Bethmann.
  30. Geraldine Page, Summer and Smoke, 1961.     And back to… too young!  Playwright celebre Tennessee Williams and producer Hal Wallis visited her Frascati wine country farmhouse, near Anzio, had dinner consisting of just one large fish, no dressing, no dessert, no coffee and… no deal.  At 33, she felt unable to match Geraldine Page, 38, who created what Williams always called “the best female portrait I’ve ever drawn in a play.”

  31. Rita Tushingham, A Taste of Honey, 1961.  Except the whole point about Shelagh Delaney’s heroine was that Jo was extremely plain.  Rita was working at the Liverpool Rep (behind the scenes) when she saw an ad for the film’s auditions. So did 1,999 other girls!
  32. Natalie Wood, West Side Story, 1961.     Pregnant with Sean H Ferrer. Never mind, they would find another musical that  she should not make!
  33. Anne Bancroft, The Miracle Worker, 1962.       With five simultaneous Broadway hits, Arthur Penn was “feeling very  bullish”  when United Artists said he could have  the moon  and Audrey –  or even  Liz Taylor.  “Not a chance,” said Penn, OK, said UA,  with  Audrey (or Liz Taylor)  you get  $2m budget; without, $500,000.  He kept the faith with  his Broadway stars. And they both copped Oscars.
  34. Jane Fonda, In The Cool of the Day, 1962.      The Greek locations are terrific. The film, not.   Hepburn (or, more usually, Mel Ferrer) rejected this rubbish about a married Peter Finch having an affair with his best friend’s missus.   Oh,   did I forget to say she is terminally ill. That could explain Fonca’s terrible wig. Forget the “plot” – willya just look at dem sights!
  35. Elizabeth Taylor, Cleopatra,1962.
  36. Capucine, The 7th Dawn, 1963.      Future 007 director Lewis Gilbert was more excited by the stars than the script – William Holden and his previous (twice) co-star and ex-lover, Audrey Hepburn. When they lost Audrey,they also lost Bill. “I will look stupid” working a second consecutive time with the “not very good”Capucine. He stayed because he owed his career to the producer; as an agent, Charles Feldman had got him Golden Boy, 1939.
  37. Paula Prentiss, Man’s Favourite Sport,1963.   Fishing, that  is… At age 67, directing icon Howard Hawks knew which couple would work – Grant and Hepburn…  Audrey or Katharine.  Instead, he was saddled with Hudson and Paula Prentiss – “accepted gallantly and exploited skillfully… as if he were savouring all  his past jokes for the last time,”said Village Voice critic Andrew Sarris. Being one of those  old japes, Grant passed, being 58 to Paula’s 24
  38. Jean Simmons, Désirée, 1964.       Or Daisy Rae as Marlon Brando’s Napoleon insisted on calling her.   The original Darryl Zanuck plan was Noel Coward directing emperor Brando with Hepburn as the fiancee that got away. She wed Count Bernadotte. They did well for themselves. Napoleon made them King and Queen of Sweden and Norway.
  39. Julie Andrews, The Sound of Music, 1964.    Two years before the musical reached Broadway in 1959, Paramount secured rights to Germany’s 1956 Die Trapp-Familie and  quickly cancelled the re-make when Audrey declined to  play the choir’s mother, Maria Von Trapp.  Fox’s 1957 South Pacific star Mitzi Gaynor then made “a whopping offer” for the musical only to be beaten by Fox which played safe by wanting either Anne Bancroft, Leslie Caron, Doris Day or Grace Kelly wed to Bing Crosby (of all Austrians!) as the Von Trapps. Later as directors changed from Stanley Donen,  George Roy Hill, Gene Kelly and a deaf William Wyler to Robert Wise,  TV actress Sandra Church and Fox’s 1954 Oklahoma! star Shirley Jones were potential Marias. Critic Pauline Kael famously tried to bury “the sugar-coated lie that people seem to want to eat” but it  saved Fox from the near bankruptcy  of the Cleopatra debacle.
  40. Julie Christie, Darling, 1965.   The money-men’s idea.  Probably the same money-men who would have rejected Audrey in the early ‘50s‘  Diane Keaton adored them both. Audrey was ”the personification of beauty with a splash of innocence and awe mixed in  She took my breath away” while Julie was “the most beautiful woman  I’ve ever seen.”

  41. Geraldine Chaplin, Doctor Zhivago, 1965.     Epic director David Lean hungered for Audrey, then 36, to go from teenage to mature mother of two as Tonya. Producer Carlo Ponti suggested he test Chaplin, 20, looking 16.  “Did it like a bird!” a surprised Lean wrote her mother,  Oona Chaplin.  Apart from her walk-on in her father’s Limelight, 1951, this was Geraldine’s first English-language movie, after debuting in French films. 
  42. Leslie Caron, Father Goose, 1965.    Cary Grant was shooting Charade when  Universal suggested he read S H Barnett’s short story, A Place of Dragons. So, he naturally Hepburn should the co-star of what he saw as his final romantic lead – just as he asked Charade’s Peter Stone to write the script.  Audrey’s diary was full. Caron’s was not., Stone won an Oscar and, in his penultimate film, Grant was almost unrecognisable as, well, Bogart’s Charlie Allnut of The Aftican Queen – a bewiskered  boozehound bum (“I’ve have often played a spiritual bum… this is the first time I’ve looked like one”) rescuing schoolteacher Katherine Hepburn – sorry, Leslie Caron  – and her seven little girl pupils  on a South Pacific island during WWII.  
  43. Julie Andrews, Hawaii, 1966.    Gentleman director Fred Zinnemann planned what screenwriter Daniel Taradash  felt was impossible  – “shoot two pictures without pause for  250  days,” of the entire James A Michener novel.  Cutting it back to one, left Fred too exhausted to continue into a second. His Hepburn-Rock Hudson couple became George Roy Hill’s Andrews-Richard  Harris.  During 1985 in France, realisateur Claude Berri managed the impossible,  shooting Marcel Pagnol’s Jean de Florette and Manon des Sources over 12 months.

  44. Vanessa Redgrave, Camelot, 1966.
    For his last hurrah after 45 years running Warner Bros, head bro Jack L Warner – having learned his lesson the hard way by ruining My Fair Lady – wanted the original Broadway stars to reprise their 1960 roles of King Arthur and Guenevere. Richard Burton was not keen (or not for the money on offer).  Nor was Julie Andrews, certainly not after the way Jack Warner dumped her from My Fair Lady (even though that led to her Mary Poppins Oscar).  “OK, we’ll take Liz, as well,” said Warner.  And why not their mate, Peter O’Toole, as Lancelot.  However, Elizabeth Taylor was not going where Burton was not going…  Julie refused  to work with Burton’s replacement, Richard Harris. They had not got on during Hawaii –  which is where he first heard about the film and started pushing to be the king.  Top candidates to succeed Julie were  Julie Christie, Petula Clark, Marianne Faithfull, Audrey Hepburn(part of her My Fair Lady deal), Liza Minnelli, Elizabeth Taylor Jan Waters. Jack Warner separately considered the way cheaper Ann-Margret, Polly Bergen, Cher, Mitzi Gaynor and  Shirley Jones. Vanessa and  Franco Nero (as Lancelot) were lovers on and off the screen. They finally wed in  2006. 

  45. Françoise Dorléac, Les demoiselles de Rochefort, France, 1967.   J Cinéaste Jacques Demy dreamt of Hepburn and Brigitte Bardot as the musical sisters. “I probably hold the distinction of being one movie star who, by all laws of logic, should never have made it,” said Audrey. “At each stage of my career, I lacked the experience.
  46. Sandy Dennis, Sweet November, 1967.   Back in the earlier 60s, Audrey was very keen on playing the girl hgiving a guy  a month from his hang-ups.  Of course, she was.  Sara was very much like a sister of Holly Golightly.  But Breakfast at Tiffany’s had the better song.
  47. Vanessa Redgrave, Isadora, 1967.      Before it reached the safe hands of UK director Karel Reisz, the first Isa-ideas were Audrey Hepburn and even Kim Novak.
  48. Catherine Deneuve, Mayerling, 1967.     It had been a package for Audrey and husband Mel Ferrer, after they played the tragic Austrian lovers Baroness Marie Alexandrine von Vetsera and Crown Prince Rudolf in a 1957 TVersion. They would have been an improvement on the chemical imbalance of Deneuve-Omar Sharif, dead long before they died on-screen. Not unlike the Ferrers’ marriage – all over one year later.
  49. Petula Clark, Goodbye Mr Chips, 1969.   For the musical version of the 1938 classic which won British Robert Donat an Oscar for his portrayal of the gentle schoolmaster, Mr Charles Edward Chipping, almost every possible Brit was contacted. From Albert Finney  to Peter  Sellers, by way of Richard Harris, Christopher Plummer and Paul Scofield. Mrs Chips was important, too, and the couple went from Cary Grant-Audrey Hepburn or the Doctor Dolittle‘s Rex Harrison-Samantha Eggar to Camelot’s Richard Burton-Julie Andrews or Burton-Lee Remick…or surprise, surprise, Elizabeth Taylor. Plus Burton-Petula Clark, except he turned down “a singer!” (What was Julie Andrews?).  Finally, and gloriously, the Chips became Pete ‘n’ Pet. 
  50. Raquel Welch, Myra Breckinridge, 1969.   Anne Bancroft, Audrey Hepburn, Angela Lansbury, Vanessa Redgrave and Elizabeth Taylor all passed on the hero/heroine. An enormous flop, ruining the careers of UK director MikerSarne, actor Roger Herren and poor Raquel. “It should have been a comedy spoof,” said author Gore  Vidal, “with  Mike  Nichols directing”… a female impersonator as Myra!”   On hearing that Sarne was reduced to being a pizzeria waiter, Vidal said it proved “that God exists and there is such a thing as Divine Symmetry.”

  51. Janet Suzman, Nicholas and Alexandra, 1970.    Wed by now to Italian psychiatrist Dr Andrea Mario Dotti,  little could tempt her away from her 16th Century farmhouse overlooking lake Geneva in the Swiss village of Tolochenaz. So… Janet Who?  And that was the problem with Sam Spiegel’s latest epic.  Despite his track record, Columbia wouldn’t give him enough money to hire Audrey, Julie Christie, Grace Kelly (!)  or Liv Ullmann as the wife of Tsar Nicholas II, Russia’s last monarch… . not, though, the last despot. Sam finished  up with almost a TVersion  with  co-dullards, Michael Jayston and Janet Suzman. . No wonder Lindsay Anderson, Joseph L Mankiewicz and George Stevens (to name  but three  dtrectors) refused the gig.
  52. Ellen Burstyn, The Exorcist, 1973.
  53. Liv Ullman,40Carats, 1973.     Intrigued, as her middle-aged woman’s passion would be for EdwardAlbert,son of the 1953 Roman Holiday news-photographer, Eddie Albert.
  54. Jeanne Moreau, Lumiere, France, 1975.      “I had not wanted to be in the film,” admitted La Moreau about her writer-directing debut. “Audrey Hepburn was committed to Robin and Marian and the producer told me: You must do it.”

  55. Liv Ullmann, A Bridge Too Far, 1976.
    Her agent asked too much (for a cameo). But the budget was gone.  Mostly on Robert Redford. Would have been better if director Richard Attenborough had called Hepburn,  himself… Except he was busy enough seducing a dozen other  A-Listers into  WWII cameos, from Bogarde, Caan, Caine, Connery, Gould, Hackman to  Laurence Olivier, Ryan O’Neal, Maximilian Schell   Darling Dickie wanted Hepburn because she’d been there…     The Anglo-Dutch Hepburn was sent from the UK to Holland for safety when WWII began – only to be trapped there when Germany invaded the supposedly neutral country. During Operation Market Garden, Hepburn (at 15)  ran errands and messages for the Allies fighting in her mother’s home town of Arnhem… and might wel have run into her offered role of Kate Ter Horst.

  56. Sally Field, Sybil,TV, 1976.    Based on a real case, Sybil had multiple personalities – 16 of them! Patty Duke, Audrey Hepburn and Natalie Wood were up for them. Field was more determined.  “I had worked my whole life – lived my whole life – to play this rôle. I knew her. She belonged to  me.”  Through April and May., Sal kept reading, testing, auditioning, call  it what you will, in her baggy, ragamuffin clothes, for four people in a business  office, including “the ldast interested” director Anthony Page, who wanted Vanessa Redgrave. (“Who wouldn’t?” said Sal). She would leave the group stunned, totally confused. “How on earth could The Flying Nunbe the best choice!”   To prove she was wrong for the part – or right! – she tested with Joanne Woopdward, who’d  been here before in The Three Faces of Eve, 1956, and was now set for Sybil’s shrink. (She had been asked to be Sybil).  After the videotaping, Woodward told the suits: “If Sally is not cast as Sybil, then I won’t be your Dr Wilbur.” Oh, and Daniel Petrie directed. Sal won an Emmy, with two Oscars to come In her now, non-airborne future.
  57. Anne Bancroft, The Turning Point, 1977.      “The one film that got away from me.” Original idea was Audrey as the ballerina and Grace Kelly, back on-screen, as her jealous old friend.
  58. Marthe Keller, Fedora, France-West Germany, 1977.   When Billy Wilder’s penultimate film was being set up at Universal, the suits wanted either Hepburn, Audrey or Katharine, as the reclusive, Garboesque screen diva.  Or, hey, Billy-baby, better idea – both of them!  For the younger and older incarnations.  (I have a distinct feeling Kate rapidly put a stop to that notion).  Michael York, who played himself, in the star system story, reported that Vanessa Redgrave had been keen on the title role(s). Billy-baby was more interested in Faye Dunaway and Dietrich (the obvious choice). Marlene, however, detested Tom Tryon’s novella. Crowned Heads, and found the script no better. Wilder then saw Bobby Deerfield, fell for Keller and made the movie in Corfu, very much as a companion piece to Sunset Boulevard, 1949. (William Holden is in and narrates both).
  59. Shirley MacLaine, A Change of Seasons, 1979.   Four years earlier, Hepburn had been in talks to play Karyn Evans – finally played by MacLaine, “the most obnoxious actress I have ever worked with,” complained co-star Anthony Hopkins.  Critics  saw it was a re-hash of 1968’s adult rom-com,  Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice, and referred to Adam & Karen & Pete & Lindsey.  They said exactly  the same about MacLaine’s next, Loving Couples, 1980… Walter & Evelyn & Greg & Stephanie.
  60. Liv Ullman, Richard’s Things, 1981.      The script was returned “promptly and politely” toFrederic Rapahel, scenarist ofher Two For The Road, 1967. “I can’t begin to think of playing a woman who fell in love withanotherwoman.”D’oh – what about The Children’s Hour in 1961?

  61. Barbara Stanwyck, The Thorn Birds, TV, 1983.      As plans switched from an epic movie to a mini-series (the most successful; since Roots), the role of the heroine’s immensely  wealthy aunt, Mary Elizabeth Cleary Carson, travelled from Audrey to Bette Davis to La Barb.  The TVersion of Colleen McCullough’s 1977 novel (it sold  33 million copies) was  was  made in California as “no one understands Aussie accents’ – so why not simply re-set it in Georgia? Except no one understands those accents, either. 
  62. Meryl Streep, Out of Africa, 1985. Interested directors ranged from David Lean and Orson Welles to Nicolas Roeg.  Over the years, the role of Karen Blixen had been offered to everyone from Greta Garbo to Audrey Hepburn.  Lean and Roeg wanted their star – Julie from Lean’s 1964  Doctor Zhivagp and Roeg’s Don’t Look Now, 1973. Sydney Pollack never imagined Streep could be sexy enough –  until she turned up for their meet in a blouse cut low and a bra pushed-up. And “a farm in Ofrica.”
  63. Sandra Bernhard, Hudson Hawk, 1990.   There was no role for her but Michael Lehmann,  the director chosen by and then ignored by the star, the producer and the writer – Bruce Willis – wanted Audrey in the (alleged) comedy caper. What about combining the two villains into one for her?  Talks with her agent fell apart.  Willis then suggested reverting to a pair of villains – but making them a married couple, Darwin and Minerva Mayflower by any other name would be as awful – aka Richard E Grant and Sandra Bernhard, friends to this (2021) day. The fans say the ginormous flop  was way ahead of its time. The rest of us agreed with the summation of Rolling Stone’s  Peter Travers.  Hudson Duck!
  64. Ann-Margret, Grumpy Old Men, 1994.      “The older you get, the more you have to resign yourself to not working or taking inconsequential or frightening parts.” She died before the production began.

  65. Matilda De Angelis, , Across the River and Into the Trees, 2020.
    It took almost 50 years to cross the river…   and film the Ernest Hemjngway novelHis great pal, John Huston, scripted it in 1976  for another mate, Robert Mitchum, and Maria Schneider. Then, directors as diverse as Robert Altman, Martin Campbell, Joseph Losey and Valerio Zurlini promised us… Pierce Brosnan, Burt Lancaster or Roy Sheider as the veteran soldier suffering from two world wars… Audrey Hepburn, Greta Scacchi, Maria Valverde as his teenage inamorata, Renata (it means reborn)… and Julie Christie or Isabella Rossellini as her mother, the Contessa Contanini.   It took a woman, Spanish director Paula Ortiz, to finally get the job done – with Josh Hutcherson and The Undoing’sMatilda De Angelis. (And, to complete the circle, Danny Huston, John’s son, is Captain O’Neil). Based on his unconsummated infatuation for an 18-year-old, this was the first Hemingway novel to be derided by critics for repeating his usual themes: love, war, youth, age and facing death. Some called  it Death in Venice II.  Tennessee Williams championed it as “the saddest novel in the world about the saddest city… the best and most honest work that Hemingway has done.”






 Birth year: 1929Death year: 1993Other name: Casting Calls:  65