Claire Danes


  1. Ariana Richards, Jurassic Park, 1992.
  2. Kate Winslet, Titanic, 1996.
  3. Dominque Swain, Lolita, 1997.      Also trying to be Dolores Haze, aka Lo-lee-tah: Melissa Joan Hart, Christiana Ricci.
  4. Anne Heche, Psycho, 1997.  
    So who should be knocked off real early in the shower? Except why should anyone play Marion Crane again? It’s been done. It’s a classic. And by The Master. Why re-make Hitchcock?  Ah, beg pardon, Gus Van Sant called it a reproduction. A bizarre (lazy!) notion of copying  –  the Psycho  script, word for word, action for action, move for move, shock for shock (except the shocks were too famous to  shock anymore). “Just shoot it in color and have, for instance, Jack Nicholson play the detective and Timothy Hutton play Norman Bates,” he suggested. “Universal wanted to rope me in, and I said: “Here’s the idea: don’t change anything! It’s never been done before. Isn’t that a great reason to try it?” Not really! What had he said about re-makes? The essence is missing. You might as well make an original movie. Right!  Drew Barrymore,   Claire Danes and  Winona Ryder (too young; “I  wanted to preserve the integrity of the characters”), Nicole Kidman (too busy), Laura Linney (she preferred The Truman Show, which was new) and Julianne Moor (finished up as Marion’s sister) were in the mix, before Anne Heche won the one sequence that was not the same as  in 1959 –  the shower. “it’s more grotesque. It’s more disgusting… Hitchcock was holding back, I’ll bet.”  Yet it worked much better. First is always best.

  5. Angelina Jolie, Girl Interrupted, 1998.   One Flew into the Cuckoo’s nest… stems from Susanna Kaysen’s memoir. She committed herself to a psychiatric institution and was kept there for two years, although she was quite sane. Chicago critic Roger Ebert said Winona Ryder (also exec producer) and  the support Oscar-winning Angelina Jolie – as Susanna and the sociopath Lisa – were the reasons to see the film, although “their work here deserves a movie with more reason for existing.” Most other patients were teenage girls, played by rising young Hollywood actresses in their 20s – Angela Bettie and Jillian Armenante even played 22 age 31. Why? Because, said Rose McGowan, “It’s the only decent thing out there that doesn’t involve taking your clothes off.” Jolie won the supporting actress Oscar.
  6. Tara Reid, Dr T and the Women, 1999.   Danes passed on Robert  Altman’s invitation be Connie Travis, one of the titular Richard Gere’s two daughters – a guide at the Dallas Conspiracy Museum, displaying  where JFK was shot.
  7. Emily Mortimer, Scream 3, 1999.    More Ghostface murders begin during the shooting of Stab 3… the horror flick inside the horror flick! Alicia Silverstone refused to be Angelina Tyler, so director Wes Craven  voted Mortimer (daughter of the UK playwright Sir John Mortimer) after seeing Christie Clark, Claire Danes, Alyson Hannigan and Kelli Martin. 
  8. Monica Potter, Head Over Heels, 2000.   The later much wasted Monica was promoted from a small role when Danes quit so late in the day it was night.
  9. Kate Hudson, Almost Famous, 2000.  Looking for his Penny Lane groupie in his semi-autobiographical look back to his Rolling Stone reporter daze, auteur Cameron Crowe saw 48 of LA’s bright young things… Christina Applegate, Selma Blair, Lara Flynn Boyle, Neve Campbell, Jennifer Connelly, Claire Danes, Cameron Diaz, Kirsten Dunst, Eliza Dushku, Jenna Elfman, Jennie Garth, Maggie Gyllenhal, Alyson Hannigan, Angie Harmon, Anne Heche, Katherine Heigl, Jordan Ladd, Kimberly McCullough (busier as a TV director these days, High School Musical: The Musical – The Series, etc), Rose McGowan, Bridget Moynahan, Brittany Murphy, Gwyneth Paltrow, Laura Prepon, Lindsay Price, Christina Ricci, Rebecca Romijn, Winona Ryder, Chloë Sevigny, Marley Shelton Tori Spelling, Mena Suvari, Uma Thurman, Liv Tyler, Lark Voorhies.  Plus the English Saffron Burrows, Anna Friel, Thandiwe Newton and Rachel Weisz, Madrid’s Penélope Cruz, the French Charlotte Gainsbourg, Canada’s Natasha Henstridge, Ukrainian Milla Jovovich, Scottish Kelly Macdonald, Israeli Natalie Portman, German Franka Potente, Australian Peta Wilson and Welsh Catherine Zeta-Jones.  And the winner, Canada’s Sarah Polley, simply split. (Silly girl).  Crowe then chose Kate  (previously booked  for Anita) because “she seemed more like a free spirit.”  But, but, but… Chloë  was the freest spirit in all Hollywood. As she proved two years later in The Brown Bunny… in a way the others would never have dared.
  10. Anne Hathaway, The Princess Diaries, 2001.   Among 22 youngstars (Drew Barrymore, Cameron Diaz, Reese Witherspoon, etc) rejecting the awkward San Francisco teenager being groomed (by Julie Andrews!) to inherit the Genovia throne – after director Garry Marshall’s first (shock!) choice of Juliette Lewis quit. |

  11. 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.
  12. Anne Hathaway, The Devil Wears Prada, 2005.    Claire and Juliette Lewis were seen for fashion icon Meryl Streep’s assistant, Andrea “Andy” Sachs.
  13. Rachel McAdams, Red Eye, 2004.    Horrorsmith Wes Craven also saw Neve Campbell, Jennifer Connelly, Amanda Peet, Rachel Weisz, Robin Wright – and made the right choice. Chicago critic Roger Ebert praised McAdams. Highly. “When she’s stalking a terrorist with a hockey stick, she seems like a real woman stalking a real terrorist with a real hockey stick. It’s not as easy as it sounds.”
  14. Kate Bosworth, Superman Returns, 2006.
  15. Katherine Heigl, Knocked Up, 2006.
  16. Keri Russell, August Rush, 2007.    Liv Tyler was also seen for the cellist mother of the titular Freddie Highmore. Saw this on planes to and from LA for my 70th birthday trip in 2008.
  17. Bryce Dallas Howard, Terminator Salvation, 2008.   One T was enough (two as she also refused Dr T), so Claire pulled out from reprising John Connors’ wife from Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, 2002. French star Charlotte Gainsbourg was (suprisingly) offered the gig… which clashed with her schedule. BDH, The eternal First Reserve, took over. Ron Howard’s daughter made a whole career of replacing others… Claire here; Kirsten Dunst in The Village, 2004; Nicole Kidman, Manderlay, 2005; Lindsay Lohan, The Loss of a Teardrop Diamond, 2008; Rachelle Lefevre in The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, 2009.
  18. Naomi Watts, J Edgar, 2011.   When Charlize Theron quit to go sorceress in Snow White and the Huntsman, Danes was considered for Helen Gandy – J Edgar Hoover’s  secretary for 54 years, a major influence on his FBI and keeper of his secrets.   Then, the director, a certain Clint Eastwood, selected Watts.
  19. Diane Kruger, The Host, 2012.    Change of The Seeker in Andrew Niccol’s film of Twilight author Stephenie Meyer’s sf book. Hayley Atwell and Eva Green were also listed.   
  20. Naomi Watts, The Glass Castle, 2015. Danes had been first choice for the bizarre mother of the highly dysfunctional, nomadic family Walls.

















 Birth year: Death year: Other name: Casting Calls:  20