Dame Emma Thompson


  1. Anjelica Huston, Prizzi’s Honor, 1984.       “So let’s do it. Right here. On the Oriental. With all the lights on.” Maerose Prizzi knew what she wanted, where and when from her Family’s hit man, Jack Nicholson – the unlikeliest Mafioso since the Corleones’ James Caan. Before realising his daughter was Oscar-winning perfection, director John Huston looked at some 19 potential Maeroses. From the sublime Rosanna Arquette, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Liza Minnelli, Demi Moore, Michelle Pfeiffer (been there, done that and got the Married To The Mob and Scarface t-shirts), Debra Winger… to the ridiculous: Thompson, Geena Davis, Melanie Griffith, Daryl Hannah, Sela Ward, Debra Winger… and the damn stupid: Linda Blair, Carrie Fisher, Kelly Lebrock, Heather Locklear, Sarah Jessica Parker, Ally Sheedy.
  2. Glenn Close, Fatal Attraction, 1986.
  3. Sharon Duce, Doctor Who #153: Ghost Light, TV 1989.      The Oscar-winner  (for Best Adapted Script) was considered for the role of Control – opposite  Doc7 Sylvester McCoy. 
  4. Julia Roberts, Pretty Woman, 1989.
  5. Jodie Foster, The Silence of the Lambs, 1989.
  6. Geena Davis, Thelma & Louise, 1990.
  7. Sharon Stone, Basic Instinct, 1991.
  8. Sandra Bullock, Speed, 1993.       Aw c’mon! This is the one and only time that Emma  was in the mix for the same role as  such equals as… Rosanna Arquette, Cameron Diaz, Carrie Fisher, Bridget Fonda,  Daryl Hannah, Kay Lenz, Alyssa Milano, Demi Moore, Tatum O’Neal, Sarah Jessica Parker and  Ally Sheedy. What was Fox  thinking!  A further  25 also declined (including, aw c’mon… Glenn Close and Meryl Streep!). Instead of helping Keanu Reeves save passengers of a bus with a bomb on it., Emma polished Sense and Sensibility and won an Oacar for her adaptation!
  9. Sigourney Weaver, Dave, 1993,     Too busy when comedy  producer-director Ivan Reitman asked her to be Kevin Kline’s First Lady. After shooting Reitman’s Junior (with a pregnant Arnold Schwarzenegger, who guested in Dave), she was asked to be Redford’s First Lady in The President Elopes which became…
  10. Annette Bening, The American President, 1994.    Emma was too occupied shooting her (Oscar-winning) script of Sense and Sensibility.
  11. Joan Allen, The Crucible, 1996.     The great Ken ’n’ Em – Kenneth Branagh and Thompson – were separated by the time their project took off. Badly.

  12. Uma Thurman,  The Avengers, 1997.    
    Never ask Americans to do a Brit’s work…  Warner Bros insisted on Jeremiah Chechik directing the cinema  version of the hit UK TV series –  and the long delayed project suffered the worst casting in decades. As if Ralph Fiennes as John Steed was not alarming enough, Uma as the essentially  British Mrs  Emma Peel was  a disaster.  Thompson, Nicole Kidman, Gwyneth Paltrow, Elizabeth Shue had refused and Diana Rigg, the original Mrs Peel, likewise  fled her proffered cameo. Sean Connery was the villain and if he  ever wondered what 007 would have turned out like in Hollywood, this mess was the answer. Sheer balderdash!

  13. Kristin Scott Thomas, The Horse Whisperer, 1997.  Robert Redford said he’d never to act in a film he directed. But who better suited the titular Westerner – “a man of great patience,” as critic Roger Ebert said, “faced with a woman, a child and a horse in great need of it.” He chose Emma for the mother  of the troubled because “the British do austerity better than any American.“ She had personal problems.  RR called up KST, who he’d admired in Four Weddings and a Funeral. They didn’t mess as well as RR and Scarlette Johansson, at age 13.
  14. Bridget Fonda, A Simple Plan, 1998.    Directors changed (John Boorman, John Dahl, Mike Nichols, Ben Stiller) almost as often as possible wives of (ultimately) Bill Paxton during the three years before the  property hit Sam Raimi’s doorstep. 
  15. Alanis Morissette, Dogma, 1999.     Yes, I’ll play God. Oh, no, sorry guys, I’m pregnant. Not good. Not even for a Kevin Smith deity. New Jersey’s askew auteur had also asked Holly Hunter. Morisette, one of his Bethany choices, opened a window in her world tour. Said Rolling Stone critic Peter Travers: Thou shalt not stop laughing.
  16. Jodie Foster,  Anna and The King, 1999.    Refused. Unfortunately.
  17.  Renée Zellweger, Bridget Jones’s Diary, 2001.    Also among the dozen nearly-Brendas – Cate Blanchett, Helena Bonham Carter, Rachel Griffiths, Nicole Kidman, Miranda Richardson, Tilda Swinton, Kristin Scott, Catherine Zeta-Jones.
  18. Toni Collette, About A Boy, 2002.    As a single mum pick-up of  irresponsible, immature Hugh Grant. Film is fat better than it sounds..
  19. Meryl Streep, Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events,  2004.    When are you  going  to make  a film for me…?  Meryl’s daughter was a fan of the books and suggested her mother portray the fearful Aunt Josephine.
  20. Meryl Streep, The Manchurian Candidate, 2004.    Director Jonathan Demme – tethered too long in re-treads – looked at all the women with balls. Glenn Close, Jessica Lange and Meryl to play the dastardly mother.

  21. Ellen Barkin, Palindromes, 2004.      For the pro-abortion mother of a baby-hungry 13-year-old – played by eight actors of varying ages, sizes, colours and, indeed, sexes in Todd Solondz’s sorta sequel to his 1995 landmark, Welcome To The Dollhouse. Critic Roger Ebert got it right. “You may hate it, but you have seen it, and in a strange way it has seen you.”
  22. Helena Bonham Carter, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, 2006. Annette Bening, Toni Collette, Nicole Kidman, Cyndi Lauper, Bernadette Peters, Meryl Streep plus great Brits, Thompspn, Kristin Scott Thomas, Imelda Staunton and Kate Winslet were also considered for Mrs Lovett, making the meatiest of meat pies (from the victims of a demonic Johnny Depp). They all lacked one essential. They were not living with director Tim Burton! HBC was. And, as if to underline this fact, she was pregnant during the shoot.
  23. Jacki Weaver, Silver Linings Playbook, 2011.   Emma passed and the veteran Aussie earned  an Oscar nomination for Dolores.
  24. Lesley Manville, Maleficent, 2012.    Emma and Judi Dench were short-listed for the fairies. Knotgrass anfd Flitle as an old fairy tale joins the Hollywood  reboots, telling all from viewpoint of Sleeping Beauty’s nemesis, the titular Angelina Jolie, no less. Not released until 2014.
  25. Sandrine Kimberlain, 9 mois ferme, France, 2012.    Comedy auteur Albert Dupontel wanted Emma to play the judge  – “a small brunette, sevrer, full of authority,” yet  pregnant in a wild moment by  his thief.  Both get a nine month sentence.  As it were.  Plus writing and acting Cesar awards for Dupontel and Kimberlaine. Emma was already tied to The Love Punch with Pierce Brosnan. 



 Birth year: Death year: Other name: Casting Calls:  25