Diane Cilento

  1. Carroll Baker,  Baby Doll, 1956.     Director Elia  Kazan offered it after her Helen of Troy on Broadway, when she was 21.  Diane refused, enjoyed Carroll but foun d the film distasteful. “Some people enjoy watching a snake play with and then kill a rabbit. I don’t.  In Baby Doll, the husband didn’t stand a chance –  not my idea of  a fair fight.”
  2. Belinda Lee, Miracle In Soho, 1957.     Emeric Pressburger goes it alone – refuses to heed ex-partner Michael Powell’s casting advice and obeys Rank Organisation orders…  using unsuitable (er, cheap) contractees. Alas, this proved to be  Pressburger’s last UK film. He had been systematically… Ranked.
  3. Janette Scott, The Devil’s Disciple, 1959.      Due opposite Kirk Douglas, Burt Lancaster and  Laurence Olivier!
  4. Sylvia Syms, Expresso Bongo, 1959.      Director Val Guest’s first choice for Maisie, Laurence Harvey’s Soho stripper girlfriend.   (I caught Cilento  live  saw her in the My Place play at the Bournemoiuth Pavilion in 1962 – with Dandy Nichols and Barry Foster).
  5. Jean Seberg, Lilith, 1963.      Cilento, then Mrs Sean Connery, was the choice of the book’s author JR Salamanca. This was one of Warren Beatty’s earliest pet projects – and Seberg’s favourite film. Yvette Mimieux had discovered the and sent it to various directors, including Robert Rossen. Unfortunately, her dream role was thwarted by his lengthy decision-making – and Beatty advising him to see Seberg… after promoting Samantha Eggar and Romy Schneider. Also in the mix: Diane Baker, Sarah Miles (too busy with her secret lover, Laurence Olivier) and Natalie Wood. Seberg, who never understood why it was not given to Audrey Hepburn, was delighted to win. “I’d really begun to reach the end of my little American girls in Paris.”
  6. Anjanette Comer, The Loved One, 1964.   “The motion picture with something to offend everyone…”  Comer, 25, won the young embalmer, Aimee Thanatogenous (“death by bleeding” in Greek) from such unlikely candidates (and ages) as Carroll Baker and Claire Bloom, 33; Diane Cilento, 32; Joy Harmon (Cool Hand Luke’s car-washer!), 24; Julie Harris, 39; Shirley MacLaine, 30; Nina Shipman, 26; and Elizabeth Taylor, 32, when Richard Burton was up for the British poet hero. Based, badly, on Evelyn Waugh’s 1948 satire of American funeral homes, this is the only Hollywood movie that Jayne Mansfield was cut out of!
  7. Kim  Novak,  The Amorous Adventures of  Moll Flanders, 1965.    Bondsmith Terence Young suggested Defoe’s classic when  his  007 wanted a project with his then-wife.  But Diane was delayed on The Agony and The Ecstasy in Rome. Young  switched to his original 007 suggestion, Richard Johnson –  who promptly wed his Moll, Kim Novak.  Sophia Loren and Gina Lollobrigida has also been in the Moll mix.
  8. Barbara Jefford,Ulysses, 1966.     Wolf Mankowitz adapted the James Joyce classic for his then pal – and business partner – Peter Sellers as Leopold Bloom, Peter O’Toole as Stephen Dedalus and Diane Cilento as Molly Bloom of the (in)famous four-letter wordsoliloquy  – one reason, among the many why the BBC demanded 29 cuts before  a tele-broadcast (director Joseph Strick refused)  and the Irish  censors refused to pass the film for release until the year 2000…!
  9. Deborah Kerr, Prudence and the Pill, 1968.     Funny as cancer.
  10. Daliah Lavi, Catlow, 1971. The first choice for Rosita passed., Easily. This was a  Louis L’Amour Western and she seen what befell her husband, Sean Connery, in another one: Shalako, 1968. And so his co-star, Brigitte Bardot, also refused as well. In  both films, Girl’s part was no part at all.  
  11. Jennie Linden, Vampira (US: Old Drac), 1974.    Gabrielle Drake, Jan Francis, Liza Goddard, Cheryl Kennedy, Mary Maude, Cherith Mellor were also seen for Angelain the UK tosh seen (by the US, only) as a (late) riposte to Mel Brooks, circa 1974.“If you liked Young Frankenstein, you’ll love…” (Hardly!)!
  12. Susannah York, Eliza Fraser, Australia, 1976.   Tim Burstall knew what he was doing.He fell in love with SusannahHey, didn’t we all.


 Birth year: 1933Death year: 2011Other name: Casting Calls:  12