Ellen Barkin

  1. Jodie Foster, Taxi Driver, 1975
  2. Brooke Shields, The Blue Lagoon, 1979.      Auditioned for Emmeline – despite Grease director Randal Kleiser wanting his shipwrecked couple to be naked throughoutthe re-make. (They were not). Shields had her long hair glued to her front – and a nude body double.
  3. Jennifer Jason Leigh, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, 1981.    The US high school movie..! Researched and written by Cameron Crowe, directed by Amy Heckerling. The rôle: Brad’s foxy sister, Stacy. The choices: Barkin,JJL,  Geena Davis, Jodie Foster (studying at Yale), Diane Lane, Lori Loughlin, Michelle Pfeiffer, Kelly Preston, Brooke Shields, Elizabeth Shue. Few were keen on joining Richard Romanus in full-frontalism. (The scene was cut to avoid an X-rating!).
  4. Bess Armstrong, Tender Mercies, 1983.      She was compensated with another role.
  5. Frances McDormand, Blood Simple, 1984.      “I turned it down – must’ve been out of my mind  .It’s a great movie. Joel and Ethan Coen won’t talk to me now.I don’t blame them.”   (Hah!  She married Joel on April 1, 1984 – and  won the Best Actress Oscar for the brothers’ Fargo on March 24, 1997). 
  6. Kim Greist, Brazil, 1985.    Women are Terry Gilliam’s weakest casting points…  Ellen Barkin was his favourite for Jill, yet hefell for an unknown riddled with so many problems –  aloof from the unit, self-conscious about her costumes and hated being touched – he kept having to shorten her role. “Kim just wasn’t getting it.”She gave him so much trouble, during one love-scene with Jonathan Pryce that Gilliam strode off the set.  “Kim, do the scene yourself and let me know when you’ve got it done.  I’m off.”  He even resorted to her wearing a bandage for “more personality.”   Not necessary if he’d chosen from his eight other interviewees:Rosanna Arquette, Rae Dawn Chong, Jamie Lee Curtis, Rebecca De Mornay, Kelly McGillis, Madonna, Michelle Pfeiffer, Kathleen Turner.
  7. Glenn Close, Fatal Attraction, 1987.

  8. Jodie Foster, The Accused, 1988.  
    An awful thing to say. Except it is true. Jodie Foster would never have won her (first) Oscar for this trenchant drama – if actress Kelly McGillis had not been raped in 1982… At first, the role of the rape victim Sarah Tobias was written for Andie MacDowell. She passed. The Paramount suits then saw 34 other young actresses for the (real life) victim. Or, for their own rape bait fantasies – including 16-year-old Alyssa Milano! Foster was refused a test because she was “not sexy enough”! And, anyway, the studio had decided upon McGillis, a high flyer in  Paramount’s Witness and Top Gun. And, naturally, she refused point-blank! She knew what it was to be brutally raped and          Kelly had no wish to revisit the horror and agony of her own assault six years earlier. The suits were annoyed. They needed her. She was hot at the box-office, their box-office. They had made her a star!! Eventually, McGillis agreed to play Sarah’s defence attorney – on condition that unsexy Jodie played Sarah! The suits caved, tested Foster and the rest is Oscar history… So is the huge list of talent also seen for Sarah.   Starting with the Fatal Attraction also-rans: Barkin, Rosanna Arquette, Kim Basinger, Jennifer Beals, Jennifer Grey, Melanie Griffith, Linda Hamilton, Darryl Hannah, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Diane Keaton, Demi Moore, Kelly Preston, Meg Ryan, Jane Seymour, Sharon Stone, Meryl Streep, Debra Winger.   And moving on to the younger Melissa Sue Anderson, (trying to break her Little House on the Prairie image), Justine Bateman, Valerie Bertinelli, Phoebe Cates, Joan Cusack, Jennifer Connelly, Judy Davis, Kristin Davis, Bridget Fonda, Annabeth Gish, Mariel Hemingway, Kelly LeBrock, Virginia Madsen, Brigitte Nielsen, Tatum O’Neal, Molly Ringwald, Mia Sara, Ally Sheedy, Brooke Shields, Uma Thurman.  Oh, and Julia Louis-Dreyfuss, said the suits, was “too nice.” Rape victims shouldn’t be nice? Oh, Hollywood!

  9. Geena Davis, Thelma & Louise, 1990.
  10. Susan Sarandon, Thelma & Louise, 1990.
  11. Annette Bening, Bugsy, 1991.      Seen by Warren Beatty and director Barry Levinson once Michelle Pfeiffer flew the coop. Ellen selected Man Trouble with Jack Nicholson and Bening also had Beatty’s baby.And then, three more.
  12. Michelle Pfeiffer, Batman Returns, 1991.
  13. Sharon Stone, Basic Instinct, 1991.
  14. Jennifer Jason Leigh, The Hudsucker Proxy, 1993.       Bridget Fonda, Nicole Kidman and Winona  Ryder were also nearly  Amy in the 1994 Cannes festival  opener by  the Coen brothers – not a patch on  their following year’s entry and four Oscar-winner, Fargo.   
  15. Melanie Griffith, Nobody’s Fool, 1994.Rather than share with Paul Newman, she stepped aside for (the never made) Tool Shed.
  16. Yancy Butler, Drop Zone, 1995.Lost out onbeing a skydiving partner of US marshall Wesley Snipes.






 Birth year: Death year: Other name: Casting Calls:  16