Faye Dunaway

1. –    Daniela Bianchi, From Russia With Love, 1963.

2. –    Claudine Auger, Thunderball, 1965.

3.  – Jane Fonda, The Chase, 1965.  For Sam Spiegel’s  first Hollywood production  in 14 years (right after the mighty Lawrence of Arabia), his casting director made one colossal error…  After her audition, he told Dunaway to run away.  “Not pretty enough for movies! Stick to the stage.”   Other potential lovers for James Fox were the real Marilyn and the UK Monroe(Diana Dors) or Kim Novak –  but gained Angie Dickinson as the lawman’s missus!  Director Arthur Penn tested Faye r again the following year and…  well, hello Bonnie!

4. –    Eva Renzi, Funeral In Berlin, 1966.   “Harry Saltzman signed her,”Michael Caine told me in London.  “That’s howI first met Faye. I suppose Sam Spiegel offered her a better deal for The Happening.“They co-starredon her second film, Hurry Sundown.

5. –  Katharine Ross, The Graduate, 1967

6. – Jane Fonda, Hurry Sundown, 1967.    “She tried too much for what shethought was perfection,” said Otto Preminger, giving Faye a secondary role and a six-film deal.Mike Caine called her a cross between Patricia Neal and Brigitte Bardot -while Preminger was just cross -between Santa Claus and The Godfather.

7. –   Jean Seberg, Paint Your Wagon, 1968. Julie (and her usual reserve: Sally Ann Howes), Faye Dunaway, Mia Farrow,  Lesley Ann Warren andTuesday Weld all passed on the rose between two thorns, Clint Eastwood and Lee Marvin  Diana Rigg proved unwell. Kim Novak pounced.  But the US star of the French nouvelle vaguewon Elizabeth and, for a while, Eastwood. She even started divorcing hubby for him. Until the unit returned from Oregon to  LA and she no longer existed for him.

8. –   Donyale Luna, Skidoo, 1968.  Contract  or no contract,  there was no wy that Dunaway was going to join the “writing sample” (rather than a script) of producer-director-ogre Otto Preminger trying to understand his son’s  younger generation. Otto needed Faye because she’d just made a major impact in Bonnie and Clyde. Faye didn’t need any Otto crap because… she’d just made a major impact in Bonnie and Clyde.

9. – Geneviève Bujold, Anne of the Thousand Days, 1968.   Why would Bonnie want Anne Boleyn…? Or Lara, Juliet, Cleopatra? Julie Christie, Olivia Hussey, were equally disinterested. And frankly, my dear, Elizabeth Taylor was way too old – even if Richard Burton was Henry VIII. Also up for the chop: Geraldine Chaplin and Charlotte Rampling. The BBC had offered the role to Jean Simmons in 1957 when trying to mount a TVersion of Maxwell Anderson’s 1948 Broadway play.

10 – Jennie Linden, Women In Love, 1968.   Probably connected with the fact that Glenda Jackson (and her new, improved, pregnant bosom) had the better role of Gudrun, everyone else passed on being Ursula. Dunaway, Shirley MacLaine (anti-nudity), Vanessa Redgrave (never anti-nudity, calling her body part of her acting instrument) and Carol White reportedly refused a £10,000 offer. Maybe they were right. Ken Russell chose Linden because of her (unsuccessful) test with Peter O’Toole for A Lion In Winter, but Russell’s film didn’t do much as expected for her career. Then again, the frontally nude wrestlers – Alan Bates v Oliver Reed – easily stole the entire movie from a few naked boobs.


11 – Natalie Wood, Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice, 1968.   Carol. Having learned her lesson from West Side Story, 1961, Natalie took points in lieu of her usual $750,000 salary and collected $3m.

12 –  Marianne Faithfull, Hamlet, 1969.   Richard Harris’ choice for Ophelia for his version, beaten to the battlements by director Tony Richardson’s Elsinore soap.

13 – Jean Seberg, Paint Your Wagon, 1969.   Accoring to her autobio, Dunaway went thataway when asked to play the wife bought and shared by Clint Eastwood and Lee Marvin in the Western musical.

14 –   Susannah York, X, Y and Zee, 1971.   Unwilling to be seduced by Liz Taylor.

15 –   Jill St John, Diamonds Are Forever, 1971.

16 – Liza Minnelli, Cabaret, 1971. 
Confirming the fact that director Bob Fosse was here to stay (alas not for long enough), Cabaret stems from the Weimar Berlin stories by Christopher Isherwood who based his main character (he is the other one!) Sally Bowles on the British often naked teenage libertine flapper-actress-singer-writer Jean Ross – later Communist, Spanish civil war correspondent and lover of jazz pianist (later actor) Peter van Eyck.   On her father’s advice, Minnelli (rejected for the Broadway production!) channeled Louise  Brooks as Sally. Isherwood said Liza was too talented  such a “medicore” singer.  Never said what he thought of her ten rivals: Ursula Andress, Julie Andrews, Ann-Margret, Faye Dunaway, Jane Fonda, Jill Ireland (!), Glenda Jackson, Shirley MacLaine, Barbra Streisand, Brenda Vaccaro,  Natalie Wood. Plus Julie Christie… with Warren Beatty as her gay pal Brian!

17 – Mia Farrow, Follow Me! 1971.  As the Burtons were coming and  going about filming Peter Shaffer’s 1962 play, The Private Ear, one  Universal suggestion in 1969  was… Marcello Mastroianni as the detective hired by Rex Harrison to keep an eye on his possibly unfaithful wife – to be played by Mastroianni’s lover at the time. Faye Dunaway.  They became Topol, Michael Jayston anf Mia Farrow in director Carol Reed’s final film.  Chicago critic Roger Ebert shredded it: “The actors actually manage to make this look worse than it sounds (and I am not being very easy on it).”

18 – Marsha Mason, Cinderella Liberty, 1973.   Fox wanted a name – Jane Fonda or Dunaway – as sailor James Caan’s hooker. Then, while scouting harbour locations in San Francisco, director Mark Rydell fell for Mason on-stage in The Doll’s House. “The studio cut my budget in half but after the first week’s dailies, they said I was right.”

19 – Mia Farrow, The Great Gatsby, 1973.   Brought her own make-up man and hairdresser and took four hours preparing for her test of a few minutes for Jack Clayton… There were seven other  possible Daisy Buchanans – Candice Bergen, Genevieve Bujold, Lois Chiles, Mia Farrow, Katharine Ross – after Paramount’s owner Charles Bludhorn ruled that Ali MacGraw, wed to the studio’s production chief, Robert Evans, “is not doing this picture. Is. That. Clear?”  Tuesday Weld and Natalie Wood were also in the loop but Bergen and Farrow went to the wire.  . And Chiles became the “fast” Jordan Baker. Time magazine critic Jay Cocks decreed: “The film is faithful to the letter of F Scott Fitzgerald’s novel but entirely misses its point.” 

20 –  Jennifer Warren, Night Moves, 1974.    Director Arthur Penn found his Bonnie was too busy. Well, whose fault was that!    


21 –    Louise Fletcher, One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, 1975.

22 – Candice Bergen, The Wind and the Lion, 1975.  LA auteur John Milius’ first choice for Eden Pedecaris abducted by Sean Connery’s  Berbers in Morocco. “I sort of dropped the ball after Bonnie and Clyde.”  Indeed. 

23 – Jenny Runacre, Professione: reporter  (UK: The Passenger), Italy, 1975.     Not the greatest role in the film, but not easy to turn down Italian  maestro  Michelangelo Antonioni and  Jack Nicholson!

24 –  Helen Morse, Caddie, 1975.    After open calls in Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney, six actresses were tested and Helen won her breakthrough. Even though one distributor had made it clear: no deal unless the famous  Sydney barmaid, Catherine Beatrice “Caddie” Edmonds was Dunaway or Julie Christie.

25 –   Karen Black, Family Plot, 1976.   At one time, Alfred Hitchcock’s casting for what proved his last hurrah was a Chinatown reunion of Dunaway and Nicholson. She passed on being the latest (in fact, alas, the last) of the Hitchcock blonde heroines – in what he called “a melodrama treated with a bit of levity and sophistication. I want the feeling of Lubitsch making a mystery thriller.” Black was brunette. And delicious. Hitchcock was prepping The Short Night when he died, at age 80, on April 29, 1980.

26 –   Vanessa Redgrave, Julia, 1977.   And the Oscar goes to….

27 –    Jane Fonda, Fun With Dick and Jane, 1977.    Rejected down the comedy role of Jane Harper, the wife of George Segal.

28 –  Marthe Keller,  Fedora, 1977.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).

29 – Susan Sarandon, Pretty Baby, 1977.   The plot sickens… A prostitute allows her 12-year-old  daughter’s virginity to be auctioned off in a brothel in the red-light Storyville district of  New Orleans, circa 1917. Elegant French director Louis Malle saw 29 possible pretty Violets – and another 19 actresses for her mother: Candice Bergen, Cher, Julie Christie, Glenn Close (passed), Faye Dunaway, Mia Farrow, Farrah Fawcett (passed), Jane Fonda (with Jodie Foster as her daughter), Goldie Hawn (preferred Foul Play), Anjelica Huston, Diane Keaton, Sylvia Kristel (Emmanuelle, herself),    Liza Minnelli, Cybil Shepherd, Sissy Spacek, Meryl Streep, Sigourney Weaver. Plus Joan Collins, who suggested Jasmine Maimone,  her screen daughter in that year’s Magnum Cop,  would  make a fine Violet. Louis Malle and Sarandon became lovers and also made Atlantic City, 1980… the year he married Bergen until his 1995 death.

29 –    Sally Field, Norma Rae, 1979.  What do they know?  Dunaway, Jill Clayburgh, Jane Fonda and  Marsha Mason spurned director Martin Ritt and had to watch the delightful Sally win Best Actress at Cannes and  on Oscar night! No wonder she made two more Marty movies: Back Road,1980, and Murphy’s Romance, 1984. Plus, he didn’t hit on her like Bob Rafaelson did during Stay Hungry, in 1975.

30 –    Maggie Smith, The Missionary, 1982.     The film’s music co-ordinator, Ray Cooper, suggested Dunaway or  Helen Mirren as Lady Ames.   “And he knows Dunaway,” noted the film’s scenarist, star and diarist Michael Palin.  Apparently, not well  enough to win her for “Mish”.  Maggie reminded Palin of his late sister Angela: “Bright, but brittle.”


31 –    Maud Adams, Octopussy, 1983.

32 –    Jacqueline Bisset, Under The Volcano, 1984.   Producer Robert Evans was only interested in the previous Anthony Harvey-Jorge Seprum script because Faye was in the package.

33 –   Diana Rigg, King Lear, TV, 1984.   Anti-Shakespeare? She refused Ophelia in 1969 and now Regan – opposite Laurence Olivier! She actually preferred the lead in (of all things) Michael Winner’s re-hash of The Wicked Lady. Margaret Lockwood, of blessed memory, was more wicked in 1945.

34 – Stephanie Beacham, The Colbys, TV, 1985-1987.   For billionaire Charlton Heston’s British art gallery owning wife, Sable (first cousin of Dynasty’s Joan Collins character), Faye Dunway wanted a bigger payday. (The budget was already $1m per episode). Elizabeth Ashley, Angie Dickinson were next up. Then, the Brits… Sue Lloyd and Kate O’Mara (who became Caress Morrell in Dynasty during 1986). Plus Diana Rigg, Susannah York  who quite simply refused the soppy soap.

35 –    Julie Andrews, Duet For One, 1986.   Faye’s then-husband, photographer Terry O’Neill was due to direct in the Spring of ’83.  “It should be easier than other films,” she said, “as we already have shorthand communication ” They next had a divorce as he tried to resurrect his own career. For ’85, Russian director Andrei Konchalovsky came aboard. And within a few months Faye had quit. 

  (Clic to enlarge)  

* The idea was for Faye Dunaway’s then-husband, British photographer Terry O’Neill, to make his directing  debut with Duet For One, in the Spring of ’83.  They divorced before that came about. Two years on, Russian director Andrei Konchalovsky made the film… with Julie Andrews.



36 –    Glenn Close, Fatal Attraction, 1987.

37 –    Jacqueline Bisset, Scenes From The Class Struggle In Beverly Hills,1989.   While waiting a year for it to start, Barfly came out in ’87 and she was hotagain and acceptedbetter paid offers.

38 – Anjelica Huston, The Witches, 1988.  Olivja Hussey topped  author Ronald Dahl’s wish list for Miss Ernst, aka The Grand High Witch. However, Anjelica was on Nic Roeg’s list. And he was the director!  He took his time combing through the 13 other candidates:  From Linda Blair (little Regan grew up to be a witch?), Genevieve Bujold, Cher, Frances Conroy, Faye Dunaway, Jodie Foster, Liza Minnelli, Susan Sarandpn, Sigourney Weaver to true Brits Fiona Fullerton, Helen Mirren, Vanessa Redgrave… and the sole Black star considered, Eartha Kitt.  Together with Bancroft, they all escaped eight hours of make-up each  day!  Appalled by the vulgar bad taste and actual terror” in the film, Dahl threatened to take his name off it.  Jim Henson talked him out of it for the Muppeteer’s final production.

39 –    Madonna, Dick Tracy, 1990.    Warren Beatty wanted his Bonnie (plus GeneH ackman, Estelle Parsons) when planning to fill his over-arty movie with prostheticised stars. Only Estelle, the sole Oscar-winner from Bonnie and Clyde, remained faithful and made the film – as Tess Truehart’s mother. 

40 –    Marie-Christine Barrault, Amour fou, France, TV, 1993.   Roger Vadim adapted his own book, Le fou amoureaux, and after losing Joanna Pacula, he had won Faye. Finally, his fifth and final wife took over.

41 –    Alberta Watson, Spanking The Monkey, 1994.  The title is USlang for masturbation.  (Learn something new every day, right?). New Line chief Bob Shaye would only bankroll the film with an A-list star as the incestuous mother.   Dunaway, for example.   ”I went to her house,” recalled new auteur David O Russell, “and she laughed in my face.”  Considering Russell’s (then) aggressive reputation, it’s surprising he didn’t slap her in the mouth.

42  – Ellen Burstyn, Requiem for a Dream,1999.  “We recognise the actors, but barely,” said Roger Ebert. Maybe Dunaway and Anne Bancroft wished to be recognised or had never seen Pi, the hallucinatory 1997 debut of auteur Darren Aronofsky. Either way, they refused the actor’s dream role of Sara Goldfarb – which won Burstyn her fourth Oscar nomination.

43 –    Eva Mendes, The Women, 2007.   After  15 years trying to make  her version of MGM’s 1938 magic,  the fizz  had left the bubbly for the TV Murphy Brown creator Diane English. You know somwething was awry  when the only idea for the old Joan Crawford role was the star of the Crawford biopic!!  Certainly,  Eva was no substitute… for either of them. 

44 –    Taylor Schilling, Atlas Shrugged: Part 1, 2010.



 Birth year: Death year: Other name: Casting Calls:  44