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Naomi Watts

  1. Renée Zellweger, Bridget Jones's Diary, 2000.      Naomi and Lucy Lawless were the two down-under queens ridiculously considered for the dumpy/lumpy 30-something London office worker. Even if they dared to put on 20 pounds like Zellweger did.
  2. Marguerite Moreau, Wet Hot American Summer, 2000.  The massive flop that became a comedy cult, not to mention two TV series sequels about summer camp in the 80s, had a rich cast of future stars. ”People like Bradley Cooper and Elizabeth Banks and Christopher Meloni walked in and auditioned off the street.” For what was nearely titled  , Bring a Change of Underwear, Damp Vagina Camp,  Morning Wood, Sex, Flies, and a Videotape of a Kid Masturbating, Slow Dance Boner or  even Boners and Clits...!  From such beginnings, she went on win two Oscar nominations – for 21 Grams, 2002, and The Impossible, 2010.
  3. Rachel Weisz, Runaway Jury, 2002.  Impossible  to play  Marlee due to committed to a better movie.  Bridget Moynaham and Amanda Peet also came and went.
  4. Jennifer Lopez, An Unfinshed Life, 2003 An ironic title considering the health of the two original stars - Newman and director Robert Altman. (They died in 2008 and 2006). Swedish director Lasse Hallstrom took over, being somewthing of a dysfunctionals’ expert after What’s Eating Gilbert Grape?and The Cider Houser Rules.  He brought in Redford and Jennifer Lopez,  succeeding Watts as his battered daughter-in-law. Not released until  2005.
  5. Rachel Weisz, The Constant Gardener, 2004.      Brazilian director Fernando Meirelles considered Nicole Kidman too old (at 36) and so called in her pal Naomi (35) for the John Le Carré film. Weisz was 36 - and loved by Oscar!
  6. Jessica Alba, The Fantastic Four, 2004.      Once bitten - by the King Kong re-remake - twice shy of the fantastique. Namely, The Invisible Girl, aka Susan Storm.
  7. Radha Mitchell, Melinda and Melinda, 2004.      Woody Allen craved Winona Ryder but no agency would insure her after her infamous shoplifting arrest.Naomi was too busy. Instead of looking further, longer, Woody allowed the film to fail by choosingthe Aussie he enjoyed inTen Tiny Love Stories, 2000, who was unable to carry a movie. Or indeed two, considering her dual role.
  8. Carla Gugino, Sin City, 2004.    Directors Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller also looked at Ashley Judd, Carrie-Anne Moss, Sarah-Jessica Parker and Uma Thurman for Lucille in their  “live” comic-strip.
  9. Uma Thurman, Be Cool, 2004. Second stanza of John Travolta as Elmore Leonard’s Chilli Palmer is a music biz satire with heaps of songs, shylocks and gangsters (both kinds) but no bite. Watts, Halle Berry (Travolta’s partner in   Swordfish, 2000), Jennifer Connelly and Charlize Theron were up for Edie, aided by Chilli after her husband is rubbed out by the Russian mob.  For John, Edie had to be a Pulp Fictionreunion. Not. Quite.

  10. Nicole Kidman, Bewitched, 2004. 
    For inexplicable reasons, Hollywood kept trying to make a movie out of the  1968-1972 ABC sitcom about a good-looking witch and a Dagwood husband.  In 1993, Penny Marshall was going to direct Meryl Streep as Samantha, then passed the reins to Ted Bissell and he died in 1996 when his Richard Curtis script was planned as Melanie Griffths’ comeback.  Nora Ephron co-wrote and directed this lumbering version about an ego-driven actor trying to save his career with a Bewitched re-hash, but with the emphasis on him (of course) as Darrin, rather than the unknown he chose for Samatha because she can wriggle her nose…  (You didn’t need a nose to know it stank).  Over the years, 37 other ladies were on the Samantha wish-list. Take a deep breath… Kate Beckinsale, Sandra Bullock, Jennifer Connelly, Cameron Diaz, Heather Graham, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Angelina Jolie, Ashley Judd, Julianne Moore, Gwyneth Paltrow, Michelle Pfeiffer, Molly Ringwald, Meg Ryan, Winona Ryder, Brooke Shields, Charlize Theron, Naomi Watts, Renee Zellweger.  Plus seven Oscar-winners:  Kim Basinger, Tatum O’Neal, Julia Roberts, Meryl Streep, Hilary Swank, Charlize Theron, Reese Witherspoon… twoFriends: Jennifer Aniston and Lisa Kudrow…eleven other TV stars: Christina Applegate, Patricia Arquette, Kristin Davis, Teri Hatcher, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Helen Hunt, Jenny McCarthy, Alyssa Milano, Brittany Murphy, Sarah Jessica Parker, Alicia Silverstone… even  Drew Barrymore and Uma Thurman, who had already re-kindled Charlie’s Angels and The Avengers.

  11. Nicole Kidman, The Interpreter, 2005.      Declined director Sydney Pollack's  offer of the lead knowing how much that her good friend Nicole Kidman wanted it...and went on to be the “grimera” in Ring, 21 Grams and the US re-tread of Funny Games. “Why do I keep making these grim movies? Well, female roles in comedies aren’t that good... and it’s getting rid of demons.”

  12. Eva Green, Casino Royale, 2005.
  13. Hayley Atwell, Cassandra’s Dream, 2006.      Woody calls again... and her schedule interferred again. Naomi made sure she was free next time - You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger, 2009.
  14. Meryl Streep, The Devil Wears Prada, 2005.   Sixteen other women  were up for Vogue editor Anna Wintour (er, Miranda Priestley!) in the delightful look at the real fashion world, based on the  tell-all  by Lauren Weisberger,  who used to work for Wintour (but claimed it wasn’t  about her!  Seven only had the wherewithall to match Meryl Streep:  Jennifer Aniston, Glenn Close (fed up of villains), Angelina Jolie, Michelle Pfeiffer, Helen Mirren, Julia Roberts and Hilary Swank. “Sinfully funny, deliciously glossy,” said Rolling Stone critic Peter Travers. “Streep knocks every laugh out of the park More remarkably, she humanises a character who was little more than a bitch… on the page.” The  remaining what-were-they-thinking candidates had been Kim Basinger, Cameron  Diaz, Heather Graham, Lisa Kudrow, Tatum O’Neal, Gwyneth Paltrow, Meg Ryan, Alicia Silverstone and...  Naomi.
  15. Nicole Kidman,Fur: An Imaginary Portrait of Diane Arbus, 2006.     Suddenly, after 20 years on studio shelves, the New York 60s photographer was being seen as Australian: Toni Collette, Naomi and, obviously, the Aussie with an Oscar... up for everything in 2004.
  16. Hilary Swank, Conviction, 2010.     Change of Betty Anne Waters, the high school drop-out who spent close on 20 years putting herself through law school to reverse her brother’s murder conviction. “Not every scene happened,” commented  the real Waters, “but every emotion happened.” Bro’ was no no angel. No killer, either,  Following his death in a fall,  she continues fighting  for the unjustly convicted.
  17. Susan Sarandon,Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, 2009.    Another down-under legend, Cate Blanchett, also passed on being Sylvia Moore.

  18. Cate Blanchett, Robin Hood, 2009.    When Sienna Miller quit as the maid, er widow Marion (sic), Naomi (and her pal Nicole Kidman) were among several Sherwood candidates: Marion Cotillard, Charlize Theron,Annabelle Wallis, Kate Winslet.
  19. Hilary Swank, Conviction, 2009.     Watts was first due as Betty Anne Warren, the working Mom who put herself through law school to fight her brother’s murder convicytion.Perfect for double Oscar-winner Hilary!
  20. Hilary Swank, Conviction, 2010.    Change of Betty Anne Waters, the high school drop-out who spent close on 20 years putting herself through law school to reverse her brother’s murder conviction. “Not every scene happened,” commented the real Waters, “but every emotion happened.”

  21. Jennifer Aniston, Horrible Bosses, 2010.  Watts and Sarah Jessica Parker were In the mix for Charlie Day’s erootomaniac dentist boss - “You're gonna give me that dong, Dale” - in a masculine take on Nine To Five. Aniston was the surprise of the “funny and dirty film,:” said Chicago critic  Roger Ebert.  ”Her career has drifted into such shallows that it's possible to forget how good she was in a film like The Good Girl;.  Here she has acute comic timing and hilariously enacts alarming sexual hungers.”
  22. Marion Cotillard, The Dark Knight Rises, 2011.
  23. Sandra Bullock, Gravity, 2012.      Natalie Portman was #1 choice after Angelina Jolie wanted $20m to be Ryan, lone survivor of a space mission to repair the Hubble telescope - trying to to return to Earth and her daughter. But Natalie was pregnant. Enter: Naomi, Marion Cotillard (pregnant!), Rebecca Hall, Scarlett Johansson, Blake Lively, Sienna Miller, Carey Mulligan, Rachel Weisz, Olivia Wilde.
  24. Nicole Kidman,  Queen of the Desert, 2013.   Watts had to quit when shooting was delayed and so - inevitably - Nicole took over as as Gertrude Bell, the 1868-1926 writer, archaeologist, cartographer, explorer, political officer, spy. In short:  the  female Lawrence of Arabia.
  25. Emily Blunt, Mary Poppins Returns,  2017.   When Walt Disney made the first Poppins, he mused over Bette Davis, Angela Lansbury or Mary Martin for Mary but by 1963, he had only one star in mind. Julie Andrews.  For this reboot, Disney suits went through no less than 37 contenders... Two Desperate Housewives:Kristin Davis, Teri Hatcher. Two Friends:Jennifer Aniston, Lisa Kudrow. Two Brat Packers: Molly Ringwald, Winona Ryder.  Two of the three authors of The Penis Song: Christina Aplegate, Cameron Diaz. Three sirens: Kim Basinger, Heather Graham Uma Thurman. Four ex-child stars: Drew Barrymore, Alyssa Milano, Tatum O’Neal, Brooke Shields. Ten Oscar-winners: Sandra Bullock, Helen Hunt, Angelina Jolie, Julianne Moore, Tatum O‘Neal, Julia Roberts, Hilary Swank, Charlize Theron, Reese Witherspoon, RenéeZellweger. Plus: Patricia Arquette, Melanie Griffith, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Ashley Judd, Gwyneth Paltrow, Sarah Jessica Parker, Michelle Peiffer, Meg Ryan, Alicia Silverstone, Naomi Watts. But just two Brits: Kate Beckinsale  - and the winning Emily.
  26. Ana de Armas, Blonde, 2020.   Who can really play Marilyn?  Producer Brad Pitt said Chastain, his Tree of Life.  OK, she said. Until delays got in the way. Instead, Chastain took another biopic route, twice over, as C&W singer Tammy Wynette and tele-evangelist Tammy Faye Baker. Next? Naomi Watts ran into similar schedule problems. And suddenly Cuba’s Anya exploded in Knives Out – and co-star Daniel Craig chose her for Paloma, 007’s contact in Santiago, in his Bond finale, No Time To Die, 2019. Ana spent nine months learning to talk like the never named  Marilyn in the second version of Joyce Carol Oates’ novel  The first had  been a TV two-parter with Australian  Poppy Montgomery in 2000.

 

 

 

 

 





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