Jane Birkin

  1. Vanessa Redgrave, Blow Up, 1966.    Instantly smitten with her (like the rest of us), Italian maestro Michelanglo Antonioni tested Jane for Jane – aka The Woman in the Park – before deciding she was (or looked) too young. But the perfect age for The Blonde, alongside Gllian Hills as The Brunette, the first actresses displaying pubic hair in a mainstream movie… while wrestling David Hemmings’ photographer.   (I first saw her  (with Francesca Annis, Pauline Coillins, Nicky Henson,etc) in the Passion Flower Hotel stage musical in 1965).
  2. Jenny Arasse, L’ombre d’un chance, France, 1973.   Réalisateur Jean-Pierre Mocky was determined on la petite anglaise as his co-star.  He lost her but gained the first French feature showing, or so he often claimed, sexual penetration. (Oh really?) 
  3. Mireille Darc Les seins de glac  (UK: Someone Is Bleeding), France-Italy, 1974.  Talk about the power game…   Paris auteur Jean-Pierre Mocky was invited to writer-direct a film of Richard Matheson’s 1953 novel, Someone is Bleeding, with a French tile meaning: Icy Breasts!  Mocky signed up Alain Delpn, Jon Finch and Mia Farrow as the woman who kills any man getting too close… With four weeks to go, Delon phones. “I’ve been thinking – it’s Mireille Darc and Michel Duchaussoy,”   (Darc was his lover). Mocky replies: “Alain, I love Mireille Darc, but I don’t see her i this role.” Delon snaps: “It’s that or nothing”. And hangs up. Delon switches his services to Les Granges Brûlées.   Mocky decides to take over his role opposite Jane Birkin. She proved unavailable. Shooting cancelled. Delon bides his time and pounces on the rjghts when they’re on sale anew.. He hires Georges Lautner to direct in 1974. With Delon, Darc and Michel – er, no Claude Brasseur, all of a sudden.
  4. Catherine Allegret, Lieb Vaterland magst ruhig sein (Dear Fatherland Be At Peace), West Germany, 1975.  Birkin was busy  (very) and Simone Signoret’s daughter took over as  Mietzi. Jane’s German debut had to wait until Egon Schiele – Exzesse, 1981.
  5. Pascal  Gregory, Les Soeurs Bronte, France, 1978.  Jane B always wanted to play a guy and asked cineaste André Techiné to let her play the Bronte brother, Branwell. “He didn’t take me seriously.”  Her lover Serge Gainsbourg did –  with her  boyish girl in Je  t’aime, moi non plus, 1976.
  6. Catriona MacColl, Lady Oscar, France, 1978.    “I’m sorry I never made it.” Lady Oscar is girl dressed like a boy in the French Revolution.  Jacques Demy’s Japanese backers  refused her – because she’d made a Japanese  TV commercial!  You mean…  like Paul Newman?
  7. Ramona Sweeny, White Star, Germany, 1981.  As Jane’s #! Fan, Raechel Leigh Carter (writer-creator of the My Cherie Jane fanzine), Roland Klick “must have been keen to work with Jane” as he tried in 1979 to have her co-starring with Dennis Hopper as, well, one IMDb crtitic said as St Peter disguised as a rock reporter, while Jon Dieringer’s more developed piece at his Screen Slate, said Dennis was  a rocker’s cheating manager, a psycho Colonel Parker. “It’s violent, pathetic, self-loathing, manic, unhinged, manipulative, and unlike anything else I’ve ever seen, save Hopper’s own turn as Frank Booth in Blue Velvet.” It took Klick forever to raise a budget and, once again, when he was ready, Birkin was not.  Pity. Dennis plus Jane could have been incendiary!  Even though Klick kept trying to have Hopper sacked…  Roger Corman bought it, cut it to 75 minutes, including some added Cormania and called it, what else, but Let It Rock.
  8. Helen Mirren, Bethune: The Making of a Hero, Canada, l989.   Bifrkin was Frances Betty Bethune, wed twice to Dr. Norman Bethune (Donald Sutherland) when the film was being shot in l987.  Financial delays and personality conflicts between Sutherland and writer Ted Allen shut it  down for a year or more. When Philip Boros recommenced shooting  in 1988,  Birkin was  no longer available and her scenes had to be re-shot.
  9. Geneviève Bujold, Mon amie Max, Canada, 1994.   Change of Max – aka Marie-Alexandrine – searching Quebec for the son she gave up for adoption 25 years earlier.
  10. Nicole Garcia, Ne fais pas ca!, France-Germany, 2003.    Garcia, the French actress and réalisateur, took over Birkin’s lead  in the ninth and final film of Swiss-born French auteur  Luc Bondy. He died at 67, on November 28, 2015.  

 Birth year: 1946Death year: 2023Other name: Casting Calls:  10