Jeanne Moreau


  1. Anne Vernon, Edouard et Caroline, France, 1950.     Daniel Gelin was the penniless pianist and Moreau, Sophie Desmarets, Micheline Presle and Ludmilla Tcherina were seen for his wealthier wife. However, auteurJacques Becker had not forgotten Edith Vignaud from his 1945  Falbalas.  She had since worked abroad. The UK’s Rank Organisation gave her  a contract, four films, and a new name (“Edith is for  old biddies and who can pronounce Vignaud?).  Hollywood was not so smitten: one fllm and a shredded Universal deal. And so it was Anne Vernon who sparkled as Caroline. She and Gelin were The Couple of the hour – and witty again in Becker’s, Rue de l’Estrapade, 1952.

  2. Audrey Hepburn, Roman Holiday, 1952.   Frank Capra (and George Stevens) wanted Liz Taylor, William Wyler liked Suzanne Cloutier (the future Mrs Peter Ustinov) for the runaway Princess Ann.   A further 28 actresses were seen, the good, bad and risible – like the current sex-bombs Yvonne De Carlo Diana Dors, Gina Lollobrigida, Sylvana Mangano, Shelley Winters.  Apart from, perhaps, Vanessa Brown, Mona Freeman and Wanda Hendrix (even though  her real name as Dixie), the Hollywood hopefuls  – singer Rosemary Clooney(George’s aunt), Jeanne Crain, Nina Foch, Janet Leigh, Joan Leslie, June Lockhart, Dorothy Malone, Patricia Neal, Barbara Rush – were soon discarded, lacking the stature of Euro-royalty. Idem for the Euros – Swedish Bibi Andersson, and the French Capucine, Leslie Caron, Jeanne Moreau. Which left several perfect Brits Claire Bloom, Joan Collins, Glynis Johns, Kay Kendall, Deborah Kerr, Angela Lansbury, Moira Shearer, and, of course, Audrey, … soon gracing the Time cover, hailed by the New York Times as a “slender, elfin and wistful beauty, alternately regal and childlike” with, added Variety, a “delightful affectation in voice and delivery, controlled just enough to have charm and serve as a trademark,” (And, Indeed, it did for evermore).
  3. Etchika Choureau, I Vinti (The Vanquished), Italy-France,  1953.    For his third film, Italian maestro-to-be Michelangelo Antonioni  collated three shorts based on true murders committed by post-war youth in France, Italy and the UK. For the French yarn, he wanted Moreau (or Brigitte Bardot) but his producers refused an unknown.  Hah! The  blonde Choureau had  made one film only (to BB’s five) and was four years away from her brief Hollywood sojourn: Darby’s Rangers and Layfayette Escadrille. After 15 more  films, her career was over by 1965; BB retired in 1973.  Antonioni got his way about  Moreau in 1960 for La Notte.

  4. Anouk Aimée, Le Rideau cramoisi, France, 1952.    Hearing about his plans to film the Barbey D’Aurevilly novella, the fairly unknown Moreau (just five films under her belt) waited six hours to meet Paris critic turned auteur Alexandre Astruc at his producer’s office.  Only to learn – the producer could have told the poor girl !  – that Albertine had  had already been given to Anouk. Five years later, Moreau helped kick off la nouvelle vague with Louis Malle’s Ascenseur pour l’échafaud and Les amants. Jean-Luc Godard called Astruc,le tonton de la Nouvelle Vague”… the Uncle of the New Wave.
  5. Jean Simmons, Spartacus, 1960.    Having filmed in France (in French) and having a French wife, Kirk Douglas knew who he wanted for his slave girl wife – “she exuded sexuality without trying.” Mais non! “She was in the middle of a love affair. French actresses fall in love and that takes precedence over everything.  I admire that.”  Next? Swedish Ingrid Bergman, German Sabine Bethmann… and Audrey Hepburn.
  6. Sophia Loren, El Cid, 1960.  Another day, another epic…  This time in Spain.  La Loren was always producer Samuel Bronston’s choice for Doña Jimena – even at $1m for ten weeks work – but when negotiations stumbled, he began musing about German teen Christine Kaufman (15; living with Tony Curtis at age 16), the French Jeanne Moreau, Swiss Lisolette Pulver and British Moira Shearer.  Ava Gardner simply refused because the titular Charlton Heston’s role was bigger than hers. Heston nearly followed her on learning La Loren’s $1m salary was way bigger than his. And that, peop[e, is why he would never look at her  during their love scenes. Such a gent!
  7. Annie Girardot, Rocco e i suoi fratelli/Rocco And His Brothers, Italy, 1960.     So no go in Rome where love was also in the air.Annie married her co-star Renato Salvatori.
  8. Annie Girardot, La proie pour l’ombre (US: Shadows of Adultery), France, 1960.     For his third feature, Alexandre Astruc debated over  Moreau or Brigitte Bardot for Anna – snared  between two former BB co-stars, Daniel Gelin and Christian Marquand. Mais non! Moreau was too intellectual, BB too young.  They would, of course, co-star in Louis Malle’s Viva Maria in 1964 – and BB and Girardot were co-nuns in  Les novices, 1970.
  9. Silvana Mangano, Barabbas, Italy-US 1961.     Hollywood director Richard Fleischer suggested testing the French star as the Biblically famous thief’s woman, Rachel. Producer Dino De Laurentiis agreed. “We invite newspapers. They love Moreau. They go crazy to see her. Big publicity. No cost nothing.” A week after her great test, Dino announced: “We no use Moreau. I got better idea. Much better. We use Silvana.” (Mangano was Mrs Dino!). “What rankled,” said Fleischer, “was the realisation that we’d all been sold, exploited and manipulated.” Or in a word: shafted!

  10. Elsa Martinelli, Le Procès/The Trial, France-Italy-West Germany-Yugoslavia, 1962.     Orson Welles’ casting was suitably Kafkaian…
  11. Romy Schneider, Le Procès/The Trial, France-Italy-West Germany-Yugoslavia, 1962.   …inasmuch as Welles had no idea who would be playing which female role.

  12. Ava Gardner, 55 Days At Peking, 1962.    There has to be a better Russian  countess than all-American  Gardner, insisted Charlton Heston. He suggested Deborah Kerr, Melina Mercouri or Moreau.He later reported how Ava’s character was killed off because nobody could put up with her unprofessionalism anymore. Drunk on-set, cursing director, Nichoals Ray, demanding rewrites and ruining one day’s shoot when an extra photographed her.
  13. Yori Bertin, La dame aux camélias, France, TV, 1962.     There was a lot of buzz about a new Marguerite Gauthier in the early 60s. The producing Hakim brothers had French cinema legend Marcel Carné extremely keen on adapting the book rather than the stage play. La Cardinale declined, ruining a co-production with Italy. La Moreau was suggested. Then, Fox legend Darryl Zanuck even decided it was perfect for his latest Paris mistress, Irina Demich, who was to acting what Rocky was to lacrosse  Finally, the ’62 Marguerite was made for TV – with Bertin, who had debuted in Ascenseur pour l’échafaud with Moreau in 1957.
  14. Margaret Leighton, The Loved One, 1964.  “The motion picture with something to offend everyone…”  It would have been more so if Spanish legend Luis Buñuel had managed to  make it with Alec Guinness in  the mid-1950s. Instead, the newly Oscared UK director Tony Richardson made a mess of Evelyn Waugh’s satire of the American funeral home business.  Best players on-screen were Milton Berle and Margaret Leighton arguing about how to bury their pet pooch. Such a flabbergasting mismatch, said Observer critic Charles Taylor.  in 2006., “no problem believing they’ve been married for years.” Richardson had hoped for larger mismatches: Phil Silvers wed to Vivien Leigh, Jeanne Moreau or Simone Signoret. The first signed Agnes Moorehead was called back to Hush… Hush,  Sweet Charlotte for re-shoots of her scenes with  Joan Crawford when she was replaced by Olivia De Havilland. The following year, Richardson directed Moreau in Mademoiselle and she was the co-respondent in Vanessa Redgrave’s divorce from him in 1967.
  15. Annie Girardot, Trois chambres à Manhattan, France, 1965.    Italian maestro Federico Fellini talked to Moreau about the Simeneon tale – eventually made by veteran realisateur Marcel Carné – with Robert De Niro making his movie debut as (the uncredited)  ” Client at the diner.”
  16. Julie Christie, Doctor Zhivago, 1965.      Epic director David Lean’s first thought for Lara was vociferously attacked by scenarist Robert Bolt.
  17. Siobhan McKenna, Doctor Zhivago, 1965.    Lean then asked her to be Lara’smother. “Not old enough,” she snapped – at 37 to Julie’s 24.
  18. Pier Angeli, The Battle of the Bulge, 1965.        Not a good title for any female star -even if the guys (Roberts Ryan and Shaw, Charles Bronson, Telly Savalas)  ruled the Ardennes WWII epic.
  19. Anne Bancroft, The Graduate, 1967. 
  20. Elizabeth Taylor, Reflections In A Golden Eye, 1967.    UK director Tony Richardson’s plan – Brando-Moreau – begat John Huston’s Brando-Taylor.

  21. Kim Novak, The Legend of Lylah Clare, 1967.    The film that broke the legend of Kim Novak.  Producer-director Robert Aldrich blamed her for the flop, then admitted the fault was his. Either way, Novak never made another film.  Aldrich has first wanted Andress, the UK-Marilyn Diana Dors or the French Jeanne Moreau as the movie icon. When Tuesday Weld played her on TV, May 19, 1963, Lylah seemd based on Marilyn (or even Weld). The Aldrich take came adrift by making Novak and Peter Finch more like Marlene Dietrich and  her director Josef von Sternberg.
  22. Annie Girardot, Vivre pour vivre, France, 1967.     Flashy realisateur Claude Lelouch wanted an Yves Montand-Moreau couple, torn apart by his affair with Candice Bergen.   Rather too close to home for Montand, after his affair with Marilyn Monroe. (One affair among many).  Even so, his wife, Simone Signoret, advised him to accept the role. Not so Jeanne: “I could cheat on him, but he could never cheat on me. No one would believe it.” Modesty, French style.  Lelouch called up  Girardot, a star since he was  19 and  a gofer on her L’Homme aux cles d’or set.“With Annie,” he often reminisced, “everything went very well.”   French for:  an affair.
  23. Vanessa Redgrave, Red, White and Zero (episode: Red and Blue), 1967.    Part of a film-trio, first called Red, White and Blue, director Tony Richardson’s 35 minute offering is only memorable in that Moreau quit when Vanessa named  her as corespondent when divorcing Richardson.   Moreau’s replacement was… Vanessa.  And you thought French films were complicated! 
  24. Yvette Mimieux, The Picasso Summer, 1968.     While awaiting financing for their second film, La mariée était en noir, the French nouvelle vague icon François Truffaut searched for other vehicles for his lover, Jeanne Moreau. Having already made Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, the auteur was attracted by this shorter Bradbury tale. Just not pleased with the author’s script: “fails to capture the inventive originality of your short story.” The version by latest French Oscar-winning director, Serge Bourguignon – “so bad,” said Bradbury – has only even been seen on TV, and then credited to US film-maker Robert Salin, hired by Warner-7 Arts to re-shoot much if not all of it. Bourguignon did not make another film (a documentary) for ten years. His eight-film career was over by 1985.
  25. Susan Anspach, Five Easy Pieces, 1969.  Screenwriter Carol Eastman voted Moreau.  Bob Rafelson won. And Susan had Nicholson’s son, Caleb.
  26. Shirley MacLaine, Two Mules For Sister Sara, 1969.      When Budd Boetticher was set to make it…Then, ElizabethTaylor pounced and wanted, from the start, Clint Eastwood. She left, he remained… with Shirl. (Finally, it was directiort William A Fraker who won Moreau for a (weak) Western, Monte Walsh, opposite Lee Marvin andd Jack Palance in 1969).
  27. Geraldine Page, The Beguiled, 1970.    “The Bette Davis of her time,” director Don Siegel called his first choice. “I felt she and Clint would make great chemistry. I never understood why [Universal chief Lew] Wasserman turned her down.”It’s called: ignorance.
  28. Nathalie Delon, Le Moine/The Monk,France, 1972.        After Le Journal d’une femme de chambre/The Diary of a Chambemaid, Moreau and Spanish film-making icon Luis Buñuel planned a second meeting – and Peter O’Toole, then Omar Sharifwere eager to join her. Interest fell away until Buñuel disciple Ado Kyrou made a mess of it with Madame Alain Delon and Franco Nero.
  29. Dorothy Tutin, Savage Messiah, 1972.     UK firebrand Ken Rusell’s initial hope for Sophie Brzeska, the 20 yearsolder and unconsumated lover of French sculptor Henri Gaudier – killed at 23 in WW1.  
  30. Louise Fletcher, One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, 1974. 

  31. Isabelle Adjani, L’Histoire d’Adele H, France, 1975.     An early 60s’ notion… when realisateur François Truffaut and Jeanne were lovers. (Same notion occurred in late 60s when Truffaut shared Catherine Deneuve’s bed).
  32. Delphine Seyrig, Le jardin qui bascule, France, 1975.     Her protégé Guy Gilles wrote it for her, but her packed diary meantall she could do was write and sing a song for the film, accompanied by jazz violinist Stephane Grapelli.
  33. Karen Black, Chanel Solitaire, 1981.     “It was total shit. I said I was too tired. One has to be polite.”   Urgently called upon a Monday while finishing The Grass Is Singing in Zambia, Black was in Paris by Friday and shooting on the following Monday.
  34. Fanny Ardant, Vivement dimanche, France, 1983.    French film-making legend François Truffaut first obtained the rights of Charles Williams’ The Long Saturday Night in 1964 with his then-lover, Jeanne, in mind. (She later played the Truffaut-Williams heroine of The Bride Wore Black, 1967). This, alas, proved his final film, his second with his final mistress, Fanny Ardant, in the role that fascinated him, a female investigator, not a cop or a detective, but a secretary. Fanny gave birth to their daughter, Josephine, on September 28, 1983. On her first birthday he was re-admitted to hospital where he died, October 21, 1984.
  35. Jacqueline Bisset, Under The Volcano, 1984.     The iconic  Spanish director Luis Buñuel’s plan was to team Moreau with Laurence Olivier in 1965 – when she was making Viva Maria with Buñuel’s son, Jean-Louis, as Louis Malle’s assistant director.
  36. Catherine Deneuve, Agent Trouble, France, 1986.      Yes, they’d met, and exchanged the usual pleasantries. When are you going to work with me?/ When you’re ready… Even so, auteur Jean-Pierre Mocky didn’t think La Deneuve meant it until his frequent star, Michel Serrault, passed on her “well, what about it?” message. And so, instead of Serrault and Moreau in the thriller, it became Deneuve and Richard Bohringer.
  37. Shirley MacLaine, Madame Sousatzka, 1987.    Once Vanessa Redgrave leftleft the renowned Russian piano teacher, UK director John Schlesinger thought of Jeanne “She was not free.”  Or, just being polite, again.
  38. Mathilda May,Le cri duhibou,France 1987.     When being developed by realisateur Robert Enrico in the 70s.
  39. Nicole Kidman, Dead Calm, 1989.     Another unfinished Orson Welles project, The Deep (as he called it) was killed by lack of finance and the death of its star Laurence Harvey in 1973.   Most of the film was shot but part of Jeanne’s dialogue was lost and she was never asked to post-synch it.
  40. Ellen Barkin, Man Trouble, 1991.    Back in 1971, Moreau had a second invite from the Five Easy Pieces team: writer Carole Eastman, director Bob Rafelson, and star Jack Nichoson. Mais non… In the ensuing  years, they also tried to win over Diane Keaton, Jessica Lange, Meryl Streep.  Barkin was not in the same ballpark, yet Nicholson agreed to help his pals.

  41. Annette Bening, Richard III, 1995.   The Queen camefrom Anjou and Sir Ian McKellan wanted her played by “the greatest French acreen actress alive.” She fell out as the project into -on-off doldrums.
  42. Judy Parfitt, ER, TV, 2002-2002.       The now gravel-voiced star was due for a greatly hyped US TV debut – five episodes as the maman of Alex Kingston’s Dr Elizabeth Corday. The French icon stomped out, however, after a few hours of her first day, unprepared, so she said, for how she was treated (likejust another guest-star?) and by the speedy shooting.
  43. Annie Girardot, La Pianiste, Austrria-France-Germany, 2000.    Isabelle Huppert had the title role, Moreau was her mother. Two weeks before shooting started, she quit after testing her costumes for Austrian director Michael Haneke – “which,” said Paris producteur Marin Karmitzx, “ended badly.”  Girardot won the supporting actress César award.
  44. Nathalie Baye, Catch Me If You Can,   2002.    Although old enough to be  his grandmother La Moreau headed Steven Spielberg’s shortlist (Baye, Carole Bouquet, Catherine Deneuve, Maria Schneider) for DiCaprio’s mother.  A bizarre list as Judith Godreche was 30 to Moreau’s… 74!  When Baye had to miss the tests because of filming, Spielberg (who’d loved her since Truffaut’s Une chambre verte 21 years earlier) sent his mate, Brian De Palma, to Paris to test her as soon as she became available. Baye also beat Bouquet to the role, six years after she pushed Nathalie out of La Rouge et le Noir because she was “almost a has-been.”
  45. Claude Sarraute, Une vieille maîtresse (US: The Last Mistress), France-Italy, 2007.     For the  old marquise arranging her grand-daughter’s life and calling it her masterpiece. Chicago critic Roger Ebert said much the same about the performance of Sarraute – part-time actress and full-time journalist. 
  46. Françoise Fabian,  Dix pour cent (10%), TV, France, 2015.   Created by Paris agent turned producer Dominique Besnehard, this Player-style series about a showbiz talent agency (based on Artmedia) invited various local stars  to play “themselves.”  The tales were all true, just not those of the stars involved.  Moreau agreed to participate, then withdrew. (Well, Josée Dayan was not directing!). Ironically, Liliane Rovere, another ex-agent playing a veteran agent, was quite a Moreau clone. 















 Birth year: 1928Death year: 2017Other name: Casting Calls:  46