Jessica Alba

  1. Anne Hathaway, The Princess Diaries, 2001.   Among 22 youngstars (Drew Barrymore, Cameron Diaz, Reese Witherspoon, etc) rejecting the awkward San Francisco teenager being groomed (by Julie Andrews!) to inherit the Genovia throne – after director Garry Marshall’s (surprising) first choice of Juliette Lewis quit.
  2. Jennifer Garner, Daredevil, 2002.  “How did I become Action Girl?” asked Garner.  Because 22 other girls were not punching their weight in TV’s Alias every week. They were Alba, Jolene Blalock, Neve Campbell, Penelope Cruz, Portia de Rossi, Eliza Dushku, Claire Forlani, Angie Harmon, Salma Hayek, Katie Holmes, Milla Jovovich, Nicole Kidman, Lucy Liu, Mia Maestro, Rhona Mitra, Bridget Moynahan, Natalie Portman, Kyra Sedgwick, Charlize Theron, Reese Witherspoon.  Plus the Norwegian ballet dancer Natassia Malthe, who became Typhoid in Garner’s 2004 Elektra spin-off.   Garner reportedly KOed the hero Ben Affleck accidentally in one scene – he still married her three years later!
  3. Michelle Pfeiffer, Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas, 2002.   In the DreamWorks voicing mix for Eris were Jessia Alba, 21, Angelina Jolie, 27, and Christina Ricci, 22 – and the winning outsider was Pfeiffer at age 44…!  She wanted it to please her kids. Sssh, listen, kids…  who’s that talking?
  4. Keira Knightley, Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl. 2002 The first one… The four finalists for the role of Elizabeth Swann were Jessica Alba, Jamie Alexander, Amanda Bynes and the 17-year-old Keira. She was surprised to win. ”I don’t have a bosom!” Johnny Depp’s piratical Jack Sparrow did not agree. In #5: Dead Men Tell No Tales, 2015, refers to her as “golden-haired, stubborn, pouty lips, neck like a giraffe, and two of those wonderful...”
  5. Lauren German, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, 2003.   Seen about playing Erin in the unnecessary – indeed, “contemptible, vile, ugly and brutal,” said Chicago critic Roger Ebert – re-make of the 1974 chiller.
  6. Michelle Rodriguez, BloodRayne, 2005.    “Too brutal,” said the star of Dark Angel, Sin City and The Eye…!
  7. Keri Russell, Mission: Impossible III, 2005.  When Tom Cruise postponed everything  to make Spielberg’s War of the Worlds,  Scarlett jumped into two successive Woody Allen films, among other movies. The role of Lindsay Farris was then aimed at Jessica Alba, Elisha Cuthbert, Lindsay Lohan… and Katie Holmes, who won Cruise instead. (They wed  in 2006).  Finally,  Russell was selected. Easily. She headlined the new M:I auteur JJ Abram’s TV series, Felicity, 1998-2002.
  8. Tara Reid, Alone in the Dark, 2005.   Due to prior commitments, director Uwe Boll’s Christian Bale/Alba became Christian Slater/Reid.
  9. Clare Danes, Stardust, 2006.    Sarah Michelle Gellar, Anne Hathway and Scarlett Johansson also rejected Yvaine in Neil Gaiman’s fantasy kingdom of Stormhold – inhabited by Robert De Niro, Sienna Miller, Michelle Pfeiffer. Jessica preferred to go all political and spend more time with her family.  Well, with her husband, Freddie Prinze Jr.  
  10. Anne Hathaway, Get Smart, 2007.   Future Oscar-winner Hathaway was surprisingly good as Agent 99, the unforgettable creation of delicious Barbara Feldon in the 1965-1970 series.   Director Peter Segal also gazed at Alba, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Smallville’s Kristin Kreuk and Rachel McAdams.a
  11. Isla Fisher, Confessions of a Shopaholic, 2008.  For once, the prerequisite outsider won as Disney chose an unknown (cheaper, sure, but hilarious) after seeing everyone from the Jessicas (Alba and Biel) to Lindsay Lohan (!) and  Reese Witherspoon, who felt Rebecca Bloomwood was too close to her Elle Woods in the two Legally Blonde films. Also in the  mix: Emily Blunt, Kirsten Dunst, Anne Hathaway,  Katie Holmes,  Rachel McAdams, Amanda Seyfried.
  12. Malin Åkerman, Watchmen, 2008.   Not so much “Who watches the watchmen?” as Aristotle asked, but who them playeth? As Alan Moore’s forcibly retired superheroes were called back to duty in an alternate 1985 America – Alba, Jennifer Connelly,  Hilary Duff, Milla Jovovich, Hilary Swank were up for Laurie Jupiter, aka Silk Spectre II. Two years on, as we shall see, Åkerman won another role from Alba.
  13. Scarlett Johansson, Iron Man 2, 2009.  Already a Marvel favourite (as Susan Storm in the Fantastic Four franchise), Alba was tabled for Natasha Romanov/Black Widow while Scarlett was also keen on another Marvel creation, Moonstone. Also in the Marvelverse loop: Gemma Arterton, Jessica Biel, Emily Blunt, Eliza Dushku. Plus Angelina Jolie, who led Marvel’s The Eternals, 2019, after Natalie Portman won  Jane Foster in the Thor  franchise.
  14. Mandy Moore, Love, Wedding, Marriage, 2010.    Jessica cleverly avoided the totally inconsequential directing debut of actor Dermot Mulroney.  Slant Magazine’s Kalvin Henley dubbed it “a movie so shallow and wooden, its actors less models than mannequins, that it resembles a furniture catalogue.”
  15. Hilary Swank, The Resident, 2010.   Finnish director Antti Jokinen told his national TV how Alba, then Maggie Gyllenhaal, were first in contention for Dr Juliet Deveraux – in Christiopher Lee’s first Hammer film for 36 years.
  16. Carey Mulligan, The Great Gatsby, 2011.   Australian director Baz Luhrmann’s hunt for Daisy in the fourth Gatsby movie since 1926 matched all the season’s other major auditions. As if the only actresses left on planet earth were: Alba, Abbie Cornish, Eva Green, Rebecca Hall,  Anne Hathaway, Scarlett Johansson, Keira Knightley, Blake Lively, Rachel McAdams, Natalie Portman, Amanda Seyfried, Olivia Wilde, Michelle Williams.  And Mulligan… soon sobbing on a red carpet, after being  handed a phone. “It was Baz:  Hello  Daisy!” (Except, sadly, she wasn’t).
  17. Malin Åkerman, Wanderlust, 2011.    Perhaps Alba was put off by the idea of a naked Jope Lo Truglio sporting a prosthetic Little Joe. . Most of the cast touched it as a good luick charm.
  18. Rebecca Hall, Iron Man 3, 2012.   High again on Marvel’s list and not just alphabetically – for geneticist Maya Hansen. Other favourites were Isla Fisher and Diane Kruger. Jessica Chastain won the role but her diary didn’t agree. Enter: Hall. Not so happy upon her exit. as Maya was trimmed shortewr than a crew cut. ” She wasn’t entirely the villain – there have been several phases of this – but I signed on to do something very different to what I ended up doing.”
  19. Abbie Cornish, RoboCop, 2013. Kata Mara, Keri Russell  also auditioned and  Rebecca Hall  passed on being the Mrs Robo-reboot who, as Rolling Stone critic Peter Travers put it, intuits that her husband’s heart is still in the right place. 


 Birth year: Death year: Other name: Casting Calls:  19