Joanne Woodward

  1. Eva Marie Saint, On The Waterfront, 1954.      She lost Edie Doyle because Marlon Brando was not at her audition – but he was at Eva Marie’s. And literally danced her into the role.  Brando suggested changing the title to The Three Collaborators as not only director Elia Kazan but writer Budd Schulberg and co-star Lee J Cobb had named names in the HUAC witch-hunt hearings..
  2. Shirley Jones, Oklahoma!, 1955.  He saw both but director Fred Zinnemann wanted actors rather than singers. Montgomery Clift, James Dean, Paul Newman, Dale Robertson, Robert Stack, plus singers Vic Damone and   Howard Keel, as Curly… Ann Blyth, Ailene Roberts, Eva Marie Saint, Joanne Woodward and singers Kathryn Grayson, Jane Powell… or even Piper Laurie for Laurey… Ernest Borgnine, Marlon Brando, Lee Marvin, Rod Steiger or Eli Wallach as poor Jud Fry. For a wee while, it looked as if Woodward and future husband Paul Newman would be Laurey and Curly. However, the musical’s parents had casting approval – Rodgers and Hammerstein agreed only about Steiger.  And Oklahoma was played by Arizona!
  3. Eleanor Parker, The Man With The Golden Arm, 1955.   Buying the rights from John Garfield’s estate, producer-director-ogre Otto Preminger defied the Production Code and made a film – not only daring to mention the word “drugs” but dealing with addiction. Woodward and Barbara Bel Geddes were early choises for Zosh, wed to Frank Sinatra’s heroin-addled card dealer.
  4. Elizabeth Taylor, Giant, 1955.
  5. Hope Lange, The True Story of Jesse James, 1957.    Just as Arlen Whelan was replaced by Nancy Kelly as Jesse’s main squeeze, Zeralda “Zee” Cobb, in the 1939 version, Woodward was substituted in the re-make. Never mind, Joanne had bigger fish to try… The Three Faces of Eve.
  6. Dolores Michaels, The Wayward Bus, 1957.  When Marilyn Monroe, so cruelly scorned by her studio, astounded us in Bus Stop, Fox dusted down John Steinbeck’s busload of Chaucerian passengers to do the same for Jayne Mansfield. (Hah!).   At one point, Joanne Woodward was set for Mildred Pritchard – but she rightly preferred to tackle The Three Faces of Eve. Incidentally, Marilyn’s bus driver, Robert Bray, turned up here as a chopper pilot hovering  around  Joan Collins. (He then blew his career by refusing South Pacific).
  7. Hope Lange,  The Young Lions, 1957.   First chocice for Hope Plowman, but Fox moved her – rightly – into The Long Hot Summer. With  her husband, Paul Newman.  And director  Edward Dmytryk called up a real Hope…for Montgomery Clift’s gal. 
  8. Shirley MacLaine, Some Came Running, 1957.   Joanne had no wish to work with Frank Sinatra.   Shirley did.. Adding Ginny Moorehead to her Top Six characters Fran Kubelik, Irma La Douce, Aurora Greenway, Gittel Mosca, Jennifer Rogers…   And becoming the only woman in the Rat Pack. 
  9. Elizabeth Taylor, Suddenly, Last Summer, 1959.   Gore Vidal (who wrote the script with its playwright, Tennessee Williams) pushed for his New York friend to play  Catherine Holly – opposite Bette Davis as the dreadful Mrs  Violet Venable.  Neither producer Sam Spiegel or  his director Joseph L Mankiewicz, agreed.  “The bitch,” said Sam about Taylor, “asked for $1m.” She won two contracts, $125,000 for acting, $375,00 as co-producer through her Camp Films (!),  plus 10% of the gross in excess of $5m. (She got her $1m on her next Mankiewicz film, Cleopatra).  When she arrived in London, direct from her honeymoon with Eddie Fisher,  Spiegel got a worrisome message from  his  publicist Arthur Canton. “She’s fat.”
  10. Elizabeth Taylor, Cleopatra, 1963.
  11. Deborah Kerr, The Chalk Garden, 1964.     Pregnant. And so Hayley Mills and Deborah took over from Sandra Dee and… the first actress to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame (in 1960).

  12. Angie Dickinson, Point Blank, 1966.   Angie remains the most memorable Chris in Hollywood movies since Yul Brynnerin The Magnificent Seven, 1960. Also on UK director John Boorman’s list: Lee Remick and Alexandra Stewart. Theyrefused er, dare I say it – shucks, why not! – point blank.
  13. Kim Hunter, Planet of the Apes, 1967.
  14. Dyan Cannon, Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice, 1968.  Alice.  (Also refused by  Karen Black and  Paula Prentiss. Paula’s husband, Richard Benjamin, was also up for her screen spouse, Ted).  
  15. Debbie Reynolds, What’s the Matter with Helen?, 1970..   Impressed by What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? in 1962, director Curtis Harrington and producer George Edwards asked novelist Henry Farrell  what else he had in his bottom drawer. He showed them a contemporary story, The Box Step, about two old ladies running  a dance school. “ Change it to the 30s and we’ll get Joanne!”   He did. They didn’t. Debbie made it with Shelley Winters  – “she drove us all insane!”
  16. Liv Ullmann, 40 Carats, 1973.     Director of legend, William Wyler, quit when he could not decide betweenAudrey Hepburn, Glenda Jackson, Joanne Woodward, Elizabeth Taylor, Shirley MacLaine – or even Doris Day! -as the 40-something falling for a 20-something toy boy.
  17. Katharine Ross, The Stepford Wives, 1975,    Seven possible Joannas were shuffled back and forth by the British writer-director Bryan Forbes and his LA producer Edger Scherick.

  18. Sally Field, Sybil, TV, 1976.  
    Based on a real case, Sybil had multiple personalities – 16 of them!  Patty Duke, Audrey Hepburn and Natalie Wood were up for them. Field was more determined.  I had worked my whole life – lived my whole life – to play this rôle. I knew her. She belonged to  me.  Through April and May,  Sal kept reading, testing, auditioning, call  it what you will, in her baggy, ragamuffin clothes, for four people in a business  office, including the ldast interesteddirector Anthony Page, who wanted Vanessa Redgrave. (Who wouldn’t?said Sal). She would leave the group stunned, totally confused. How on earth could The Flying Nunbe the best choice!  To prove she was wrong for the part – or right! – she tested with Joanne Woopdward, who’d  been here before in The Three Faces of Eve, 1956, and was now set for Sybil’s shrink. (She had been asked to be Sybil).  After the videotaping, Woodward told the suits: If Sally is not cast as Sybil, then I won’t be your Dr Wilbur.” Oh, and Daniel Petrie directed. Sal won an Emmy, with two Oscars to come In her now, non-airborne future.

  19. Valerie Harper, The Shadow Box, TV, 1980. Having already directed one of his previous plays, Newman directed the ABC tele-film of the Pulitzer Prize winning play by Michael Cristofer because (a) his daughter Susan Kendall Newman and her documentary film-maker business partner, Jill Marti, had bought  the rights and (b) wanted Joanne to play whichever woman she wanted in the cancer hospice drama.   She went for the drabbest… like Harper’s wife who couldn’t accept her husband’s illness…
  20. Melinda Dillon, The Shadow Box, TV, 1980.    … or Dillon’s   self-sacrificing  daughter of mother Sylvia Sidney (which Newman wanted to respin for Laurence Olivier!). No, Newman was  “fed up with seeing her playing frumps.” He insisted she became the ex-wife of Christopehr Plummer, who’d left her for a guy. She was, said Newman, the “voluptuous, kinky”Joanne that he knew better than the world. “She finally got into the part the day she glued on her fingernails!” 
  21. Jessica Tandy,Fried Green Tomatoes, 1991.      First reserve in case Jessica’s cancer worsened. She went on and garnered won another Oscar nod. She would have agreed with Joanne’s 1987 comment: “Acting is like sex. You should do it, not talk about it.”
  22. Miranda Richardson, The Big Brass Ring, 1998.  Orson Welles wanted a star couple – the Newmans or the Cassavetes -as the Presidential candidate (and his wife) embroiled in a gay scandal in his mid-80s script.









 Birth year: Death year: Other name: Casting Calls:  22