Kathy Bates

  1. Theresa Russell, Straight Time, 1978.      Her first movie audition – in Dustin Hoffman’s rented LA house. “He was holding up a screen between us because he was supposed to inside and I was supposed to be outside.”  You had to be there… She lost  Jenny but won another role,. Selma.
  2. Sissy Spacek, ‘night Mother, 1986.  “It’s such a shame we weren’t allowed to do that on  film, ” Bates  said to her mother in the Broadway play,  Annie Pitoniak.  They both won Tony awards.  “But they needed a name.”  And got two.  Anne Bancroft mothering Sissy. Bates loved them both, especiially Bancroft.  “When I didn’t get the Oscar for Dolores Claibourne, she sent me an Annie – a lovely card. I still treasure it.”
  3. Jenny Agutter, Darkman,1989. When young director Sam Raimi saw his dream project – The Shadow, based on Orson Welles’ radio character – go to Robert Zemeckis (finally, badly, to Russel Mulcahy), Sam created his own disfigured superhero from a mix of others and called him Darkman. Perfect for the new Irishman in town.  Bates changed her mind about her cameo as the hero’s burns doctor. Director John Landis (playing a medico) asked Sam to use true Brit Jenny  from his 1980 American Werewolf in London. Although she was, uncredited, this was  her  Hollywood mv ie debut.
  4. Michelle Pfeiffer, Frankie and Johnny, 1991.   US playwright Terrence McNally created Frankie for Bates.  Yet again, Broadway glory meant zilch to Hollywood. The film version starred Al Pacino and Pfeiffer – who, incidentally, partnered Bates in Chéri, 2008.   
  5. Queen Latifah, Chicago, 2002.
  6. Christine Baranski, Chicago, 2001.
  7. Shirley MacLaine, Carolina,  2003.     After  two weeks of rehearsals and pre-production, “Bobo” was out and MacLaine became Grandma Mirabeau. – something  of a cliche for Bates.
  8. Meryl Streep, Doubt, 2007.     Directing his script of his 2005 Pulitzer Prize-winning  Broadway play,  John Patrick Shanley first asked Frances McDormand to  be the dragon nun,  Sister Aloysius Beauvier.  Next: Bates, Annette Bening, Anjelica Huston, Sigourney Weaver – never the original Brodway star and Tony winner Cherry Jones. Then, her pal Meryl became available… She still asked: Why wasn’t Cherry doing it?  “She was so amazing! John explained he hadn’t directed that production. He wanted his own hands on this. So, I thought it was really valid and felt that I sure would like a crack at that Sister Aloysius.”  Result: Meryl’s 15th Oscar nomination.
  9. Margo Martindale, August: Osage Country, 2012.        Ill-health leading to a double mastechomy at age 64 meant Kathy (“My family call me Kat because I always land on my feet”) had to pass on joining Juliette Lewis, Ewan McGregor, Julia Roberts, Sam Shepard and  Meryl Streep’s 18th Oscar nomination. 
  10. Tracey Ullman, Into The Woods, 2013.  





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