Lisa Kudrow

  1. Julia Sweeney, Saturday Night Live, TV, 1990-1991.     Auditioned. Well, she was auditioning everywhere at  this time… until winning  Mad About You and Friends. Julia went on to star in one of the dozen movies derived from NSL sketches: It’s Pat – based on her an androgynous misfit whose gender was never revealed.
  2. Peri Gilpin, Frasier, TV, 1993-2004.      Cast as Roz, poor Lisa was sacked during the pilot’s rehearsals when the  producers and writers decided they were changing Roz too much to fit Kudrow’s personality. The next year she was auditioning for the same director, James Burrows, for Friends. “My audition was a monologue, so there was no reacting off of anybody. Jimmy said, ‘No notes… OK, thank you, Lisa.’ And I thought, All right, so that’s it. ‘No notes’ either means ‘It was so great I don’t have anything to say’ or ‘Why do they keep putting this girl in front of me?’  Then she got air head waitress Ursula Buffay in Mad About You, 199319-99 – that led immediately to her just-as-quirky “sister”Phoebe Buffay in…
  3. Jennifer Aniston, Friends, TV, 1994-2004.    
  4. Hope Davis, Mr Wrong, 1995.     Tested for Annie. And lost. Luckily… “A dreadful movie,” blasted San Francisco critic Nick LaSalle. She waslucky again in April 2013 when herunion blocked the auction of 54 testtapes, includingherswith Ellen DeGeneres. “Auditions are not public performances,” said the SAG-AFTRTA. “Performers are entitled to expect them to remain private.” And yet not a wordwhen Paramount’s Real TV tabloid show starting running such audition tapes…in 1995!
  5. Monica Potter, Martha – Meet Frank, Daniel and Laurence, 1998.     All the girl Friends were keen, but Irish director Nick Hamm wanted a fresh face and  style. Instant stardom for struggling wife and mother of two, catalogue-model on the side, previously seen as  Nic Cage’s wife in Con Air… Monica did not then win   anything  worthy of her until  her 21 TV chapters of Boston Legal,  David Kelley’s son-of-The Practice,  in  2004- 2005.
  6. Nia Long, Held Up, 1999.  The tepid – so slow! – comedy was Inconvenienced for  Rob Schneider, Lisa Kudrow and Janeane Garofalo  in 1995  until Rob simply quit four days before the start.  He’d finally read it, perhaps.  Robert Downey passed and the project imploded – only to be revived for Foxx and Nia Long. But as the Austin Chronicle put it: “nowhere near clever enough to be a satire and not broad enough to be a farce.”

  7. Nicole Kidman, Bewitched, 2004.    
    For inexplicable reasons, Hollywood kept trying to make a movie out of the  1968-1972 ABC sitcom about a good-looking witch and a Dagwood husband.  In 1993, Penny Marshall was going to direct Meryl Streep as Samantha, then passed the reins to Ted Bissell and he died in 1996 when his Richard Curtis script was planned as Melanie Griffths’ comeback.  Nora Ephron co-wrote and directed this lumbering version about an ego-driven actor trying to save his career with a Bewitched re-hash, but with the emphasis on him (of course) as Darrin, rather than the unknown he chose for Samatha because she can wiggle her nose…  (You didn’t need a nose to know it stank).  Over the years, 37 other ladies were on the Samantha wish-list. Take a deep breath… Kate Beckinsale, Sandra Bullock, Jennifer Connelly, Cameron Diaz, Heather Graham, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Angelina Jolie, Ashley Judd, Julianne Moore, Gwyneth Paltrow, Michelle Pfeiffer, Molly Ringwald, Meg Ryan, Winona Ryder, Brooke Shields, Charlize Theron, Naomi Watts, Renee Zellweger.  Plus seven Oscar-winners:  Kim Basinger, Tatum O’Neal, Julia Roberts, Meryl Streep, Hilary Swank, Charlize Theron, Reese Witherspoon… twoFriends: Jennifer Aniston and Lisa Kudrow…eleven other TV stars: Christina Applegate, Patricia Arquette, Kristin Davis, Teri Hatcher, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Helen Hunt, Jenny McCarthy, Alyssa Milano, Brittany Murphy, Sarah Jessica Parker, Alicia Silverstone… even  Drew Barrymore and Uma Thurman, who had already re-kindled Charlie’s Angels and The Avengers.

  8. Meryl Streep, The Devil Wears Prada, 2005.   Sixteen other women  were up for Vogue editor Anna Wintour (er, Miranda Priestley!) in the delightful look at the real fashion world, based on the  tell-all  by Lauren Weisberger,  who used to work for Wintour (but claimed it wasn’t  about her!  Seven only had the wherewithall to match Meryl Streep:  Jennifer Aniston, Glenn Close (fed up of villains), Angelina Jolie, Michelle Pfeiffer, Helen Mirren, Julia Roberts and Hilary Swank. “Sinfully funny, deliciously glossy,” said Rolling Stone critic Peter Travers. “Streep knocks every laugh out of the park More remarkably, she humanises a character who was little more than a bitch… on the page.” The remaining what-were-they-thinking candidates had been Kim Basinger, Cameron  Diaz, Heather Graham, Lisa Kudrow, Tatum O’Neal, Gwyneth Paltrow, Meg Ryan, Alicia Silverstone and  Naomi Watts.

  9. Lauren Graham, Evan Almighty, 2006.     Tom Shadyac saw several women as Steve Carell’s wife, including Lisa…who, of course, could not be chosen because  she is funnier than Carell.

  10. Julie Bowen, Modern Family, TV,  2009-2011. Early thought for Claire Dunphy, Ty Burrell’s wife – mother of three in The Office-style mockumentary – was passed to Julie, the delicious Boston Legal lawyer. With a pacemaker.
  11. Mary Steenburgen, Dirty Girl, 2010.  The surprise switch  of  Mrs Hatcher from Kudrow to the Canadian Thacker from Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, supporting the titular Juno Temple, didn’t stop the flop.  Said’s  scenarist-turned-critic Angelica Jade: “It doesn’t even have the crazed so-bad-it’s-good vibe to make it memorable beyond the credits.”
  12. Deborah Theaker, Dirty Girl, 2020.   Mrs Hatcher being switched from  Kudrow to the Canadian Thacker from  Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, to support the titularJuno Temple, didn’t stop the flop.  Said’s  scenarist-turned-critic Angelica Jade: “It doesn’t even have the crazed so-bad-it’s-good vibe to make it memorable beyond the credits.”







 Birth year: Death year: Other name: Casting Calls:  11