Meryl Streep

  1. Cybill Shepherd, Taxi Driver, 1975.    
  2. Jessica Lange, King Kong, 1976.     Streep and Kong!  The mind boggles. But yes, she auditioned for Dino De Laurentiis. And did not impress him. The Italian producer said  his son, in Italian: “Why did you send me this pig? This woman is so ugly!  Blech!”  When Meryl replied, in fluent Italian:  “I’m very sorry that I disappoint you”  – Dino “looked like he had been shot.”  And denied the story forever more.
  3. Sissy Spacek, Carrie, 1976.     
  4. Carrie Fisher, Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope, 1976.
  5. Vanessa Redgrave, Julia, 1977.     “I thought  it was a crank call,” recalled Streep about casting director Juliet Taylor’s office inviting her  to London for her first movie – in the title role! Once there, veteran director Fred Zinnemann admitted  the role had gone  to  Vanessa.  As a consolation, he gave  Meryl a small part and Jane Fonda guided her through her film debut, with fond advice like  “Stand in your light, stupid!”
  6. Melinda Dillon, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, 1977.    Streep and Spielberg – chapter one. “I vote Streep,” said co-producer Julia Phillips. Meryl was one of the many seen by Steven Spielberg and his star,  Richard Dreyfuss. The others included: Mary Beth Hurt, and the unknown (then and now) Katherine Walker and, according to Phillips, “some bimbo” Spielberg was dating:  Amy Irving, his future first wife.

  7. Susan Sarandon, Pretty Baby, 1977.    
    The plot sickens… A prostitute allows her 12-year-old  daughter’s virginity to be auctioned off in a brothel in the red-light Storyville district of  New Orleans, circa 1917. Elegant French director Louis Malle saw 29possible pretty Violets – and another 19 actresses for her mother: Candice Bergen, Cher, Julie Christie, Glenn Close (passed), Faye Dunaway, Mia Farrow, Farrah Fawcett (passed), Jane Fonda (with Jodie Foster as her daughter), Goldie Hawn (preferred Foul Play), Anjelica Huston, Diane Keaton, Sylvia Kristel (Emmanuelle, herself),   Liza Minnelli, Cybil Shepherd, Sissy Spacek, Meryl Streep, Sigourney Weaver. Plus Joan Collins, who suggested Jasmine Maimone,  her screen daughter in that year’s Magnum Cop,  would  make a fine Violet. Louis  Malle and Sarandon became lovers and also made Atlantic City, 1980… the year he married Bergen until his 1995 death. 

  8. Sondra Locke, The Gauntlet, 1977.    Clint’s sixth director outing was a wacko tale of  couple – a grizzled cop  bringing his  hooker prisoner in.  They went from Marlon Brando-Barbra Streisand to Steve McQueen-Streisand to director Sam Peckinpah wanting to Kris Kristofferson-Sondra Locke or his Convoy’s Kristofferson-Ali MacGraw. La Barb told Clint about it and so…Eastwood-Locke, already seen in The Outlaw Josey Walesand an off-screen couple for two years. Peckinpah jumped ship as they leapt on a Harley-Davidson Knucklehead on the roads from Vegas to Phoenix. Seventeen years  ater, Meryl and Clint did hook up for The Bridges of Madison County – far better suited to their respective talents.
  9. Sigourney Weaver, Alien, 1978.  As the other Ripley would say, Believe it or not – Streep was in the frame for Ripley, but was left in peace following the tragic death of her partner, The Godfather’s Fredo,  John Cazale.  Veronica Cartwright and Kay Lenz were also up for the most iconic woman in sf movies.  Cartwright stayed aboard the good (space) ship Nostromoas Lambert in Scott’s perfect film. In 2019,  he  told Hollywood Reporter David Weiner  exactly what happened next.  “Then one day – I believe I could be wrong, but you can quote it because he’d probably be quite happy – Warren Beatty had called up David Giler and said, ‘Listen, I’ve seen this young woman onstage off-Broadway called Sigourney Weaver, you should see her.’ I believe that’s what happened… Next thing is I’m going to meet Sigourney and in walks somebody who’s got to be at least six foot one and dwarfed me. And that’s how I met Sigourney.”
  10. Candice Bergen, Oliver’s Story, 1978.     “It’s not hard to turn down dreadful material,” she said of the bad Love Story sequel.

  11. Susan Sarandon, King of the Gypsies, 1978.     Dino De Laurentiis Jr said to his producer-father: “But she’s not beautiful.”  The sap.
  12. Mary Steenburgen, Goin’ South, 1978.      When signing to star and direct the aimless Western, Jack Nicholson searched everywhere for the woman  to save him  from hanging by marrying him.  In 1970, he’d suggested Jane  Fonda..Now, he saw Meryl and Jessica Lange. Then, he (and Warren Beatty) discovered Mary waitressing at the Magic Pan Creperie on 58th Street… and rushed  to be the first to use her. Jack won. And lost. The film flopped but Mary had a support Oscar by 1981.
  13. Penelope Milford, Coming Home, 1978.      Jane Fonda  was shooting Julia with  “this young actress with a really strange name… I haven’t seen an actress so amazing since Geraldine Page. ”  She was perfect for Vi Munson!  But, “M-e-r-y-l with a y”  was booked for the stage.
  14. Jobeth Williams, Kramer v Kramer, 1979.       Meryl auditioned for Phyllis, Kramer’s one night stand: two scenes, one nude. She met scenarist-director Robert  Benton, producer Stanley Jaffe in New York hotel. Dustin Hoffman was late for the  reading. On arrival, he let fly an enormous fart. Her reaction – “My God, where did you have lunch!” – made her Mrs Kramer. As she left, Hoffman and Benton agreed: “She’s perfect. She is Joanna Kramer!” Exit: Kate Jackson, of Charlie’s Angels.
  15. Audrey Hepburn, Bloodline, 1979.       So it was Audrey having the long affair with co-star Ben Gazzara.
  16. Lauren Hutton, American Gigiolo, 1979.       Legend insists that Meryl fled from the Michelle role. She was not won over by “the tone” of the film. What did she expect from such a a title? From the outset, auteur Paul Schrader eyeballed Hutton as Senator Stratton’s adulterous wife. Paramount wanted A Name. And having already lost Streep and Julie Christie, the suits lunged for Jeassica Lange. Too dark, she said, chosing something altogether lighter. The Postman Always Rings Twice. Go figure.
  17. Sissy Spacek, Coal Miner’s Daughter. 1979.    La Streep was in the mix but C&W singer Loretta Lynn chose Sissy for her biopic.  And announced it on a talk-show.  No way, said director Joseph Sargent . Universal simply l paid him off and brought in the British Michael Apted.  And guess who won Oscar?  It was quite a rare night, for Oscar history. Robert De Niro won his award for Raging Bull – and both real people, Loretta and Jake La Motta, were in the audience.   Meryl won  successive roles from Sissy: August: Osage County, 2012, and  the 2013 musical,  Into The Woods
  18. Jessica Lange, The Postman Always Rings Twice, 1980.     Hot love scenes were expected…  And Meryl told director Bob Rafelson that she’d be nude if co-star Jack Nicholson was also explicitly naked.  “I will, if he will…!” So, said Meryl, “I didn’t turn it down.  He turned me down.” Next, Lindsay Crouse, Theresa Russell and Raquel Welch all passed According to biographer Dennis McDouglas, Nichlson   prepared for his kitchen table scene with Jessica,  by trying “for 45 minutes to whip up an erection for a tumescent trouser silhouette but gave up after Jack Jr refused to stand to attention.” “The US critics hated it,” said director Bob Rafelson. “They didn’t like the idea that a guy who looked like a sloth (as Nicholson did in that picture) could touch the pussy of Jessica Lange. And touch it he did, by God!”
  19. Madeline Kahn, Simon, 1980.      Passed on Dr Cynthia Malloy in the writer-directing debut of Woody Allen’s co-writer Marshall Brickman.
  20. Liza Minnelli, Arthur, 1980.       Brand new auteur Steve Gordon knew exactly who was perfect. Dudley Moore as the titular rich drunk man-child and Minnelli as his lady. Orion Pictures also considered Mia Farrow, Farrah Fawcett, Carrie Fisher, Goldie Hawn, Barbara Hershey, Diane Keaton, Jessica Lange, Kay Lenz (1972’s Breezy, already looking for a comeback), Bette Midler, Gilda Radner, Susan Sarandon, Cybill Sehpherd… and even Meryl… and Debra Winger. Plus Tuesday Weld, already in the throes of divorcing the titular Dud. Gordon made a big hit, but never a second film – he died at 44 in 1982.

  21. Nathalie Baye, The Return of Martin Guerre, France, 1982.       “The story was originally in Spanish and happened 500 years ago,” recalled producer Arnon Milchan about his Michael Powell script for Martin Scorsese, Robert De Niro and Meryl. “Then we heard there was going to be a French version” – Daniel Vigne directing Gérard Depardieu and Nathalie Baye. Milchan waited ten years before re-making it as Sommersby.
  22. Patricia Hodge,  Betrayal, 1982.       Producer Sam Spiegel didn’t need to make movies anymore (they’d all flopped since The Bridge on the River Kwai and Lawrence  of Arabia). He still hoped to make good – and might have managed it if Meryl had made the film of his Last Tycoon scenarist Harold Pinter’s semi-autobiographical play examination of a love affair.   But her young family needed her in America – “and you can’t make this picture anywhere else but in England.”   Streep went into  Sophie’s Choice and her first Best Actress Oscar. (In 2014, she as nominated for a record 18th time). 
  23. Vanessa Redgrave, The Bostonians, 1982.  The glorious team of producer Ismail Merchant, director James Ivory and scenarist Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, wanted Vanessa in The Europeans, the first of their three superbly crafted adaptations of Henry James novels.  But she was tied to the theatre (Ibsen, no less). They called her again to join their Bostonians, she agreed, changed her mind, Glenn Close took over. Or she did until offered The Natural movie with Robert Redford (“every woman’s fantasy … and I never got to touch him!”). Asked again after Blythe Danner, Meryl Streep and Sigourney Weaver passe,, Redgrave relented and was so impressed  by her co-star, Christopher Reeves, that she encouraged him to join her in another James piece, The Aspern Papers  – as a tribute to her dying father. A huge honour for Reeve as Sir Michael Redgrave, had inaugurated the role on 1959.

  24. Jessica Lange, Frances, 1982.      
    Howard Hawks  said  she always seemed to be shining. “More talent than anyone I ever worked with.”She and Vivien Leigh were beaten by Ingrid Bergman to  For Whom The Bell Tolls, 1942.  She’s the subject of various books, plays (vizSally Clarke’s Saint Frances of Hollywood),  pop and rock songs – French-Canadian singer MylèneFarmer even took her name. All actresses loved her talent and guts (when wrongfully committed to asylums by her parents) and 23  wanted to play…  Frances Farmer.  From the sublime to the ridiculous: Meryl Streep, to Susan Dey  of TV’s Partridge Family. Kim Basinger tested with Sam Shepard (Lange’s husband). Undaunted Susan Blakely made her own 1983  TVersion (from Farmer’s book, Will There Really Be A Morning?). Plus Anne Archer, Ann-Margret, Blythe Danner, Patty Duke, Mia Farrow, Sally Field, Jane Fonda, Goldie Hawn, Glenda Jackson, Diane Keaton, Liza Minnelli, Michelle Phillips, Katharine Ross, Susan Sarandon, Cybill Shepherd, Sissy Spacek, Tuesday Weld, Natalie Wood. Plus Constance Money, who met  with  producer  Mel Brooks and debuting director Graeme Clifford. They liked her. Not her CV. Seven porno films in three years.  Even if they used her real name (Sue Jensen), someone would have blown an expensive whistle about her hardcore career.

  25. Elizabeth McGovern, Once Upon a Time in America, 1982.   Italian maestro Sergio Leoneclaimed he interviewed “over 3,000 actors,” taping 500 auditions for the 110 speaking roles in his New York gangster epic.  He certainly saw 33 girls for nymphet Deborah Gelly: Rosanna Arquette, Kim Basinger, Jennifer Beals, Linda Blair, Glenn Close, Jamie Lee Curtis, Geena Davis, Farrah Fawcett, Carrie Fisher, Bridget Fonda, Jodie Foster, Melanie Griffith, Linda Hamilton, Daryl Hannah, Goldie Hawn, Mariel Hemingway, Diane Lane, Jessica Lange, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Heather Locklear, Kristy McNIchol, Liza Minnelli, Tatum O’Neal, Michelle Pfeiffer, Meg Ryan, Susan Sarandon, Cybill Shepherd, Sissy Spacek, Meryl Streep, Kathleen Turner, Sigourney Weaver, Debra Winger. Plus Brooke Shields as the younger version. Deborah was 15 in the first script; McGovern was 20.
  26. Sandra Bernhard, The King of Comedy, 1983.       “She wasn’t interested,” reported director Martin Scorsese. Robert De Niro had suggested her “because she’s very  funny… does funny stuff like pratfalls. Great sense of humour. When we were doing Falling In  Love, we used to make fun of the script – well, not make fun of it, but read it in a different way, soap opera it up.”
  27. Ann-Margret, A Streetcar Named Desire, TV, 1984.       That’s called lowering the ante… She was unavailable when playwright Tennessee Williams wanted her for a new Streetcar film in the 1980s. Rather than waiting, the project was refashioned for TV with (don’t laugh) litttle Annie Olsson and Treat Williams.
  28. Glenn Close, Jagged Edge, 1985.        According to writer Joe Eszterhas, Meryl wanted a dozen major changes in his script. (Is that all?). Close jumped again, having lately picked up one of Streep’s Broadway rejections as well, Tom Stoppard’s Sure Thing.
  29. Jessica Lange, Sweet Dreams, 1985.      Patsy Cline is one of the few roles that Streep was rejected for! Now, she has said, that she couldn’t imagine the movie without Jessica. Streep did her own CW singing in Postcards From  The Edge, 1990.
  30. Theresa Russell, Black Widow, 1986.      Like Debra, Meryl preferred the cop to the man-eater.  And killer.
  31. Glenn Close, Fatal Attraction, 1987.

  32. Jodie Foster, The Accused, 1988.   
    Awful thing to say. Except it is true. Jodie Foster would never have won her (first) Oscar for this trenchant drama – if actress Kelly McGillis had not been raped in 1982… At first, the role of the rape victim Sarah Tobias was written for Andie MacDowell. She passed. The Paramount suits then saw 34 other young actresses for the (real life) victim. Or, for their own rape bait fantasies – including 16-year-old
    Alyssa Milano! Foster was refused a test because she was “not sexy enough”! And, anyway, the studio had decided upon McGillis, a high flyer in  Paramount’s Witness and Top Gun. And, naturally, she refused point-blank! She knew what it was to be brutally raped and  Kelly had no wish to revisit the trauma of her own assault six years earlier. The suits were annoyed. They needed her. She was hot at the box-office, their box-office. They had made her a star!! Eventually, McGillis agreed to play Sarah’s defence attorney – on condition that unsexy Jodie played Sarah!   A huge list of talent also seen for Sarah.   Starting with the Fatal Attraction also-rans: Streep, Rosanna Arquette, Ellen Barkin, Kim Basinger, Jennifer Beals, Jennifer Grey, Melanie Griffith, Linda Hamilton, Darryl Hannah, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Diane Keaton, Demi Moore, Kelly Preston, Meg Ryan, Jane Seymour, Sharon Stone, Debra Winger.   And moving on to the younger Melissa Sue Anderson (trying to break her Little House on the Prairie image), Justine Bateman, Valerie Bertinelli, Phoebe Cates, Jennifer Connelly, Joan Cusack, Judy Davis, Kristin Davis, Bridget Fonda, Annabeth Gish, Mariel Hemingway, Kelly LeBrock, Virginia Madsen, Brigitte Nielsen, Tatum O’Neal, Molly Ringwald, Mia Sara, Ally Sheedy, Brooke Shields, Uma Thurman.  Oh, and Julia Louis-Dreyfuss, said the suits, was “too nice.” Rape victims shouldn’t be nice? Oh, Hollywood!

  33. Kelly McGillis, The Accused, 1988.      Paramount then saw a further 28 women for the victim’s lawyer. Including Streep among the Fatal Attractioners and… Beverly D’Angelo, Blythe Danner, Geena Davis, Sally Field, Carrie Fisher, Teri Garr, Mary Gross, Kathlen Turner, Sigourney Weaver, Dianne Wiest. A 1982 rape victim herself, McGillis refused the lead. Obviously. However, she agreed to play Sarah’s defence attorney – on condition that “unsexy” Jodie, and no one else, played Sarah! The suits caved, tested Foster and the rest is Oscar history… dated March 29, 1989.
  34. Melanie Griffith, Working Girl, 1988.    “If you ever want to make money, do Cinderella,” said Mike Nichols. Even better if he’s directing – despite a coke-head  star. (He made Her Highness Melanie Griffith pay $80,000 from her salary for having to close down shooting one night due to her wasted condition). Fox never wanted her, anyway, but Njchols was Nichols; he ruled. “She incarnated Tess and there was no great version of the movie without her,” declared producer Douglas Wick.   The earliest notion was Madonna. Mike rang producer Douglas Wick: ”Turn on your TV. Madonna’s on The Tonight  Show.  See what you think of her…” They also saw Lorraine Bracco (devastated after, she thought nailing her test), Goldie Hawn (bit old at 43), Diane Lane, Shelley Long, Demi Moore, Sarah Jessica Parker.  Plus Michelle Pfeiffer and Meryl Streep for Tess or her wicked witch boss, Katharine; won by Sigourney Weaver. (Some 26 years later, Griffith’s daughter, Dakota Johnson, headed the darker and, supposedly, more erotic version of the office power-play tale in Fifty Shades of Grey).
  35. Sigourney Weaver, Working Girl, 1988.   Streep – and Michelle Pfeiffer – were seen for the titular Tess (an office, not street worker) or her wicked witch boss, Katharine; won by Weaver from… Anne Archer, Cher, Geena Davis, Shelley Long, Natasha Richardson, Kathleen Turner and Debra Winger.
  36. Susan Sarandon, Thelma & Louise, 1990.
  37. Sharon Stone, Basic Instinct, 1991.
  38. Emma Thompson,. The Remains of the Day, 1992.  Before it became another Merchant-Ivory pearl, this had been on director Mike Nichols to-do list – with Anthony Hopkins  (or Jeremy Irons) and Meryl Streep as thwarted lovers, butler and housekeeper to the gentry. Both as impeccable as the film – an oh so English study from a Japanese writer, Kazuo Ishiguro, Indian producer Ismail Merchant and American director James Ivory.  As brilliant as he could be, Nichols could not have made it better.
  39. Ellen Barkin, Man Trouble, 1992.       After Heartburn, 1986, and Ironweed, 1987, the third pairing of Meryl and Jack Nicholson was set for 1990, except Jack was too spent… not so much from  actor-directing The Two Jakes but its gigantic flop.  By the time  he was ready, Meryl was  not – she was pregnant with her fourth baby.  Lucky for her. Barkin was a poor  substitute. Yet Jack Nicholson agreed in order to help out two of  his Five Easy Pieces: writer Carole Eastman and director Bob Rafelson.  
  40. Gene Hackman, The Firm, 1993.      Director Sydney Pollack and producer Scott Rudin considered turning the head of their secret Mafia law firm  into a woman – and young lawyer Tom Cruise would have an affair with her. They didn’t get it on during Lions for Lambs, 2007, either. The  well-meaning film, produced by Cruise to re-launch United Artists, did not.

  41. Stockard Channing, Six Degrees of Separation, 1993.     Streep and Will Smith…!!  Meryl was keen, she loved the play (Channing’s Tony nominated role) and had worked with Australian director Fred Schepisi on Plenty, 1985.
  42. Geena Davis, Angie, 1993.     The official reason was Madonna was already booked for Abel Ferrara’s  Dangerous Game, 1992.   Then, one of her  emails was leaked – furious with the head Fox, Joe Roth, for dumping her for a non-Italian in  the titular role.  In truth, she fled after hearing Roth didn’t want her because she couldn’t carry a movie. (Not that this one did any better without her). Her director, Jonathan Kaplan, also quit and Martha Coolidge took over with her 1991 Rambling Rose star – after some thoughts about a dozen others, from  Halle Berry  to Meryl.  Oh, very Italian!
  43. Sandra Bullock, Speed, 1993.      Aw c’mon! This is the one and only time that Meryl was in the mix for the same role as  such equals as… Rosanna Arquette, Cameron Diaz, Carrie Fisher, Bridget Fonda,  Daryl Hannah, Kay Lenz, Alyssa Milano, Demi Moore, Tatum O’Neal, Sarah Jessica Parker and  Ally Sheedy!!!  A further  25 (including, aw c’mon…  Glenn Close and Emma Thompson) also refused to help  Keanu Reeves save passengers of a bus  with a bomb on it. What was Foxthinking!  Then again, it must  be admitred ghat if this was Die Hard On A Bus, Meryl’s The River Wild, a year later, was…  was Die Hard On A Raft.  (But, at least, she had the Bruce Willis role that time).
  44. Sigourney Weaver, Death and the Maiden, 1994.      First name on the short list (quelle surprise!) of director Roman Polanski and producer Thom Mount.
  45. Joan Allen, Nixon, 1995.       Inevitably, Meryl was seen for First Lady Pat Nixon. However,  Warren Beatty –  a possible Tricky Dicky – had already recommended Allen  to auteur Oliver Stone.  And read scenes with her!.
  46. Mary Stuart Masterson, Radioland Murders, 1994.         First leading lady suggestion for the Dream On cable TV star Brian Benben  His wife knew best. George Lucas production  or not, the old  (1974) script was too long in the tooth.
  47. Patricia Arquette, Beyond Rangoon, 1995.        This once she fourth choice… after Meg Ryan, Michelle Pfeiffer, Jodie Foster.
  48. Annette Bening, The American President, 1995.     “I once had a White House in Washington…” Due opposite Robert Redford (again)  in the Fred Schepisi version, The President Elopes, in 1992.
  49. Annette Bening, Richard III, 1995.      Budget would not stretch far enough for Ian McKellan’s dream (and deliberately American) Queen Elizabeth in his 1930s-Fascistic take on Shakespeare.
  50. Madonna, Evita, 1996.       At the very least, the accent would have been perfect…  Madonna was director Oliver Stone’s first choice, except “she had no humility.”  So he agreed to sail with Streep. “She has a lovely voice and was hungry to do it.”  After nearly three years’ prepping, she quit in October 1989. Exhaustion, said her publicist.  Money, said Stone. “She was upset about men getting bigger salaries.”  Pregnancy had much earlier prevented her accepting Hal Prince’s request to take over the role on Broadway. “That would have been a new switch – a pregnant Evita!”

  51. Diane Keaton, Marvin’s Room, 1996.       Meryl was first attached to Bessie. When Anjelica Huston fell out of Lee, Streep took that role over and Bessie became Keaton.
  52. Cate Blanchett, Elizabeth, 1997 . Acording to The Legend, this is one of the three  roles only  that Streep was rejected for – by, in  this instance, the Pakistani director Shekhar Kapur best known for  his Indian  epic, Bandit Queen, 1994, and now into his  his first English-language film –  a revisionist view of England’s first Queen Elizabeth. Nicole Kidman was also bypassed.  Because Kapur had been bowled over a year before by the Australian Cate  Blanchett  in, not the film but a video promo for her film, Oscar and Lucinda. Kapur’s other surprising  casting included Richard Attenborough, Danjel Craig (in the role that won  him 007),, Geoffrey Rush and the French ex-Manchester United soccer star, Eric Cantona.
  53. Julia Ormond, The Barber of Siberia, 1997.     Ten years earlier, the project of Russian director Nikita Mikhalov had been all set for Streep. Now it went to nobody.       
  54. Glenn Close, Mars Attacks! 1998.       For the Tim Burton jape that failed to ignite, Stockard Channing was also talked of for President Jack Nicholson’s First Lady. Close din’t help. Too many stars. Not enough satire.
  55. Helen Mirren,Teaching Mrs Tingle, 1998.  Gillian Anderson, Sally Field and Sigourney Weaver must have been stunned to find themselves short-listed in the same company as eternal rivals Glenn Close and Meryl Streep for the  thoroughly nasty history teacher. “Helen Mirren is one of the greatest living actresses,” said auteur Kevin Williamson.  “She elevated Mrs. Tingle to a new level.”  She called it a dream role, because of laying on a bed most days, tied up by her students.
  56. Brenda Blethyn, RKO 281, TV, 1999.      For Louella Parsons as the Scott brothers, Ridley and Tony, tell all about  the making of Citizen Kane. It ended (brilliantly) as  a reduced-budget HBO tele-movie..
  57. Rene Russo, The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle, 2000.     During a rights rumble, Danny De Vito-Streep became Jason Alexander-Rene Russo. To this day, no one can fully explain why this mess was ever envisaged, let alone made.
  58. Frances McDormand, Almost Famous, 2000.     For his autobiographical talk of joining the rock world, writer-director and ex-Rolling Stone journo Cameron Crowe wanted Streep as his mother. She did not agree.
  59. Lois Smith, Minority Report, 2002.       Streep and Spielberg – chapter two.   They  talked about it when  she  voiced  Blue Mecha in Artificial Intelligence: AI, 2001. Smith, 72,  has been in 90-plus films,  starting with East of Eden, 1955.  By this year, Meryl scored her 13th Oscar nod (two wins), beating Katharine Hepburn’s twelve and four and Bette Davis, ten and two. (Early in her career, Streep received a letter from Davis, saying she felt Meryl was her successor as the premier American actress. Kate Hepburn, however, despised Meryl  as an actress.  Too damned brilliant, huh?).
  60. 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 Bewitcherd re-hash, but with the emphasis on him (of course) as Darrin, rather than the unknown he chose for Samatha because she can wriggle 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.

  61. Patricia Clarkson, All The King’s Men, 2006.      Just too busy for a consecutive re-make (after The Manchurian Candidate) what with… The Devil Wears Prada, The Music of Regret, Robert Altman’s (finale) A Prairie Home Companion and  voicing The Queen in The Ant Bully toon. She had made  20 films that far in the new century, 61 screen roles in 30 years.
  62. Helena Bonham Carter, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, 2006.      Annette Bening, Toni Collette, Nicole Kidman, Cyndi Lauper, Bernadette Peters plus great Brits, Kristin Scott Thomas, Imelda Staunton, Emma Thompson and Kate Winslet were also considered for Mrs Lovett, making the meatiest of meat pies (from the victims of a demonic Johnny Depp). They all lacked one essential. They were not living with director Tim Burton! HBC. And she underlined it by being pregnant during the shoot.
  63. Michelle Pfeiffer, Hairspray, 2007.     Meryl and Madonna  were seen as Velma Von Tussle. And both Meryl and Michelle had been beaten to Evita, 1996,  by Madonna.   Three years later, Streep took over Madonna’s Music of the Heart, 1999.    
  64. Debra Winger, Rachel Getting Married, 2008.       She asked director Jonathan Demme to release her as Amy Adams’ mother in order to be Mama Mia! “I was intimidated about contacting Debra,” said Demme. “But my belief that we needed her transcended my fear.”  And Streep became Amy’s reverend  mother in Doubt.
  65. Helen Mirren, The Last Station, 2009.   Change of the  great Russian writer  Tolstoi and his  wife, Sofya. From Anthony Hopkins and Meryl Streep (ah!) to Christopher Plummer and Helen Mirren (wow!).  They made the couple more vital than you might expect in a historical picture, noted Chicago critic Roger Ebert.
  66. Helen Mirren, Red, 2009.      OK, one Oscar-winner for another, Margaret Thatcher vQueen Elizabeth II.  (Not for the first time). The official version is that Meryl was “considered.” Nobody considersMeryl, they  rush to sign her…  But she hasn’t made a stupid film since Death Becomes Herin 1991.  (Also with Bruce Willis). Mirren  probably learned to to shoot guns without blinking.  Not easy. (Why do you think the Matrix crowd sported shades?). Who would wish go see La Streep in  the old black-ops team (Morgan J Freeman, John Malkovich) together again as RED. Retired, Extremely Dangerous. Now if they’d offered her the Bruce’s boss role…
  67. Barbara Hershey, Black Swan, 2009.   A Streep role (Natalie Portman’s pushy mother) being inherited by Hershey may sound surprising for those who never knew the younger Hershey.  She remains the sole actress to win consecutive Best Actress awards at the Cannes festival. For Shy People in 1987 and A World Apart (shared with her co-stars, Jodhi May and Linda Mvusi) in 1988. She also picked up Debra Winger’s aunt in A Dangerous Woman from a reluctant Glenn Close in 1993.
  68. Michelle Peiffer, People Like Us, 2011.   Director Alex Kurtzman thought of Meryl fopr Chris Pine’s disheveled looking mother!  Of course,  she was.  She’d be considered for anybody’s mother. Even Shrek’s.
  69. Helena Bonham-Carter, Great Expectations, 2012.     Schedules prevented a Streepian Miss Havisham in the ninth screen version of the Dickens classic  between 1934-2012. Helena was the first to stick to Dickens’ description and wore a single shoe.
  70. Emma Thompson, Saving Mr Banks, 2012.      Of course, Meryl can do accents, but nobody can do a starchy Englishwomen like Emma – and so she won the role of author PL Travers in the oddly titled account of how at how Walt Disney (played by a cousin: Tom Hanks) persuaded the anti-Disney writer to let him fulfill a promise to his daughter – and film Travers’ Mary Poppins book. Only took him 25 years!
  71. Annette Bening, The Search, 2013.     Oscar-winning French director for The Artist, Michel Hazanavicius  tried to land Streep for the orphanage director as Fred Zinnemann’s film of 1947 Germany is re-told in post war Chechnya. In short, nothing has changed. 

  72. Ariel Winter, Mr Peabody & Sherman, 2013.   Elizabeth Banks, Tina Fey – even Meryl Streep – were heard for voicing Penny Peterson, classmate of Sherman, the adopted human son of Mr. P, the most amazing dog in history:  inventor, scientist, Noble laureate, gourmet chef, business tycoon, double Olympic gold medalist. With its own time machine. Plus an adopted human son! Mann also played Patty’s mother.
  73. Adriana Ugarte, Julieta, Spain, 2015.     Some years earlier, Spanish director Pedro Almodóvar planned to adapt three Alice Munro stories as Silence for Meryl.  “She knew the stories, and we talked about the character of Juliet, and she was very enthusiastic. It was really something for me, because if you have an instrument like Meryl Streep, even to direct it for me should be different…” He quit as soon as Martin Scorsese announced his (totally different) Silence plan. (Pedro could simply have used either of the other two short story titles: Chance; Soon). No, the real reason he matched Munro’s original title – Runaway – was that felt felt insecure in a place he did not know (Canada), in a language (English) he had not mastered (although having written the script in English). It just all worked better back in his comfort zone. Madrid.
  74. Emma Stone, Cruella, 2018.     Streep was a shoo-in for the evil one in Disney’s biopic as the scenario came from Aline Brosh McKenna, who penned a similar monster in The Devil Wears Prada.  Producers included Disney’s first live action Cruella: Glenn Close.









 Birth year: Death year: Other name: Casting Calls:  74