Sigourney Weaver


  1. Cybill Shepherd, Taxi Driver, 1975.
  2. Sissy Spacek, Carrie, 1976.  
  3. Carrie Fisher, Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope, 1976.

  4. Christine Jones, Annie Hall, 1976.      
    “Oh, that was my dream. To be in a Woody Allen film!”  And she was – after winning her first movie audition for Dorrie, “the girl he tries to re-create the same love affair with after Annie Hall, but she doesn’t have the same sense of humour, so it doesn’t work.” And then Weaver decided to stay with to “this multiple schizophrenic”” in the revue, Das Lusitania Songspiel, written by her best friend, playwright Christopher Durang. Woody just shrugged his shoulders at the news.  “But I was so flustered, I walked right into the broom closet. I thought it was the exit…” That helped him remember her for one day in this smaller part.  A lot of it got cut out. I had this scene where we were in bed. I was reading the National Review and eating crackers…and he’s on the phone with Annie Hall in California. We also did The Sorrow and the Pity scene at the end…Diane Keaton was with Walter Bernstein and I was with Woody Allen. I’m still so proud of it today…” Finally, she was on-screen for six seconds. But unless you know my raincoat, you’ll miss me.”

  5. 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.
  6. Yvette Mimieux, The Black Hole, 1978.  Or 20,000 Leagues in space… About a spacecraft , captured in space and hanging around a black hole, zsaid difectyor Gary Nelson. “On board were all the typical Disney characters, the families – it was like a city up there!  They were all in danger of being destroyed by the black hole and they had to be rescued. And I thought, what is all this bullshit?’ So we threw all that out.”  Sigourney, too, when Disney’s casting chief declared: “Oh my god, with a name like Sigourney Weaver, we don’t want her.”
  7. Julie Hagerty, Airplane!, 1979.      “And don’t call me Shirley!” Directors David and Jerry Zucker (with Jim Abrahams) sent up overly serious movies by dubbing their own improvised dialogue.  When they  caught Zero Hour! – a 1957 film about an ex-WWII pilot landing a stricken passenger flight – they thought: “Why don’t we recreate the whole thing?” Thus, Airplane’s conception. They wrote it as a comedy for non-comics, a concept so new that no one understood it. Except Paramount’s Michael Eisner. First suggestions for the stewardess Elaine were Sigourney and Shelley Long. “But Julie Hagerty was so strikingly different, we knew she was the one.” “We told the actors to pretend that they didn’t know they were in a comedy. Said co-star Robert Stack: “I get it – we’re the joke!”- Kay Lenz, House, 1985.   Really?  Weaver and Glenn Close and Sigourney Weaver seem too old to be up for Kay’s role in this amusing comedy-horror from Friday The 13th (II and III) director Steve Miner.  Glenn and Sigourney were 38 and 36, while
  8. Debra Winger, Urban Cowboy, 1980.      Usually, she was “too tall!”  This once,  she was “too old” by five years  for John Travolta. 
  9. Debra Winger, An Officer and a Gentleman, 1981.  There was a lot of choppping and changing about the officer and gent’s lady, Paula Pokrifki. Geena Dabvis, Rebecca De Mornay and Meg Ryan auditioned. Then, Paula became Kim Basinger, then Anjelica Huston, then Jennifer Jason Leigh… JLT departing for Fast Times At Ridgemont Highwas Winger’s lucky day. Well, it didn’t start well, when loudmouth producer Don Simpson told her: “You’re not fuckable enough.” After which, she never got on with Gere (“a brick wall”) and hated the film, despite her Oscar nod.
  10. Kathleen Turner,  Body Heat, 1981.     “I didn’t do it because my agent [Sam  Cohn]  was convinced  that  [writer-director] Lawrence  Kasdan  was a pervert. There were all these ‘He goes down on her’ and ‘She goes down on him’  in the  script.  So that was out.  But I don’t see myself as selling sex in any way.” So what was  the star-making end of Alien all about in 1979?

  11. Kathryn Harrold, Yes, Giorgio, 1982.     Mario Lanza’s MGMusicals turned Luciano Pavarotti on to opera…  and to this $15m turkey, only one of six film offers he ever accepted.  Weaver had more sense and passed.  “If the movie is a catastrophe,”  said Pavarotti,  “then I will be what I was before.” It was. He was – and for evermore.
  12. Elizabeth McGovern, Once Upon a Time in America, 1982.   Italian maestro Sergio Leone claimed 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.
  13. 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 Redfod (“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.
  14. Linda Hamilton, The Terminator, 1983.    
    In all, 55 actresses were considered, seen or tested for Sarah Connor (aged18; Linda was 27) opposite Arnold Schwarzenegger. James Cameron auteured Sarah for Bridget Fonda. She passed; so did Tatum O’Neal. He decided to go older…  and Glenn Close won – her schedule didn’t agree. OK, Kate Capshaw! No, she was tied to Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom – and Kathleen Turner was Romancing The Stone. Debra Winger won her audition, said yes… then no.   The other 48 ladies were The ’80s Group: Weaver, Rosanna Arquette, Kim Basinger, Christy Brinkley, Colleen Camp, Jamie Lee Curtis, Geena Davis, Judy Davis, Mia Farrow, Carrie Fisher, Jodie Foster, Teri Garr, Jennifer Grey, Melanie Griffith, Darryl Hannah, Barbara Hershey, Anjelica Huston, Amy Irving, Diane Keaton, Margot Kidder, Diane Lane, Jessica Lange, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Kay Lenz, Heather Locklear, Lori Loughlin, Kelly McGillis, Kristy McNichol, Michelle Pfeiffer, Deborah Raffin, Meg Ryan, Susan Sarandon, Ally Sheedy, Cybill Shepherd, Brooke Shields, Sissy Spacek, Sharon Stone, Lea Thompson… one aerobics queen, Bess Motta (she became Sarah’s room-mate, Ginger Ventura), two two singers (Madonna, Liza Minnelli), two Brits (Miranda Richardson, Jane Seymour), five essentially funny girls, Goldie Hawn, Rhea Perlman (Mrs Danny De Vito), Gilda Radner, Mary Tyler Moore… plus the new MTM, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, from Saturday Night Live. Most were in contention again a few years later for Fatal Attraction (won by Close) and The Accused (going to Foster and McGillis). Ten years later (after T2), Linda gave birth to Cameron’s daughter and Josephine’s parents wed in 1997… for two years.

  15. Lonette McKee, The Cotton Club, 1984.    “It was for a kinda Brechtian whore, sexy and savvy – and people think of me in upscale terms.” She passed. Correctly. Considering the setting was the Harlem night spot, it was more likely that the showgirl Lila Rose Oliver would be black. Hence: McKee, a Spike Lee regular in Jungle Fever, Malcolm X, He Got Game, She Hate Me.
  16. Kay Lenz, House, 1985.      Despite her impact as  William Holden’s perfect mistress –  young, sassy, sexy – in Clint Eastwood’s Breezy,  1972,  Kay never reached stardom. Yet she beat the not inconsiderable  Sigourney and Glenn Close for  the lead in this horror about a man and his zombies.  Some critics saw it as a comedy, others as a farce.

  17. Brigitte Nielsen, Red Sonja, 1985.   
    Sonja was born in a Conan comic and producer Dino De Laurentiis asked Arnold Schwarzenegger to reprise his Conan as a favour. Impossible. Dino didn’t have any rights to the name. . So Arnold became Kalidor and tricked into shooting for a month instead of a week. He quit his Dino contract as a result. He also stole the film – and the poster! – from Red Brigitte, with time out for an affair with The Great Dane.  Also in the Sonja mix: Sigourney Weaver, of all women… Sandahl Bergman, Conan’s Valeria (she became Queen Gedren, instead)… Lauren Landon, until Dino found she’d been another medieval woman warrior, Hundra, 1982 (you k now, iike Arnold had been a previous warrior guy!)…  and future TV soap queen Eileen Davidson. Yet no one suggested the strapping Raquel Welch, which is odd as Sonja’s story closely resembled Raquel’s Hannie Caulder in the 1970 revenge Western, itself quite a re-hash of Beverly  Garland’s Gunslinger, 1956, and re-made as 6 Guns (!), 2009, with Sage Mears.

  18. Isabella Rossellini, Blue Velvet, 1985.  The legend varies…  1.  Auteur David Lynch’s first choice for Dorothy Valens was the German star Hanna Schyguylla.  2. Lynch wrote Dorothy for Harry  but she was fed up with playing weirdoes. 3. He moved on to Karen Allen, Rebecca De Mornay, Jodie Foster, Debbie Harry, Helen Hunt, Angelica Huston, Diane Keaton, Helen Mirren, Cybill Shepherd, Sissy Spacek, Sigourney Weaver, Debra Winger – most found Dorothy and the film way too erotic.  4.Lynch then met Isa in a NYC restaurant and fell head over clapperboard in love.
  19. Roxanne Hart, HIghlander, 1985.   Some 16 guys were up for Christophe(r) Lambert’s immortal clansman, Connor McLeod.  But as many as 24 women for  Brenda Wyatt, the modern-day forensics cop bedded by him. Brooke Adams… who must have felt  she had as great chance, having already successfully partnered Connery in The Great Train Robbery, 1978,  and Cuba, 1979. Her rivals  were Karen Allen, Rosanna Arquette, Jennifer Beals, Lorraine Bracco, Elisabeth Brooks, Kate Capshaw, Glenn Close, Lisa Eilbacher, Linda Fiorentino, Kim Greist (Terry Gilliam’s huge Brazil error), Linda Hamilton, Diane Lane, Carolyn McCormick, Demi Moore, Annette O’Toole, Elizabeth Perkins, Tanya Roberts (booked for 007’s View to a Kill),  Annabella Sciorra,, Diane Venora, Sela Ward, Sigourney Weaver and (phew!) Sean Young.    Broadway’s rank outsider won!
  20. Kim Basinger, 9 1/2 Weeks, 1986.     Too sexy again for the actress who once said she “wanted to make a hard-core porn film.” Also, she was as  nude as Kim in  that same  year  in  Half  Moon  Street.   UK director Adrian Lyne had also seen Jacqueline Bisset, Teri Garr, Demi Moore, Tatum O’Neal, Isabella Rossellini, Dominique Sanda, Kathleen Turner, Sigourney Weaver. And Andie MacDowell who thought the script was borderline sleaze. Oh, baby, it was way over the border!  That’s why they all refused to be the erotic Elizabeth finally played by Kim and assorted body doubles. 

  21. Meg Ryan, Innerspace,  1986.   The very title comes from dialogue in the film that inspired this spoof: Fantastic Voyage, 1965. Hero Dennis Quaid  is miniaturised into a capsule  and injected into Martin Short’s butt. (Never that funny). For the secondary rôle of Quaid‘s girl, 22 actresses were seen, auditioned and/or tested: Karen Allen, Jamie Lee Curtis, Beverly d’Angelo, Jodie Foster, Linda Hamilton, Anjelica Huston, Amy Irving (being wed to exec producer Steven Spielberg didn’t help!), Amy Madigan, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, Demi Moore, Michelle Pfeiffer, Molly Ringwald Julia Roberts, Rene Russo, Ally Sheedy, Elisabeth Shue, Madeleine Stowe, Sigourney Weaver, Claudia Wells, Sean Young. And, of course, Meg – and Quaid married her during 1991-2001.
  22. Holly Hunter,  Broadcast  News,  1987.     Tallest girl  on James Brooks’ short-list. “I get sent the roles Meryl’s not doing.”
  23. Glenn Close, Fatal Attraction, 1987.
  24. Kelly McGillis, The Accused, 1988.   Paramount suits saw 40 young actresses for the (real life) gang rape victim. Or, their own rape bait fantasies… such as 16-year-old Alyssa Milano! And a further 27 for her lawyer. Including Fatal Attraction also-rans from Geena Davis, Sally Field, Goldie Hawn, Barbara Hershey, Tuesday Weld – to Diane Keaton, Meryl Streep and Debra Winger, who were offered both roles. Plus Weaver, Beverly D’Angelo, Blythe Danner,  Carrie Fisher, Teri Garr, Mary Gross, ,Kathleen Turner, Dianne Wiest. A 1982 rape victim herself, McGillis refused the lead. She had no wish to revisit the horror and pain of her own assault six years earlier. Obviously. However, she agreed to play Sarah’s defence attorney – on condition that the studio-described “unsexy” Jodie, and no one else, played Sarah! The suits caved, tested Foster and the rest is Oscar history… dated March 29, 1989.
  25. Anjelica Huston, The Witches, 1988.  Olivja  Hussey topped  author Ronald Dahl’s wish list for Miss Ernst, aka The Grand High Witch. However, Anjelica was on Nic Roeg’s list. And he was the director!  He took his time combing through the 13 other candidates:  From Linda Blair (little Regan grew up to be a witch?), Genevieve Bujold, Cher, Frances Conroy, Faye Dunaway, Jodie Foster, Liza Minnelli, Susan Sarandpn, Sigourney Weaver to true Brits Fiona Fullerton, Helen Mirren, Vanessa Redgrave… and the sole Black star considered, Eartha Kitt.  Together with Bancroft, they all escaped eight  hours of make-up each  day!  Appalled by the vulgar bad taste and :actual terror” in the film, Dahl threatened to take his name off it.  Jim Henson talked him out  of it for the Muppeteer’s final production.  
  26. Natasha Richardson, The Handmaid’s Tale, 1989.     She pulled out of  playwright-scenarist Harold Pinter’s version of the Margaret Attwood novel  – pregnant with her and Jim Simpson’s only child,  Charlotte.
  27. Nicole Kidman, Dead Calm, 1989.      Weaver and Debra Winger had  both been attached to star.
  28. Catherine O’Hara, Home Alone, 1990.     An astonishing 37 stars (Harrison Ford,  Jack Nicholson, Jessica Lange, Michelle Pfeiffer, etc) were considered for the forgetful parents – nothing roles in a film written for and duly stolen by the stranded kid, Macauley Culkin.
  29. Kelly Lynch, Curly Sue, 1990.    “That was another movie that started out as one movie and ended up being another movie entirely,” reported Kelly. “But a great experience… like a throwback to one of those Depression-era movies that you’d seen Jean Harlow in.”Kirstie Alley, Geena Davis, Laura Dern, Linda Hamilton (off shooting Terminator 2) , Goldie Hawn, Sigourney Weaver also suggested for  the cynical Chicago lawyer missed up with a Paper Moon IIact: James Belushi and  young Alisan Porter.   Critic Roger Ebert fell for John Hughes’ final film – “could have been written by Damon Runyon, illustrated by Norman Rockwell and filmed by Frank Capra.”

  30. Geena Davis, Thelma & Louise, 1990. 
  31. Susan Sarandon, Thelma & Louise, 1990. 

  32. Sharon Stone, Basic Instinct, 1991.
  33. Laura Dern, Jurassic Park 1992.    
  34. Holly Hunter, The Piano,  Australia-France-New Zealand, 1992.    Kiwi director Jane Campion met with several actresses for her Ada: Sigourney, Juliette Binoche, Isabelle Huppert, Angelica Huston,  Jennifer Jason Leigh, Madeleine Stowe and Sean Young. But Holly was able to perform most of the piano sequences, herself – earning the Oscar and Cannes Festival best actress double whammy.
  35. Sandra Bullock, Speed, 1993.     Although sharing the heroics and the driving of the bus-bomb with Keanu Reeves, most girls saw it as The Guy’s film. An amazing 36 refused to be Annie: Sigourney, Rosanna Arquette Kim Basinger, Halle Berry, Glenn Close (!), Geena Davis, Cameron Diaz, Carrie Fisher, Bridget Fonda, Jodie Foster, Melanie Griffith, Daryl Hannah, Mariska Hargitay, Barbara Hershey, Anjelica Huston, Diane Lane, Jessica Lange, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Kay Lenz, Alyssa Milano, Demi Moore, Tatum O’Neal, Sarah Jessica Parker, Michelle Pfeiffer, Julia Roberts, Meg Ryan, Winona Ryder, Jane Seymour, Ally Sheedy, Brooke Shields, Meryl Streep (!), Emma Thompson (!), Meg Tilly, Marisa Tomei, Kathleen Turner and Debra Winger.
  36. Anjelica  Huston, Buffalo Girls, TV, 1995.     Keen to be Calamity Jane in the tele-adaptation of Larry McMurtry’s novel. 
  37. Barbara Hershey, The Portrait of a Lady, 1995.  After Susan Sarandon had to quit director Jane Campion’s take on the Henry James classic, Weaver also passed  on Madame Serena Merle. Result: a first Oscar nomination for Hershey.
  38. Diane Keaton, Marvin’s Room, 1996.      Angelica  Huston, Kathleen Turner Weaver, they all wanted to work with Meryl Streep!
  39. Glenn Close, 101 Dalmatians, 1996.     Close passed due to her  Broadway  musical, Sunset Blvd. Weaver also refused to be Cruella DeVille, by which time. Broadway had had enough of Norma Desmond and Close was free to eat the scenery…   She   reprised Cruella in 102 Dalmatians, 2000, with the only other actors to be  in  both Disney movies:  Tim McInnerny was her  butler Alonzo.
  40. 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. Rather like Robert Mitchum refusing two US Navy admirals in Midway, 1976. He accepted the third:  because it was for one day. And in bed.

  41. Miranda Richardson,  Alice In Wonderland, TV, 1999.     Schedules prevent Weaver  becoming… what else but the Queen of Hearts!  (Martin  Short was the Mad Hatter, Whoopi Goldberg, the Cheshire Cat and Peter Ustinov, the Walrus).
  42. Jamie Lee Curtis, Freaky Friday, 2003.      Annette Bening, Weaver, Michelle Trachtenberg were second, third, fourth choices for the mother swopping lives with her teenage daughter… just for one day. First idea had been Jodie Foster, of course – the kid in the ’76 version. Jodie felt such casting gimmicks ruined movies.
  43. Joan Cusack, Chicken Little, 2004.   To find the right voice for Abby Mallard in Disney’s paltry poultry pic, Disney went through JLC, Geeena Davis, Laura Dern, Jamie Donnelly, Jodie Foster, Holly Hunter, Madonna and, of course, Sigourney. (By now many Alien fans were working at every studio).
  44. Virginia Madsen, The Astronaut Farmer. 2006.     As the titular Billy Bob Thornton’s wife for the film-making  Polish twins, Mark and Michael. “I’ve always admired Margaret Rutherford.   Like her I’d like to play Miss Marple when I’m 80.”
  45. Lena Olin,  Awake, 2006.     Score one for Sweden…! Lena beat off two other contenders for Hayden Christensen’s domineering  mother – Sigourney and Helen Mirren. 
  46. Meryl Streep, Doubt, 2007.    Directing his script of his 2005 Pulitzer Prize-winning  Broadway play,  John Patrick Shanley first asked Frances to  be the dragon nun,  Sister Aloysius Beauvier.  Next: Weaver, Kathy Bates, Annette Bening, Anjelica Huston –  never the original Broadway 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.
  47. Carlo Gugino, Watchmen, 2008.     Early ideas for Silk Spectre/Sally Jupiter were Weaver, Jessica Biel, Jamie Lee Curtis,  Hilary Duff, Hilarly Swank – as directors likewise changed from Darren Afronofsky, Michael Bay, Tim Burton, Terry Gilliam and  Paul  Greengrass to, ultimately, the lesser Zack Snyder.
  48. Halston Sage, X-Men: Dark Phoenix, 2017.    It took 40 years for Marvel’s Alison Blaire, aka Dazzler, to be in a Marvel film.  And then, blink and  you miss her – certainly never hear her speak a line of dialogue.  In the 70s, she was black and a disco queen (Disco Dazzler, in fact),  based upon and aimed at Grace Jones.  Next, the Dereks – Bo and director husband John  – took over and Dazzler’ss co-creator John Romita, Jr was furious. “They’ve sold out for some whitebread blonde chick. She was very hot at the time, but I thought she wasn’t as realistic a choice as Grace Jones was.”  Producer-director Bryan Singer suggested Lady Gaga in 2013, but always saw Sigourney Weaver in the part. Halston Sage, among  Variety’s Top 10 Stars to Watch, finally Dazzled  in the last X-Men production by Fox, by which time Singer was missing from the credits following allegations of sexual  abuse.









 Birth year: Death year: Other name: Casting Calls:  48