As Yogi Berra once said, it looks like déjà vu all over again. Last week producer Robert Halmi announced that after a long, expensive, and well-publicized search (including an open casting call that attracted more than 400 hopefuls), he still had not found an unknown to star in Scarlett, the planned CBS miniseries sequel to Gone With the Wind, based on Alexandra Ripley’s much-ballyhooed 1991 best-seller.
Isn’t this pretty much what producer David O. Selznick tried in the late 1930’s, when he spent two years auditioning actresses to play Scarlett O’Hara in the original GWTW, then made a last-minute discovery of Vivien Leigh — the actress he had planned to cast anyway? Halmi maintains his search is no publicity stunt, but the real thing. If it weren’t, he says, ”I’d be an idiot to spend $1 million and six months.” Giving up on unknowns, Halmi will now concentrate on brand-name actresses to play the Southern belle.
Gee, isn’t Julia Roberts from Atlanta?