It’s blasphemous imagining anyone else in Clarice Starling’s shoes. But here’s who almost had Foster’s career…
McGillis, who opted to play the tough-talking lawyer instead, was the original lead. Foster, after convincing the studio that she was no longer the overweight teenager from her awkward years, stepped in and won her first Oscar.
The Silence of the Lambs
Foster was Demme’s second choice, but she won him over with an impassioned speech about the mythology of the female hero. The American Film Institute later named her Clarice the top female hero of all time.
When Ryan bowed out weeks before shooting, Foster slid into a corset and cozied up to new fast friend Mel Gibson. ”It was the perfect gig,” she says of her one foray into romantic comedy. ”I didn’t have to worry about [an audition].”
Kidman, who was nursing an injury from Moulin Rouge, had to drop out three weeks into production. Foster stepped down as head of the jury at Cannes to replace her and went on to score her highest-grossing opening weekend yet.
Though Penn was reportedly attached to star, Foster says the thriller ”was the only movie that I could even imagine being in” after having passed on three years’ worth of scripts. ”And I read constantly. And that was written for a man!”