A-listers turn to drastic measures to land roles

By Emily-Fortune Feimster and Stacy Jenel Smith

HollywoodNews.com: At one point in their careers, celebrities have had to go the extra mile to get a great part in Hollywood. Every good actor knows that sometimes it takes a lot more than just showing up to an audition to land a great role.

Kate Winslet was bent on nabbing the leading lady part in “Titanic,” for example, but director James Cameron resisted. She’d done “Sense and Sensibility” and “Hamlet,” and he was afraid she had the wrong image. When her agents failed to get the point across to Cameron that Winslet was Rose, she reportedly left a rose in his car with a friendly note. Then she got his cell phone number and called to convince him herself. Cameron was on the freeway, and said “I’m going somewhere.” Undeterred, Kate insisted to him, “I just have to do this, and you are really mad if you don’t cast me,” the actress recalled. Cameron reconsidered. Winslet was also hell-bent to get Leonardo DiCaprio to play opposite her, and tracked him down to his hotel room at the Cannes Film Festival to persuade him.

Perhaps the greatest film actress of her generation, Meryl Streep, can play aggressive as well as she plays everything else. Alan Pakula actually turned Meryl down for “Sophie’s Choice.” She phoned the director and, as she puts it, “begged and pleaded for an interview.” Pakula consented out of politeness, expecting nothing, but Streep dazzled him in the interview and got the part — for which she later won an Oscar. Similarly, Sydney Pollack didn’t see Meryl as a good prospect for his “Out of Africa,” and told her agent he wasn’t interested. Srteep heard through the grapevine that the director didn’t think she was sexy enough. She got a meeting with Pollack, walked in wearing a dynamite push-up bra, wowed him and the rest is history.

To read more go to BeckSmithHollywood.com.

About Beck / Smith

Marilyn Beck and Stacy Jenel Smith are among America’s leading columnists. They’ve covered the Hollywood beat for decades — Elvis and “Easy Rider” through the Jonas Bros. and “Avatar” and all the stars and their triumphs and scandals in-between. Their Creators Syndicate column, Beck/Smith Hollywood Exclusive, is a source of top celebrity interviews and entertainment news in newspapers across the country as well as online. To read more about Marylin and Stacy go to BeckSmithHollywood.com

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