While Woody Allen is known for commanding starry, ensemble casts who will work for next to nothing to just to appear in his films, he’s generally shied away from stunt casting. But doing the press rounds for his latest European trifle, “To Rome With Love” (read our review here), he reveals he once had a couple of…interesting names in mind for roles in his movies, one of whom he actually even made an offer to.
Chatting recently with The Wall Street Journal, the paper asked Allen about his predilection over the years, to sometimes cast “troubled” actors in his films such as Drew Barrymore or Owen Wilson, and if he had made a specific effort to court them. “No. I feel that they are right for the roles. I don’t hesitate to cast people if they are right. I offered a part once to Tonya Harding. She couldn’t do it at that point in her life because the parole board would not let her leave her state,” Allen said. “It was years ago, but I needed a girl like that. She was just the right type for the thing we were going for.”
Wait, Tonya Harding? For those of you too young to remember, she’s the U.S. Olympic figure skater who became the center of controversy when her ex-husband and her pals decided to try and injure her rival, the clean-cut Nancy Kerrigan. The incident became endless comic fodder (“Seinfeld” and “Saturday Night Live” most memorably played off it), but it’s kind of amazing to think Allen went as far as to make an offer. But he’s certainly set his sights on bigger and better as well.
“I was going to offer something at some point to Princess Diana. If people are right for the roles, nothing else matters to me,” he added. While he didn’t get to scratch that royalty itch, he came kind of sort of close, giving Carla Bruni (okay, maybe not close at all) a role in last year’s “Midnight In Paris.”
And recently, Allen was spotted having dinner with Lindsay Lohan, and while she’s yet to put her talents to one of his films, Allen explains how they met and reveals he would cast her if she was the right fit. “It was just a social meeting. I met her at a party and we got together for dinner, but I would not hesitate for a second to use her if I had a role that was good for her because she’s an extremely talented girl,” he said.
So far, Allen’s upcoming San Francisco set film features Alec Baldwin, Cate Blanchett, Bobby Cannavale, Michael Emerson and Sally Hawkins, Louis C.K., Andrew Dice Clay and Peter Sarsgaard. Will Lance Armstrong make a cameo? Or maybe one of the guys from “Pawn Stars“? Only time will tell. As for Harding and Princess Di — no word on what roles they were up for, but do you have any guesses?