Vivien Leigh IS Scarlett O’Hara
The film: Gone With The Wind (1939)
The actress: British actress who had been making films at home for four years but who had never made a Hollywood movie.
The character: Southern belle who fell for the wrong man and ignored the right one.
Oh, fiddle-dee-dee. Uber-producer David O. Selznick staged a two-year casting hunt for the perfect Scarlett O’Hara, since the role was the Bella Swan / Batman of its day. Rumour has it that he actually fixed on Leigh early on but, ever the showman, kept taking meetings; others say they only met during the Atlanta fire sequence that he collected before starting principal photography. Either way, there was an outcry from fans that the ultimate Southern belle was to be played by a Brit, and the pressure was on for Leigh to nail the accent quick-smart.
Protestors preferred: Paulette Goddard was the last-but-one candidate, but author Margaret Mitchell’s rumoured preference was Miriam Hopkins, who was a real Southerner.
The result: Still the highest-grossing film of all time in the US if you adjust for inflation, and eight Oscars including a Best Actress win for Leigh. Oh, and Mitchell thought she was perfect.
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