It had everything. Twentysomething Vivien Leigh look-alikes sweating in hoop skirts. Scarletts lining up at pay phones and shamelessly lying to their bosses about car trouble. A queue of 410 women snaking around the Atlanta Civic Center, waiting hours for a two-minute, six-line rendezvous with destiny. In what became as much publicity stunt as legit star search, the producers of CBS’ Scarlett, the 1993 miniseries of Alexandra Ripley’s Gone With the Wind sequel, were holding the audition of the year — an open cattle call for any under-33 female who felt born to play Scarlett O’Hara. By the end of the eight-hour day, casting director Lynn Kressel looks bleary-eyed. ”This wasn’t my idea, but I don’t mind,” she insists. ”You’d like to take more time, but there are so many.” Among the many:
Actress Patricia Dail, 61, swore she could persuasively act 24.
Aspiring actress Rochelle Curry, a 21-year-old black woman, insisted she could empathize with a white character who owned slaves.
Patricia Working, 38, clutched her 15-year-old college term paper extolling Scarlett’s virtues. ”Maybe it will help them understand why I’m right for the part,” she said yearningly.
Lisa Lynn, a 28-year-old computer center manager and winner of a Scarlett look-alike contest in Warm Springs, Ga., wore a white hoop skirt as she talked about the fictional woman who she said has shaped her life. ”There’s so much Scarlett in me,” she cooed. ”I’m spunky and I know what I want.”
Sheila O’Connor, 37, an anchor for the ABC affiliate in West Palm Beach, Fla., called it a ”once-in-a-lifetime shot. Who knows what they’re looking for?”
Terri Dee, 30, who works at a greenhouse in Centre, Ala., was heading to work the day of the audition when she heard about it on her car radio. ”Next thing I know, I’m turned around going to Atlanta,” she said. ”I always wanted to be Scarlett.” She showed up in overalls, carrying a lunch pail.
At day’s end, Kressel summoned only two women — Thorenia West, 32, of New York City, and Nancy Andosca, 31, of Atlanta — for a callback. Even they will have to compete against dozens of actresses likely to be seen in closed auditions in New York and Los Angeles. For the other 408 Scarlett wannabes, tomorrow, damn it, is just another day.