Hollywood bigshot Kevin Costner had to look elsewhere for a leading lady after approaching the then-unknown actress Olivia Williams, because the English beauty was "too busy" to call him back.

The OSCAR-winner wanted Olivia to play ABBY in the 1997 sci-fi flop THE POSTMAN, two years before THE SIXTH SENSE swept her into the limelight.

Olivia recalls, "I was ready to give up (acting) because I wasn't doing the things I wanted to do, such as SHAKESPEARE at the NATIONAL (THEATRE in London)."

One evening she returned home to find nine answer machine messages from Kevin, looking for a classically trained actress to star in his new film.

Olivia says, "I said I was too busy to talk to him. I thought, 'I'm not going to be humiliated any more, even by Kevin Costner.

"I was quite bloody-minded and thank God I was because the character was bloody-minded. Kevin appreciated that and insisted I take the part."

18/01/2004 14:02