What was the reason for Blanchett's departure from the film? She had the role originally but was forced to give it up for an unreported reason -- but she was as reluctant to give up the role as Noonan was for letting her go. Apparently, Blanchett begged for him to postpone production, but Noonan put it perfectly when he said: "the machine won't stand still."
Even though Zellweger was runner-up for the part of Beatrix Potter, director Noonan was not disappointed in her performance or the end result of the film. Perhaps it was a happy accident for Noonan as he discovered Zellweger to be a joy to work with. The West Australian quotes Noonan describing Zellweger as humble: "She is not a star and doesn't play a star. So you lose the Renee Zellweger when she is playing Beatrix Potter and I think that is remarkable." We all know the saying: as one door closes another one opens -- and as one great actress must decline an incredible project, another remarkable actress must step in.