Your Favorite Actors’ Most Awkward Auditions, Revealed

Working in Hollywood may seem glamorous, but the process of getting there? Uh, not so much. The road to becoming a successful working actor is paved with plenty of rejection, hard work, and lots of auditions… many of which end up being a little awkward. Sometimes, going out on a limb can help you stand out from the other actors auditioning in the best way possible… and other times, it can totally backfire on you. These are some of the weirdest audition stories out there — even though not all of them had the happy ending of getting the role. Hey, nobody ever said working in the entertainment industry was easy.s

Robin Williams Stood On His Head

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From The Dead Poet’s Society to Aladdin and everything in between, Robin Williams had a legendary career, but not even he was immune to a bad audition. According to the former Happy Days cast’s version of the story (following the alien episode of the show), Robin’s audition for Mork in Mork & Mindy was definitely awkward. When Robin was brought in to try out for the role, he improved the role, stood on his head, and… somehow managed to impress everyone in the room. Needless to say, Robin got the role, and the rest is history.

Max Greenfield’s Spousal Awkwardness

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It’s impossible to think of anyone playing the role of Schmidt on New Girl, but at his audition for the show, Max Greenfield had a close call, thanks to his connection to one of the casting directors. Awkwardly enough, his wife was actually working in casting at the time at Fox, and she had told him to get a job literally at any other network. Max told The Hollywood Reporter that she was worried it was going to be super-awkward for her coworkers to watch her husband audition, but fortunately, he ended up scoring the job and he and his wife got to share the same workplace and have lunch together all the time. Everybody won that one!

Emma Stone, Possessed Babysitter?

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If you’ve ever read an Emma Stone interview, you probably already know that she’s been into acting since she was a little kid — but she didn’t immediately become a breakout star. During an appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Emma revealed that when she was 12, she auditioned for All That… but it was rough from the start. “I didn’t know that you had to have characters,” Emma said, adding that she thought they’d give her a script or something to work off of. “So I made up three characters.” Who were her characters? Emma said one was a cheerleader who couldn’t spell, and one was a possessed babysitter. Yikes.

Eliza Dushku Pulled A Knife

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During one of Eiiza Dushku’s worst auditions, she went a little too out of the box for the director’s taste. “I pulled a knife on a director in one audition. I know he didn’t like that very much, but I felt good about it because it seemed like it was in tune with the character,” she said. She didn’t reveal which movie she auditioned for, but sadly, she also said she lost the role to Natalie Portman. It’s a bummer that she didn’t get the job, but pulling a knife? Maybe that would have worked for some directors, but it’s pretty understandable that the one in the audition would think that was a little much. Points for creativity, though?

Bill Skarsgard, Clowning It Up

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While talking to Entertainment Weekly last year, Bill Skarsgard opened up about why his audition for It was one of his strangest — and why that strange feeling started before he even got to the audition. First, he had to have his girlfriend help put his clown makeup on… and then he had to go in public. “I get into the car and had to drive across L.A. in this clown makeup,” he said. “There was something kind of humiliated and absurd about the whole thing. I’m an actor auditioning in Hollywood, and I’m driving with a clown face on.” Not to mention the fact that he also had to walk across the parking lot and practice his clown laugh while he was driving. Um, that’s scary.

Ryan Gosling Can Be Awkward?

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Playing Noah in The Notebook was the role that officially sealed Ryan Gosling in as everyone’s celebrity crush, but as it turns out, the reason he got that role was because the director, Nick Cassavetes, saw him as anything but. If you’ve watched his audition tape on YouTube, you can attest to his awkwardness, but it only got worse behind the scenes. Nick invited Ryan over, and laid the news on him. “He was standing in his backyard, and he looked at me and said, ‘I want you to play this role because you’re not like the other young actors out there in Hollywood. You’re not handsome, you’re not cool, you’re just a regular guy who looks a bit nuts,'” Ryan said. Okay. Well, then.

Once-In-A-Lifetime For Margot Robbie

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When Margot Robbie auditioned for The Wolf of Wall Street, things got very real, very fast. She and Leonardo DiCaprio were in a heated argument during the audition, and Margot decided if she wanted this role, she was going to have to take a risk. “You have literally 30 seconds left in this room and if you don’t do something impressive nothing will ever come of it. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime chance, just take it,’ Margot told Harper’s Bazaar of her thought process at the time. So she slapped Leo right in the face, and fortunately, it worked out. “She clinched her part in The Wolf of Wall Street during our first meeting by hauling off and giving Leonardo DiCaprio a thunderclap of a slap on the face,” director Martin Scorsese said. “An improvisation that stunned us all.”

Harrison Ford’s New Hope

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Harrison Ford as Han Solo has become iconic in the Star Wars franchise, but the way he got the job was pretty unconventional. When A New Hope was casting, they needed more people to audition for Han, but George Lucas wasn’t necessarily up for the guy from American Graffiti taking on a role in his movie. So his audition? Totally left up to fate. According to Harrison himself, he was working as a carpenter at George’s office where the casting call was being held, the two of them ended up meeting and boom: history totally happened. By the way, a producer named Fred Roos, who was Harrison’s friend and was working on Star Wars at the time, is the one who hooked him up with the job, so he’s the man to thank.

Lucy Hale Didn’t Score

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Just in case you didn’t know, former Pretty Little Liars star Lucy Hale actually auditioned to play Anastasia Steele in Fifty Shades of Grey, and as you can imagine, that audition was just as weird as it sounds. While talking to Cosmopolitan, Lucy called it an “uncomfortable” experience, and judging by her description of what went down, we’re inclined to agree. “It’s exactly what you thought it would be: a big monologue but very, very sexual,” she told the mag. “There were some things that I was so embarrassed to be reading out loud, but it’s one of those things where you have to commit wholeheartedly or you’re going to make a fool of yourself.” Sounds like it’s a good thing Dakota Johnson ended up with that gig instead.

January Jones Wasn’t “Ugly” Enough

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January Jones will always be known as Betty Draper from Mad Men, but in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter she admitted that her audition for Coyote Ugly years earlier did not quite go as planned. It was her second audition ever and she was called back into dance in front of director Jerry Bruckheimer. “They said, ‘You’re going to dance to Prince’s ‘Kiss.’ You’re going to pole dance, but there is no pole,'” she said. “And I just turned beet red. It was awful, and he said something like, ‘Honey, you did a great reading, but you’ve got no rhythm.’ I called my agent and said, ‘I don’t want to do this anymore.'” Fortunately, January kept at it — even though she did call that audition “one of the worst moments of my entire life.”

Brie Larson In A Fish Stick Commercial?

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While talking to The Tonight Show in 2014, Academy Award-winning actress Brie Larson told a story of her very first audition at age seven. After a year of acting lessons and prepping her monologue — a Shel Silverstein poem, mind you — she finally got her shot to try out for a fish stick commercial, and unfortunately, she bombed it. “[In the audition] they came to me and they said, ‘Brianne, what do you like to do?'” she said “And I said, ‘I like to act.'” Unfortunately, they were looking for a kid who was willing to be a kid on camera (AKA someone a little less serious) and she ended up leaving the audition in tears because she didn’t get to do her monologue.

Ouch, Dame Judi!

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These days, Judi Dench is known as nothing short of a legend, but it wasn’t always that way. While talking to Jimmy Fallon in 2015, she said that her worst audition was when she got shut down immediately by the director. “He said to me, ‘Well, it’s been very nice meeting you, but,’ he said, ‘I’m sorry, but not this film,'” she said. “‘And probably not any film, as you have every single thing wrong with your face.'” Wow. Harsh. Unfortunately, Judi refused to share the name of the director (and said that she never has and never will), but we’re pretty glad that she ended up proving him wrong with an amazing career.

Eddie Redmayne Is No Kylo

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Believe it or not, the newest Star Wars trilogy could be very different had an audition gone a better way for Eddie Redmayne. Eddie auditioned for the role of Kylo Ren in The Force Awakens, and sadly, it ended up being a very bad audition. “That was really a hilarious moment,” Eddie said in an interview with Uproxx. “Because it was Nina Gold — who I have to thank a lot because she’s cast me in several films — and she was just sitting there and I was trying again and again with different versions of my kind of ‘koohh paaaah’ voice. And after like 10 shots she’s like, ‘You got anything else?’ I was like, ‘No.’” It all worked out for the best, though. Who but Adam Driver could you imagine in that role?

Even Meryl Streep Had A Bad Audition

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Shockingly enough, even the legendary Meryl Streep has had a bad audition. When she auditioned for King Kong, her knowledge of the Italian language helped her realize what was really going on. According to what she said during an appearance on the Graham Norton Show, Meryl was auditioning for Italian producer Dino De Laurentiis when he said, in Italian, “Why do you bring me this ugly thing?” to his son. Meryl knew exactly what he was saying, though, and she replied to him — in Italian — “I’m sorry I’m not beautiful enough to be in King Kong.” Meryl obviously came out on top, and now, she has that awesome story to tell.

Jake Gyllenhaal Wasn’t A Ringer

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Did you know that Jake Gyllenhaal was almost in The Lord of The Rings? The key word in that sentence is “almost,” and we use that lightly, because his audition was actually one of the worst that director Peter Jackson witnessed… all because Jake didn’t realize he needed to speak in a British accent for the role of Frodo, who he was hoping to play. “I remember auditioning for The Lord of the Rings and going in and not being told that I needed a British accent,” Jake told The Hollywood Reporter. “I really do remember Peter Jackson saying to me, ‘You know that you have to do this in a British accent?’ We heard back… it was literally one of the worst auditions.”

Fifty Shades Of Red

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Dakota Johnson may have aced the seemingly awkward audition for Fifty Shades of Grey, but she hasn’t won them all. As she told The Hollywood Reporter, once she got a little too into an audition, and her dedication to the role didn’t exactly impress the casting agents. “I had an audition, and I got really into it, got really into the scene and it was really dramatic and I took my shirt off, and then you didn’t have to do that,” Dakota said. “And then afterwards, they were like, ‘Uh, that was great. That was really nice,’ and I said, ‘Thanks,’ and had to pick my shirt up off the floor and still talk to them and put it back on. It was inappropriate. And embarrassing. It’s still embarrassing, and I’m more embarrassed that I just told that story.” Uhhh, yeah, that’s pretty bad.

Blake Doubtfire? Doubtful.

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You may not have known this about Blake Lively, but when she was a kid, she auditioned for the role Mara Wilson eventually got in Mrs. Doubtfire. It was down to the two of them for the role, and after Blake saw a movie starring Robin Williams the night before her audition, she was really starstruck to read with him the next day. Her mom tried to fool her to get her to calm down, but it totally backfired. “So she’s like, ‘OK, Blake, this isn’t Robin Williams. This is his twin brother. Robin Williams is in Europe right now, so you’re going to meet his twin brother,'” Blake said. “So I go in there and I’m sitting there and they’re like, ‘OK, this is Robin.’ And I said, ‘You’re not his twin?’ And then I walked out of the room and she said, ‘So how’d it go?’ And I said, ‘I don’t know, he had morning breath.’ That’s how we left it. It was horrible.”

So Desperate

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Before she was known for starring in shows like Desperate Housewives, Felicity Huffman was subject to plenty of bad auditions herself… including one in particular. She decided that the best course of action would be to stuff her bra with toilet paper before going in to read for everyone, and everything went spectacularly wrong from there. “I went in and did a terrible audition, for a movie, with the director and the fancy people in the room, and it just laid there like a dead fish and I was like, ‘Well, thank you so much,'” she said. “And I leaned down to get my bag and somehow, the arm of toilet paper — it was God’s joke — came and went out of my dress like that. So I had to pick up my ego and my toilet paper and walk out of the room.” Talk about the awkward moment to end all awkward moments!

Ryan Reynolds Shut Down

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Just like his wife, Ryan Reynolds has a bad audition story of his own. Although he didn’t specify what the audition was for, or who he was auditioning with, but the actress he was reading with intimidated him a lot. So much so that despite the fact that he’d had his monologue memorized and ready to go, it all flew out of his head. “The flop sweat started and for some reason my ears were on fire and this whole thing just turned into an absolute nightmare, and I completely shut down,” Ryan said. “Like, you know things are bad when your central nervous system is quitting on you and you’re in an audition, something as trivial as an audition.”

A Fight At McDonald’s Almost Prevented Kit Harington From Becoming Jon Snow

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What if Kit never got the job in Game of Thrones and never became Jon Snow? That’s almost what happened after his audition for the show didn’t go like he’d planned. In an interview with W Magazine, Kit revealed that he’d gotten a black eye after a late-night brawl at Mc’Donalds (where else?) defending his girlfriend. “So I went to the Jon Snow audition with a black eye, which I think that man who punched me in the face may have helped me get the job, so thank you,” Kit said, confirming that particular audition story happened to come with a happy ending. Fortunately, the bruise worked, and Kit was cast. The rest is history!