Celebrity Auditions Gone Bad

They may be rich and famous now, but some of Hollywood’s biggest stars revealed their worst bumbles on their way to stardom — just for us

Eliza Dushku
“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. But I think I got a little too close for comfort with my prop for that director’s taste. They went with, like, Natalie Portman. That was not a good one.”

KEEP READING: Bumble #2!

[PAGEBREAK]

Drew Barrymore
“Oh my God, I won’t say the movie, but they called me in on a Sunday with a casting assistant. They didn’t think I was worthy enough of even reading with the casting director. They did it in the basement, and it was a scene where I have to do this oral thing with this guy’s hand, and no one was there so I had to do it to myself. It was by far the most humiliating experience. I thought, ‘They think I’m such s–t that I’m here on a Sunday with the assistant, giving myself a finger in the mouth. This is a low point.’”

KEEP READING: Bumble #3!

[PAGEBREAK]

Emile Hirsch
“I had a really awful audition with Robert De Niro and Leonardo DiCaprio. [Leo’s] supposed to play my dad, but he’s like 30, and I’m like 20, so it was weird. And then my character’s supposed to burst out crying. I couldn’t do it, and I’m like, ‘All right, just give me a moment.’ And De Niro’s like, ‘All right, whatever.’ So I turn around, and I just remember for two minutes like, ‘They’re thinking I’m trying to work myself up to cry right now. I’m not. I am just staring here thinking about them thinking about it.’ I had just wrapped Lords of Dogtown the day before, and I was unwinding from that. I was just so bummed out about it because I hadn’t really worked on the part at all. Here I was, like an idiot, somehow with two great actors, looking like a buffoon, and I was so bummed I couldn’t hardly look Bob De Niro in the eye. He was like, ‘Hey, hey, hey.’ And I was looking at him, and he was like, ‘Hey,’ trying to look me in the eye. He’s like, ‘It’s OK. You just wrapped this movie. Come back in a couple weeks. We’ve been there.’ [Leo] was supposed to be my dad, and it was really weird! If you haven’t really been around someone who’s that famous, and you meet them, it’s hard to see them as your dad right away. It’s like, ‘Romeo … oh, Dad. King … Dad. Dad? Gilbert Grape? Dad?’”

KEEP READING: Bumble #4!

[PAGEBREAK]

Kristen Stewart
“I had to read Shakespeare once. I sort of went in saying, ‘I can’t do this. I’ve never done this before. I’m just going to try to make it as real as I can.’ And I read it, and I thought it was great. Afterward, they were like, ‘So, you can’t … I don’t know why you would’ve … I mean, I don’t know if this is awkward … I don’t know why you would’ve come in unless you actually …’ And I was like, ‘Well, I mean, I …’ And oh, they were like, ‘Do you know what you’re saying?’ And I was like, ‘Yeah, I get it, yeah.’ You just want to be like, agh, you’re never going to like me. I’m just going to leave. Trust me, obviously we’re not going to click. Yeah, auditions are heinous. Auditions are really awful.”

KEEP READING: Bumble #5!

[PAGEBREAK]

Blake Lively
Mrs. Doubtfire was around when I was five. They couldn’t find anyone for it, and I was always in on these auditions because my mom manages and coaches these kids. One day they said, ‘Oh, could we see you?’ Because I was just tagging along with my mom. So I went in, and I read for it and I got to the final two between me and [Mara Wilson]. So it was between the two of us, and my mom didn’t want me to get nervous. I didn’t care. I was five. We were going to Disneyland after the opening of Toon Town. That’s all I cared about. And the night before, my dad was really stupid. He took me to see a Robin Williams movie, and I was reading with him. So she didn’t want me to freak out at five, get star-struck or whatever. 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.’ 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.”

KEEP READING: Bumble #6!

[PAGEBREAK]

Ryan Reynolds
I remember I had to do this monologue, I forget what it was for, and I decided to leave the sides at home because I was off book and I was ready to go. I had this entire thing memorized. And I got there and then the actress that was in the show showed up, and she was really kind of hostile and things got really bad and then things got really worse. And I was doing this and 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. 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.”

KEEP READING: Bumble #7!

[PAGEBREAK]

Felicity Huffman
“I was going in for the ingenue, and I put on my dress, and I realized that I just wasn’t quite chesty enough. So I took toilet paper, and I stuffed my bra. Then 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.’ 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.”

KEEP READING: Bumble #8!

[PAGEBREAK]

Mary Lynn Rajskub
“I think it was my only other dramatic audition — for NCIS. I went in, and I was like, ‘Hey, guys, what’s going on?’ And they were just like, ‘This is a drama.’ And it was serious, and I just felt really bad. I didn’t want to audition for 24 because of that audition.”

KEEP READING: Bumble #9!

[PAGEBREAK]

Dakota Fanning
“I remember during the I Am Sam audition, I forgot the line. I said the wrong line, and I was like, ‘Oh my God, I’m done. I’m not going to get it now.’ I’d be like, ‘They must have wanted somebody with brown hair. It’s fine. We’ll just go to the next one.'”

KEEP READING: Bumble #10!

[PAGEBREAK]

Clive Owen
“There were quite a few. The days when I used to come to LA with a very small little film, like I’d come on the back of some tiny film that had a tiny distribution like Close My Eyes or Bent, going around and doing the rounds then was pretty tough because you were meeting the assistant of the assistant of the assistant who asks you questions like, ‘Do you play goodies or baddies?’ Or the common one was, ‘So, you do a lot of theater.’ It was pretty soul-destroying, I must admit.”

KEEP READING: Bumble #11!

[PAGEBREAK]

America Ferrera
“I had a really pretty horrifying one. They were adding season regulars to Boston Public, and I went in, knocked them dead and had a great audition. They called me back the next day to read for David E. Kelley, and the night before, I had a paper due. This is the story of my life. I had a paper due that day, and I spent the entire night up writing the paper. I turned in the paper and then drove from the San Fernando Valley to Manhattan Beach in a rush, looking at my lines. I couldn’t even — it was paragraphs of lines that I was trying to memorize! Anyway, I get there and David E. Kelley’s sitting there and all the producers. And I totally blanked. I totally blanked, and I was so angry at myself.”

KEEP READING: Bumble #12!

[PAGEBREAK]

Megan Mullally
“I’ve auditioned for four Broadway musicals, and I got cast in three of them. The other one was the worst audition I ever had. It was for the revival of The Sound of Music. It was after I had done Grease and How to Succeed on Broadway. I was back in Los Angeles, getting a divorce and I get a call like, ‘Oh, they want you to come in and audition for Maria in The Sound of Music.’ I’m like, ‘I’m not right for that.’ ‘Well, they’re going a different way. They want it to be fresh and new. They don’t want it to be cookie-cutter like Julie Andrews. They want it to be new.’ I was like, ‘I can do that.’ So I worked my ass off on this audition. There were three songs, like “Cliiiimb eeeevery mountain …” this crazy amount of audition material, four scenes. It was ridiculous. I worked so hard. I go in, I get halfway through the first song and they’re like, ‘Thank you, Megan.’ And I was like what? You don’t even want me to read? They were like, ‘Nope, that was good, thanks.’ So I left the room, shut the door and the whole room of people who were in there that I just sang for burst out laughing. Like hysterical, derisive laughter.”

KEEP READING: Bumble #13!

[PAGEBREAK]

Kevin Bacon
“It was for Gotta Go Disco. It wasn’t a movie. It was a Broadway show. Short-lived. I just sucked.”

KEEP READING: Bumble #14!

[PAGEBREAK]

Bryan Cranston
“I was auditioning for a movie at Paramount. There was a male casting director. I don’t remember his name. I was 21 at the time. The character in that movie, it said, was a cocky, self-centered, egotistical brat. I remember wearing cowboy boots and jeans, an open loose shirt. The story took place in Texas or something like that, so I thought, ‘I’m going to go in there and be just this guy.’ So I walked in like this and he stands up, holds out his hand and I go, psh. I just scoff. I sat down, kicked my boots up onto his desk and sat and just kind of looked at him like that. He sat down, he looked at my boots and said, ‘Get your boots off of my desk.’ And I went, ‘Oh s–t.’ Then I went psh. I just scoffed at him again and he goes, ‘GET YOUR BOOTS OFF MY DESK.’ And I just thought, it’s over, and I just took the boots, sat up a little bit. He’s looking at me with venom. ‘I tried something. Didn’t work. I’m sorry,’ and said, ‘Wouldn’t really matter if I read now, would it?’ And he goes, ‘No.’ I got up and walked out. The one thing, even though he hated it and it didn’t work, I bet he tells that story. I bet if he were asked, ‘What is some stupid thing actors do?’ ‘One actor came in …’ — but I would do it again.”

KEEP READING: Bumble #15!

[PAGEBREAK]

Amber Tamblyn
“I think they were all when I was younger. I had people, really younger, when I was like nine, and they’d be like, ‘You’ve obviously never done this before, haven’t you? OK, well, maybe you should go figure it out what you want to do with your life.’ They were mean.”

SIMILAR ARTICLES