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When auditions go wrong: 10 famous actors who flunked their casting call

Even the A-list can have a rough day at work

Jon Hornbuckle
Written by
Jon Hornbuckle

Got the case of the Monday blues and having a terrible day at work? Spare a thought for the Hollywood A-listers who have flopped in auditions.

With Parks and Recreation star Aubrey Plaza spilling the beans on a major Scream 4 snafu in the auditioning process, ten famous faces share audition horror stories of their own.

Aubrey Plaza

Aubrey Plaza is the latest star to admit to an epic audition fail. When the Parks and Recreation star was landed an audition for Scream 4 by her agent, she recalls going a little overboard in her prep.

‘They told me, “You’re going in to audition to play a character that you eventually find out is the killer,” so I took that really literally. I was thinking: Alright, I’m gonna dress like the killer,’ she tells Hits Radio.

‘I was really frumpy because I thought: I’m a murderer. Then everybody else was glamorous and they all looked great, and I just looked insane. Anyway, I blew that one.’

Tom Holland

Tom Holland auditioned for a Star Wars role
ShutterstockTom Holland auditioned for a Star Wars role

Before becoming Spider-Man, Tom Holland auditioned for the role of Finn in the Star Wars sequel trilogy, ultimately losing out to John Boyega.

Holland told the hosts of Hot Ones that his audition left him in hysterics because of a woman impersonating a droid. ‘Yeah, I just got the giggles,’ Holland remembered. ‘You know when you realise you’ve got something so wrong? I just couldn’t stop laughing.’

Michael B Jordan

Black Panther star Michael B Jordan also auditioned for the role of Finn in Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Michael B. Jordan tried for the same Star Wars role
ShutterstockMichael B. Jordan tried for the same Star Wars role

‘That was probably my worst audition to date,’ Jordan told Variety. ‘I think it was that I couldn’t wrap my brain around some of the sides, because you know when you’re reading for these high-level projects, there’s never really any specificity in the sides.

‘Everything’s super vague, everything is in secret. Reading through, I just couldn’t connect it. I definitely bombed that one for sure.’

Elizabeth Olsen

Before landing her biggest role as Marvel’s Scarlet Witch, Elizabeth Olsen auditioned for the part of Daenerys Targaryen in Game of Thrones. Bearing in mind the role, of course, went to Emilia Clarke, needless to say it didn’t work out – though it didn’t work out much more spectacularly that Olsen would have hoped.

Elizabeth Olsen tried out for Game of Thrones role
AlamyElizabeth Olsen tried out for Game of Thrones role

‘Yes, I auditioned for Game of Thrones,’ Olsen revealed in The Hollywood Reporter. ‘I auditioned for the assistant to the casting director in a small room in New York with just a camera on me and them reading the script. I was doing the Khaleesi speech when she comes out of the fire. It was awful. I didn’t get a callback.’

Olsen later recalled that cringey audition in an interview with Vulture. ‘It was the most awkward audition I’d ever had,’ she said. ‘They didn’t know if they wanted a British accent or not. So, you did it in both. It was terrible.’

Nicholas Hoult

The British actor described his audition for the role of Prince Caspian in the Narnia movie franchise as ‘one of my all-time worst’.

Nicholas Hoult auditioned for Prince Caspian role in the Narnia movies
AlamyNicholas Hoult auditioned for Prince Caspian role in the Narnia movies

Hoult told Entertainment Weekly how producers asked him to do a Hispanic accent, suggesting that he used Shrek character Puss in Boots as an example.

‘I was doing the scene, but in my head before saying each line, I was trying to so my Antonio Banderas impression. It was horrendous. I sounded more like Borat.’

Meryl Streep

Even Hollywood legends can struggle to bag a role from an audition.

Meryl Streep had an awkward audition experience
ShutterstockMeryl Streep had an awkward audition experience

Appearing on The Graham Norton Show, Streep revealed that she tried to land a role in the 1975 King Kong. She was a 26-year-old actress yet to make her film debut, encouraged to audition by the son of producer Dino De Laurentiis. Fluent in Italian, Streep overheard the director ask his son: ‘Why did you bring me this ugly thing?’ 

Streep said the incident was ‘very sobering as a young girl,’ before revealing how she shot back a retort in italian.

Tom Hiddleston

Years before finding fame as Loki in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Tom Hiddleston auditioned for the role of Will Turner in Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl.

Hiddleston ultimately lost out to Orlando Bloom, but his chances at the audition were not helped by a boozy party the previous night.

Tom Hiddleston lost out on Pirates role
AlamyTom Hiddleston lost out on Pirates role

In the documentary Muse of Fire, the actor revealed how he only received the script the evening before the audition, and decided to head out with mates for some beers instead.

‘The next day I walked in at 10am, very hungover, hadn’t learnt it and did it a couple of times and the casting director was like: “Uh-huh, okay, okay. Well, thanks for coming in.’ Ouch. 


The music superstar has already flexed her acting chops alongside Jennifer Lopez in Hustlers, but she’s long been a fan-casting favourite to play Ursula in Disney’s upcoming live-action remake of The Little Mermaid.

‘I’m not good at auditioning. I’m like: “Put me in the scene. Don’t ask me to audition. Just write it for me,” the musician told Variety after auditioning to play the villainous sea-witch.

Lizzo auditioned for The Little Mermaid role
ShutterstockLizzo auditioned for The Little Mermaid role

Lizzo ended up bumping into Melissa McCarthy – who ultimately landed the role – at an Adele concert and the two women joked about their auditions for Ursula. ‘She was like, “Hi, I’m Melissa,’” Lizzo said. ‘And I was like, ”Hi, I’m Melissa. And I also auditioned for Ursula.’” And she was like: “Well, why the hell did I get the part?”, which is a classic Melissa McCarthy thing to say. And then I was like, “Girl, because my audition was terrible.”’

Eddie Redmayne

Eddie Redmayne tried out for a Star Wars villain role
ShutterstockEddie Redmayne tried out for a Star Wars villain role

Eddie Redmayne auditioned for the role of Star Wars villain Kylo Ren, before the part went to Adam Driver, and describes his attempt as a ‘really hilarious moment’, as his vocal imitation failed to impress.

‘With films that top secret, they don’t give you the actual lines,’ he told Uproxx. ‘So they give you a scene from Pride and Prejudice, but then they tell you you’re auditioning for the baddie. If you’re me, you then put some ridiculous voice on.’ 

Lady Gaga

Another popstar-turned-actor to make the list, Lady Gaga has previously claimed she only became a musician after failing to do well in acting auditions.

Lady Gaga claims she hates auditions
ShutterstockLady Gaga claims she hates auditions

When promoting House of Gucci, Gaga told The Hollywood Reporter about a failed audition for US eyewear brand LensCrafters. ‘I was terrible at auditioning. I was so bad. I could never get a role,’ she said.

‘I used to just freeze. I would stand there and go, ‘Oh my God. Ah! You’ve got to do this perfectly. I’m not making my dad proud.’

11 times actors threw their own movies under the bus.

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