Crazy Audition Tales: What Some Actors Do To Win a Role

Quote of the Day: “Miley stunned producers at Warner Bros. when she arrived to try out for the part of Batgirl. An insider said that she showed up in a full batsuit to better her chances.” –

You may have heard the rumor this week that Miley Cyrus, in an effort to broaden her range and escape being typecast as Hannah Montana, dressed up as Batgirl and performed an impromptu audition for studio executives – even though there’s no guarantee that the character will even appear in the next Batman movie! That’s almost as funny a story as when actress Sean Young caused director Tim Burton to hide behind his desk when she dressed up as Catwoman, whip in hand, trying to audition for the role for Batman Returns.

There are so many hilarious audition stories. I myself have had a few wacky audition moments. Some good (like making a split second decision to leap on a bed that was on the stage, which according to the director was apparently what won me the role of Howie in a stage version of Rabbit Hole), some not so good (like choosing to sing “When the Children Cry” by White Lion for an audition for the musical Hair.)

Ethics bar me from relating any personal examples I’ve seen first hand from other actors and actresses at auditions I’ve attended. But allow me to share with you some great examples from the lore of Hollywood auditions that I've heard through the years:

Shelley Winters, for an audition, brought her two Oscars with her and placed them on the casting director’s desk and asked, “Do you still want me to read for this part?”

Robin Williams, while auditioning for Mork and Mindy, was invited to sit down by producer Gary Marshall. He did – on his head. He got the part.

Jayne Mansfield once scribbled a note at an audition and passed it to the show’s producers – it listed her body measurements. She got the part.

Sandra Bullock was cast for The Net because, according to director Irwin Winkler, she came to her audition wearing overalls, chunky shoes, and a baseball cap turned backwards, whereas other actresses came dressed in high heels, short skirts, and low-cut blouses.

Philip Seymour Hoffman was nervous for his Happiness audition, but director Todd Solondz thought his sweaty palms when they shook hands were so in character that he cast him in the role.

Kevin Bacon, auditioning for Animal House, was asked by director John Landis to play it a little more smarmy. Kevin had no idea what the word “smarmy” meant, so he just made faces. He got the part.

Danny DeVito, auditioning for the role of bombastic dispatcher Louie DePalma for the TV show Taxi, threw the script on the table and hollered, “One thing I want to know before we start. Who wrote this sh-t?” He got the part.

Mel Gibson showed up for an audition with stitches on his head, a broken nose, and a disconnected jaw after a drunken brawl the night before. Director George Miller loved how he looked and cast him as Mad Max.

George Lazenby won the role of James Bond in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service after he broke the nose of a stuntman during an audition fight scene.

Burt Reynolds, desperate to get a role in Striptease, allegedly threw his toupee at a wall during the audition. He got the part.

Goldie Hawn, auditioning for Woody Allen, who is known for sometimes needing only 30 seconds to decide if he’ll cast someone in his latest film or not, was rambling on about her travels, forcing Woody to say, “Could you leave the room so I could talk?”

Who knows how many of these stories are true and how many are embellished. But they’re fun to repeat. If you know of any others, please share them with me.


TJC said…
The Shelley Winters story is a classic.