Casting in Hollywood can be a hectic process, and actors must be tenacious in order to land the roles they want.
Everyone has to start somewhere, and Hollywood hopefuls hoping to break into show business are no exception. The competitive process of auditioning entails a lot of rejection. Even A-list superstars went through this ordeal before becoming renowned. Sometimes, it’s as easy as an actor being unsuitable for the job. Sometimes, it’s just because of a lousy audition. Whatever the cause, all of these legendary actors’ ambitions were almost dashed after being nearly denied for a juicy part of a lifetime. Despite the odds, these 16 stars were cast in roles in which they delivered outstanding performances.
#1 Kate Winslet
Source: Twentieth Century Fox
Kate performed brilliantly as Rose DeWitt Bukater in Titanic, but director James Cameron was “uncertain” about casting her. Kate, on the other hand, stayed committed to the idea and sent James a rose with the scribbled inscription, “From Your Rose.” Kate’s perseverance paid off when James chose her to play Rose.
#2 Miley Cyrus
Miley was 11 years old when she initially auditioned for the starring part in Hannah Montana. When casting directors saw her read for the part, they thought she wasn’t mature enough for the role. When the job remained unfilled a few months later, Miley was requested to return to California from her home state of Tennessee to audition again. With this tryout, Miley persuaded casting directors that she could portray Hannah, and the rest is history.
#3 Miles Teller
After starring in Footloose, Miles auditioned for the role of Sutter in The Spectacular Now. This audition did not go well. Later, the film’s staff changed, and a new director, James Ponsoldt, joined the production. Miles and James then met to talk about the film, which resulted in Miles getting the job without having to audition again.
#4 Chris Hemsworth
Source: Paramount Pictures
Chris felt okay about his Thor audition, but when he didn’t hear back for months, he understood he was probably deemed unsuitable for the job. Chris’ manager contacted the casting department, and they agreed to reschedule a meeting with him. Chris was offered the position this time, thanks to his mother’s assistance.
#5 Lark Voorhies
Casting directors initially objected to Lark auditioning for the role of Lisa, but Peter argued that they’d found the greatest actor for the part.
#6 Sean Penn
At the time, the actor hadn’t yet landed his big break, but he went into the audition with “an awful amount of confidence.” Casting directors told Sean he may leave since they didn’t think he was the right actor for Spicoli. A member of the casting department chased him down as he walked to his car, telling him to go back in there and audition his ass off. Sean took the advice and landed the part.
#7 Dominic West
Source: Jon Kopaloff / Getty Images
These producers then emphasized that this was not an imitation program, and he returned to the part. Episodes starring Dominic as Prince Charles will air in November, according to the Daily Mail, and his portrayal would be “tender” and “thoughtful.”
#8 Matthew Gray Gubler
The casting directors for Criminal Minds liked Matthew’s first audition for the role of Dr. Spencer Reid, but he didn’t have the enthusiasm they were looking for in the character.
When Matthew was summoned back to try out for the role, he was told, “You’re so great but so incorrect.” Despite this, he was seen again for the job and was offered the part after four or five rounds of auditions.
#9 Anne Hathaway
Anne was the tenth performer picked to play Andy Sachs in The Devil Wears Prada, despite the fact that it is now one of her most well-known parts. Meryl Streep then saw a Brokeback Mountain clip with Anne and met with the actress. Following this, Meryl stated that Anne was “wonderful” and that they would “operate well together,” which helped seal the deal for her to earn the position.
#10 Zach Braff
Bill Lawrence, the show’s creator, previously informed Sam that when he saw Zach’s first audition tape for the show before throwing it away, he exclaimed, “‘This audition sucks.'” Zach was cast as J.D. the second time around, and he ended up portraying the character for nine seasons.
#11 Whoopi Goldberg
When Whoopi questioned her agent why she hadn’t been notified about the audition for Ghost, he brought some bad news from the film’s casting department. Whoopi subsequently claimed that she was cast as Oda Mae Brown after Patrick Swayze became engaged in the film and campaigned for her to be cast.
#12 Marlon Brando
Executives at Paramount Pictures were vehemently opposed to Marlon playing Don Vito Corleone in The Godfather, viewing him as a “washed-up” star who was the wrong man for the position. Francis went to Marlon’s Mulholland Drive home to film him as Vito. During filming, the actor took on the role and shoved Kleenex tissues in his mouth to “appear like a bulldog.” This footage swiftly won over the Paramount executives, and Marlon was hired.
#13 Zac Efron
Source: New Line Cinema
Zac played a convincing Link Larkin in the 2007 Hairspray remake, but the film’s director, Adam Shankman, first turned him down for the role. Jennifer Gibgot, Adam’s sister and business partner, was instrumental in recognizing Zac’s star power. He opted to cast Zac as Link after consulting with Jennifer.
#14 Audrey Meadows
Audrey was turned down for the role of Alice in the series by her Honeymooners co-star, Jackie Gleason. According to the Los Angeles Times, he thought she was too young and pretty for the role. This just fueled her determination to earn the role. She asked a photographer to photograph her without makeup and with strange hair. When Jackie learned that the performer in the images was someone he’d previously passed on, he knew he had to cast Audrey as Alice.
#15 Michael J. Fox
Michael’s breakout role as Alex P. Keaton in Family Ties was nearly cut before the series premiered. Former NBC president Brandon Tartikoff saw Michael in the pilot episode and urged series creator Gary David Goldberg that he should be replaced. Brandon and the casting directors were unsure if Michael had the right look for a series lead. Gary refused to do the show without Michael, so Brandon caved and allowed the actor to stay on the show. When the show became a huge hit, Michael would make fun of Brandon’s remark.
#16 Julia Roberts
Before she was cast as Daisy Araujo in Mystic Pizza, casting directors thought Julia didn’t have the right look for the role. Julia then spent 95 cents on black hair mousse, which she used to deepen her naturally blonde mane. She was brought back in to read for the role alongside Adam Storke, and her new ‘do helped her land it.