Welcome to Casting Networks’ newest series, Weirdest Auditions, where we’ll be sharing anecdotes by actors regarding their craziest, most memorable auditions. The series, we hope, will provide a unique window into the world of casting from an actor’s perspective. If you’re a thespian yourself, you may find a lot to relate to here and the reassurance that you’re not the only one in this town who’s put up with some weird auditions. Academy Award winner Olivia Colman, for instance, shared during a recent interview that, in an effort to win a role, she once ate a cigarette butt. Check out the following actors’ stories to see how far they went in pursuit of their craft.
Known for General Hospital and The Eves
Throughout the years, I’ve had countless odd, eccentric and unpredictable auditions. One that stands out was for a project where I had to go into labor during the audition. They wanted me to really go for it, not to worry about the frame and to just let it go. I said, “Really?” And they said, “Show us what you’ve got!” Keep in mind, the room was very tiny, and there wasn’t a lot of area in front of the table to move or to make the space my own. But they said to go for it, right?
I got down on the floor, facing the table, and spread my legs wide as if they were in stirrups. I put down the sides, grabbed my knees and went for it! We wound up improvising some, as well. I went from moaning during a contraction to full-on screaming bloody murder while the baby was “crowning.” I did not stop until they said “cut.” There was a moment of silence, and then everybody burst out laughing! They wanted to hug me and thanked me for truly bringing it. I walked out, and the other girls in the waiting room were all looking at me bug-eyed. I laughed, shrugged and headed out. It was definitely an experience to remember!
Known for How to Get Away with Murder and Grimm
One thing that comes to mind is an audition for a hospital industrial where they held auditions in the actual hospital. So I dressed up in a lab coat, and when I walked in, the whole staff was saying “hi” to me like they knew I worked there but had just forgotten my name. Even the parking guy was like, “Good to see you.” It was funny because I thought that if they mistook me for anyone, it would be the new, young doctor or resident. But they kept greeting me as though I was that one coworker you see all the time but don’t have any relationship with! I also remember one commercial callback where the casting director took me to a public park to improvise with strangers and to inject as many golf puns into a conversation that I naturally could. Like, “Hey, that outfit looks nice on you. Was it TaylorMade?” Or, “I couldn’t wear my nice shoes today because I got a hole in one.”
Known for Sorry for Your Loss and Superstore
I had an audition years ago for an indie film that required me to pretend like I was playing bass guitar during a concert. Every actress coming in that day to audition ended up getting paired with me, and we both had to mimic playing guitars “on-stage” opposite one other. So I had to keep doing the same thing with every appointment that came in. After a while, I really started to sweat, and the auditions felt like they were dragging on a bit longer than needed. I feel like you don’t need to see that action for more than a couple of seconds to get the gist of it, but it felt like each audition would drag on for at least a minute and a half or two.
I mean, obviously casting knew what they needed, so it’s not like they intentionally pushed it. And it was a cool group of people that I auditioned for, really nice people. But it was just awkward. You do that audition once or twice, and it’s fine. But if you do it over and over again, you’ll become drenched in sweat while pretending to play a guitar that you don’t know how to play to a fake audience. And you’ll be doing it with a bunch of different people that you don’t know. It was one of those situations where you think you’re going to be cool and fine, but you’re just not.
Keeping in mind the entertainment value of these stories from Meyers, Ambo, and Hodges, you might now fully embrace your own weird audition story or welcome a future noteworthy experience if you don’t already have one. Because as Colman teaches us, if you end up winning an Oscar and want to give a memorable interview, it’s a handy anecdote to have in your back pocket.