'If you're a Breaking Bad fan, you've got to watch Aaron Paul's already-Jesse-before-he-started audition tape.' 'If you're an X-Men fan, you've got to watch Hugh Jackman reading Wolverine lines with a wobbly Aussie accent.' 'If you're a Indy fan, you've got to watch Tom Selleck, with 'tache, wearing the fedora...'
Chances are, you've heard all these phrases at one point or another, and now you can watch all of the videos in question, all in one place. Incorporating the unlucky ones, like Selleck, who didn't get the parts they wanted, as well as costume screentests (Tippi Hedren for The Birds) and dialogue run-throughs (Robert Downey Jr. for Iron Man), this is our complete compendium of awkward audition awesomeness. When you're done, if you have a hankering for more video, check out our Ultimate Collection Of Movie Supercuts (if you dare).
There is no Bryan Cranston audition tape for Breaking Bad, because showrunner Vince Gilligan didn't want anyone else to play the part of Walter White. Gilligan had worked with Cranston previously on a X-Files episode he'd written called 'Drive', where Cranston played a human experiment who had to keep driving west lest his head explode. Check out a TV spot for the episode in question here, and prepare to enjoy Heisenberg with a massive mop of red hair on his noggin.
Dean Norris – Breaking Bad (2008)
Anna Gunn – Breaking Bad (2008)
Aaron Paul – Breaking Bad (2008)
Betsy Brandt – Breaking Bad (2008)
Laura Fraser – Breaking Bad (2012)
There's a study in contrasts here. Robert Downey Jr.'s Iron Man screentest is on the wordy side, while Tobey Maguire's Spidey taster is far more action-orientated. Listen out for some of the loudest and clunkiest sound effects ever recorded in the latter, and some remarkably sexual banter in the former. Then there's Christian Bale for Batman Bagins, who screentests with none other than Amy Adams to prove his Bat-mettle (after Man Of Steel, it's clear now that she's a DC girl through and through).
Robert Downey Jr. – Iron Man (2008)
Hugh Jackman – X-Men (2000)
Jennifer Garner – Daredevil (2003)
Tobey Maguire – Spider-Man (2002)
Christian Bale – Batman Begins (2005)
A word of warning: the Star Wars audition footage of Harrison Ford and Mark Hamill here is ropey, to say the least. Tom Hardy's Star Trek screentest, however, is crystal clear (and handily placed next to the same scenes in finished product). And in case you were wondering who Bolaji Badejo was, he was one of the three crew members on Alien who played the xenomorph, the others being Eddie Powell and Roy Scammell. You can find out more about his only acting role here.
Harrison Ford – Star Wars (1977)
Mark Hamill – Star Wars (1977)
Sigourney Weaver – Alien (1979)
Bolaji Badejo – Alien (1979)
Milla Jovovich – The Fifth Element (1997)
Tom Hardy – Star Trek: Nemesis (2002)
The footage of Kate Winslet (Titanic) and Al Pacino (The Godfather) below comes as part of documentaries and DVD extras on each film, which explains the voiceover and editing you'll see. But the videos of Hoffman and the others are the straight-up real deal. Listen out for perhaps the plummiest Hepburn voice you'll ever hear in your life and try not to get too worried by how often Hitchcock asks Tippi Hedren to change her clothes.
Audrey Hepburn – Roman Holiday (1953)
James Dean, Sal Mineo and Natalie Woods – Rebel Without A Cause (1955)
Joan Fontaine – Rebecca (1940)
Dustin Hoffman – The Graduate (1967)
Tippi Hedren – The Birds (1963)
Al Pacino – The Godfather (1972)
Vivien Leigh – Gone With The Wind (1939)
Linda Blair – The Exorcist (1973)
Kate Winslet – Titanic (1997)
If you watch just one video on this page, make it Steve Carell's audition tape for Anchorman, where The Man Who Would Be Brick pretends to eat a used coffee filter covered in cigarette butts... and you believe him. Also, if you're already in love with Emma Stone, the footage that won her the Easy A gig may well make you faint.
Johnny Depp – Benny & Joon (1993)
Michael Cera, Jonah Hill and Christopher Mintz-Plasse – Superbad (2007)
Alyson Hannigan – American Pie (1999)
Emma Stone – Easy A (2010)
Ellen Page, Olivia Thirlby – Juno (2007)
Steve Carell – Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (2004)
Russell Brand – Forgetting Sarah Marshall (2008)
Kristen Bell – Forgetting Sarah Marshall (2008)
Lindsay Lohan's Parent Trap screentest comes in two parts. The first can be found below, but if you want even more of young Lilo plumming her accent up several octaves, head this way for the second. The rest are similarly adorable / excruciating, but the unquestionable star of the show is Henry Thomas for E.T., who bawls his eyes out (and may make you do the same).
Lindsay Lohan – The Parent Trap (1998)
Natalie Portman – Léon: The Professional (1994)
Daniel Radcliffe – Harry Potter And The Philosopher’s Stone (2001)
Henry Thomas – E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial (1982)
Jennifer Connolly – Labyrinth (1986)
Ralph Macchio and Noriyuki "Pat" Morita – Karate Kid (1984)
Taylor Lautner – The Adventures Of Sharkboy And Lavagirl In 3-D (2005)
A few facts about the following: Rachel McAdams only got the script for the audition below the day before this tape was recorded; Marilyn Monroe was eventually fired from Something's Got To Give, with the problems in her personal life spilling over onto the set and the project adandoned after her death; Sam Rockwell can dance like no-one else on this earth.
Rachel McAdams – The Notebook (2004)
Sam Rockwell – Confessions Of A Dangerous Mind (2002)
Marilyn Monroe – Something’s Got To Give (1962, unreleased)
Sharon Stone – Basic Instinct (1992)
Dominique Swain, Jeremy Irons – Lolita (1997)
Man On The Moon marked the end of Jim Carrey's unbroken run of hits, from 1994's Ace Ventura: Pet Detective to 1998's Truman Show, but the film's lack of financial success certainly wasn't because of Carrey's enthusiasm as demonstrated by this audition. Marvel at his bongo drumming! Admire his singing and dancing! Try to get R.E.M.'s 'Man On The Moon' out of your head!
Jim Carrey – Man On The Moon (1999)
Megan Fox – Transformers (2007)
Liev Schreiber and Meryl Streep – The Manchurian Candidate (2004)
Neve Campbell – Scream (1996)
Gerard Butler – Dracula 2000 (2000)
Gabourey Sidibe - Precious (2009)
Sometimes, actors go for parts and do not get those parts. This is frustrating for those actors, but fascinating for anyone who happens to see their audition tapes years after the fact. Curiously, the Marlon Brando Rebel Without A Cause screentest is just part of a bigger Brando Warner Bros. screentest that used lines from a discarded draft, so that the lines he's delivering never ended up in James Dean's 1955 film. And for the record, Anne Hathaway got the Agent 99 role in Get Smart that Jessica Alba wanted and Kirsten Dunst ended up in Jumanji instead of Scarlet Johansson.
William Katt, Kurt Russell – Star Wars (1977)
Marlon Brando – Rebel Without A Cause (1947)
Jessica Alba – Get Smart (2008)
Leslie Nielsen – Ben-Hur (1959)
Scarlett Johansson – Jumanji (1995)
James Dean, Paul Newman – East Of Eden (1955)
It's a wonder: Abbey Bartlet / Betty Rizzo could have been Lois Lane in another trouser leg of time. After Roger Moore threatened to pull out of Octopussy (steady now), James "Dad Of Josh" Brolin could have been the first American Bond. De Niro could have been Sonny, Tom Selleck could have been Indy and Judy Garland could have been in Valley Of The Dolls... if she hadn't begged to be fired, that is.
Stockard Channing – Superman (1978)
James Brolin – Octopussy (1983)
Robert De Niro – The Godfather (1972)
Tom Selleck – Raiders Of The Lost Ark (1981)
Judy Garland – Valley Of The Dolls (1967)
The Wire cast video below doesn't actually contain audition footage, but it does have some amazing what might-have-been discussions, so it's still worthy of inclusion. And if you haven't watched Miley Cyrus's latest music video, do so before you watch her Hannah Montana audition, because the comparison is... extraordinary.
Glee Cast (2009)
The Wire Cast (2002)
The Monkees Cast (1966)
Miley Cyrus – Hannah Montana (2006)
Blake Lively – Gossip Girl (2007)
The producers of House - which included Bryan Singer, who went on to direct the pilot episode - didn't realise Hugh Laurie wasn't American when they first saw this tape. Elsewhere below, Lyle Waggoner and Peter Deyell were genuinely in contention for the roles of Batman and Robin for the original '60s TV show, with their more serious take eventually discarded for Ward and West's buffoonery. After her audition, and casting, Kaitlin Olson went on to marry It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia co-creator Rob McElhenney. Finally, Seth Rogen, Bob Odenkirk, John Cho and co. didn't get the Office parts they went for... though you may have figured that out already. We hope things worked out for those guys - wonder what became of them?
Hugh Laurie – House (2004)
Seth Rogen, Bob Odenkirk, John Cho – The American Office (2005)
Jason Mamoa – Game Of Thrones (2011)
Adam West and Burt Ward – Batman (1966)
Lyle Waggoner and Peter Deyell – Batman (1966)
Kaitlin Olson - It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia (2005)
A cast so huge, with audition tapes so numerous, that they get their own page. Before Lost began, its cast had no real idea what the show was actually about. After Lost finished, the same was still true, but at least back in 2003 it was more understandable. Curiously, many male cast members read for Sawyer, even though they may not have looked the part (no offence, Jorge).
Matthew Fox – Lost (2004)
Josh Holloway – Lost (2004)
Evangeline Lilly - Lost (2004)
Jorge Garcia – Lost (2004)
Dominic Monaghan – Lost (2004)
Emilie De Ravin – Lost (2004)
Naveen Andrews – Lost (2004)
Maggie Grace – Lost (2004)
Freaks And Geeks only had one season - which ended up being cancelled half way through - but it brought the world such amazing talent that it lives on forever, be it via special DVD box sets or the following super-awkward audition tapes. Or, if you're lucky, both!
Linda Cardellini – Freaks And Geeks (1999)
Jason Segel – Freaks And Geeks (1999)
Seth Rogen – Freaks And Geeks (1999)
Dean Norris, Anna Gunn, Aaron Paul, Betsy Brandt, Laura Fraser
Robert Downey Jr. – Iron Man, Hugh Jackman – X-Men, Jennifer Garner – Daredevil, Tobey Maguire – Spider-Man
Harrison Ford – Star Wars, Mark Hamill – Star Wars, Sigourney Weaver – Alien, Bolaji Badejo – Alien, Milla Jovovich – The Fifth Element, Tom Hardy – Star Trek: Nemesis
Audrey Hepburn – Roman Holiday, James Dean, Sal Mineo and Natalie Woods – Rebel Without A Cause, Joan Fontaine – Rebecca, Dustin Hoffman – The Graduate, Tippi Hedren – The Birds, Al Pacino – The Godfather , Vivien Leigh – Gone With The Wind, Linda Blair – The Exorcist, Kate Winslet – Titanic
Johnny Depp – Benny & Joon, Michael Cera, Jonah Hill and Christopher Mintz-Plasse – Superbad, Alyson Hannigan – American Pie, Emma Stone – Easy A, Ellen Page, Olivia Thirlby – Juno, Steve Carell – Anchorman, Russell Brand and Kristen Bell – Forgetting Sarah Marshall
Lindsay Lohan – The Parent Trap, Natalie Portman – Léon: The Professional, Daniel Radcliffe – Harry Potter, Henry Thomas – E.T., Jennifer Connolly – Labyrinth, Ralph Macchio and Noriyuki "Pat" Morita – Karate Kid, Taylor Lautner – The Adventures Of Sharkboy And Lavagirl In 3-D
Rachel McAdams – The Notebook, Sam Rockwell – Confessions Of A Dangerous Mind, Marilyn Monroe – Something's Got To Give, Sharon Stone – Basic Instinct, Dominique Swain, Jeremy Irons – Lolita
Jim Carrey – Man On The Moon, Megan Fox – Transformers, Liev Schreiber and Meryl Streep – The Manchurian Candidate, Neve Campbell – Scream, Gerard Butler – Dracula 2000, Gabourey Sidibe - Precious
William Katt, Kurt Russell – Star Wars, Marlon Brando – Rebel Without A Cause, Jessica Alba – Get Smart, Leslie Nielsen – Ben-Hur, Scarlett Johansson – Jumanji, James Dean, Paul Newman – East Of Eden
Stockard Channing – Superman, James Brolin – Octopussy, Robert De Niro – The Godfather, Tom Selleck – Raiders Of The Lost Ark, Judy Garland – Valley Of The Dolls
Glee Cast, The Wire Cast, The Monkees Cast, Miley Cyrus – Hannah Montana, Blake Lively – Gossip Girl
Hugh Laurie – House, Seth Rogen, Bob Odenkirk, John Cho – The American Office, Jason Mamoa – Game Of Thrones, Adam West and Burt Ward – Batman, yle Waggoner and Peter Deyell – Batman, Kaitlin Olson - It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia
Matthew Fox, Josh Holloway, Evangeline Lilly, Jorge Garcia, Dominic Monaghan, Emilie De Ravin, Naveen Andrews, Maggie Grace
Freaks And Geeks
Linda Cardellini, Jason Segel, Seth Rogen