1. Angus Cloud — Euphoria
Angus Cloud was minding his business walking down a street in New York City when a casting rep laid eyes on him and asked him to come in to read for a new TV series. “I was confused and I didn’t want to give her my phone number. I thought it was a scam.”
Fortunately, it wasn’t and Cloud was cast—though not without making some minor character tweaks, however: “I had to change [the script] a little bit,” he told GQ. “To make it sound real, like how I would say it.”
Of his first day on camera, Cloud revealed to GQ: “I was trying to look normal and relaxed and chill. I’m like, ‘I don’t know what I am doing. Why did they bring me over here for this? They should have gotten a real actor for this job.’”
The actor revealed he was working at a chicken and waffles shop in Brooklyn when he was discovered by the Euphoria casting agent.
2. Emilia Clarke — Game of Thrones
Game of Thrones co-creator David Benioff and D.B. Weiss once share a story about Emilia Clarke’s audition process for the series while presenting her the Award for British Artist of the Year in 2018.
Clarke was asked to come in for an audition for the president of HBO after the pilot was shot.
Weiss told the audience at the Britannia Awards that the follow-up audition went down at “HBO’s corporate theatre, which was large, dimly lit and empty except for us two and the president of HBO. We were smiling. He wasn’t. It was quite possibly the least inviting audition environment we had ever witnessed.”
Clarke did her thing and the HBO exec stayed stony-faced.
“Emilia asked if there was anything else she could do to lighten the mood and David asked, ‘Can you dance?’ And without missing a beat, Emilia did the robot,” Weiss said. “She did it with commitment and she did it well…and even the president had no choice but to smile. She got the job 10 seconds after she left the room and the two of us ran to tell her before she left the building because letting her get on an 11-hour flight home without knowing seemed like cruel and unusual punishment.”
3. Maitreyi Ramakrishnan —Never Have I Ever
The story of how Maitreyi Ramakrishnan landed the lead role on Mindy Kaling’s Netflix comedy “Never Have I Ever” is the kind of fairy tale that normally comes from the mind of a TV writer.
In April 2019, the show co-creator Mindy Kaling posted an announcement on social media seeking South Asian women to audition for her and co-creator Lang Fisher’s then-untitled coming of age comedy.
Enter Ramakrishnan, who was one of more than 15,000 aspiring actors to audition. But the young Canadian actor tells Variety that the whole process started by chance
“My best friend was the one who actually saw the tweet and she screenshotted it and sent it to me,” Ramakrishnan recalls. “I’m lying on my couch, ready to take a nice afternoon nap. … I remember feeling exhausted, but I was like, ‘Okay, let’s do it,’ just because I honestly only wanted to hang out with my best friend.”
She had to Google what a “self-tape” was and then spent an hour figuring out how to work her mom’s camera.
When the producers called to invite her to Los Angeles for a screen test, she didn’t even pick up, thinking it was spam. (Don’t worry, they emailed her.) Amazingly, it was her first credited role ever.
4. Meryl Streep
In an appearance on the popular British talk show The Graham Norton Show in 2015, Streep told the story of how, pre-fame, in 1995, she had auditioned for the lead in a reboot of King Kong, produced by famed Italian producer Dino De Laurentiis.
When De Laurentiis brought her to his son, he started commenting in Italian, right in front of her, on how ugly she was – but little did he know, Meryl Streep also speaks Italian.
“I’m sorry you think I’m too ugly for your film,” she told him, “but you’re just one opinion in a sea of thousands, and I’m off to find a kinder tide.” As history would have it, the movie was a major failure, and Streep became the most celebrated actress of all time.
5. Lukas Cage
In 2020, Lukas Gage of Euphoria fame shared a video on Twitter of an awkward zoom audition he had. As Gage was signing onto the call, the director could be heard saying:
These poor people live in these tiny apartments,” the director, Tristram Shapeero, said as Gage prepared himself. “I’m looking at his background, and he’s got his TV.” Quickly realizing that the director mistakenly thought he was muted, the actor responded. “I know! It’s a sh***y apartment,” he said. “Give me this job so I can get a better one.” When the director began apologizing profusely, Gage went with it. “Listen, I’m living in a four-by-four box; it’s fine,” he said. “Just give me the job, and we’ll be fine.”
The actor would eventually post the clip to Twitter with the note, “psa if you’re a s*** talking director make sure to mute ur s*** on zoom mtgings.” The embarrassing video went viral and caused Shapeero to pen an apology on Deadline. “I offer Mr. Gage a sincere and unvarnished apology for my offensive words, my unprofessional behavior,” he wrote. “Lukas deserved better.”
6. Emma Rossum
During The Hollywood Reporter’s Comedy Actress Roundtable, Emmy Rossum joined the likes of Speechless’ Minnie Driver, Ugly Betty’s America Ferrera, Insecure’s Issa Rae amongst others to talk about what it’s like working in the industry. Rossum revealed a gross audition experience she once had.
She said, ‘My agent called me and was like, ‘I’m so embarrassed to make this call, but there’s a big movie and they’re going to offer it to you. They really love your work on the show. But the director wants you to come into his office in a bikini. There’s no audition. That’s all you have to do.’’
At first, she was puzzled, considering how frequently she shows her body in Shameless. Her mind didn’t initially jump to the sexist undertones and she revealed, ‘I actually had this moment like, ‘Well, how good is the part?’ For a second, I was like, ‘Would I do it? Send me the script. Maybe the character is in a bikini in the movie. It was then that she discovered that the character neither wears a bikini nor appears nude in the film, so she turned it down.
As she recalls it now, she can’t help but darkly mock the director, speaking in his voice: ” ‘We really love your work, but we just want to see how tight your ass is.’ Are you fucking kidding me? Last time I checked, I’m not a fucking model.