There’s nothing wrong with a little white lie, right? Sometimes, you do what you need to do in order to get something done.
Actors and actresses know this better than anyone. In the competitive entertainment industry, particularly when you’re just starting out, you do basically anything you can to get a foot in the door. Some of the biggest names in Hollywood started out with roles like ‘Girl Number 3’ before working their way up to the leading lady leagues. So, in an audition situation, when the producer or casting director asks something, many actors or actresses will basically tell them what they want to hear. Can you speak French? Oui! Can you ski? Ah yes, I was a competitive downhill skier for years. No matter what they say, you just say yes – and then figure the rest out later once you have the role.
The actors and actresses on this list have lied about everything from their age to their schooling to their athletic skills in order to get a certain role they wanted. And it overwhelmingly worked! Most ended up getting the role they had lied to secure, or at least advancing their career in some way because of it.
Here are 10 celebs who lied to get a role in their career.
10. Rachel McAdams
Rachel McAdams has had roles in everything from dramas to romantic comedies, playing a wide variety of characters with different occupations and skill sets. However, there’s one role in particular she wanted in Terrence Malick’s film To The Wonder. McAdams is a fairly active individual, often spotted riding around Toronto on her bicycle, so it seems plausible that she’d love a sporty, outdoorsy activity like horseback riding, right? After all, she’s an animal lover. That’s what she told Malick and his team when she was being considered for the part – love horses. The truth? She’s absolutely terrified of them. If that isn’t unbelievable enough, she’s also allergic! She really wanted that part, whatever the cost.
9. Morgan Freeman
Morgan Freeman has had countless movie roles, but his incredible, deep, resonant voice means he’s also very frequently called upon to narrate films. That was the case for Oblivion, a film starring Tom Cruise. They wanted Freeman to narrate the film, but he wasn’t quite satisfied – he wanted a bigger slice of the pie. Who knows why? Perhaps he just thought it was a cool project. So, Freeman told the director, Joseph Kosinski, that he was having some issues with his throat and would therefore be limited in his narrative capacities. If it was any other actor, they likely would have just replaced him with another. Morgan Freeman? They gave him a part with some screen time, and seeing how it all worked out, even beefed it up to be a pretty large part in the film.
8. Robert Pattinson
While many actors and actresses trying to make it in Los Angeles often train in acting classes, stars from the U.K. will frequently be graduates of dramatic arts academies, partly because the focus in Europe is more on the stage than the silver screen. When he was just starting out, British star Robert Pattinson was banking on casting agents believing his claim that he attended the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, one of the most prestigious of such institutions, even though he did not. Not content with that, he’s also admitted to lying and saying he went to Oxford University. He was merely looking for a bit of an edge on the competition by beefing up his resume, and said that he “did it for years.” However, after being catapulted to mega-stardom courtesy of the Twilight films, it’s safe to say that pretty much every casting agent will know exactly who he is now.
7. George Clooney
Early in his career, Clooney got caught in a lie in an embarrassing way. He was desperate to get a Screen Actors Guild card so he could truly pursue his Hollywood dreams, and in an audition for a role, lied about having a role in a film called Cat People. Who will ever know, Clooney must have thought. Turn’s out, the casting director for the role he was auditioning for had also cast for Cat People. Whoops! Clooney didn’t end up getting that role with his lie, but the casting director saw something in him that she liked and helped him get into the union. The extensive resume he’s compiled since then means he never has to lie about having gotten a part again. Hell, he’s George Clooney – he probably doesn’t even need to audition.
6. Daniel Craig
We’re in the era of technology and fast cars, the need to be comfortable around horses and skilled at riding them is a relic that was only required of actors in old Westerns, right? Wrong. Apparently, being able to master a horse is one of the more common lies that actors and actresses make to get a role. Case in point, James Bond himself – Daniel Craig. He had no idea how to ride a horse, having not been around them much, but he said he was an expert rider. In fact, he lied about this so much, and got so many roles where he was forced to demonstrate his ‘skills,’ that he eventually got pretty good at handling himself on horseback. You know what they say – fake it ’til you make it.
5. George Lazenby
The story of how George Lazenby got his role as James Bond is legendary. You might not know him – when you think of all the men who played the iconic 007, actors like Sean Connery, Pierce Brosnan and Daniel Craig are more likely to pop into your mind. However, he’s got the guts of Bond himself. Lazenby decided he wanted to play the role of James Bond – who wouldn’t? He revamped his image, getting his hair cut at the same barber Sean Connery went to, he bought an old suit of Connery’s, strapped a fancy watch onto his arm, used his super agent skills to sneak past the secretary for the auditions, and plopped himself in front of the casting directors. He lied about having extensive acting experience, making it seem as if he were an international superstar. The fact that he was able to pull his lie off shows he actually did have the acting chops, and they ended up casting him. The director later found out, but he was impressed with Lazenby’s ability to fool them, so they let him keep the role.
4. Laura Fraser
When you get the chance to audition for one of the biggest television series on the air, you do whatever it takes to get the part. At least, that’s what Laura Fraser did. Fraser, who played the part of Lydia on the series Breaking Bad, was sent an e-mail after her audition asking if she spoke German. She replied of course, which was a lie. It was far beyond the level she thought it would be, dense corporate-speak German, but Fraser studied her paragraphs hard and managed to ace it. Now that she’s gotten the role and excelled, Fraser doesn’t need to worry about her language skills anymore. However, she has mentioned that her ability to spew corporate-speak German is her little “party trick” now.
3. Liam Hemsworth
With his athletic build, you might assume that Liam Hemsworth excels in every sport he plays. After all, he was pretty nimble and athletic in his role in the popular Hunger Games franchise. However, there’s one sport he didn’t quite have mastered – volleyball. When he was auditioning for The Last Song, he told the producers that he was a volleyball superstar. It seemed like a match made in heaven, as the film included a scene where Hemsworth’s character was playing volleyball. When the day came around to film that scene, everyone on set figured out pretty quickly that Hemsworth wasn’t totally honest about his prowess with a volleyball.
2. Sandra Bullock
Many actresses get into hot water for shaving a few years off their real age in order to appear younger. Sandra Bullock’s lie was the exact opposite. In 1992, when she was auditioning for Love Potion #9, she told them she was a few years older than she actually was, since she was after the part of a slightly older scientist. She managed to snag the role, and has since become one of Hollywood’s most beloved actresses, so things worked out for her just fine. In fact, her early career lie parallels what many feel about her now – no one believes she’s 50! She looks far younger, having maintained both her physique and gorgeous looks throughout the years.
1. Mila Kunis
Mila Kunis’ lie is probably the most well known lie designed to score a role – she tells the story all the time of how she got her first big gig, and what she had to do to get it. A young Kunis wanted to become an actress and auditioned for That 70’s Show when she was 14. The producers asked about her age, and knowing that her youth may work against her, she lied and said she was “going to be 18.” A lie by omission – she just didn’t clarify that it would be in about four years. However, Kunis got the role and played her character so perfectly that no one would dream of replacing her. She played the lovable Jackie Burkhart for years before moving onto the silver screen for acting roles.
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