Have you ever wanted something so bad that you would do anything to get it? If you have, you can probably sympathise with the many actors who’ve gone to drastic lengths for a role. When an actor gets infatuated with a character, they can at times be desperate to play it. Imagining another actor landing “their” role can be so devastating that they’ll lose sleep over the matter. In order to appease their worried minds, some actors have been known to beg directors for the role of their fancy.
Let’s put it plain and simple: begging is never a pretty sight. But every once in a while it can be the only way to get what your heart truly desires. Nonetheless, many actors have found out the hard way that you can’t always name-drop yourself into a production. While it may be a harsh reality, it is customary for actors to audition for a role — no matter how “big” they are. Sometimes a director’s vision isn’t going to call for an A-list celebrity, resulting in them casting another actor instead. While it is never easy to see someone else get what you want, the show must go on.
Want to find out which big-time celebrities had to swallow their pride to land a role? Well, calm down and keep reading.
15. William H. Macy — Fargo
William H. Macy has never been one to beg for something, but when he read the script of Fargo he knew that something had to be done. Originally, the actor was interested in landing the deputy’s role, but when he was asked if he was auditioning for Jerry’s role, something in him clicked. After hearing his reading, directors Ethan and Joel Coen asked him to return the following day to give a second audition. But the following day, the Coen brothers did not offer Macy the role.
Macy became obsessed with the role, going as far as calling all his Hollywood contacts to get inside information on Fargo‘s casting process. When he found out that the Coen brothers were auditioning new candidates in New York, he flew there and bust through the audition room doors.
14. Tom Hanks — Superhero Roles
While it is sad, not every actor who begs for a role is going to be granted their wish. One actor who is famous for begging for roles and not landing them is A-list actor Tom Hanks. There’s no denying that Hanks is a formidable actor, but he isn’t exactly superhero-worthy, which is a hard truth he has had to cope with.
“Come on, I can do it. Let me play a bad guy, let me play the bad guy against Batman. I’ll do anything, call me. They’ve never asked. What do I have to do? God, I want to throw a shield at somebody. I want that. And I don’t want to play the guy in the suit who tells the superheroes what’s going on, I don’t want to be that guy. ‘Well, you know Batman…Captain America, Iron Man, here’s what we’ve discovered’, I don’t want to be that guy. I want to get in there, I want to play The Flash or something like that. They’ll never give me a chance,” complained the actor.
13. Lindsay Lohan — The Little Mermaid
When it comes to begging, Lindsay Lohan has a lot of experience. However, Lohan is commonly found begging for an entire movie to be made instead of the leading role. Over the course of 5 years, Lohan has begged directors to make a Mean Girls and Freaky Friday sequel, but they all denied the “offer”.
Next on Lohan’s list was playing Ariel in The Little Mermaid, but instead of contacting the directors and asking for an audition, Lohan took to Twitter.
“I will sing again, as #ariel #thelittlemermaid [if] @Disney approve that #billcondon directs it.” Wrote the star. Lohan even went as far as saying that the production should include her sister, Aliana Lohan. Unfortunately, Disney has not contacted Lohan over the matter and has chosen to go in another direction.
12. Leonardo DiCaprio — Gangs Of New York
It is no secret that director Martin Scorsese and actor Leonardo DiCaprio have a profound bond with one another, which is why the actor is often cast in his movies. Before the two became friends and collaborators, however, DiCaprio had to sell himself to the director.
“I grew up in a generation of actors that really admired the work from the 1970s, where the director’s vision was paramount, and at the top of that list was Marty’s work. As soon as I got the opportunity to finance a movie based on my own name, the only person on that list to be able to work with, at least only once, was Martin Scorsese. So I tracked down the only screenplay I knew had a character for me in it, and that was Gangs of New York,” said DiCaprio. Since then, the pair has gone on to make a handful of movies that’ll surely go down in history.
11. Jason Bateman — The Change-Up
Jason Bateman is a renown actor who typically doesn’t have issues landing a role, but every once in a while, he has to fight for what he wants. What he wanted, in this case, was to be cast as Dave Lockwood in 2011’s The Change-Up. After finishing the screenplay, Bateman contacted the movie’s studio bosses and expressed his interest. The actor was intrigued by the concept of simultaneously playing two different characters alongside his longtime friend Ryan Reynolds. So much so, that he actually begged for the role.
“It’s the funniest script I’ve ever read so when I finished it I immediately emailed the studio and said, ‘Please, please let me do this movie’,” said Bateman, who was then rewarded with his desired role.
10. Kate Winslet — The Titanic
Kate Winslet is one of the greatest actresses in Hollywood, which is why it’s surprising to find out that she had to beg to be cast as The Titanic‘s Rose. Convincing director James Cameron to choose her over thousands of women was not easy, but eventually, he came around. At the time, Winslet was not the renown actress she is today, but that didn’t stop her from taking a chance and convincing Cameron to cast her.
After reading The Titanic‘s script, Winslet knew that she had to act fast. So she got Cameron’s number from her agent and called him. “I just have to do this, and you are really mad if you don’t cast me,” said Winslet. Surprised, Cameron granted her an audition. Three days passed without a word after Winslet’s audition, so she went on to send Cameron a bouquet of roses with a note that read “From your Rose.”
9. Channing Tatum — The Hateful 8
When you watch a Quentin Tarantino film, you sort of expect to see the same string of actors the director usually works with. With this in mind, it isn’t hard to be surprised when Channing Tatum emerges mid-way through Tarantino’s Hateful Eight movie. While Tatum is usually cast in comedic films, the actor is not opposed to taking on some more challenging roles. So when Tatum first found out that Tarantino was in the midst of casting actors for Hateful Eight, he went above and beyond to be considered.
“I basically sent about an email a day for about a month just threatening any other actors that might be up for the role. I was just praying that no one really tough was up for the role,” said Tatum, who was eventually granted the role of Jody.
8. Charlize Theron — A Million Ways To Die In The West
Charlize Theron is reputed for her beauty and amazing acting talents. While she has won Academy awards for her dramatic film acting, the actress has seldom dabbled in comedy, which is why she had trouble landing the role of Anna in the movie A Million Ways To Die In The West.
“I’ve been interested in comedy for a while, but it’s been tricky because audiences know me so well doing something very different. In fact, what also interests me is odd comedy. Those are very rare. The combination of this script and Seth directing was a slam dunk for me. I started begging instantly… I closed the script and started begging,” said the actress. Seth MacFarlane, the movie’s director, eventually came around and gave Theron the part she so desperately desired.
7. Julia Roberts — Pretty Woman
Let’s keep this straight; Julia Roberts did not beg for her own role in Pretty Woman, but for Richard Gere‘s role. Gere had originally been approached for the role of Edward in 1990’s Pretty Woman but had been uninterested. The movie’s director, the late Garry Marshall, moved on and started auditioning other actors for the role, but Roberts could not imagine co-starring alongside anyone but Gere.
“I just said, ‘You have to do this movie’ … And I kind of pleaded with him in a very real was,” said Roberts. The star also admitted to tricking Gere into thinking that Marshall was having trouble casting the perfect “Edward”. Eventually, Gere agreed to the role.
“He’s a very serious actor and he had very specific thoughts about the movie and the part and what worked and what didn’t work for him. And I think I just nodded and smiled a lot and agreed with everything he said,” said Roberts.
6. Shailene Woodley — The Fault In Our Stars
Shailene Woodley is an American actress who began her acting career at 8 years old. While she has played in TV series like The O.C. and Crossing Jordan, the actress only received worldwide recognition when she was cast as Tris in Divergent.
“Before I got ‘Fault In Our Stars,’ I wrote [Green] a pretty lengthy email just sort of saying, ‘I’m obsessed with you and your book and I would do anything to be a part of it. Please let me audition for you,” Woodley recalled. John Green eventually answered her with a letter stating that he was not in charge of casting, but would love for her to audition for the lead role. In the end, Woodley impressed the movie’s director on her own, but whether or not Green slipped in a good word for her is up for debate.
5. Jennifer Lawrence — Easy A
Jennifer Lawrence and Emma Stone are two gorgeous actresses who rose to fame at the same time. While they both offer a different dynamic, they have often shown interest in the same movies and battled for the same leading roles. While their relationship is amicable, Lawrence will always remember the day that Stone snatched the Easy A role away from her.
“I auditioned for Easy A. I wanted it so bad,” says Lawrence, who did all she could to land the role of Olive Penderghast. In the end, however, Lawrence was denied the role. While name-dropping and begging can sometimes work out just fine for actors, some directors are not as easily swayed. Now that the two women are good friends, they have no problem teasing each other over the matter.
4. Ryan Gosling — Indiana Jones
Ryan Gosling is someone who isn’t afraid to go after what he wants, which is why he has succeeded in the acting world. During the filming of 2017’s Blade Runner, Gosling had the chance to meet and work with actor Harrison Ford — the one and only Indiana Jones. When Gosling found out that Steven Spielberg was directing another Indiana Jones movie, he immediately asked his co-star to be considered for a role.
While the actors appear to be getting chummy, Gosling’s presence in the movie has yet to be confirmed. When asked if he would be getting a role in the 2019 film, Gosling replied, “I’m working on it man… easy.”
3. Chloë Grace Moretz — Hugo
Chloë Grace Moretz is known for going above and beyond to land her roles, which is how she has managed to act in such big-time movies despite her young age. When it came to director Martin Scorsese, however, Moretz knew that begging wasn’t going to work, and so she lied instead.
“…I spoke in a British accent the whole time. I’d lived in London for five months when I was filming Kick-Ass, so I knew the rhythm of the accent, which is one of the main things you have to pick up. There’s a huge difference in the way the British act and speak, and I stayed in character with Marty until the end. When I thanked him and walked out, he said, ‘Hold on, did I hear an American accent?’ I said, ‘Maybe’, and he replied, ‘You tricked me’,” recalls Moretz.
2. Sally Field — Lincoln
Sally Field is an Oscar-winning actress who has been in the spotlight for decades. Regardless of her fame, the actress still had to swallow her pride and beg director Steven Spielberg for the role of Mary Todd in the movie Lincoln.
Desperately wanting to co-star with actor Daniel Day-Lewis, who was cast as Abraham Lincoln, Field pestered Spielberg until she was granted an audition. However, Spielberg thought Field to be too old to play Lincoln’s wife until told otherwise.
“I’m 10 years older than Daniel and 20 years older than Abraham Lincoln’s wife was and Steven told me he didn’t see me in the role. But I knew I was right for this part and begged him to let me audition for it. He was kind enough to do that and Daniel is such a sweetheart that he flew over from his home in Ireland to screen test with me. I’ll love him forever for that,” says the actress.
1. Carey Mulligan — Shame
Carey Mulligan is an English actress who got her big debut by playing Kitty Bennet in 2005’s Pride & Prejudice. Since then, she has gone on to play more reputable roles in productions like The Great Gatsby and The Walking Dead. Despite her thick portfolio, Mulligan insists that she still had to beg and lie to land the role of Sissy in 2011’s Shame.
“When Steve said ‘Can you sing?’ in the meeting, I was like ‘Yeah, of course, I can.’ I got the job and thought, ‘Oh sh*t, I have to learn how to sing.’ So I had lessons. Steven wanted it all in one take, so it had to be as close to perfect as possible,” said Mulligan. Obviously, the actress’ lessons paid off, because the movie’s director never said anything about her singing capacities.
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