8 Actors Who Begged For Their Movie Roles (And 7 Who Don't Need To)

A-list actors sometimes don’t have to audition for the roles they want. The director knows they can hold a movie on their own from past successes. Therefore, directors will try to hire the most buzz-worthy and critically acclaimed actors. So if you have a successful track record, all you need to do is meet with the director.

That meeting may be all that is required to assess whether the actor is right for the role and compatible with the director. On the other hand, if the role is a shift away from their body of work then an audition will be essential. Channing Tatum landing a role as a leading man in a rom-com might result from just a meeting, but Channing Tatum in a serious, turn-of-the-century historical drama role will require him to audition. That’s because Hollywood is notorious for typecasting actors based on their previous roles. So the director might be unconvinced that the actor can do the job according to his or her vision.

In addition, if the actor has been out of the spotlight for too long, he or she MUST audition. So, when it looks like a role might be going to somebody else, an actor might resort to something they find demeaning: begging. That’s surprising to us, so we came up with a list of actors who had to beg for their parts as well as actors who are so darn hot in Hollywood that they absolutely don’t have to beg for a role, but look closely as these actors will surprise you.

15 Begged: William H. Macy Threatened The Director's Dogs

William H. Macy’s most indelible role is in the dark comedy Fargo. But his scene-stealing turn might’ve never happened had he not begged. Originally cast on Fargo for some minor character, Macy was determined to become the lead character Jerry Lundegaard. On his first audition as Jerry, he was denied the role despite the fact that he did some begging. Macy had no shame. After he auditioned and was denied again, rather than give up he flew to New York where he knew the Coen Brothers (the directors) were casting. Now that he knew that begging doesn’t work, Macy just broke out and made a joke that is now synonymous with his name. He told the Coens, "I'm very, very worried that you are going to screw up this movie by giving this role to somebody else. It's my role, and I'll shoot your dogs if you don't give it to me."

14 Doesn't Beg: But Wahlberg Lives Off DiCaprio's Scraps

Oscar winner Leonardo DiCaprio doesn’t audition. Period. The rule here is that if DiCaprio turns down a role, offer it to Mark Wahlberg. That sounds like an insult, and it may very well be, but Wahlberg and DiCaprio are friends way back when they were first starting out in Hollywood. Paul Thomas Anderson wanted DiCaprio for Boogie Nights, but he turned the part down for Titanic, and so Wahlberg took his place. DiCaprio landed the lead in The Gambler, but would not star in it unless Martin Scorsese directed. When Todd Phillips signed on as director, DiCaprio departed the film. DiCaprio then teamed up with Scorsese to star in Wolf of Wall Street, which was a good move on the actor’s part, as Wolf was not only critically acclaimed but also financially successful. Meanwhile, the lead for The Gambler was given to—yep, you guessed it–Mark Wahlberg.

13 Begged: Go Ballistic And Harass Other Actors Who May Be Up For The Role

Channing Tatum has made many successful movies, and yet, even though he’s a bona fide A-lister, the actor can’t land a role in a drama. That’s because Hollywood sees him in comedic roles, in addition to being the romantic lead in a rom-com such as those based on a Nicholas Sparks novel. In fact, Tatum did star in Dear John, which is based on a Sparks novel. When Tatum wanted a part in Quentin Tarantino’s western drama The Hateful Eight, Tarantino denied him the role because he didn’t want famous actors in his film. If you were a normal person, you would retreat. If you are Tatum, you would go on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon and say, “I basically sent an email a day for about a month just.” After the ongoing harassments, a normal person would file a restraining order. But if you’re Quentin Tarantino, you will give in and cast Tatum in the movie. And we're glad he did.

12 Didn't Have To Beg: This Washed-Up Star Was Given A Major Role Without Having To Audition

Mickey Rourke was a washed-up actor who disappeared from the Hollywood radar a long time ago. Then the superstar director Darren Aronofsky started to look for a lead in his film The Wrestler, but he could not think of any star but Mickey Rourke to play the role. Here’s the almost unheard of and surprising thing: Aronofsky gave the part to Rourke without Rourke having to audition. All Rourke had to do was have an informal lunch with the director, a chance for those involved in the movie to size up the actor in a way that doesn’t make the actor feel as if they are being evaluated. Rourke failed to nab Best Actor by the Academy Awards, but it didn’t matter because now he was buzz-worthy and, in just one movie, he has saved his career and once again became relevant.

11 Begged: Despite The Fact That She Is An A-List Actor And Oscar Winner

Charlize Theron is known for her drama and action movies, and her work is so good that she won an Academy Award for Best Actress for Monster. Unlike actors who won Oscars and were given choice roles, Theron found that she had been typecast, the go-to girl for weeping women in juicy dramas. The problem is, she wanted to do a comedy or a lighthearted role but no one would hire her As Theron said, “I’ve been interested in comedy for a while, but it’s been tricky because audiences know me so well doing something very different.” She found begging for a role to be humiliating, but she actually did do just that for a Seth MacFarlane western film called A Million Ways to Die In The West a go-for-broke comedy. Theron wanted a part in the movie so bad that she did have to beg McFarlane for the role.

10 Didn't Beg: But Got Fired From A Movie For Packing On The Pounds

Ryan Gosling nailed the role of the grieving father in The Lovely Bones, but in so doing, he clashed with the director, Peter Jackson. Gosling was seen by many on crew as demanding and fighting with the wardrobe department. A source close to the film said that Jackson “couldn’t stand” Gosling. Meanwhile, before shooting started, Gosling’s diet was reportedly melting Haagen Daz and drinking it as if it were a Coke. That diet was for the film, according to Gosling, who said that gaining weight was a “good move” for his character. When he showed up on set on the first day of shooting, Gosling was 60 pounds overweight and bearded. He had not received any directions from the director to change his body weight and instead got fired, which made Gosling both fat and unemployed. The role eventually was given to Mark Wahlberg.

9 Begged: Paddleboard In The Buff To Drum Up Interest In Your Career

Orlando Bloom is known for starring in not one but two box-office trilogies, The Lord Of The Rings and Pirates Of The Caribbean. So you’d think Bloom would become an in-demand actor or be followed around by paparazzi. That looks like the case, except that Bloom was never given parts for his comeback, as directors would pass on him. This is just bad luck, we guess. So, when Bloom found out that the acclaimed Mark Ruffalo was casting for a movie called Sympathy For Delicious, he wanted the role so badly that he literally begged for it. As he correctly pointed out, “I was coming from a place of desperation. I was desperate for an opportunity to break out of a preconceived idea of who I was, as an actor, based on finding myself in two of the biggest trilogies of all time.”

8 Doesn't Have To Beg: But Jonah Hill Does Anyway

If you search Google, you’ll probably come to the conclusion that Jonah Hill begged for his role in 2013’s The Wolf of Wall Street, for which he received an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor. But several sources close to the Martin Scorsese film said that’s not so. Hill was given the funny sidekick role—he’s been in many of those, including the 21 Jump Street movies and Moneyball—without ever having to audition as Scorsese knew he would fit the part to a T. Now here’s where the mix-up might've happened. Hill did indeed audition, but that was his idea even after the role was handed to him, and despite the fact that Scorsese himself found the audition unnecessary. So there you have it. But there’s more. Hill wanted the part so badly that he agreed to get paid the SAG minimum wage in order to work alongside his friends, Oscar-winner DiCaprio, and renown director Martin Scorsese.

7 Begged: Michelle Pfeiffer Did Just That But Felt Humiliated

Michelle Pfeiffer has always found success in movies. Starting in the 80s, Pfeiffer starred in Grease 2, Scarface, Dangerous Liaisons and The Age of Innocence. Pfeiffer, like Amy Adams, picked their next roles to be different so they wouldn’t be typecast. This apparently worked. Pfeiffer was a huge fan of the 1960s gothic soap opera Dark Shadows when she was growing up. When she heard that Tim Burton would direct the movie in 2012, she lost her inhibitions and called the director whom she worked with on Batman Returns and requested the part. As she told Empire, "I didn't want him to feel obligated but I told him I was a huge fan and I would love to do it if he was making it." As Pfeiffer put it, the whole thing was embarrassing, but in the end, begging got her the part.

6 She's Not Begging: Margot Robbie May Be New To The Scene But She Gets What She Wants!

When Suicide Squad was announced, fans flocked to the internet to discuss who should play Harleen Quinzel/Harley Quinn. The unanimous choice was Margot Robbie. Robbie was relatively new to the scene; she lived in Australia and worked on a soap opera. When she moved to the states, she was very lucky to find roles, including landing a prestigious part in Martin Scorsese’s movie The Wolf of Wall Street. She exploded in that role, and writer and director Davie Ayer of Suicide Squad saw eye to eye with filmgoers and the role was given to Robbie, who didn’t even have to submit a demo reel or an audition tape to nab the role. All she needed was to say yes. After the release of Suicide Squad, Robbie became in-demand and she should be thanking her lucky stars for landing envious roles that other actors would beg for.

5 Begged: Threaten The Director's Sanity To Get The Part

Gwyneth Paltrow turned down two high-profile films that eventually became critically acclaimed mega hits. Paltrow passed on fan-favorite Boogie Nights and Titanic, the most successful movie of all time. Kate Winslet eventually landed the role, but she had to beg for the part. Relatively new to the Hollywood scene, after finding out that Paltrow turned down the part of Rose, Winslet kept calling director James Cameron’s office, blasting it with daily notes on why she should be Rose. After she told Cameron, “I just have to do this, and you are really mad if you don’t cast me,” the Oscar-winner was finally allowed to audition. The rule here is that you will be black-balled if you keep getting parts and then turning them down. Ever see View From The Top? Didn’t think so. Yeah, Paltrow won an Oscar, but she has not carried a movie or had a hit except her roles in the Iron Man movies.

4 Garner Vs. Adams: Which Actress Never Has To Beg?

After Alias ended, Jennifer Garner took on rom-coms like 13 Going On 30. But when she wanted to do dramas, she found that she had been typecast as the bubbly All-American girl. Meanwhile, around this time, Amy Adams starred in Enchanted, which did so well that Adams was being offered roles that didn’t require an audition. Adams avoided becoming typecast because she deliberately chose roles that were different, from Doubt to American Hustle. Here’s the lesson: admit defeat. Adams can star in profitable and funny movies like Julie & Julia while Garner is reduced to doing commercials for Neutrogena. Garner is at that stage where she has to beg for a role. It seems like a war between the two might just happen. Not convinced that Adams has been replacing Garner left and right? Well, this fall Garner was dumped by Max Mara. Max Mara wanted a glitzy Hollywood star who would give the company a whole new image. It seems that person is—surprise!—Amy Adams.

3 Begged: Anne Hathaway Begged To Be In Les Misérables

Very early on in her career, Anne Hathaway became an instant star after playing the title role in the box-office hit The Princess Diaries. Later, after doing the sequel, she was seen in the cult-favorite The Devil Wears Prada, as well as in Get Smart and Bride Wars. Her track record was very successful, and yet Hathaway couldn’t even get an audition for the role of Fantine in Les Misérables. The problem was, the producers didn’t even have her name on the list of actresses whom they wanted to audition. The director thought she was too wholesome for the role of Fantine, an orphan forced into prostitution. So, Hathaway for the first time had to beg for the role. When she finally landed an audition, the director caved in after seeing her perform “I Dreamed A Dream” and “The Arrest.” It was the best decision ever made, as Hathaway won an Oscar for her part.

2 Doesn't Have To Beg: Directors Seek Out J.K. Simmons

J.K. Simmons was on everyone’s radar in Hollywood after playing an abusive orchestra conductor in Whiplash. He received widespread critical acclaim for the role and was nominated for more than thirty accolades, including the most prestigious: the Academy Award and the Golden Globe Award. When Simmons won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for Whiplash, directors sought him out for roles, NOT the other way around. One of the first movies Simmons signed on for following Whiplash was The Accountant, a crime drama with Ben Affleck in the lead. Simmons met with Gavin O'Connor, the director, over lunch and during the course of their meal, O’Connor offered the role to Simmons with that just meeting, which meant he didn’t have to audition for the role. So that’s what happens when you receive an Academy Award. Sometimes your world is in a tailspin and you have to act fast in choosing roles before you fall off Hollywood’s finicky radar.

1 Begged: Yes, Even Goddess Meryl Streep Had To Audition For A Role

Meryl Streep is a lasting icon whose movies are critically acclaimed. The Deer Hunter, Manhattan and most of all Kramer Vs. Kramer which led her to win an Oscar for best-supporting actress, are early works that cemented Streep’s success in Hollywood. Nowadays, she’s still in the spotlight, and playing lighthearted and comedic parts in Julia & Julia, Mamma Mia! and The Devil Wears Prada. But back in the 1980s, at the height of her career, she still had to audition for a role she desperately wanted. That movie was Sophie’s Choice and Streep wanted the lead. The director originally had doubts about Streep and envisioned someone else for the role, but he ended up hiring her after she literally threw herself at his feet to beg for the part. Good thing, because Streep won an Oscar for her part and it is the most important movie in her oeuvre, as well as in history.

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