In Hollywood, film stars don’t audition. It’s a fact. Scripts are written with the roles tailored for individual actors, and the financing of a film is no longer a question of how good the script is, but rather who is “attached” to star. In other words, big names don’t roam the town with head shots, and they no longer fight to stand out in a cold reading and be the best amongst a mass of actors trying to make it big.
But that doesn’t mean that movie celebrities didn’t have to audition like anybody else to get where they are today. In fact, not only did they audition endless times for small roles to keep some change tingling in their pockets, they would often find themselves getting rejected. Yes, now it’s kind of hard to believe that De Niro and Brando got rejected for certain roles, but this article will shed light on some of those legendary failed auditions and leave us wondering what could have been…
5. Helen Hunt/Gwyneth Paltrow – Dr. Ellie Sattler (Jurassic Park)
Before these two huge names hit their stride in the mid ’90s, they tried out for the role of cinema’s most famous female paleontologist: Dr. Ellie Sattler, from Jurassic Park. Gwyneth had already had a minor role in Spielberg’s Hook, in which she played a young Wendy in a flashback sequence, while the older Helen Hunt was enjoying the success of her TV series Mad About You.
The role eventually went to Laura Dern, the daughter of Nebraska’s Bruce Dern and also David Lynch’s muse at the time (having starred in both Blue Velvet and Wild at Heart). Dern would enjoy a successful career with supporting roles in A Perfect World and October Sky, while Helen Hunt and Gwyneth Paltrow would rocket to stardom and peak with their Academy Award-winning performances in As Good As It Gets and Shakespeare In Love. So it all worked out.
This article was first posted on February 14, 2014