The most awesomely bad movie auditions

Auditions are an often annoying but necessary aspect of many creative endeavors. To secure a part in a movie, play, TV show, musical, or even talent show, a hopeful singer/dancer/actor/whatever will have to get up in front of someone responsible for filling the available parts and do their best to impress them, hoping they're on their game that particular day. Sometimes they are, and they get the part; sometimes they're decidedly not, and the video evidence of their bombed tryout ends up on the internet, passed around by other performers like an urban legend.

Even big name actors bomb at auditions, despite previous success. And sometimes they bomb in huge, embarrassing (for them), entertaining (for us) ways. Here are a few well-known (some famous, some infamous) faces doing their best and failing their hardest at trying to pull off a good movie audition. And the wildest part? Some of them still got the roles despite these disasters.

Oh hai, Batman

To be fair, this clip isn't an audition in the traditional sense. No director put out a casting call for Jokers to which the enigmatic yet totally ubiquitous Tommy Wiseau showed up. Best known for making the infamously terrible movie The Room, Wiseau has only seen his star rise since the fictionalized account of the making of The Room, 2017's The Disaster Artist starring James Franco as Wiseau, garnered a number of major industry awards and nominations, including an award for best actor in a comedy for Franco. That said, is he really on the level of a Heath Ledger, or a Cesar Romero, or a Jack Nicholson? Does he have the stuff to play the Clown Prince of Crime?

Wiseau sure seems to think so. Following the announcement that Joaquin Phoenix was in talks to star in a standalone Joker film, Wiseau started tweeting director Todd Phillips angling for the role. Soon Wiseau's Room co-star Greg Sestero was saying he'd gladly play Batman opposite Tommy's Joker. Unable to resist such a combination, the Nerdist called Wiseau and Sestero to put together this terrifying highlight reel of Wiseau's take on the Man Who Laughs.

Wiseau blasts through most of Joker's taglines from 2008's The Dark Knight and 1989's Batman with reckless abandon, shouting lines, raising and lowering his voice at random, slurring words, flailing his arms around, flubbing lines, and just … screaming. So much screaming. Sestero's Batman is at least as good as Clooney's, though.

Peeta Parker

Andy Warhol once said, "In the future, everyone will get to star as Spider-Man for 15 minutes." Given the rate the franchise reboots and the need for an ever-youthful-looking hero, this may have been a very prescient statement. It probably won't turn out to be true for Josh Hutcherson, though. At least, not based on this audition tape.

Best known for his role as Peeta Mellark in the Hunger Games film series, in which he fights the ruling oligarchy with the power of bread, Hutcherson went hard for the role of Peter Parker in 2012's The Amazing Spider-Man by putting together an elaborate screen test complete with music, fight choreography, and stunts. The nearly three-minute video contains Peter Parker taking out a grip of bullies inside what is apparently his school's folding gymnastic mat storage room.

The clip definitely has cool moments, and the fights and stunts are way more elaborate than you would expect for a screen test, but ultimately the acting bits of it amount to lots of mean mugging and a dramatic climax of a boy dropping his glasses. The whole thing is pretty cheesy in spots, and despite this being a movie audition for the lead role in a major Hollywood franchise, Hutcherson says about five words in the whole thing. Ultimately, director Marc Webb decided to go with a slightly taller and lankier wall-crawler with much bigger hair in the form of The Social Network's Andrew Garfield for his 15-minute turn before Tom Holland donned the webs.

De-Kleined

Did you know that Mamma Mia! is a musical? Yeah, it's true! It turns out the point of the whole thing is to showcase the wide song catalog of super-popular Swedish pop group ABBA. The name of the movie is even the name of a song from ABBA's self-titled third album from 1975. So if you wanted, for example, a major role as the lead's romantic interest, you'd probably need to sing some songs to get in that movie.

Apparently no one told Chris Klein that, though, because based his audition tape, he only found out it was a musical in his car on the way over. His singing performance starts out okay for the first few bars until he has to hit a big note and the whole thing turns into some kind of cringe Olympics. You can almost see his thought process: "Okay, I can't hit these high notes, but maybe I can distract them with some really dramatic eyebrow action. Singing is like 75 percent eyebrow anyway. Oh dang, I should open my mouth bigger. Maybe my mouth isn't big enough. You can do this, Chris! Just like Coach Taylor says: Mouth wide, eyebrows high, can't lose!"

Besides missing a host of notes, he also flubs the lyrics despite having sheet music in front of him. That's understandable and even forgivable, but what's harder to ignore is his creepy monologue about Mandy Moore before he starts singing. Anyway, Dominic Cooper got the part.

"This ... is ... TRANSYLVANIAAAAAAAA!"

Count Dracula, lord of the vampires, has been played on the big screen by a number of illustrious names, including Bela Lugosi, Christopher Lee, Frank Langella, Gary Oldman, and Leslie Nielsen. Another name that can technically be added to the list of actors to play Dracula is Gerard Butler, who plays history's most famous vampire in Dracula 2000, in which the titular bloodsucker is resurrected in 21st-century New Orleans and turns out to also be Judas Iscariot. Despite losing money at the box office and earning a better-than-expected 17 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, the movie was followed by two direct-to-video sequels, the latter of which starred Rutger Hauer as Dracula, who is the obvious replacement for Butler; they're practically twins! (Strangely, Dracula 3000 is not related to this series of films at all.)

Anyway, Butler — still a few years away from his breakout roles in Phantom of the Opera and 300 – is gunning hard to taste the blood of Dracula: He comes prepared, wearing a ratty hair metal wig (his own, let's hope) and eyeliner. In the course of the two-minute clip, he shows off a facility for accents unmatched since Kevin Costner's Robin Hood. Just the sound of his voice will take you back to the gloomy castles of Transylvania, which is, presumably, a village in the Scottish Lowlands. Shockingly, he got this part (and even more shockingly, went on to a bigger career), but maybe it's because Rutger Hauer wasn't available that weekend.

Big Trouble in Little Empire

There are a number of really fascinating "what might have been" moments in movie casting history, where certain famous actors auditioned for — or even sometimes got cast in — iconic roles that ultimately went to someone else. A really notable example is how George Lucas wanted Tom Selleck to play Indiana Jones, but Selleck couldn't due to his contract for Magnum P.I. and the part ultimately went to Harrison Ford, becoming one of Ford's most iconic roles.

Ford's other most iconic role, that of sardonic loner pilot Han Solo from the Star Wars franchise, is another example that went a completely different way in some alternate universe. Namely, the Kurt Russell way. According to CinemaBlend, Russell very nearly landed the role of Han Solo, but ultimately walked away to take a job on a TV Western that he thought was more of a sure thing. Whoops.

But while Russell would of course go on to play such legendary movie badasses as Snake Plissken, Jack Burton, and Wyatt Earp, his Han Solo audition doesn't quite get to that status. While the audition isn't bad in a vacuum, compared to Ford's laconic space cowboy, Russell comes across as a kind of "aw, shucks" clean-cut sort of figure, which feels all wrong for Solo. Maybe part of the problem is that Russell, in his own words, "didn't have any idea what [he] was talking about" with Lucas' brand of space people dialogue. But, honestly, who needs Han Solo when you can be MacReady?

Garnering no applause

Before the Marvel Cinematic Universe proper started with Iron Man in 2008, Marvel's comics properties were more or less scattered to the four winds: Spider-Man at Sony, Fantastic Four and the X-Men at Fox, and others elsewhere. Many of them were not very good, but we all pretended to at least a little bit like them because at least they were better than, say, the 1978 Dr. Strange TV movie that was all comics fans had to cling to before the current superhero movie boom.

One of those not-so-great movies was 2003's Daredevil, which starred Ben Affleck with a red dye job as the Man Without Fear and Jon Favreau as Foggy Nelson, whose time on the set presumably got him thinking, "Hey, what if someone made an actually good Marvel movie?" It also notably — and somewhat notoriously — starred Jennifer Garner as Elektra Natchios, the Greek ninja assassin who turned comics on its ear in the 1980s and made a young Frank Miller a superstar in the medium.

Garner was hot in the early 2000s thanks to her starring role on J.J. Abrams's hit show Alias, but her audition here shows part of the reason she was a weird pick for the role. Setting aside the fact that she's not Greek nor even Mediterranean-looking, she kind of giggles her way through her lines like she thought she was going out for 13 Going on 30. Nevertheless, she got the part and even got her own spin-off movie, regarded as one of the worst superhero movies ever made.

Robot in disguise?

The Transformers film franchise is a series of films beginning in 2007 and featuring some of the most famous robots in the world, like Optimus Prime, Bumblebee, Megatron, and Megan Fox.

The movies received criticism for their lack of substance or coherence, but nevertheless became huge hits because of their impressive visuals. Perhaps the same could be said of Fox, who starred as Mikaela Banes in the first two films in the series. Mikaela's main thing is that she was the unattainable girl that the nerdy Sam Witwicky (played by Shia LeBeouf) nevertheless attains through robot-related shenanigans. Her other thing is that she knows about cars.

Both of these elements are put on display in Fox's audition tape. First, she talks about how she has a weakness for hot guys and barely remembers Sam's name, with all the passion of a parent listening to a child recount their dream, and with extremely lifeless eyes. Then it cuts to the outdoors, where her hands touch a car and she says some car words, sounding for all the world like she's sounding them out phonetically without knowing what she's saying. Presumably director Michael Bay figured that as long as people could stare at Megan Fox's face on a big screen, they wouldn't care very much about the words coming out of it or emotions it was or was not portraying. Apparently, however, this was enough for Bay to cast Fox as April O'Neil in his 2014 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles remake.

Too many voices

Eddie Redmayne has done all right for himself in his acting career. He's got an Academy Award, a Tony, a Golden Globe, a BAFTA award, an Order of the British Empire, and four Teen Choice Awards nominations. He's also landed a starring role in a blockbuster franchise as Newt Scamander in the Fantastic Beasts series of films spinning off from the Harry Potter universe.

Prior to that, however, he hit a few stumbling blocks trying out for roles in some of the big properties out there. In one notable example Redmayne himself recounted on The Graham Norton Show, he explains how he blew his audition for the role of Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit by doing a weird hobbit voice and mannerisms.

His penchant for doing weird voices in movie auditions would lose him another major role as well. According to Uproxx, Redmayne read for the role of Kylo Ren in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, but for a movie that big, they don't give you the actual script for the audition. Instead, Redmayne says he was given lines from Pride and Prejudice to read. Upon being informed that he was reading for the part of the villain, he decided to do the lines in a Darth Vader voice, complete with respirator sounds. (Mr. Darthy? Is that a good Star Wars/Austen mashup joke? Let's say yes.)

Anyway, of course the role went to Adam Driver, which is just as well, because can you imagine Redmayne wearing those weird nipple pants?

Now you see me

Aaron Paul became a widely recognized name and face thanks to his starring role as Jesse Pinkman in the AMC TV series Breaking Bad. Before that, however, he became a recognized name and face to J.J. Abrams while doing a magic trick on the set of Mission: Impossible III, which ironically might have cost him a role in Cloverfield.

According to Paul himself in an interview (with Tom Hiddleston!) for Variety, he had managed to bond with Abrams on the set of M:I3 due to a shared interest in magic. The downside of this was that Abrams insisted that Paul perform a magic trick in front of the whole cast and crew, including Tom Cruise, whom Paul had not yet met, even though Paul insisted that he did not actually know any magic tricks. Abrams insisted he try a card trick, and Paul naturally biffed it pretty hardcore, and apparently this incident stuck with Abrams for years.

We know this because Paul says Abrams asked him to tell the story about his failed magic trick at his audition for Cloverfield. Paul, who had been repeatedly assured that Abrams would not even be at the audition, was caught so off-guard by having to tell this story that he lost his train of thought and completely bombed. He awkwardly apologized and left the room, presumably wishing the one magic trick he actually knew how to do was to disappear from bad auditions in a puff of smoke.

Batman v Captain America: Dawn of Stutters

Chris Evans is a good guy, or at least he does a convincing job playing them in the movies. Whether as the Human Torch or Captain America, he's done well at doing good on screen. One thing he's not good at, at least according to him, is auditioning.

Evans told Backstage that his worst movie audition experience was for 2007's Gone Baby Gone, directed by Ben Affleck. Evans says he doesn't normally get starstruck, and he especially wasn't expecting to be nervous around Affleck, as they're both from Boston. But when he heard Affleck's voice calling to him from the audition room, Evans found himself getting very flustered. He shook Affleck's hand and immediately asked if where he parked was okay. Affleck, presumably confused, asked where he parked. Evans responded, "At one of the meters." When Evans tells Affleck that he did indeed put money in the meter, Affleck assures him he'll likely be okay. But while Evans' car was okay, Evans' auditioning game was decidedly not okay.

For the rest of the audition process, Evans was only focused on himself getting gone, baby, gone and probably burying himself in concrete forever. His heart pounding, rocking back and forth in his chair, he starts giving only one-word answers: "So, what was your last movie like?" "Good." "'What was it like to work with Danny Boyle?" "Good." Needless to say, he did not get the part, but it's safe to say Captain America's done all right for himself.