The audition process can be such a cruel experience. When the role of a lifetime comes up, an actor can find themselves up against 1000+ other actors and the opportunity can quickly slip through their fingers. Even after the call-back process is complete and the producers have decided on their final cast, things can still go awry.
Back in 1977, one of the most influential films ever made was released to moviegoers and set the world alight. #StarWars featured a cast led by Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford, and the success of this original film has culminated in the release of numerous sequels, prequels and spin-off shows. Of course, the 8th film in this continuum, The Last Jedi, will be released later this year. But 40 years ago, the likes of Sylvester Stallone, Burt Reynolds, Nick Nolte, Robert Englund, James Caan and Al Pacino all auditioned for various roles in the original film.
But what other names were linked to the role? Below, is a list of actors, their unsuccessful audition tapes and what some of their thoughts about the whole process.
California-born William Katt rose to fame in the 80's TV series The Greatest American Hero, but he may be best remembered by horror fans for playing Tommy Ross, who tragically kicked the bucket in Carrie. On his audition for the role of Skywalker, Katt told Prawntail that George Lucas and Brian De Palma decided to hold joint auditions for Star Wars and Carrie at the same time. Although he was unsuccessful in his audition for Star Wars, he did enough to impress De Palma, and was subsequently cast in Carrie.
Charles Martin Smith
Actor, writer and director Charles Martin Smith had previously worked with #GeorgeLucas in the 1973 film American Graffiti, playing Terry "The Toad" Fields.
In 1999, he told Entertainment Weekly about how he came about to audition for the role of Skywalker, revealing that Lucas approached him about the role while filming American Graffiti. He went on to say that the entire cast wanted to be in the film, even Richard Dreyfuss who wanted to be the "king of the Wookiees!"
If you were wondering what the producers were looking for in the screen-tests, you can check out eventual Luke Skywalker actor Mark Hamill's audition here:
In an interview with Fox News in 2014, Nunn, the lead singer of American synthpop band Berlin, remembered her audition, saying that she had no idea what an R2D2 was! She also said that she was glad the role went to Fisher, as her ambitions of a successful singing career would never have happened if she took the part.
Like William Katt, fellow Carrie actress Amy Irving also auditioned for the first Star Wars film. During commentary on the Blu-Ray edition of Carrie, Irving said that when the role in Star Wars came up, she had only ever acted on stage, but everyone was talking about it, so decided to audition anyway.
When Carrie Fisher entered the room, you can see why she left such an impression in her audition:
During the premier of The Hateful Eight, Kurt Russell told Vanity Fair that he didn't have any regrets about not being cast in the film, and reflected that it wasn't something that was worth reflecting on. It is crazy to think of how things would be different with Russel at the helm.
You can watch Russell's audition reel here.
Golden Globe-nominated actor Perry King came to prominence playing Cody Allen in the 1980s TV series Riptide. Despite not getting the role, King did go on to play Han Solo in the radio adaptation. In 2016, King reflected on his audition, telling Yahoo Movies that after being sent a copy of his audition, he realized just how bad he was!
For contrast, here is Harrison Ford showing exactly how you do it:
So, there you have it, 6 auditions that missed out on shaping one of the most epic franchises ever. Perhaps things would have been very different if one of these actors snagged a spot in our favorite sci fi film instead of Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill and Harrison Ford.
But what do you guys think? Is there an auditionee here that you think may have been a better choice for a role in the film? Vote in the poll below, and don't forget to sound off in the comments section!