ByVaria Fedko-Blake, writer at
Staff Writer at Moviepilot! [email protected] Twitter: @vfedkoblake
Varia Fedko-Blake

Before they were paid millions for their talent and were followed everywhere by adoring fans, the following A-listers were just like any other actors trying to make it big in the film business.

Here are 12 early audition tapes that show some of the most recognizable faces on the planet trying to get their big break:

1. Steve Carell

Although Steve Carrell had already worked in a number of TV projects, one of his first documented auditions in a movie role is as ridiculous as you might expect. For the role of Brick Tamland in Anchorman, he gets so carried away and laughs so hard that his face turns bright purple by the end of the scene - now that's commitment to a role!

2. Selena Gomez

At 12 years old, Selena tried out for a role in Disney TV show Wizards of Waverly Place. Here she is reading scenes in which she's suffering from a terrible toothache. Just look how cute she looked back then!

3. Tom Hardy

Long before Tom Hardy was Bane or Mad Max, he was cast in a movie called The Reckoning in 2003 as a character called Straw. The focus of the story was a priest on the run in the 14th century who discovers a murder with a group of traveling actors. Here was his self-made audition for the role - the ending is the best ever:

4. Scarlett Johansson

When she was 11 years old, Scarlett Johansson auditioned for the role of Judy in Jumanji. This was back in 1994 and unfortunately, she lost the role to Kirsten Dunst, who was already quite well known at the time for her Golden Globe nomination for Interview with the Vampire. Little did we know back then that little Scarlett would grow up to be regarded as one of the most beautiful women in the world with a prolific career in Hollywood.

5. Leonardo DiCaprio

At 15 years old, little Leo auditioned for many minor roles, including in a TV series called The Outsiders in 1990. Although he got the part, the show was cancelled after the first few episodes. Here's his audition for the doomed part:

6. Miley Cyrus

When she was just 11 years old, Miley sent a tape into the Disney Channel for a TV series called Hannah Montana. Originally auditioning for the best friend role, she impressed the producers so much that she was rapidly bumped up to the main role.

7. Rachel McAdams

Although Rachel McAdams had already starred in a few low profile movies by the time she auditioned for Mean Girls and The Notebook in 2004, her first audition for the the Nicholas Sparks movie is still considered one of her most famous first forays into acting.

For her role of Allie Hamilton, Rachel lived in Charleston, South Carolina, to fine tune her southern accent, and attended hours upon hours of ballet and etiquette classes.

8. Megan Fox

Megan Fox was merely an extra on Bad Boys 2 when she caught the eye of Michael Bay. He asked her to audition and she smashed it, landing the role of Mikaela Banes in Transformers, which in turn gained her sex symbol status.

9. Matthew McConaughey

Perhaps Matthew McConaughey's first memorable role was that of burnout David Wooderson in Dazed & Confused. As the story goes, he was invited to audition after bumping into casting director Don Philips in a bar in Austin, Texas. In 2003, Matthew spoke of the encounter:

“There was this bartender I knew from film school who worked at the Hyatt and would give us a discount, so we went there [...] And when we walk in, he’s there, and he goes, 'Hey, man, the guy down at the end of the bar is in town producing a film.' So I went down and introduced myself.”

And this audition followed:

10. Natalie Portman

Natalie Portman's career kicked off early, when she auditioned for a lead role in Leon: The Professional in 1993. She then went on to star in the Star Wars prequel trilogy and to win an Academy Award for her performance in Black Swan. Below is what got her into the business in the first place:

11. Emma Stone

Emma Stone auditioned in a rather unconventional way for her breakout role in Easy A. The director asked her to send in a tape of the main character's webcam confession, so here it is:

12. Chris Pratt

Before he became a worldwide superstar with an Adonis-esque physique, Chris was just like any other actor trying to catch his big break. Although he had starred in various small projects, it was his role in Parks and Recreation that placed him on the Hollywood map. Here's a slightly rounder Chris doing his first audition:



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