Awful auditions that still got actors the part

First impressions matter, perhaps no more so than for aspiring actors hoping to impress a casting director and maybe score the gig of a lifetime. Join us as we chronicle auditions that couldn't have gone worse if the actor had tried and yet, somehow, got the actor the gig anyway.

Patrick Stewart auditioned to play Captain Picard wearing a wig

According to legend (and Patrick Stewart), during a press conference announcing the casting for Star Trek: The Next Generation, a reporter grilled Gene Roddenberry about Stewart's casting. Specifically the reporter asked Roddenberry how audiences were supposed to believe a bald man could command the USS Enterprise because "surely by the 24th Century someone would have found a cure for male pattern baldness." Without missing a beat, Roddenberry shot back, "By the 24th Century, no one will care." 

A strange sentiment considering that, early in production, Roddenberry actively fought against Stewart's casting precisely because he was bald and also English. In a documentary about the tumultuous casting process for The Next Generation, it's noted that Roddenberry intensely disliked that idea of a bald Englishman playing "the next Captain Kirk." As a result, when Stewart did eventually land an audition, he was forced to do so in a wig that didn't fit properly, which was specially shipped from London to L.A.

After hearing Stewart read lines in the wig, Roddenberry suddenly changed his mind and had Stewart take it off, sagely explaining to an incredulous producer present that "hair doesn't mean anything in the 25th Century."

Emilia Clarke did The Robot to audition for Game of Thrones

During the course of Game of Thrones Daenerys Targaryen conquers half the known world with the help of a fanatically loyal army she freed from slavery and three massive dragons. As a leader, Daenerys almost never drops her cast-iron facade and spends much of her time stoically considering the plight of the people under her rule. Apparently though she also occasionally likes to disco dance.

We say this because according to Emilia Clarke, during the audition to secure the role of The Mother of Dragons, she danced her heart out. In an interview with Jimmy Fallon, Clarke explained that after fumbling her way through the most nerve-wracking interview of her life, she asked the gathered HBO executives and Game of Thrones production staff if there was anything else they needed her to do to demonstrate her suitability for the role. For whatever reason, showrunner David Benioff asked Clarke if she could dance, prompting Clarke to immediately begin breaking just all the way down, doing a medley of disco staples including The Funky Chicken and The Robot.

Jenette Goldstein auditioned to play the toughest space marine in the Alien franchise in a miniskirt

Alien-smashing space marines don't come much tougher than Jenette Vasquez, a bullet-chewing slab of solid granite and that walks around carrying enough firepower to level a city block. Throughout Aliens, Vasquez kills a dozen Xenomorphs while spitting out withering one liners like they're on sale. An image that couldn't be further from what actress Jenette Goldstein was going for when she first auditioned to play the character.

You see, Goldstein thought the film Aliens was about illegal immigrants and as a result turned up to her first audition with waist-length hair and in high heels and a miniskirt. Goldstein would later recall that the only reason she managed to get the part at all after this is because the outfit she decided to wear showed off her arms which were ripped as all hell thanks to the fact she'd recently taken up bodybuilding. Seeing potential in Goldstein, the producers asked her to come back wearing more suitable attire. Upon seeing that audition, she was awarded the role. As a nod to Goldstein's hilariously awful first audition, the character of Hudson in Aliens quips that Vasquez is only there because "she thought they said illegal aliens and signed up."

Hugh Jackman auditioned for Wolverine not knowing wolverines existed

According to Hugh Jackman, when he first auditioned to portray the meanest Canadian in fiction, he had no idea that wolverines were a real animal that actually existed. Instead, Jackman operated under the assumption that Wolverine was some kind of wolf-man and, three weeks into filming, decided to study the hell out of some wolves.

Jackman would later report that he spent weeks studying wolf movements and watching wolf documentaries, only to be asked by Bryan Singer on the first day of filming why he was walking weird. A sheepish Jackman then explained that he'd been studying wolves in the hopes of bringing a more animalistic element to the character, only to be told point blank "You're not a wolf, you're a wolverine." A statement which shocked Jackman, who insisted that there was no such thing as a wolverine, causing an incredulous Singer to tell him to go to a zoo and see for himself.

After it was explained to Jackman that the whole wolverine element of Wolverine's character was more of a "metaphoric idea" anyway, the actor was forced to admit he'd spent almost all of his prep time holed up in a hotel studying wolves.

Kit Harington auditioned to play Jon Snow with a black eye

In an interview with W Magazine, asking him to recall the audition that landed him the role of Jon Snow, Kit Harington admitted that he turned up sporting a black eye after being punched in the face. Now you'd think turning up to an audition with one quarter of your face messed up wouldn't make for an ideal first impression but Harington maintains that the injury actually helped him land the role.

Harington got the black eye defending the honor of a girl he was kind of dating at the time. According to the actor, he became incensed during a date when a random guy he was sat next to began insulting his girlfriend's appearance for absolutely no reason. Without a shred of hesitation Harington challenged the guy to a fist fight and upon realising the guy was twice his size when he stood up, punched him in the face as hard as he could. The guy responded by kicking Harington's ass. Oh, and all this happened at a McDonald's.

While it's unclear what happened to the woman, Harington now gets to call himself the King of the North. 

Neil Patrick Harris did a bunch of unnecessary combat rolls during his audition to play Barney Stinson

In his self-penned memoirs, Neil Patrick Harris: Choose Your Own Autobiography, NPH waxes poetic about the character of Barney Stinson from How I Met Your Mother and explains very matter of factly that he absolutely expected to bomb his first audition to play him. This is because, according to Harris, the script for the show's pilot called for Stinson to be a "Belushi-esque" beer-pounding frat bro. A description Harris felt in no way described him.

Because of this, when Harris turned up to audition, he decided ahead of time that he would just have fun with the role and commit fully to any scene they asked him to do. True to his word, when a casting director asked Harris to act like he was playing laser tag, he dove straight to the floor and began doing ninja-rolls while sniping would-be assassins that only existed in his own mind.

The producers were so impressed with Harris' take on the character they cast him moments after he left the audition. According to Harris, he initially felt bad for the guy who was about to walk into the room and try out for the role, until he realized it was Benedict Cumberbatch.

Sigourney Weaver turned up to audition for the role of Ellen Ripley in "hooker boots"

Standing 6 feet 3 inches tall in heels, Sigourney Weaver often towers over many of her male costars, a fact the actress has noted tends to make the more insecure men she works with feel uncomfortable around her: "I once offered to paint my shoes on my bare feet to get one part because it made me appear shorter."

Despite her confidence, Weaver has claimed to have lost out on roles purely because of her height and has said that shorter leading men probably wouldn't want to stand up on an apple box (something which indeed was done in Hollywood quite a bit) just to look into her eyes. That didn't stop her from strolling into the audition to play Ellen Ripley in thigh-high boots with 3-inch heels and the tightest pair of pants she owned. Ridley Scott, who Weaver calls "a real secure guy," was impressed by her confidence and decided to cast her on the spot.