The Most Bizarre Movie Auditions Unearthed From The Past Decade

The life of an actor is an odd one. They spend months and months on location or standing in front of a green screen. Plus, they pretend to be other people, be they historical figures, superheroes, good guys, or bad guys. But before they get selected by a team of movie studio executives and filmmakers to head up the cast of a mega-budgeted blockbuster, they have to jump through the hoops. Actors pound the pavement, looking for their big break and going on countless auditions, hoping that a casting director will give them a thumbs up and award them a potentially lucrative part in a film that will elevate them to movie star status. 

It's a process as old as Hollywood itself, and one that continues up to the present day. And some classic movies of the 2010s began as words on a page being read in a bland conference room by eager actors. However, while some of those auditions were relatively straightforward, others were a little more bizarre. So today, we're taking a look at some of the wildest, oddest, and funniest audition tapes that popped up in the past decade, all of which feature some of Tinseltown's biggest stars. 

Josh Hutcherson's epic Spider-Man audition

Probably all of Hollywood's biggest 20-something stars — or the ones who could pass for baby-faced teen Peter Parker — vied to play your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man when Sony rebooted the franchise with 2012's The Amazing Spider-Man. Josh Hutcherson, already at the forefront of a major film franchise with his role as Peeta Mellark in The Hunger Games, would've been a bankable and solid choice for Sony, and he got as far as a screen test. Usually, this pre-casting convention is a slightly glorified audition video. The actor being scrutinized may be in full costume or act against other performers who've already landed their roles. Or perhaps it's all to get a closer look at their screen-fighting skills. However, Hutcherson's screen test for The Amazing Spider-Man plays like a strangely lyrical short film about sad Peter Parker's agonizing high school experience. Hutcherson-as-Peter gets bullied, Gwen Stacey (not yet portrayed by Emma Stone) comforts him, he emotes, and then he flies around like Spider-Man and fights some jerks. It all goes down on a makeshift high school set that looks like a kiddie gymnastics studio. How does it all end? Well, it doesn't end with Hutcherson getting the part — it went to Andrew Garfield, instead.

Landing Easy A wasn't so easy for Emma Stone

Easy A could very well go down in movie history as a definitive example of 2010s cinema. A loose, teen-oriented interpretation of The Scarlet Letter, it represents a breakout starring role for Superbad standout, future A-lister, and Academy Award winner Emma Stone (as high school pariah Olive Penderghast), while also bearing one of the first on-screen attempts at incorporating social media technology. Olive addresses the audience and reflects on the events of the film in a series of confessional monologues, delivered in the webcam or "vlog" style that was gaining mainstream attention at the time of Easy A's release in 2010. 

That worked out very nicely for Stone when it came time to try out. Following a normal audition, and per the request of director Will Gluck, Stone made an audition video — it's just her with a camera — in the form of one of Olive's webcam sessions. And she completely agonized over it. "It's like a one-minute monologue, and I did it over and over and over," Stone told Cinema Blend. "Then, finally, my roommate was like, 'Just send it. Come on.' I was like, 'All right. Fine. Fine. I'll do it one more time. Just one more.' And then sent it." All these years later, it's probably safe to say that she nailed the audition.

Tom Hiddleston's bizarre audition as a different Asgardian

Comprising around two dozen films (with more on the way), the Marvel Cinematic Universe necessarily requires the services of many actors, and the idea of playing a superhero and getting well paid for it is an irresistible proposition, even to some of the world's most "serious" actors. The first Thor film from 2011 stars some of the most acclaimed actors of the era, including Oscar winners Natalie Portman as Jane Foster and Anthony Hopkins as Odin, as well as Tom Hiddleston as Loki. 

Prior to Thor, Hiddleston was relatively unknown to American filmgoers, but he was a highly lauded actor of the English stage. And so, when he got his chance to audition for a massive American film, he went big and tried out for the titular role in Thor. Chris Hemsworth has played the part for so long and so effectively, and Hiddleston brought so many layers and dimensions to Loki to make the part his own, so it's odd to imagine an alternate universe where a long, blond-haired Hiddleston wields the mighty Mjolnir. Fortunately, thanks to his audition tape, we can all get a glimpse of what Hiddleston would've been like as the god of thunder.

Chris Pratt and Dave Bautista really got into character for their screen test

Sure, it became a massive hit, but Guardians of the Galaxy was something of a major risk for Marvel Studios. At the time it went into production, the Marvel Cinematic Universe consisted solely of serious superhero movies based on well-known figures like Thor, Iron Man, and Captain America. Guardians of the Galaxy marked the first full-on space adventure in the MCU, and it was a comedy at that. Plus, it was based on a semi-obscure intellectual property. 

Director James Gunn had to make sure everything was just right before shooting could begin, and that included filming a screen test with some candidates for the cast. There was wrestling star Dave Bautista for the role of literal-minded alien Drax the Destroyer and Parks and Recreation supporting player Chris Pratt for the lead part of Earthling scavenger Peter Quill, a.k.a. Star-Lord. Neither actor was a proven box office draw, so filmmakers taped the two guys to see how they'd perform, an easement of both their acting ability and chemistry. Those involved took the added, somewhat bizarre approach to do the thing in full costume for Pratt and full body makeup for Bautista. Of course, the two were absolutely phenomenal, and they turned their audition chemistry into cinematic gold.

Tyrese Gibson as you've never seen him before

Tyrese Gibson is known primarily for his role as car thief-turned-good-guy Roman Pearce in the Fast and Furious movies. However, actors are artists, and Gibson wants to do more with his career than crowd-pleasing car chase movies. He'd love to try his hand at something weightier, like a period piece about real issues. In fact, Gibson attempted to get himself considered for the title role in Quentin Tarantino's 2012 movie Django Unchained, the epic story of an escaped slave teaming up on a bounty hunting mission with a German dentist. Gibson's homemade audition tape surfaced in 2014, and it is something to behold. 

The multi-hyphenate gives it everything he's got. His lines are memorized, and he's fully and deeply in character. (While he's intense and performs admirably, his accent does change quite a bit, going back and forth between a broad Southern dialect and something less pronounced.) Gibson also indirectly demands to be taken seriously, including some on-screen quotes like, "As an actor, you should never assume that people know what you're capable of. We are perception creators so if those perceptions don't exist, you create them." He does have a point, as the actor who went on to star in Django Unchained, Jamie Foxx, got his big break playing broad comic characters and performing in drag on In Living Color and then eventually won an Oscar for his work in Ray.

Dafne Keen out-Wolverines Hugh Jackman

The filmmakers behind the gritty, intimate superhero movie Logan had a tall order for the actress needed to play the pivotal role of Laura Kinney, aka X-23, Wolverine's daughter and a powerful mutant. She essentially had to portray a more intense version of Wolverine, played memorably in so many X-Men movies by Hugh Jackman ... but she also had to be a tween. 

Director James Mangold found his actress in Dafne Keen, who at the time of her casting had just one credit to her name, the Spanish TV drama The Refugees. Keen thoroughly impressed the crew, as well as her costars, with her screen test. According to Patrick Stewart (Charles Xavier) in a behind-the-scenes video, Keen "asked the director, could she improvise the scene. And she went into her own version of the scene, in a mixture of Spanish and English, and it was one of the most extraordinary bits of audition tape I'd ever seen in my life." In the video, Keen holds her own against Jackman, screaming at him and staring him down, with the big-time movie star struggling to keep up. And if legends like Jackman and Stewart were impressed, then you know that's got to be one awesome audition.

T.J. Miller's bizarre audition involved a real-life bear

While recognizable to audiences for his acting work on Silicon Valley and in two Deadpool movies, T.J. Miller is primarily a stand-up comedian, and an innovative, envelope-pushing one at that. Less of a setup-punchline guy and more of a humorous performance artist, Miller took that approach when he was trying to land the role of Ranger Jones in the 2010 big screen version of Yogi Bear, a part live-action, part CGI affair. There would be human cast members interacting with a computer-animated Yogi Bear, but after his live, in-person audition, Miller wanted to prove to casting directors and filmmakers that he could act against a bear — any bear. 

So, along with director Jordan Vogt-Roberts, a ranger costume-clad Miller went down to the Hollywood Animal Ranch, an entertainment industry source for trained animals, and he filmed an audition video reading lines alongside a real bear. Unwittingly playing the role of Yogi is a gigantic, deadly animal named Bam Bam. Miller remains unfazed as the animal growls and snarls just a few feet away ... and then eats a marshmallow out of Miller's mouth. Talk about dedication to your craft.