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Actors Who Lied To Get The Part

Companies aim high with the qualifications they list for their jobs in order to weed out the riffraff — and pretty much every job applicant on the planet has lied at least a little about their skills in order to get in the door a time or two. It's just part of the professional dance, and it's no different in Hollywood. The idea of an actor fluffing up his or her resume with unreal skills might sound like something straight out of a sitcom — hello, Joey Tribbiani on Friends — but there have been plenty of actors who've been caught red-handed using made-up achievements to get onto the red carpet. The only difference is that for actors, the job skills they're fibbing about tend to be a lot more interesting than software proficiency. Here's a fond look back at a few of those major actors who've lied to get the big part.

Chris Hemsworth

It's hard to believe that a hunk like Chris Hemsworth, who has flexed both his massive muscles and his funny bone as the Asgardian God of Thunder Thor in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, would ever have to go full-tilt Pinocchio and lie in order to persuade casting directors to give him a role. Just as Hemsworth surprised us with his comedic timing in Thor: Ragnarok, he shocked fans when he admitted to repeatedly (even habitually) lying about his height, of all things, to get more work. His reasoning? While his strapping good looks have always served him well, his 6-foot-3 stature has held him back from many parts that call for men who aren't quite as tall — apparently including Owen Chase in Ron Howard's 2015 adventure-drama In the Heart of the Sea, a role for which Hemsworth also starved himself on a 500-calorie-per-day diet in order to slim down. 

"There are certainly things I've wanted to go up for which I've been totally wrong for, physically. And I normally lie about my height and say I'm shorter," Hemsworth revealed in an interview with Radio Times. "But it can go two ways. The brief for the audition for Thor said: must be over 6ft 1in, which I'd never seen before!"

Angelina Jolie

Even an acclaimed actress and internationally renowned do-gooder like Angelina Jolie can sometimes be caught with her pants on fire. In her case, it was her parents who started the false story that she and her brother James Haven were part Iroquois through their mother's side of the family—a fib that reportedly began in order to boost the exoticism of her mom, Marcheline Bertrand, while she was married to Jolie's father, Jon Voight. Voight later insisted their supposed Iroquois heritage was made up to increase Bertrand's profile and that the whole family really only belonged to the baloney tribe. The good news: it really wasn't Jolie's fault that she was misled about her heritage, and her career certainly has not suffered for her mother's indiscretion.

Ben Hardy

To score the role of Queen drummer Roger Taylor in the Bryan Singer-directed biopic Bohemian Rhapsody, Ben Hardy pushed the real life aside and got caught up in his own little fantasy. Hardy "wanted the job really bad," and told Singer "a big lie" about his drumming skills in hopes of getting hired for the film.

Having previously collaborated with Singer for X-Men: Apocalypse, Hardy sent the director an email inquiring about Bohemian Rhapsody and asking "in the nicest way possible" if Singer thought he could be in the film. "He had reservations based upon the fact that he wanted the person who played Roger Taylor to be able to play the drums because you can cheat the other instruments with camera angles, but in the wide shots you can see if the drum is out of sync," Hardy explained. "So I told him I could play the drums — which I couldn't at the time."

He continued, "He was like great, 'Can you put this song on film for me to show to the producers?' I went away in a massive panic, there wasn't enough time — I bought the cheapest drum kit I could find and found a drum teacher locally and was like, 'Look, here's the deal I need to learn to play this song as soon as possible, what can you do?'"

Luckily for Hardy, his lie (and subsequent training) paid off big time.

Eddie Redmayne

Now that he's an Oscar winner, Eddie Redmayne probably doesn't have to use a phony bio to get his role of choice, but once upon a time, the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them star was an up-and-comer who would say and do anything to score a key part. Such was the case when he went out for the British TV series Elizabeth I and claimed to be able to ride a horse when, well, he could not.

As he remembered to Vanity Fair, "It was my last audition, and just as I was leaving [director Tom Hooper] said, 'Eddie, last thing. Horse riding? You ever been on a horse?' I said 'yes.' And then about two weeks later, we were in Lithuania, and I was having spurs attached to my feet, and I was on top of this gigantic stallion, and I was just like 'At what point do I admit that I've actually ... like, I was once led around a paddock in the woods.' And they called 'action,' and I gave my horse a nudge and it went off at a hundred miles an hour ... I was sent to horse camp immediately." Hooper must not have minded the deception too much because he later wrangled Redmayne in for his films Les Miserables and The Danish Girl. He may have gotten a little payback, though, by having Redmayne's Les Mis character, Marius, jump on horseback with a flag. "That was my penance," Redmayne told Young Hollywood of the scene. "My payback for that lie to him years ago."

Laura Fraser

When the producers of AMC's hit series Breaking Bad asked actress Laura Fraser, "Sprichst du Deutsch?" she answered with an unequivocal "Ja!" even though she barely knew a word. And for those of you who have no idea what those words means (or no desire to suffer through using an internet translation), the question Fraser was asked was whether she spoke German, as her character Lydia Rodarte-Quayle does. She said yes.

The truth was, though, that Fraser had barely any experience with the German tongue. "I've done it in school, like I learned, 'Ich heisse Laura,' basic German," she told the Daily Mail. She didn't regret the decision, necessarily, but she did have to eat her words later when she was handed a full paragraph of German dialogue and had to wing it. "It was corporate-speak German, and it was a nightmare," she admitted. "It took me days to learn a little paragraph." The benefit (apart from the fact that she got the role, of course)? "Now I bore my family with it—it's my party trick."

Carla Gugino

Lots of stars have lied about their age to get a role, and Entourage actress Carla Gugino is no exception. When she was 16, Gugino nabbed her first film role in Troop Beverly Hills by claiming that she was just 14 and didn't confess her prevarication until later in the shoot, when her role was already safe. She told talk show host James Corden that "before IMDb, you could lie about your age, and I was fully rewarded for it because I was 16, and I said I was 14 to get the job. And I got it! ... I told the director three weeks in, once I knew I couldn't get fired 'cause we'd shot enough. I was like, 'Just so you know, I am 16.' I thought for sure he was gonna be like, 'No big deal,' but he was like, 'I would've never hired you if I knew you were 16.' " With that, Gugino learned her lesson about lying and vows she's never done it since. "I probably should've saved it for now when it would be really helpful to me."

Robert Pattinson

It's hardly a secret that Robert Pattinson has doctored his resume in the past, falsely claiming that he attended Oxford University and London's illustrious drama school the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts (RADA) as a way to score roles after moving to America. But alongside that deceit, he also lied about his nationality in order to make himself more marketable to Hollywood big shots.

As Pattinson confessed to Daily Mirror (via SF Gate), "I'd been unemployed for ages, and when I came to Los Angeles all the casting directors would ask what I'd been doing for the past few years. I'd say, 'Oh, I was at RADA' — if you've got an English accent, you can get away with it. I'd say I went to Oxford, too. I did it for years. But it didn't work when loads of English people started moving to Los Angeles. So then I pretended to be American for a bit."

Parading around as an American only worked for so long, though. After Catherine Hardwicke's romantic fantasy Twilight debuted in 2008, placing Pattinson firmly on the list of rising stars to watch, people quickly caught on to his antics. And thus, Pattinson was forced to drop the facade.

"When Twilight came out, I still tried to pretend to be American but people thought I was insane, so I stopped," he admitted.

Whoopi Goldberg

Whoopi Goldberg's stage name (she was born Caryn Elaine Johnson) is just part of the image fabrication that went into giving the eventual EGOT-winner her start in entertainment. Early on in her illustrious career, she had to feign being older in order to nab worthy roles because she was seen as too young for showbiz. On her resume, she switched her year of birth from 1955 to 1949, later explaining, "I lied about my age for a long time because nobody would hire me to act. Everyone said I was too young. So, when I was 20, I put six years on my life."

Brian Dennehy

Falsification of military valor is a special kind of duplicity, and actor Brian Dennehy learned the hard way that people don't much care for fictional war records—even from actors who literally make their living by pretending to be someone they're not. In Dennehy's case, he reportedly admitted to embellishing his service history in a big way by claiming that during his term in the U.S. Marine Corps, he served and was wounded in the Vietnam War.

Dennehy later apologized for the untruth, but some people still hold him to his original word. The Wall Street Journal, for instance, had to retract the portion of its 2007 interview with the actor which mentioned his war veteran status because people were so upset by the glaring mistake. The situation just goes to show that the poetic colloquialism "what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive" is as correct now as it was when it was originally written over 200 years ago.

Todd Lawson LaTourrette

Desperate times call for desperate measures — and in the case of Todd Lawson LaTourrette, a difficult situation drove him to do the unthinkable. An amputee and self-described war veteran, LaTourrette built a satisfactory career in film and on television, using his missing hand and the trauma of his past to inform his approach to roles. Casting directors apparently found LaTourrette "different," and tapped him for parts in films like The Men Who Stare at Goats, Beer for My Horses, and on television series including Longmire, Manhattan, The Messengers, and Better Call Saul, where he made a blink-and-you'll-miss-it appearance as a character named Skell. 

But LaTourrette's career was founded on a lie. In November 2018, he revealed that he'd been dishonest about being a war veteran and that he didn't lose his hand while serving overseas. The truth of the matter is arguably even grimmer: 17 years before, LaTourette, experiencing what he described as a "psychotic episode" during a time he was off medication meant to manage his bipolar disorder, "severed [his] hand with a skill saw [sic]." 

His lie worked — but the consequential guilt was too much to bear. "I was dishonorable. I'm killing my career by doing this. If anyone thinks this was for personal edification, that's not the case," LaTourrette said. "I'm ousting myself from the New Mexico Film Industry. And gladly so, just to say what I've said."

Laurence Fishburne

Laurence Fishburne is the kind of actor who has done it all. From scoring an Academy Award nomination for his performance as Ike Turner in What's love Got to Do with It and taking home a Tony Award for performing in Two Trains Running to astounding audiences everywhere on series like Hannibal, TriBeCa, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation and dipping his toes in the DC Extended Universe and the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Fishburne is something of a legend. But he's also a little bit of a liar, too, as the actor fibbed to director Francis Ford Coppola so he could star in Apocalypse Now.

In 1976, a then-14-year-old Fishburne told Coppola that he was actually 16 in efforts to boost his chances at landing the role of 17-year-old Tyrone "Mr. Clean" Miller. Coppola clearly bought the lie and cast Fishburne in the war epic — but Fishburne's falsehood essentially became obsolete. Apocalypse Now wound up taking over two years to complete post-production after principal photography wrapped in 1977, and by the time the film debuted in theaters in May of 1979, Fishburne was as old as his character. 

George Lazenby

Not many people can say they bluffed their way into becoming James Bond, but that's exactly how George Lazenby won his iconic role in On Her Majesty's Secret Service. The Australia native had no screen experience to speak of when he convinced producers that he was qualified and ready to step into Sean Connery's swanky shoes for the Bond, James Bond, franchise. Equipped with a false bio and beaucoups of bravado, Lazenby made it all the way to an audition for the role in front of director Peter Hunt, and that's when he finally came clean about his false credentials.

He told the New York Post that when he admitted the truth of his bloated resume to the director, the bold move impressed Hunt so much that he was willing to overlook the truth in favor of casting the chap ... on the condition that he keep his little white lie to himself, of course. As Lazenby later remembered, "I said, 'Peter, I've never acted a day in my life. I've modeled but never spoken in front of a camera.' And he's looking at me, 'What? And you say you can't act? You've fooled two of the most ruthless men I've ever met in my life. Stick to your story, and I'll make you the next James Bond.'" And indeed he did. Lazenby was even courted back for another sequel to the series, but he bowed out and Connery instead returned to reprise his role in the franchise for Diamonds Are Forever, after which Roger Moore stepped into the martini-drinking persona.