17 Actors Who Lied, Schemed, And Gambled To Land A Role

Most of the time, actors either audition for a role or are offered it directly. Sometimes, however, the process they have to go through to land a part is a little...unorthodox.

Here are 17 actors who went above and beyond to land a role:

1.In order to land the lead role in Madonna's self-directed biopic, Julia Garner had to go through a grueling audition process that's been dubbed "Madonna boot camp." It reportedly involved 11-hour sessions with the pop star's choreographer, on top of more dance, reading, and singing sessions with Madonna.

Julia on the red carpet
Axelle / FilmMagic / Getty Images, Kevin Mazur / Getty Images

Julia beat out actors like Florence Pugh, Alexa Demie, and Emma Laird for the part.

However, Universal Pictures reportedly scrapped the biopic after Madonna announced her upcoming world tour.

2.For Armageddon, Ben Affleck had to get $20,000 worth of dental work done because director Michael Bay "always liked low shots that kinda come right under your chin and make you [look] a little bit heroic," but he thought the actor "kinda had these baby teeth."

Ben in astronaut uniform
Touchstone / Courtesy Everett Collection

On the Armageddon DVD commentary, Michael said, "Jerry [Bruckheimer, the producer] used a very famous star in a plane movie that he replaced teeth with, so he said, 'We did it to him, why not do it to Ben?' So my dentist had Ben sitting in a dentist's chair for a week, eight hours a day."

3.When Jada Pinkett Smith first met producer Danny Cannon for her Gotham audition, she "went method" by showing up in character as Fish Mooney. She wore a short wig and a long gown, and she had a shirtless young man on a leash. He also had "LIAR" scrawled across his forehead in lipstick.

Jada in the movie
Jessica Miglio / © Fox / Courtesy Everett Collection

4.When Jodie Comer had her callback for Killing Eve, her future costar Sandra Oh brought in props for their eight-page scene — including a blueberry pie. Since the pages called for her character, Villanelle, to be eating, Jodie had consumed half the pie by the time they were done.

Jodie in the series wearing a black-dot blouse
Ludovic Robert / © BBC America / Courtesy Everett Collection

She told BUILD Series, "[Villanelle] loves life, and I think she loves her food ... but yeah, I felt a little bit sick when I left that audition."

5.When Lin-Manuel Miranda was considering Andrew Garfield for Tick, Tick... Boom, he asked Greg Miele, his massage therapist who's close friends with Andrew, if the actor could sing. Lying, Greg insisted he had an incredible voice and then called Andrew, who threw himself into singing and piano lessons for a year.

Andrew holding a microphone
Macall Polay / © Netflix / Courtesy Everett Collection

6.An hour before her final audition for The Illusionist, Jessica Biel bought a 19th-century princess outfit, then showed up "fully decked from head to toe."

Jessica in a period costume
Yari Film Group Releasing / Courtesy Everett Collection

She told the Chicago Tribune, "And it worked. I thought, Either I'm gonna be totally laughed at or they're gonna love it. One or the other. And I have no inhibitions at this moment and put it out there. And I walked in and I think there was a little shock at first and a little bit like, 'Oh god, no.' And then Michael London said, 'Oh, thank god. At least we have one costume out of the way.' It put me at ease. I was like, 'Awww. You love it. OK.'"

7.At the suggestion of Hugo's casting director, Chloë Grace Moretz lied to director Martin Scorsese and told him she was British. She made up an entire backstory about growing up in Cambridgeshire with parents who were horse breeders.

Chloë in a library in the movie
Paramount Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

On The Late Show With Stephen Colbert, she said, "I ended up booking the part, and it wasn't really until much later in production that he realized I was not British. ... I think my mom's Southern accent kind of gave the whole 'horse breeding' [thing] away."

8.When Idris Elba auditioned for The Wire, he followed casting director Alexa Fogel's advice and pretended to be American because series creator David Simon didn't want to cast non-American actors.

Close-up of Idris
HBO / Via youtube.com

However, when Idris came in for his fourth audition, he felt the need to come clean.

On Hot Ones, he said, "My parents told me not to lie — you gotta look someone in the eye and be honest."

9.For his Midsommar self-tape, Vilhelm Blomgren was instructed to walk 30 meters into the woods before starting the scene.

Vilhelm in the movie
A24 / Via youtube.com

10.Brian d'Arcy James "wanted to do everything [he] could to get" a part in First Man, but they were having a hard time envisioning him as an M15 pilot. So he borrowed an Air Force jumpsuit from the Dark Phoenix costumer, borrowed a plane from his friend David Turner, and did a photo shoot to show the casting directors.

Brian d'Arcy James in a suit and tie
Shannon Finney / Getty Images

Brian told Backstage, "Long story short, [David] was able to help me get a friend of his who owns an airport, and who strangely also happens to be a semiprofessional photographer, to take a little bit of his day and do a makeshift photo shoot of me standing next to a plane in a fighter pilot costume so I could just show them. 'Look, if you're having a hard time envisioning what I would look like, let me show you.' And it worked!"

11.When Geena Davis read the script for Thelma and Louise, she thought it was "the best script [she'd] ever read," but both leads were already cast. However, the castings kept falling through, so she had her agent call producer Ridley Scott every week for a year to let him know she was available.

Geena in a phone booth
Fotos International / Getty Images

Geena told Allison Kugel, "Then, when [Ridley] decided he was going to direct it, he immediately said, 'Yes. Okay, sure, I'll meet with her,' and I convinced him somehow or another."

12.On the way to her Glee audition, Lea Michele "got into a massive car crash outside of the Fox lot" and completely totaled her car. However, she decided to head on in, and she "was still pulling pieces of glass out of [her] hair" when she met the casting directors.

Lea performing
Mike Yarish / © Fox / Courtesy Everett Collection

13.When Samuel L. Jackson discovered that he was the model for comic book writer Mark Millar's new version of Nick Fury, he gave Marvel Comics permission to continue using his likeness in exchange for the promise that he could play the character in any future onscreen adaptations.

Samuel wearing an eye patch
Jay-Maidment / © Columbia Pictures / © Marvel Studios / Courtesy Everett Collection

14.When Jameela Jamil auditioned for The Good Place, she "told the casting director that [she] had acting experience, which was a lie." She also lied to series creator Michael Schur when he asked her if she had experience with improv comedy. She told him that she "did loads of that on the theater in England!"

Jameela in a sleeveless dress
Colleen Hayes / NBC / NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

She told CNBC Make It, "I got so lucky with that audition, and I got to have an amazing cast to work [with], and I got to learn how to act from Ted Danson — and Mike Schur is the greatest boss of all time."

15.After her Brokeback Mountain audition, Anne Hathaway lied to director Ang Lee and said she was a great horseback rider — despite the fact that she'd never ridden a horse before. So before filming, she "knew [she] had to learn to ride, and [she] got really, really, really good."

Anne in a Western costume
Focus Films / Everett Collection

She told Out, "But I was given a horse on set without being told it was a verbal-command horse, so I couldn't figure out how to make it ride. And I went to a rehearsal in front of 300 extras, all of whom work in rodeos, and the horse wouldn't do a damn thing I wanted it to. And at the end it threw me — in front of everyone."

16.After booking his role in Normal People, Paul Mescal had to secretly learn how to drive because his agent lied about him having his license.

Paul smiling at the wheel
Enda Bowe / © Hulu / Courtesy Everett Collection

Paul told Entertainment Weekly, "My agent was like, 'We are not losing this job over you not being able to drive, so I'll tell production that you can, and in the meantime, you go off and rattle through as many lessons as you can.'"

17.During her The Wolf of Wall Street audition with Leonardo DiCaprio, Margot Robbie struggled to keep up with his improvisation. So, deciding she needed to take a big risk, she got close to him, considered kissing him, then hit him in the face and screamed, "Fuck you!"

Margot in a sleeveless outfit
Mary Cybulski / © Paramount Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

She told Harper's Bazaar, "The room just went dead silent and I froze. I'm thinking, You just hit Leonardo DiCaprio in the face. They're going to arrest you because that's assault. You're definitely never going to work again, that's for sure. They'll probably sue you as well in case there's a bruise on his face and he needs to film something else. And then all of a sudden, [director Martin Scorsese] and Leo just burst out laughing. Marty says, 'That was great!' Leo's like, 'Hit me again!'"