He's played a troubled teen, a love-struck cowboy, and a fugitive prince with a sand-filled dagger that can reverse time—but what he really wanted to play was Frodo. Yes, Jake Gyllenhaal had his eye on Frodo Baggins in Peter Jackson's celebrated "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy, but lost the part to Elijah Wood.
During an awards-circuit roundtable with The Hollywood Reporter, Gyllenhaal described his ill-fated read for the role of the famous hobbit.
"I remember auditioning for 'The Lord of the Rings' and going in and not being told that I needed a British accent," he recalled. "I really do remember Peter Jackson saying to me, 'You know that you have to do this in a British accent?'"
In other words, Jake might not have been the most prepared for that first meeting. Still, they didn't keep him waiting by the phone.
"We heard back it was literally one of the worst auditions," the 32-year-old star quipped.
Maybe it wasn't the worst thing that he didn't get it, however. When Gyllenhaal tried rocking a British accent in "The Prince of Persia" a few years later, his linguistic skills were -- how should we put this -- pretty much panned. Then again, the actual movie surrounding him probably wasn't much help, either.
All actors have their list of near-misses, and this is hardly the only time the thesp has been passed over for a part. Among a slew of other near misses, he auditioned to play Nicole Kidman's love interest in "Moulin Rouge" (which Ewan McGregor landed), Gabriel Martin in "The Patriot" (but Heath Ledger snapped it up), and Batman (the time it went to Christian Bale). A few weeks ago, the fact that Jake had even auditioned for that last one would have had us scratching our head, but after the latest Batman casting, it seems anything is possible...
Like becoming a movie star even if your auditions are consistently bad, as Josh Brolin revealed.
"I literally started filming my own auditions," he admitted to the roundtable. "Meryl Poster [who was president of production at the time] at Miramax 10 years ago said, 'You and Benicio Del Toro were notoriously the worst auditioners we've ever seen.'"
Hey, it takes bold, good-spirited men to fess up to their professional shortcomings. But Gyllenhaal and Brolin remain two of the most in-demand actors in Hollywood, so they shouldn't have to worry about not having plenty more opportunities to mess up auditions.
See Jake in action in "Prince of Persia":