Rare Celebrity Audition Tapes Go Up For Sale [Video]

A stash of celebrity audition tapes hitting the auction block early next month shows that even A-list stars suffered rejection earlier in their careers.

The 54 audition tapes were obtained by Julien’s Auction House from three retired Hollywood casting directors who prefer to remain anonymous. Auctioneers Darren Julien and Martin Nolan talked about the rare tapes on the Today show earlier this week (see video below). In summary, “The tapes are not very high quality, but showcase some actors in the earliest years of their careers and shine a revealing light on just which actors went up for which roles, parts they weren’t always right for.”

In one audition, a 15-year-old Leonardo DiCaprio tries (and ultimately fails) to get a lead part on the TV version of The Outsiders. The role eventually went to Jay R. Ferguson (better known as Stan Rizzo on Mad Men), but the show only lasted one season.

Similarly, Brad Pitt, Robert Downey Jr., and Keanu Reeves apparently didn’t impress director Ron Howard, who cast Billy Baldwin instead for a role as Kurt Russell’s brother in the 1991 firefighter drama Backdraft.

The celebrity audition tapes also show Gwyneth Paltrow and Helen Hunt trying out for parts in Jurassic Park (Laura Dern got the gig.). Bidders can also try to buy the footage of the successful table read by Jennifer Connolly and Russel Crowe for A Beautiful Mind. Another tape also shows a tearful Nicole Kidman auditioning for Shattered, a role she later turned down. John Cusack’s auction for one of his first films, The Sure Thing, with Daphne Zuniga,

The celebrity audition tapes go up for auction on April 5 and 6 in Beverly Hills. The auctioneers admitted that they have had a hard time putting a valuation on the tapes. “We’ve never sold anything like this, so it’s hard to say,” Darren Julien conceded.

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