Before A-listers were able to pick and choose their parts, they had to audition along with everybody else. Sometimes they lost the role and sometimes they won it, but that’s besides the point. It’s just entertaining to see stars acting their hearts out without much help from script readers or professional Hollywood lighting. Here are some of the most adorable and amazing celeb audition tapes:
Emma Stone — Easy A
Shot on a webcam without professional hair and makeup, it’s still almost as good as the performance in the actual film!
Rachel McAdams — The Notebook
Look at that girl emote! McAdams squashes the whole range into an awesome audition that eventually won her a role in The Notebook.
Natalie Portman — Leon: The Professional
Once upon a time, even Natalie Portman had to audition and, no surprise, she’s adorable.
Steve Carrell — Anchorman
Just as funny as the fully-realized Brick Tamland, Carrell’s audition has the whole room laughing. Extra points for his excellent food miming skills.
Seth Rogen — Freaks and Geeks
How cute — it’s one of baby-faced Seth Rogen’s first auditions!
Jason Segel — Freaks and Geeks
Before Forgetting Sarah Marshall and How I Met Your Mother, Jason Segel had to win the role of Nick in Freaks and Geeks. He might forget a line or two, but he still knocks it out of the park.
Ellen Page & Olivia Thirlby — Juno
These two have fantastic chemistry and give great performances even when they’re in a dingy audition room.
The Office Audition Tapes — most of the cast’s auditions also Adam Scott of Parks & Rec reads for Jim; Eric Stonestreet, Patton Oswalt, and Seth Rogen try for Dwight and more!
See what could’ve been as we time travel back to early 2000s. If you could never imagine another Jim and Pam, these audition tapes may change your mind. But I don’t want to live in a world where Rainn Wilson doesn’t play Dwight Schrute.
Lindsay Lohan — The Parent Trap
Back in the day, Lindsay was a sweet little 10-and-a-half year old nailing auditions opposite Dennis Quaid. Check it out!
Hilary Duff and Chad Michael Murray — A Cinderella Story
Lizzie McGuire and that dude I knew mainly from Gilmore Girls (though I know thousands adored him on One Tree Hill) make a charming couple in this audition for A Cinderella Story.
Aaron Paul — Breaking Bad
Aaron’s charismatic audition for the role that would make him a star. The hair had to go. And it did. And we were happy.
Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Rupert Grint — Harry Potter
They’re just all so little. Some of the greatest witches and wizards of our time.