A trio of unnamed casting directors recently unloaded a gold mine of tapes featuring the famous film stars we love today. There are 54 auditions and 12 lots of videos in the collection that spans 30 years, and they all hit the auction block next month. Today's Matt Lauer reviewed some of the footage, which we feature in the below video. Although the reels are grainy and the auditions are somewhat rough, it's great to see these big-screen stars in their younger years giving it their all.
Not everyone got the parts they tried out for — like 15-year-old Leonardo DiCaprio in a 1990 audition for a TV series based on Francis Ford Coppola's The Outsiders. He ended up getting a bit part instead. Brad Pitt, Robert Downey Jr. and Keanu Reeves all tried out for Ron Howard's Backdraft about Chicago ffirefighters, but William Baldwin was cast since he looked like he could be Kurt Russell's real-life brother. At the time, RDJ was coming off his teen heartthrob/badass roles of the 1980s and trying to craft a new image for himself. He got the lead in Chaplin the following year, so all wasn't lost.
Jurassic Park attracted Gwyneth Paltrow and Helen Hunt to the part of the Dr. Ellie Sattler, but Laura Dern ultimately won it. Also featured is Nicole Kidman's weepy audition for Shattered. She turned down the part that Greta Scacchi later took. It's clear Kidman was a champion crier early on. Did the casting director make the wrong decision when it came to these auditions?