Acting isn't easy—and auditions are even harder. Going into a room full of judgemental strangers, knowing that one wrong move could lose you a role that could change your life forever, it's a miracle that any actor is able to do them without completely freezing.
What follows are a bunch of audition stories where something major went wrong—and yet somehow the actor didn't lose their key role. Because some things are just meant to be.
1| Mel Gibson - Mad Max
Considering that Gibson was only asked to audition for Mad Max because he got into a bar fight the previous day (he came to the audition to support a friend, but the casting agency liked his bruised look) director George Miller probably wouldn't have been surprised when it turned out that the dishevelled Gibson didn't really bother to learn his lines.
Despite not doing the one thing you're supposed to do in an audition (demonstrate you can act well based on the script), Miller gave Gibson the part and movie history was made.
2| Kit Harington - Game of Thrones
Mel Gibson wasn't the only actor to get into a random scrap at a pivotal moment in their career. Harington's brawl was slightly less glamorous (it didn't take place in a bar but a McDonald's, and he lost the fight), and it didn't actually get him the audition. He already had that booked in—for the next day.
Technically, showing up to an audition with a black eye is a bad move (any actors reading this, don't follow Kit's example), but because he got it defending his girlfriend's honor, the casting directors felt it made him even more right for the role of Jon Snow.
3| Emilia Clarke - Game of Thrones
Harrington's co-star also nearly blew her audition for the show. Feeling it wasn't going well, Clarke got desperate and said she'd make the tea if they gave her the role, which isn't exactly the most Khaleesi thing we've ever heard.
Bizarrely, the casting directors decided to double-down on Clarke's desperation, and told her to dance for them. Clarke went into a mix of the funky chicken and the robot, and got the part. So—spoiler alert—expect a very strange dance sequence to happen in the final season of .
4| Riz Ahmed - Rogue One
Riz Ahmed is one of the rare (only?) actors to blow the audition after he had the part. Despite the fact he'd already been cast, Ahmed continued to send in audition tapes, because he felt he hadn't done his best work in his audition.
Much to the confusion of the production crew, Ahmed sent in 10 tapes, each with a different costume. This, obviously, isn't the done thing—but the producers put it down to Ahmed's dedication instead of a weird obsession (which Ahmed eventually admitted to).
Luckily, he wasn't fired for stepping outside of the rules of the audition process, and his hard work paid off in the finished film.
5| Keira Knightley - A Dangerous Method
Okay, not a defining role for Keira, but arguably the most awkward audition of all time. Keira Knightley was required to run through a bunch of 'horrible sex faces' for her director, David Cronenberg.
What made the situation a little more awkward than usual is that it was conducted via Skype, which froze when Knightley was pulling a particularly intense sex face.
6| Chris Hemsworth - Thor
Believe it or not, Chris Hemsworth's Thor audition went so badly, he didn't make it to the next stage of the process, with four other actors going through to the final phase of the auditions.
But Hemsworth couldn't let the part go, and recorded a self-tape, which he got to producers through his connection with Joss Whedon (who he'd worked with on Cabin In The Woods, which Whedon produced).
Luckily for Hemsworth, none of the final four had nailed the part and the tape (which he'd recorded with his mum in a hotel room) was enough to get him a second chance.
In a weird twist, one of the final four was Chris' little brother Liam, who finally got to appear as the character in a mega-meta in-joke in Thor: Ragnarok.
This story originally appeared on Esquire.co.uk.
* Minor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.