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After starting his career as a child actor, launching his career with a small role in 1991's City Slickers, Jake Gyllenhaal has become one of the most talented reliable male stars working today. Starring in a couple movies every single year, the Oscar nominee puts 100% into each of his parts, be it starring in Brokeback Mountain, Zodiac, End of Watch, or, most recently, Prisoners. Talented as he may be, however, there was one role that completely escaped his grasp: Frodo in Lord of the Rings.
With the year starting to wind down, The Hollywood Reporter has begun their series of roundtables with the most prominent names in the Oscar race, and while sitting down with Gyllenhaal, Matthew McConaughey, Forest Whitaker, Jared Leto, Josh Brolin and Michael B. Jordan the trade got the Donnie Darko star to talk about his worst audition ever - which happened to be for Peter Jackson's first epic Middle-earth trilogy. Apparently when the actor was going in for the part he was completely unaware that the character would require him to put on an accent - which he completely failed to do during his tryout. Said Gyllenhaal,
"I remember auditioning for The Lord of the Rings [the role of Frodo] and going in and not being told that I needed a British accent. I really do remember Peter Jackson saying to me, 'You know that you have to do this in a British accent?' We heard back it was literally one of the worst auditions."
Of course the part of Frodo wound up going to Elijah Wood, who did indeed change his voice for the role. But can you imagine watching Gyllenhaal team up with Samwise Gamgee to return the one ring to Mordor?
Bad as the Lord of the Rings audition may have gone, Gyllenhaal is hardly sweating it nowadays. In addition to being one of the actors being focused on in this year's Best Supporting Actor Oscar race for his stunning turn as Detective Loki in Prisoners (easily one of my favorite performances I've seen this year so far), he also has Denis Villeneuve's Enemy likely to come out in the next couple months, following its premiere at this year's Toronto International Film Festival. He is currently in production on the thriller Nightcrawler - in which he plays a freelance crime reporter in Los Angeles - and will soon get started on Baltasar Kormákur's Everest, which puts him in an ensemble that also includes Josh Brolin, John Hawkes, and Jason Clarke.