Slumdog Millionaire isn't the type of movie that we're frequently talking about nearly a decade later. However, when it came out in 2008, it was a big hit, winning a slew of Academy Awards--including best picture--and becoming another hit for 28 Days Later director Danny Boyle. While you probably remember the movie for shining a spotlight on Dev Patel, one other now-popular actor tried out for the movie. Riz Ahmed really wanted the gig, and really pushed limits during his audition with Danny Boyle. However, it was an audition that probably tanked his chances of appearing in Slumdog Millionaire, as he spit on the director while trying out for the part. The actor recently said:
I did this scene where I'm kind of shouting at Danny, Danny's playing the other character. He calls action, and before you know it, I've got Danny Boyle up against the wall. I'm like screaming in his face. Like spitting in his face. I've ripped the seams of his shirt open and started spitting into Danny Boyle's naked chest. He's pressing a red button on the wall and says 'Cut.' Danny looks at me and goes, 'Ok, cut. Alright, Riz, thanks a lot for coming in.' And the thing is, I walked out of that audition going, 'I nailed that.' I was so into that. I could feel my passion.
While speaking with The Handmaid's Tale's Elisabeth Moss, Riz Ahmed revealed his Slumdog Millionaire audition was hand-down his worst audition. The Rogue One: A Star Wars Story actor said he wanted the role that Dev Patel ended up getting, which was the lead character Jamal, a young man who happens to do well on Who Wants to be a Millionaire in India, thanks to picking up random information throughout his life. However, Danny Boyle thought Ahmed would be better playing the brother, a gig which ended up going to Madhur Mittal. From what Riz Ahmed said in the video (published by Variety), he may have tried way too hard during the audition. At least he can laugh about it, now.
The world is full of stories about actors really going for it during auditions. Sometimes these stories end well, as happened when Kelly Rohrbach made the decision to audition for Baywatch in a bathing suit, something none of the other candidates did. Sometimes things don't end so well for the actors, as happened in the case with Riz Ahmed and Slumdog Millionaire.
Thankfully, spitting at a major director doesn't seem to have affected Riz Ahmed's career on the whole. After taking roles in a bunch of indies, the actor has broken out in recent years, appearing in Nightcrawler and Rogue One, and then on TV in the critically acclaimed The Night Of. He might have had that bigger break a little earlier if the Slumdog Millionaire audition had worked out, but it all turned out well for the actor in the end. You can next catch him in The Sisters Brothers, which doesn't have a release date yet.