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It’s no secret that most actors don’t really enjoy the auditioning process, but it’s the best way for many of them (especially those without much experience) to be seen and considered for work. So, there are few actors working today who don't a lot of wild audition stories, and that includes big name stars who ended up bombing in an audition or two during their careers. Or more, as is the case with Chris Evans, who managed to blow one audition for Seth Rogen...three whole times.
By the time 2008 came around, Chris Evans had already been kicking around Hollywood for a while and had made a much bigger name for himself by playing Johnny Storm / Human Torch in two Fantastic Four movies. But, he was still auditioning for roles that would let him show other sides to what he could do on screen, so he auditioned for the Seth Rogen dark comedy Observe and Report, which was about a mentally unstable mall cop. Unfortunately, though, Evans did not do well. Here's what he told Backstage about it when asked to share an audition horror story:
I walked in the room, and there were Seth and the director and a producer, and for some reason, my brain just started shrieking, just screaming, "No, no, no." I began my audition, and about three lines in, I got this wave of sweats and my face went red. Mid-audition, I said, “I’m sorry, guys. I’m sorry. I’ve got to stop.” It’s even worse because they were incredibly nice about it, like, “No, it was great. You were doing great.” I said, “Let me just go to the hallway and collect my thoughts.” I go into the hallway, I collect my thoughts. I’m laughing at myself. Go back in, we start up again, and it fucking happens again. My face just goes so red. I start sweating and I have to stop again.
Ooooh, boy. I don't think anyone has to be an actor who's blown an audition to get a case of the flop sweats just thinking about this. All of us have been so nervous at one point or another that it shows on our faces and just short circuits our brains. Chris Evans didn't say what part he was going for in this audition, so who knows why he got so bent out of shape at seeing Seth Rogen and the others who were there to watch him audition. But, I do really enjoy the fact that even Evans himself still doesn't seem to know what set him off all those years ago.
When Chris Evans realized he was freaking out, though, he did the right thing by trying to get some alone time to regain his composure and then starting again. As you probably noticed, this did not actually help him, and seems to have just delayed the process of relaxing further, which, apparently, didn't happen until he'd gotten all the way outta there. As you also may have noticed, this was only two go-rounds at the same audition. So, what happened next?
I go to my car and I call my agent and I say, “That was a fucking nightmare. Whether I get this movie or not, I can’t let that be the last taste they have in their mouths. I’ve got to come back tomorrow and do this again. You’ve got to get me back there. I’ve got to do it again.” They were like, “All right, but they said you were OK.” I’m like, “They’re lying. It was terrible.” They got me back in a couple of days later and I’m back in. Don’t you fucking know, it happened again! [Laughs] There’s a wave of heat and sweat and I had to stop again. And I just say, “Guys, I’m so sorry...I’m just going to go.” I did not get that role.
What can I say, sometimes it really is good to know when you've been beaten, correct? I can only suspect that, by this point, just being in front of Seth Rogen and his associates in that audition room brought up the trauma (No, I don't think that's too strong of a word.) of the past two failed auditions, which brought Chris Evans full circle back to his hot-sweaty-disaster place and led him to just give up on any hope of being in Observe and Report.
I suppose the real takeaway from this is that, even if you feel like you've blown an opportunity, if you keep trying, you'll probably be fine. Look at Chris Evans now: recently retired from the MCU after almost 10 years playing one of its founding Avengers, Captain America; causing a storm as a bad guy in a good sweater in Knives Out, and headlining the Apple TV+ drama Defending Jacob. Missing out on Observe and Report probably stung a lot at the time, but things seem to have worked out for Evans just fine.