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Though the glitz and glamour of Hollywood can blind some into thinking fame is organic and perennial, acting may sometimes guarantee a career, but it doesn’t always guarantee success. That has to be earned, and when it is, some of the greatest characters in cinematic history are made. Sometimes though, Billy Baldwin inexplicably gets the part.

As seen above, The Today Show recently showcased a whole host of clips from 54 different audition tapes being auctioned off by three casting directors choosing to remain anonymous. The tapes were coaxed into being sold off by Darren Julien and Martin Nolan of Julien’s Auctions.

Its fun to watch Brad Pitt, Robert Downey Jr. and Keanu Reeves trying out for the role that Billy Baldwin eventually got, solely because he could plausibly be Kurt Russell’s brother. I’m pretty sure Reeves could be Baldwin’s half-brother on whatever side of the family adds that “gaww” look on their faces. Admittedly, Pitt, whose career I would willingly follow even to Leperchaun reboots if it went that way, gave arguably the weakest piece of audition shown.

More convincing were Leonardo DiCaprio trying out for the Outsiders TV show – the kid knew how to wipe his nose with the side of his hand like nobody’s business – and Nicole Kidman creating crocodile tears for a role in Shattered (which she eventually turned down). The Jurassic Park tapes convinced me that Gwyneth Paltrow could be related to Laura Dern, who eventually got the role, and that the world is missing nothing from Helen Hunt not having a ton of roles in suspenseful action films. Maybe she’ll try out for the sequel and prove me wrong, and in twenty years we can watch the audition tapes for whatever shittier actress she beat for it.

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