Michael B. Jordan has that movie star thing down pat. He’s a great actor, an electric screen presence, and confident enough to have the same name as the most famous athlete of all time. Plus, he’s going around reminding everyone about how much he loves anime. Considering all he’s accomplished by 34, it’s hard to imagine Jordan ever failing. But even celebrities, who are much better than us mere mortals, have a bad day every now and then.
Appearing on the Variety podcast “Just for Variety with Marc Malkin,” Jordan divulged one major slip-up in his otherwise charmed career: His Star Wars: The Force Awakens audition, which he called his “worst” to date. To be fair, it’s not entirely his fault. J.J. Abrams’ mystery box made finding and understanding his character more difficult than he expected. “I think it was I couldn’t wrap my brain around some of the sides because you know when you’re reading for these high-level projects, there’s never really any specificity in the sides,” said Jordan of his audition for Abrams. “Everything’s like super vague; everything is in secret. Reading through, I just couldn’t connect it. I definitely bombed that one for sure.”
The audition process for Star Wars is no cakewalk. In 2015, John Boyega, who was eventually cast as Finn in the Star Wars sequel trilogy, told GQ about the lengthy process that left him on the hook for nearly a year. “I was unleashed into seven months of auditions,” Boyega said. “The X Factor but without the TV show around it. It was intense.”
The role of Finn was one of the most coveted in Hollywood way back when people were still excited about new Star Wars movies. Tom Holland, who went on to be the MCU’s friendly neighborhood Spider-Man, also bombed his audition and never got the chance to scream “Rey,” like, 600 times in one movie. Like Jordan, Holland also struggled to figure out his character and ended up laughing in his scene partner’s face.
“I remember doing this scene with this lady, bless her, and she was just a drone,” Holland said to Backstage magazine in February. “So I was doing all of this, like, ‘We gotta get back to the ship!’ And she was going, ‘Bleep, bloop bloop, bleep bloop.’ I just couldn’t stop laughing. I found it so funny. And I felt really bad, because she was trying really hard to be a convincing android or drone or whatever they’re called. Yeah, I obviously didn’t get the part. That wasn’t my best moment.”
So pick your head up. If these talented actors can blow their chance at being harassed by Star Wars fans for the rest of their lives, there’s hope for the rest of us.