Hollywood is a dog-eat-dog world, and you’ve got to give it everything as an actor if you want to secure the big roles, but when Mickey Rourke auditioned for the ‘90s movie Con Air, he took that a little bit too far. Well, a lot too far, actually, and his crazy methods cost him the role.
Con Air is an epic action movie starring the likes of Nicolas Cage, John Cusack, John Malkovich, and Steve Buscemi, and Mickey Rourke was almost part of that cast, too. Apparently, Bruce Willis had turned down the role of the thriller movie‘s villain, before Willem Dafoe and Tom Sizemore read for the role. The part would eventually go to Malkovich, but by the sounds of it, Rourke really wanted to show the casting directors what he could do.
In an interview with Empire, director Simon West recalled how Rourke went way overboard with his audition and brought a very unsettling energy to proceedings after he pulled a huge knife out in the audition room.
“Mickey Rourke was a particularly harrowing audition. He was doing a confrontational scene and there was this young assistant casting director reading the Poe part opposite him,” West explained. “Mickey Rourke was eyeball to eyeball, nose to nose with him, and then pulls out this 10-inch Bowie knife from behind him, which was totally real and incredibly sharp.”
“He held it under this poor guy’s chin. And me and the casting directors froze — do we intervene, do we wrestle him to the ground? Is this great acting, or has he lost the plot and is going to kill us all? I’m ashamed to say we did not intervene. We let him finish the scene. So it was a pretty powerful audition, that one,” West concluded.
It’s a bold approach to an audition, that’s for sure. If Con Air is your vibe, why not check out our list of the best disaster movies for more explosive action? Or, go further back in time and explore our list of the best ‘80s movies.