Joseph Gordon-Levitt Had a Brutal Movie Audition — ‘I Don’t Really Buy It,’ Said the Director

From his memorable character in Inception to his turn as a heroic pilot in 7500 to his role as a cop in Project Power, Joseph Gordon-Levitt has landed a slew of high-profile gigs. But the A-lister recently opened up about one part he lost because when it came to his acting, the director just didn’t buy it. Here’s how the brutal audition went down.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Joseph Gordon-Levitt | Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Joseph Gordon-Levitt found himself in the hot seat on ‘Hot Ones’

Hot Ones is the First We Feast-produced YouTube talk show that welcomes celebrities from different spheres of entertainment. While on the show, they answer burning questions while chowing down on wings and an assortment of hot sauces.

Gordon-Levitt recently popped up as a guest on the show for a revealing interview with host and producer, Sean Evans. While there, he shared a story about one audition that went horribly awry.

The actor recalled a brutal audition experience with a talented director

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Evans, who has a knack for posing probing questions, asked Gordon-Levitt to describe what he called, “auditioning rock bottom.” Without hesitation, the actor launched into a story of an ill-fated audition with a director he admired.

“I don’t want to disclose who was hurtful,” Gordon-Levitt began between bites. “I’ve auditioned for like one director in particular — I’m not going to say who it is though — sorry. But, like, I admired him a lot. It was only for his like third movie he was making, and his first two movies, I loved so much.”

During his audition, Gordon-Levitt’s experience went downhill quickly as the director abruptly interrupted and criticized him. Gordon-Levitt said, “I went in, and you know was doing the scene, and he stopped me in the middle, which is like, it’s best if you can let the actor finish a scene before you give them feedback. [He] stops me in the middle [and says], ‘Yeah, I just don’t really buy it.’”

Gordon-Levitt called the filmmaker’s nonspecific critique, “Just completely generic, useless, dismissive, [and] kinda hateful.” He continued, explaining, “That’s basically saying like, ‘I hate you, and I think you’re terrible at this.’ And that was it.”

The post-audition conversation was equally awkward

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Despite the negative audition experience, Gordon-Levitt still chose to tell the director how much he appreciated his work. He remembers the conversation playing out in a pretty awkward way.

“Before I went, I had told myself that I was going to tell him how much his movies meant to me,” Gordon-Levitt recollected on Hot Ones. “I had made that agreement with myself before entering the room before everything had started going so badly. And so, before I left, as I was just walking out, I was like, ‘I just wanted to tell you how much I love your movies and how much they meant to me.’ And he goes, ‘I buy that even less.’”

Gordon-Levitt paused before ending the spiel with a message to the unnamed filmmaker, saying, “F*ck you, guy. I’m not going to say your name.” Then the actor chuckled and mused, “He probably doesn’t even remember that.”

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