‘The Good Place’: Jameela Jamil ‘Blacked Out’ During Her Tahani Audition
One of the best things about The Good Place are the extremely colorful characters that the cast had the opportunity to portray. Jason’s stupidity only worked because it was perfectly counterbalanced with Janet’s omniscient behavior. Likewise, Tahani’s obsession with all things highbrow flourished because it was counterbalanced with Eleanor’s self-proclaimed trashbag persona. The cast of the hit NBC comedy did a wonderful job of bringing such big characters to life in a way that was fun and realistic.
Jameela Jamil brought great humor to the role of Tahani Al-Jamil. At times, she was the person fans loved to hate. Other times, however, you couldn’t help sympathize with her despite her massive amounts of wealth and privilege. Jamil brought such believability to the role that many fans of The Good Place will be shocked to learn that Jamil’s audition for Tahani was her first-ever audition.
How Jameela Jamil joined ‘The Good Place’ cast
In an interview with Rolling Stone, Jamil revealed that she never had any intention of auditioning for the role of Tahani. But, when the audition called for someone who almost perfectly matched up with who she was, others urged her to go for it. Initially, she was intimidated by two of the big names behind the project, Ted Danson (who plays Michael) and Michael Schur (who created The Good Place and other brilliant shows), so she resisted auditioning altogether.
“I was not an actor. I was a writer at 3 Arts [a production company]. And they said, ‘There’s this audition, they’re looking for an overly tall, annoying Indian woman with an English accent. It’s basically you. Go do the audition.’ And I said, ‘No,’ because I thought I wasn’t worthy of being in a Mike Schur project, because I didn’t know how to act. And then I heard Ted Danson was in it and I was like, ‘Definitely not. I can’t act opposite my hero,'” The Good Place cast member recounted.
Jamil wanted to meet the show’s creator, Mike Schur
Ultimately, however, Jamil changed her mind simply because she wanted the opportunity to meet someone she admired so much. As the project was top secret at the time, Jamil wasn’t given real scripts from the show. Instead, they had her do fake scenes to see if she was a good fit for the cast of The Good Place. She was also asked to do improv, which was especially daunting since she had zero acting experience.
“But then I thought, ‘I get to meet one of my heroes, Mike Schur, I might as well go for the story.’ And I went to audition, somehow got called back, got called back again to improv with actual Mike Schur in my audition for 10 minutes, having never improvised before. He wanted me to do a fake interview to camera as if I was the character, but I didn’t know anything about this character,” Jamil revealed about how the premise of The Good Place was kept from her.
Jamil blacked out during her audition for ‘The Good Place’
Despite her lack of knowledge and experience, Jamil must have rocked her audition because it earned her a place in The Good Place cast. Though Jamil remembers the general theme of her improv, she can’t recall exactly what she did to impress Schur and the casting director. In fact, Jamil shared that she actually blacked out through the experience and has little to no recollection of her first-ever attempt at improv.
“I didn’t know anything about the show. I didn’t know anything about the storyline or anything. He just gave me three clues that she was a socialite and just made me do an improvised interview into the camera as if it was my big panorama moment. So I did something about Lady Diana and did an improv for 10 minutes. I blacked out through the whole thing and somehow got a call a week later saying I had the job,” The Good Place alum revealed. Clearly, whatever Jamil did worked for her. But, we’d love to see the footage one day if the audition was recorded.