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« Game of Thrones "The Long Night" (S08E03) | Main | Tribeca 2019: "This is Not Berlin" »
Monday
Apr292019

A new series on auditions begins with "Audition" 

by Ginny O'Keefe

As an actress I have had my fair share of God-awful auditions. And good ones. And so-so auditions that I barely remember minutes after they happened. This is the life of an actress starting out in Los Angeles. Granted, I am in no way a veteran of the acting industry but I have been to a lot of casting calls and made a lot of self-tapes. So far I have never been yelled at by a casting director because I dropped a line or been told to take my clothes off to prove my dedication to a part. It's made me realize how embellished or exaggerated auditions can be in film and TV; normalcy just doesn’t sell. (There are actors out there who have had horrible and even traumatizing experiences, but this is merely from my perspective on how I have been treated to date.)

Now, I've joined my love of watching movies with my love of acting for this series. We'll discuss auditions from movies and TV and talk about how ludicrous or realistic they turn out to be. This week, to kick the series off, a dive into the deep end with Takashi Miike’s disturbing Japanese thriller Audition...

THE PLOT CONTEXT
A lonely widower is convinced by his pervy colleague to hold auditions for women to be his new wife. However, they tell the hopeful actresses coming in that the audition is for an actual film and they say that they are producers. Such fiends!

THE AUDITION BEGINS
First comes a whole montage of women doing their damn best to nail the part. Audition was released in August of 2001 in the US, one full year after Bring It On, so I kept imagining Eliza Dushku showing up in this Japanese film to show all of these bitches up. Throughout the montage the pervy colleague is asking the women a barrage of questions. Some of them are perfectly appropriate, others not so much.

STRAY OBSERVATIONS:

  • The setup is very familiar. A big room with one chair facing a desk and a camera in the corner. That’s how it usually is. They let you stand if you want. Most of the time you don’t have to ask.

  • The two men exchange pleasant small talk at first with the girls. That’s perfectly normal before you dive in to an audition.

  • RED FLAG “Do you mind if I ask you what your father does?” I have never been asked that question in an audition and I never should be. I shouldn’t be asked that question by any stranger I just met even if their trying to make small talk. It’s weird. RUN.

  • “What made you want to audition for this role?” I like getting asked that question. Typically, I try not to say it’s because I was called in for it and I can’t turn down a working opportunity. But ideally, I want to audition for things that I feel a connection with.

  • RED FLAG “Have you ever had sex with someone you didn’t like?” besides the fact that we are now in the Me Too era, we can all surely agree that this is a weird and invasive question to ask at an audition!

  • RED FLAG “Are you interested in drugs?” If the actor was, I doubt he or she would tell the producers.

  • Baton twirling by one gal! It's true that sometimes in auditions they’ll ask you about any special skills listed on your resumé, but this chick came fully prepared with a baton and a cheerleading uniform, so I’d say this was purely for comedy.

  • We get another girl salsa dancing, long skirt and all. Again, purely for comedy, you shouldn’t have to bring a whole costume for an audition unless told to do so or unless you’re auditioning for a freaking salsa dancer.

  • RED FLAG “Have you thought about working in the sex industry?” RUN

  • RED FLAG “How do you view men?” Um what?

  • “There are some sex scenes. Can you handle that?” When you submit for an audition, they always explicitly tell you in the breakdowns before you audition if there is any sex or nudity. This film was made in 1999, so let's let it slide.

  • RED FLAG “What kind of men do you not like?” None of your damn business.

  • RED FLAG One girl is show stripping into her bikini. Typically, they wouldn’t have you disrobe on the first audition. If there is nudity or sex involved, they would have you disrobe on the second or third callback because it means that you are close to getting the part.

  • RED FLAG the pervy producer answers his phone during the audition and excuses himself. That’s just rude. In my experience to date, when a casting director or a producer’s phone went off, they immediately shut it off and apologized.

  • RED FLAG the fact that these girls are coming in with no sides to read or have any knowledge of a script should have made them stay home in the first place.

THE LEAD ACTRESS
After a small break they start back up again. This is where the movie brings in the main character (and the psycho) of the movie, Asami Yamazaki (Eihi Shiina). The montage is over, and this is all about her, so we
know that she is important. She sits down and they ask her questions.


  • RED FLAG “Have you had any movie or TV jobs?” Did none of these girls bring a damn resumé? I know this is for a fake movie but the audition would be less suspicious if you had the women bring resumes.

  • RED FLAG the producer asks her if she is represented by anyone and she says, “Not really.” That's always a yes or no question.

  • RED FLAG “How do you manage your daily expenses?” Look, you can ask me if I have a survival job, but my money problems are mine and mine alone.

  • RED FLAG “Don’t you want to live a luxurious life?” Dude you are not my therapist. And damn right I do!

  • RED FLAG They start talking about her past hip injury and how she wrote in her “essays” that not being able to dance anymore was like “accepting death”. Bruce Wayne doesn’t put his childhood trauma of losing his parents in crime alley on his resumé and neither should you! The defense rests.

The audition ends quickly. Overall, this whole damn operation is a damn red flag, but that’s what you get with two guys looking for a wife for a movie that doesn’t even exist. The realistic parts of the auditions in Audition are just the room which looks familiar and the pleasantries between the “producers” and the actresses that didn't cross boundaries.

Watch this movie (if you can stomach it) for the great acting and the psychological creepiness. It's one of the most disturbing movies you'll ever see. Honestly, I couldn't watch it again. But don’t watch it if you’re preparing to audition for Tisch School of the Arts and you think it will help. Despite the title.

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Reader Comments (6)

I don't want to see that movie ever again. It scared the fuck out of me.

April 29, 2019 | Unregistered Commenterthevoid99

same. exactly same. But it was fun to revisit in this unexpected less-frightening-to-death format, so thanks Ginny!

April 29, 2019 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

This movie freaked me out so much and I still don't know how it ends!

April 29, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterJaragon

Audition is a horrifying film, in the best way. Good write-up, thank you.

April 29, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterRob

I’ve only just recently seen this film for the first time and...I loved it? I don’t know what that says about me lol

April 30, 2019 | Unregistered Commenterthefilmjunkie

I use piano wire to floss. But never on an audition!

May 5, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterIshmael

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