25+ Hollywood Stars Who Used Inventive Tricks to Land a Role


| LAST UPDATE 10/19/2022

By Ray Zhang

Most people are guilty of telling little white lies, and Hollywood stars are no exception. Some of our favorite actors have twisted the truth to land a role. So, let's see which of these famous faces belong on Santa's naughty list.

Sandra Bullock

Renowned actress Sandra Bullock has starred in countless hit films, including Miss Congeniality and Bird Box. She won an Oscar and a Golden Globe award for Best Actress after starring in the 2010 motion picture, The Blind Side. But before being recognized for her superb acting skills, Bullock told a small lie.

Sandra BullockSandra Bullock
Jason Merritt via Getty

The movie star was still trying to get her career off the ground when she had the chance to land a starring role in 1992's Love Potion No. 9. Eager to play the part of protagonist Diane Farrow, Sandra added a few years to her age. The actress's fib paid off and she was cast for the romantic comedy.

Nicolas Cage

Long before becoming the star of National Treasure, the young artist was known as Nicolas Coppola. The name change was a result of an embarrassing experience after he was exposed for lying to land a role. When Cage was 17 years old, the actor pretended to be 18.

Nicolas CageNicolas Cage
Jason Kempin via Getty

The aspiring thespian wanted to play Brad Hamilton in Fast Times at Ridgemont High. Unfortunately for him, a minor was not allowed to work the needed hours for the role. Nicolas told producers he was 18, but the truth came out and he was given a more minor role. Teasing from his coworkers then led to a name change.

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Laura Fraser

When Breaking Bad producers asked Laura Fraser if she spoke German, she let out a confident "Ja!" The creators wanted to know if she had the necessary skill for playing the character of Lydia Rodarte-Quayle. Fraser was quick to say yes, but that may have been the only word she actually knew.

Laura FraserLaura Fraser
Alberto E. Rodriguez via Getty

The star didn't speak German and ended up having to memorize all her lines phonetically. Although learning only a paragraph of the dialogue was extremely difficult at first, the lie was worthwhile. Laura starred in what was arguably one of the most critically acclaimed series of all time.

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George Clooney

Before he was the silver fox of Hollywood, George Clooney was better known as a "Pilot killer." Having starred in more than 10 pilots that never made it to TV, the actor was gaining a troublesome reputation. So, he boosted his resume and got his Screen Actors Guild card by lying.

George ClooneyGeorge Clooney
D Dipasupil via Getty

"You couldn't get a job without getting into the Screen Actors Guild, so everybody would make up these credits just to get in," Clooney explained. "They didn't have Internet then so you got away with anything." To acquire the title, George falsely claimed he had starred in the film Cat People.

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Ben Hardy

To land the role of Bohemian Rhapsody's Roger Taylor, Ben Hardy exaggerated his musical skills. "[The director] wanted the person... to be able to play the drums... You can cheat the other instruments with camera angles, but in the wide shots you can see if the drum is out of sync," said Hardy. "So I told him I could play the drums."

Ben HardyBen Hardy
Jeff Kravitz via Getty

But Ben could not, in fact, play the instrument. "He was like, 'Great, can you put this song on film for me to show to the producers?' ... [so] I bought the cheapest drum kit... and found a drum teacher locally and was like '... I need to learn to play this song as soon as possible." Props to him for the quick initiative!

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Morgan Freeman

Morgan Freeman has received ample recognition for his acting skills, including an Academy Award, a Golden Globe Award, and a Screen Actors Guild Award. While he's impressed audiences with some on-screen roles, the Hollywood star is often hired to narrate films.

Morgan FreemanMorgan Freeman
Frazer Harrison via Getty

Director Joseph Kosinski hired Freeman to narrate his 2013 film Oblivion. But the actor wanted to contribute more than his distinctive voice. So Morgan lied and told Kosinski he was having throat issues. Not wanting to lose the celebrated actor, Joseph gave him proper screen time to compensate for a bothersome throat.

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Anne Hathaway

Anne Hathaway, also known as Mia, Princess of Genovia, has starred in multiple critically acclaimed films. She is the recipient of an Academy Award, an Emmy Award, and a Golden Globe. But before reaching a net worth of about $60 million, as reported by Celebrity Net Worth, the actress once lied about her equestrian skills.

Anne HathawayAnne Hathaway
Steve Granitz via Getty

When Hathaway auditioned for a role in Brokeback Mountain, she lied about her horseback riding abilities. The dedicated thespian quickly learned how to ride and eventually became quite skilled in the sport. But the truth was exposed when Anne had to work with a horse using verbal commands only, and she wasn't very successful.

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Jessica Chastain

Chastain is known for her leading roles as a strong and powerful woman. The actress's accolades include two Academy Award nominations and a Golden Globe Award. While the famous redhead has not been exposed for any big lies, she has been vague about her age.

Jessica ChastainJessica Chastain
Matt Winkelmeyer via Getty

"I will never say my age because I'm an actress, and I want to play different ages," shared Jessica in an interview. You know what they say, age is just a number. The starlet joins other artists who have shown that it's not the years you have lived, but rather performance and skill that make the difference.

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Rachel McAdams

Renowned actress Rachel McAdams allegedly prefers to keep her exact age on the vague side, which has opened opportunities to play young characters. The performer also once kept secret her fear of horses and even an allergy to the animal. She did so to land a role in To The Wonder.

Rachel McAdamsRachel McAdams
Taylor Hill via Getty

"My first day of the shoot I was in the middle of a coral with 50 horses who had never before been touched by humans," McAdams recalled. "It's like when people ask if you can ride for a medieval film, you think you can just get away with it. And I did, somehow!" Well, kudos to her!

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Eddie Redmayne

Before winning an Oscar, Eddie Redmayne was desperate to land a role on the British series Elizabeth I. His desire for the part led him to lie about being an experienced horseback rider. "It was my last audition, and just as I was leaving [director Tom Hooper] said, 'You ever been on a horse?' I said 'yes,'" the actor recalled.

Eddie RedmayneEddie Redmayne
V E Anderson via Getty

"[When] they called 'action,' [my horse] went off at a hundred miles an hour," he said. "I was sent to horse camp immediately." Hooper later cast Eddie for Les Miserables and had the star on horseback once more. "That was my penance. My payback for that lie to him years ago," joked Redmayne.

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Whoopi Goldberg

Whoopi Goldberg, born Caryn Elaine Johnson, is a renowned actress, author, and television personality. But before the celebrity became a transparent and honest co-host of The View, she had to tell a few lies to make it in the tough world of show business.

Whoopi GoldbergWhoopi Goldberg
Ron Galella via Getty

"I lied about my age for a long time because nobody would hire me to act. Everyone said I was too young," Goldberg shared. "So, when I was 20, I put six years on my life." The fib was worthwhile and landed her a role in The Color Purple. Not to mention, it gave us all the chance to admire the star's many talents.

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Paul Mescal

Paul Mescal, born February 2, 1996, is a rising Irish actor. After graduating from The Lir Academy, the young man played protagonist Jay Gatsby in a theatre production of The Great Gatsby. He is now better known for his part in Normal People, the Irish drama television series.

Paul MescalPaul Mescal
Daniele Venturelli via Getty

To land the starring role in the Hulu miniseries, Mescal was involved in a small lie. The producers wanted someone who was able to drive, but the actor didn't have a license. Paul's agent hid this fact and the dedicated young man enrolled in an intensive driving course. The hard work paid off on the screen.

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Chloe Grace

When Martin Scorsese was casting for his 2011 film Hugo, the director wanted an authentic British cast. He recruited the likes of Ray Winstone and Jude Law, assuring the actors would have genuine English accents. But that didn't stop Chloe Grace from auditioning. The young woman pretended she was also from the U.K.

Chloe GraceChloe Grace
Jason Merritt_TERM via Getty

But the actress exposed her own lie before filming even began. Chloe accidentally thanked the director in an American accent at the end of one audition. "You tricked me!" Martin said. But recognizing the starlet's indisputable abilities, Scorsese hired Grace for the role.

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Angelina Jolie

Nowadays, Angelina Jolie is known, not only for her superb acting skills but also for leading in humanitarian work worldwide. But before becoming the A-list celebrity she is today, Jolie accidentally lied about her family heritage. The actress was under the false impression that she is part Iroquois.

Angelina JolieAngelina Jolie
Tristan Fewings via Getty

Angelina's parents reportedly fabricated the family's background to make her mother seem more exotic. The philanthropist's father, Jon Voight, later admitted the family was not of Iroquois heritage. Was the starlet truly lying if she didn't know the truth herself? Either way, her career did not suffer any consequences.

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Robert Pattinson

The Twilight saga star fluffed his resume with falsehoods before rising to fame. "I'd been unemployed for ages... [When] the casting directors would ask what I'd been doing for the past few years... I'd say, 'Oh, I was at RADA (Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts),'" the actor shared.

Robert PattinsonRobert Pattinson
Stephane Cardinale via Getty

Pattinson continued, "If you've got an English accent, you can get away with it. I'd say I went to Oxford, too. I did it for years. But it didn't work when loads of English people started moving to Los Angeles. So then I pretended to be American for a bit." Well, we can appreciate the transparency regarding his dishonest past!

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Chris Hemsworth

Celebrity Chris Hemsworth is known for his noticably good looks. It's no secret he and the younger Hemsworth brother are some of the striking stars of Hollywood. So you may be shocked to hear that the actor has repeatedly lied about his physical stature.

Chris HemsworthChris Hemsworth
Karwai Tang via Getty

"There are certainly things I've wanted to go up for which I've been totally wrong for, physically. And I normally lie about my height and say I'm shorter," Hemsworth revealed. "But it can go two ways. The brief for the audition for Thor said: must be over 6 feet 1 inch, which I'd never seen before!" Aww, it was meant to be!

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Rebel Wilson

Rebel Wilson has quite the impressive resume. The celebrity appeared in multiple comedic films, including Bridesmaids, What to Expect When You're Expecting, and the musical series Pitch Perfect. Yet for a long time, the starlet felt the need to hide her age.

Rebel WilsonRebel Wilson
Amy Sussman via Getty

In 2015, various tabloids began wondering how old the actress was and claimed she had lied about her age to land roles. The comedian eventually sued one of the publishers for defamation. According to People, the movie star won millions when the lawsuit was decided in her favor. The lesson here is don't mess with Rebel Wilson!

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Liam Hemsworth

Being cast in The Last Song arguably changed Liam Hemsworth's life in many ways. He met his future (and now ex) wife, Miley Cyrus, on the set of the love story. Starring in the film also helped the actor rise to stardom.

Liam HemsworthLiam Hemsworth
Rodin Eckenroth

So you may be surprised to hear that Hemsworth lied to land the role. The star apparently falsely claimed that he could play volleyball. Liam later admitted that the sports scenes were the toughest to act out and that he often "Looked stupid."

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Laurence Fishburne

Laurence Fishburne has had quite an extensive Hollywood career. The actor starred as Morpheus in The Matrix film series, Jason "Furious" Styles in Boyz n the Hood, and The Bowery King in the John Wick franchise. But before becoming a household name, the talented film producer told a little white lie.

Laurence FishburneLaurence Fishburne
Araya Doheny via Getty

The then 14-year-old wanted a role in 1979's Apocalypse Now but was too young for the gruesome war film. So the aspiring actor tricked director Francis Ford Coppola and told casters he was 16 years old. Fishburne's dishonesty went undetected and the young boy acted alongside the likes of Robert Duval and Martin Sheen.

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Daniel Craig

Daniel Craig is arguably known best for his role as James Bond. The star has been nominated for over 70 awards and won a Critics' Choice Movie Award for Best Actor in an Action Movie. But his success didn't always come from a place of honesty. The British native allegedly lied several times about his ability to ride horses.

Daniel CraigDaniel Craig
Mike Coppola via Getty

While he had apparently never been on a horse before his acting career had taken off, the celebrity pretended otherwise to land a few roles. The lie was finally exposed in 2011's Cowboys and Aliens when Daniel needed to learn something that the casting directors had been told he already knew how to do.

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Carla Gugino

Before establishing herself in Hollywood, Carla Gugino lied about her age to land a role in 1989's Troop Beverly Hills. "Before IMDb, you could lie about your age, and I was fully rewarded for it because I was 16, and I said I was 14 to get the job," explained the starlet.

Carla GuginoCarla Gugino
Emma McIntyre via Getty

"I told the director three weeks in, once I knew I couldn't get fired 'cause we'd shot enough," she said. "I was like 'Just so you know, I am 16.' I thought for sure he was gonna be like, 'No big deal,' but he was like, 'I would've never hired you if I knew you were 16.'" Carla shared that she hasn't lied about her age since.

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Mila Kunis

Mila Kunis became famous through her role as Jackie on the comedy series That '70s Show. But to obtain the breakthrough role, the actress told a pretty big lie. The sitcom producers thought Kunis was 18 years old when filming began, but the truth was far from that.

Mila KunisMila Kunis
Rich Fury via Getty

"I told them I was gonna be 18, which is not technically a lie," Mila shared. "I was gonna be 18." The celebrity indeed would one day turn 18, but she still had another four years before becoming legal. Kunis was 14 when she was cast in the show! But we can't imagine anyone else playing the role of Jackie.

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Todd Lawson LaTourrette

Todd Lawson LaTourrette's career was partially founded on a lie. An amputee after having lost a hand, he claimed to be a war veteran who was injured while serving. But in 2018, the actor revealed he had cut off the body part himself during a mental health crisis 17 years prior.

Todd Lawson LaTourretteTodd Lawson LaTourrette
@pegasuspublishers via Instagram

"I was dishonorable. I'm killing my career by doing this. If anyone thinks this was for personal edification, that's not the case," Todd said. "I'm ousting myself from the New Mexico Film Industry. And gladly so, just to say what I've said." LaTourrette learned the hard way that honesty is the best policy.

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Gabrielle Carteris

Gabrielle Carteris auditioned for the '90's show Beverly Hills, 90210 when she was 29. But since the actress wanted to play a high school student, she decided to lie about her age. "When I got the role, a lawyer told me I could sign a contract and state a different age, as long as it was over the age of 21," shared the starlet.

Gabrielle CarterisGabrielle Carteris
Jon Kopaloff via Getty

"When [my real age] did come out, the show was just starting to take off and my character was established enough that they did not fire me," said Carteris. "But a producer did say to me, 'You're lucky we didn't know your age when we hired you.'" Well, maybe they're lucky she lied for the part!

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Hugh Laurie

When Hugh Laurie auditioned for the protagonist role in the hit series House, the British-native knew he had to give a genuine American impression. The director at the time was searching for the "quintessentially America person," and allegedly stopped even considering auditions from English actors.

Hugh LaurieHugh Laurie
GP Images via Getty

But Laurie successfully tricked the man into thinking he was American. The director reportedly turned to his crew after watching Hugh's tape and said, "See, this is what I want. An American guy." Needless to say, the actor was the right man for the job.

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Arnold Schwarznegger

The Terminator star is also guilty of telling a lie at the peak of his acting career. Schwarznegger's fib was not intended to advance his profession, but rather to hinder someone else's. A rivalry with actor Sylvester Stallone led the Golden Globe winner to engage in some sneaky behavior.

Arnold SchwarzneggerArnold Schwarznegger
Fotos International via Getty

Arnold once lied about being interested in a movie just to trick Sylvester into seeking the part. "I read the script. It was so bad," the ex-bodybuilder revealed. "I said to myself, I'm going to leak out that I have tremendous interest." The ruse was successful and caused Stallone to seek the role in Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot.

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Matthew Broderick

Matthew Broderick had his breakthrough debut as the protagonist in the 1986 film Ferris Bueller's Day Off. The actor went on to voice adult Simba in 1994's The Lion King before starring in both the Broadway musical and film adaptation of The Producers.

Matthew BroderickMatthew Broderick
Christopher Polk via Getty

Before his role as Ferris Bueller, the celebrity was once insincere about his sports skills. Broderick auditioned for a basketball commercial but he was actually a terrible player. After receiving several callbacks, Matthew gave up on his fib and told the director to find someone more athletic. Guilty conscious, perhaps?

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George Lazenby

Long before Daniel Craig became 007 in the James Bond franchise, George Lazenby acquired the legendary role. Yet before starring in the Bond picture On Her Majesty's Secret Service, the young man had no acting experience. The then-model lied on his resume and finally admitted it when he auditioned in front of the movie director.

George LazenbyGeorge Lazenby
Reg Burkett via Getty

"I said, 'Peter, I've never acted a day in my life. I've modeled but never spoken in front of a camera,'" Lazenby recalled. "And he's looking at me, 'What? And you say you can't act? You've fooled two of the most ruthless men I've ever met in my life. Stick to your story, and I'll make you the next James Bond." And so he did!

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Al Lewis

Old-time actor Al Lewis starred as Grandpa Munster in the television classic The Munsters. The show aired on CBS from 1964 to 1966 and followed a family of monsters, including vampires and werewolves, in their day-to-day life. Lewis's character was known for reminiscing about the "good old days."

Al LewisAl Lewis
Silver Screen Collection via Getty

Because he was auditioning for the part of an elderly grandfather, Al felt pressured to lie about his age. The thespian wasn't sure casting directors would consider him old enough to portray Grandpa Munster, so Lewis said he was born 13 years before his real birth date. The truth was exposed after the actor passed away.

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Brian Dennehy

The late Brian Dennehy was a distinguished television and film actor. Among his long list of accolades are two Tony Awards and six Primetime Emmy Award nominations. For the star's part in the 2000 film Death of a Salesman, he was awarded a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in a Miniseries or Television Film.

Brian DennehyBrian Dennehy
Robbie Jack via Getty

But Dennehy once told an infamous lie that almost cost him his reputation. The actor had falsely said that while serving as a U.S. Marine, he was wounded in the Vietnam War. Brian later admitted to exaggerating his military service history and apologized for having done so.

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