“The most frustrating thing is when you feel like your full potential hasn’t been recognized.” – Jack O’Connell on Auditioning
The history of film is filled with stories of actors who auditioned for big roles they didn’t get, and perhaps the most scrutinized “big role” audition process in the last several years has been the search to find the actor to succeed Harrison Ford as Han Solo in a Star Wars origin movie. Almost every actor under thirty that had even a passing resemblance to Ford was reportedly in the running, with the role ultimately going to Hail, Caesar! star Alden Ehrenreich. One of the actors who had auditioned unsuccessfully for the role was Unbroken star Jack O’Connell. In a conversation with Yahoo! Movies, O’Connell spoke about his frustrations with the Han Solo audition process.
O’Connell admitted that while he’s fine with being rejected for roles, but he felt the Han Solo casting process was “tediously frustrating.” He explains, “I love the process of auditioning, even the rejections. It will refine you and make you stronger as an actor. Or sometimes it can be so tediously frustrating that it exhausts you as an actor. I think that applied throughout this process. It didn’t go my way. I wish them all the best of luck. But I don’t know necessarily agree with the reasons given.”
According to O’Connell, part of the problem was that he was only given one opportunity to audition and didn’t feel like it showed his talent. He says, “The most frustrating thing is when you feel like your full potential hasn’t been recognized. Or, the imagination required for your potential to be recognized, isn’t necessarily there. And it’s very hard to convey all these things in one audition. But that’s the process, and I don’t think one individual will change that.”
However, O’Connell recognizes that the audition process — even ones that he feels aren’t reflective of his actual abilities — is part of the profession he chose. He explains, “That process kind of contributes to the overall exhaustion that you have to face as an actor. It’s part and parcel of the job, and the roles that are worth getting are the ones that you’ve got to fight for. As the way I see it, it’s only so often that you’re given a role that you’ve always wanted to play.”