Imagine if somebody was planning to auction off a tape of your last few job interviews — even that awkward one in which you were completely wrong for the job!
You’d probably wonder why anyone would want that, right? Well, if you were a major Hollywood star people would definitely be interested in glimpses of you behind the scenes. And something just like that job interview scenario nearly happened. That’s because on April 5th and 6th Julien’s Auctions was set to auction off a variety of film memorabilia, including audition tapes of some of Hollywood’s biggest names, but the sale of the audition tapes has been stopped by SGA-AFTRA. The auction will go on, just without the tapes.
The Hollywood Reporter revealed a partial list of actors whose tapes were set to be on the auction block, including Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, Robert Downey Jr., Keanu Reeves, Dermot Mulroney, Sandra Bullock, Gwyneth Paltrow, Julianne Moore, Helen Hunt, David Arquette, Adrien Brody, Noah Wylie, Ben Affleck, Lisa Kudrow, Ellen DeGeneres, Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly and Patrick Dempsey.
In a statement, SAG-AFTRA general counsel Duncan Crabtree-Ireland said, “Auditions are not public performances, and under SAG-AFTRA collective bargaining agreements performers are entitled to expect them to remain private.” Per union rules actors must be obeyed if they request their audition tapes be erased, though in the cases of the tapes being sold none of the above actors requested that. Casting directors Jane Jenkins and Janet Hirshenson, who have worked in the industry as casting directors for over three decades, were behind the sales. Since they cannot sell the tapes, the pair has decided to donate them to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences instead.
It has not been reported if any specific actor took issue with his or her tape being sold, but it’s a good tip to keep in mind to request that your tape be erased if you are an actor and are concerned with who might end up with your audition tape. After all, when you’re starring in the next Hollywood blockbuster you probably don’t want people to see your failed attempt to be cast in a zany toothpaste commercial from a few years back, right?
The full statement is below:
SAG-AFTRA considers the right of performers to control the use of their image to be of utmost importance and we vigorously protect those rights. Our collective bargaining agreements include protections for performers against exploitation of audition and interview tapes, which must be erased upon performers’ request. Failure to comply with such a request will result in formal legal action pursuant to the agreements. Unauthorized use of audition and interview footage may also result in claims against producers and casting directors under right of publicity and/or privacy laws.
“Auditions are not public performances, and under SAG-AFTRA collective bargaining agreements performers are entitled to expect them to remain private. SAG-AFTRA, on behalf of our members, has requested that Julien’s Auctions discontinue the sale of these private tapes, and they have agreed to do so immediately,” said SAG-AFTRA General Counsel Duncan Crabtree-Ireland.