The Hollywood lifestyle of the rich and famous is glamourized and chased after by millions, but being an actor isn't always that easy on the ego.
Even Academy Award winners can't impress everybody. These hit Hollywood celebrities have been given scathing feedback during auditions from being called "ugly" to being told that their acting is the "worst"!
Meryl Streep: Insulted
Busted! A 26-year-old Meryl Streep clapped back when she overheard King Kong producer Dino De Laurentiis, in his native Italian, call the struggling young actress "ugly." "I understand what you’re saying," replied the Yale grad, now 71, before adding, "I'm sorry I’m not beautiful enough to be in King Kong!" Says a source, "Meryl was striking but her looks caught some movie honchos off guard. Dino’s  remake was mediocre, and she became a huge actress." Those 21 Oscar nominations concur!
Ryan Gosling: Dismissed
Given some of his cheesy roles as a young actor, Ryan Gosling wasn’t exactly taken seriously by execs in his early Hollywood years. "They’d joke about his previous work, which didn’t sit well with a serious and sensitive guy like Ryan," spills an industry insider, adding that one casting director even took a call while the actor, 40, was mid-audition! "The role called for him to cry and be emotional, and he had to pause while the guy chatted on the phone," spills the source. "Then he had to carry on like nothing happened." The indignity.
January Jones: Embarrassed
At January’s second audition ever, for Coyote Ugly, producer Jerry Bruckheimer asked her to perform a table-top pole dance — with "no pole," she recalled. "I just turned beet red. It was awful, and he said something like, 'Honey, you did a great reading, but you’ve got no rhythm.'" Says a source, "The experience was humiliating, and it’s nothing short of a miracle that she didn’t throw in the towel." Instead, the actress, 43, went on to land the juicy, career-making role of Betty Draper on Mad Men. Adds the source, "It’s safe to say she’ll never be put in that position again."
Keira Knightley: Imbibed
Musical superfan Keira Knightley, 36, was so on edge before trying out for a My Fair Lady film remake, she hit the sauce ahead of her big number! "I told [producer Cameron Mackintosh] that would be the only way I could sing in front of everyone," she recalled. But the liquid courage had its drawbacks: "I probably did slur my words," she admitted, adding that booze "isn’t very helpful for singing." Says a showbiz insider, "She got through the audition OK, but these days, it’s safe to say she refrains from a stiff drink until after her readings." Live and learn!
Jake Gyllenhaal: Dissed
Brokeback Mountain made Jake Gyllenhaal a Hollywood heavyweight, but four years earlier, he brutally bombed his Lord of the Rings audition! A source close to production reveals that while gunning for the role of Frodo (which went to Elijah Wood), Jake, 40, didn’t prepare an English accent and spoke in his own “California cool” cadence. Director Peter Jackson plainly informed the young hopeful that he was the “worst actor I have ever seen,” reveals a source. “If Jake learned anything at all, it was to do some research first!”
Dakota Johnson: Stripped
Before she bared all in Fifty Shades of Grey, Dakota Johnson, 31, got comfy in the buff — even for roles that didn’t require it! During a super dramatic audition, "I got really into it… and I took my shirt off [even though I] didn’t have to do that," she recalled. "Afterwards… I had to pick my shirt up off the floor… it was inappropriate. And embarrassing." Adds a source, "The casting director was a little uncomfortable. Dakota wanted to make a big and bold impression, given that her parents are Melanie Griffith and Don Johnson. Looking back, she realizes it was a bit much."