Remember Seth Rogen’s mid-aughts stoner comedy “Pineapple Express”? Very few people know this, but Kaley Cuoco came this close to booking the part of Rogen’s high school-aged girlfriend. “I would’ve bet money on it that I had that role,” Cuoco recalls, having walked out of an admittedly terrifying audition wherein she had to improvise with Rogen for half an hour. Though she was ultimately incorrect, safe to say things worked out just fine for the “The Flight Attendant” star and executive producer.
What performance should every actor see and why?
Every actor should watch an episode of “I Love Lucy” and watch what Lucille Ball does physically, and with her eyes and expression. [Comedy] is not easy! That’s why I love comedy, because you’re not taking yourself seriously. I think that’s hard for some people: to make fun of yourself, to have big eyes. That is, it’s a special gift to be able to let yourself go and make somebody laugh.
“I heard I didn’t get it, I was like, ‘What the fuck? Are you kidding me? That was torture! You tortured me!’”
Do you have an audition horror story you could share with us?
Yes, I do. Do you remember a film called “Pineapple Express?” OK, so it was down to me, Amber [Heard], and two other people for that role. Amber ended up doing it. It was a very long time ago. I would’ve bet money on it that I had that role. They had me come in—I think the other girls had to do this, too—I had to do about 30 minutes of improv with Seth Rogen. But I’m talking, like, they were telling me things to do and I had to act it out. It was so horrifying, scary, fun, intimidating. They were like, “OK, now you’re on Jerry Springer.” And I had to do the scene as if I was on Jerry Springer. “And now you’re a dog-walker.” I left the thing, and I remember thinking it was so horrible, but also thinking I nailed it? Like, I was so unsure what happened. And I went home, I was like, “How could they not hire me? Done.” And then I heard I didn’t get it, I was like, “What the fuck? Are you kidding me? That was torture! You tortured me!” True story.
What is the wildest thing you ever did to actually get a job?
I’ve definitely reached out to people before, like, “Oh, my God, I wanna do this so bad.” I’m not above begging at all. Actually, I feel like this story counts, even though it’s actually not about me but I begged, begged Rosie Perez to be on “The Flight Attendant.” She was not attached, and she agreed to meet with me. I met with her in a coffee shop in Queens, and she was like, “I don’t know, what’s the character?” I literally begged her, like, “I will do anything.” And she goes, “You know, I have to tell you: I hate flying.” And then I’m like, “Can I tell you it’s about a boat captain? Will you do it then? And then I’ll change the whole thing.” I know that’s not about me getting a project, but I was not above begging her, and I truly was like, “I will take such care of you. You will be the queen. Anything you need.” She didn’t tell me [her decision] at the lunch; she had to think about it. And then that afternoon she left me a message on my phone and said, “I’m in.” My begging worked.
How did you get your SAG membership?
It must’ve been one of my young commercials. You know I was the Barbie girl from [when I was] 5–8 years old? One of my first commercials was Barbie, and also Kentucky Fried Chicken. And then I had to sing—I was the Oscar Mayer kid; I had to sing the song with the weiner going by. I’m assuming one of those commercials got me my SAG card.
What advice would you give your younger self?
I think I’ve done this, and I’m glad I did, but I would still tell myself to stay true to who you are. Don’t let this business conform you or change you. And stick to your beliefs. Let your heart pick your projects for you.
Looking for remote work? Backstage has got you covered! Click here for auditions you can do from home!