In the #MeToo era, we’ve heard a lot of scary audition stories. But this one from Julianna Margulies is just chilling.
In her upcoming memoir Sunshine Girl: An Unexpected Life, according to an excerpt obtained by DailyMail.com, the ER alum recounts a shocking story of auditioning for what would be her first film role, in the 1991 action film Out For Justice. That’s a huge deal for an actor as you have to get your first job before getting a SAG card, which allows you to be cast in other jobs. Yeah, it’s a real catch 22.
So keep that in mind as the now three-time Emmy winner describes what she was willing to risk to get the part.
At the time Julianna was a 24-year-old hopeful when a casting director called her at 10 p.m. to audition that night. That… doesn’t happen. Not only that, the audition was for the film’s star, Steven Seagal. He was starting to become a big action star, though the future Good Wife actress says she had not yet even heard of him. So she was meeting some actor she was unfamiliar with in his hotel room in the middle of the night?
RED FLAG, GURL!
However, Margulies was desperate. She writes that the call was so last minute she had to wash out mayonnaise she had put in her hair for an overnight shine treatment before calling a car to take her to the hotel.
The actress describes Seagal exactly as we’d picture him: wearing an unzipped velour tracksuit revealing a big gold chain on his shaved chest.
Yeah, movie heroes in the ’90s, what can we tell ya?
Not only that, the casting director, who’d told her she would be there, too? Total no-show.
Margulies says she was shown to the sofa (a literal casting couch? ew!) where she sat down on something hard in between the cushions. She jumped up right away. That’s when, she says, Seagal pulled out a big handgun from under her.
As she writes, he said casually, in that perpetually whispery voice:
“Whoops, must have left my gun there.”
Then he told her:
“I need this, see, there are all sorts of crazies out there, so I need to protect myself.”
Seagal is 6′ 4″ and a black belt in aikido. If he needs a gun, wtf chance do the rest of us have??
We don’t know about personal protection, but what the gun for sure did was intimidate Margulies. In fact, she writes, it was the first gun she’d ever seen in person. Scary! Not only that, she says the Under Siege star waived the weapon around — as he suggested they retire to the bedroom. Ick.
She says she knew she had to remain calm in the situation despite freaking out on the inside. After all, no one knew where she was! She writes:
“Now I began to understand that I had been duped, put into a situation beyond my control… Pretending I wasn’t s**tting myself was the best course of action. Just start talking, say something, deflect… I had no chance of survival against a giant with a gun.”
Thankfully she’s an amazing actress. She successfully kept her cool as she sat with Seagal on the bed. He finally put the gun down on the bedside table as he read her palms — explaining to her he was a healer. He told her the lines on her hands told him she had decaying kidneys and that he could fix that for her.
She stood up before any “healing” could begin, said something about the time, and quickly backed out of the room. She says Seagal followed her at first — but then stopped. And she got away.
The next day she auditioned again, this time a proper one with the casting director and everyone there. She says Seagal smiled at her creepily — but she got the part.
During the shoot, she writes, she asked that someone from hair and makeup stay with her at all times:
“I didn’t want to be left alone in a room with Seagal, ever… Getting paid to act was the dream I had been waiting for. I wasn’t about to let him spoil that.”
And she didn’t! That small role in the film, as an innocent hooker Seagal saved from a violent pimp, was just the beginning.
Unfortunately, this was also just the beginning of Seagal’s alleged bad behavior as well. In 2017, at the dawn of the #MeToo movement, he was outed immediately and by multiple women. Lisa Guerrero said after auditioning for 1997’s Fire Down Below she was asked to go to a “private audition” with the star — and when she didn’t she was offered a much smaller role instead. Portia de Rossi later said she had to run away when he tried to expose himself to her in his office.
In 2018, Seagal was accused of raping a Native American teenager while filming the 1994 film On Deadly Ground.
Considering the man was not only bigger than Margulies, in a position of power over a new actress, AND armed with a deadly weapon… we are SO glad this particular story ended the way it did. Scary stuff…
For more stories of the business — hopefully nicer ones — Sunshine Girl is expected to release on May 4.
[Image via Ivan Nikolov/WENN.]