Unexpected lesson: Always bring your own chair to an audition. Actor Mahershala Ali is on the verge of an Oscar nomination for his role in "Moonlight," after winning over fans in everything from "Luke Cage" and "The Hunger Games" to "House of Cards" and "Hidden Figures." But he could've been on "Game of Thrones" if it weren't for that dang stool. (He should've brought his own Iron Throne.)
Ali was on "Jimmy Kimmel Live" last night, and described his audition for the "Game of Thrones" Season 2 role o of Daenerys Targeryen's Qarth frenemy Xaro Xhoan Daxos. (The role ultimately went to British actor Nonso Anozie.)
What went wrong for Ali? He explained to Kimmel:
"I think my audition guaranteed that I wasn't almost on 'Game of Thrones.' That was one of the worst auditions of my life. [...] I'd gone in for this casting director before, and I felt like I had two other wonky auditions with her, but I was really prepared this time around. Totally off book, had all my lines memorized, had this whole thing worked out with this chair. I was working with doing all these power moves and stances and whatnot. I had all my stuff worked out."
And then he walked into the HBO offices and ... they didn't have a chair with a back, they just had two stools.
"So, I'm kind of sitting there with my feet halfway off the ground, a little bit stiff during the audition, and then she goes, 'Wow, you gotta loosen that up, that was really stiff. That was a problem.' So it was because I didn't have a back to my chair."
Kimmel said now he knows, he has to bring a chair the next time -- even though that might be weird, to walk into an audition with your own chair. At least you'd be memorable!
Watch that clip, and more from Mahershala Ali (pronounced Mah-HERSH-alah), whose birth name is even longer:
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