In his new memoir Yearbook, Seth Rogen detailed a scarring audition he experienced in 2002, when he went out for the role of Cheddar in the Eminem biopic 8 Mile.
Rogen admitted that the audition was, “by far, the weirdest audition I ever did.” The movie’s casting director apparently wasn’t comfortable reading lines to Rogen off-camera because of how “rappery” the dialogue was. To combat this, the director asked that those auditioning bring in someone to read alongside them.
“Which is fucking nuts,” Rogen said. Rogen admitted that he chose none other than Jason Segel to come with him, a longtime friend and former Freaks & Geeks co-star. “We asked our agents if our auditions could be scheduled one right after the other, so that one of us could audition for Cheddar, with the other reading the Rabbit part, and then we’d switch,” Rogen wrote.
As Rogen writes, the audition was a disaster. “Auditioning is embarrassing in the best of times,” Rogen reminisced. “Add the fact that one of my best friends is watching me do it, and we’re both reading for rappers from Detroit, which we could NOT have been less right for.” Once the audition kicked off, both actors broke down laughing. “I started laughing hysterically,” Rogen writes. “And so did Jason. We literally couldn’t make it through the auditions. As soon as one of us started the scene, the other would lose it.”
“Yo, yo, Rabbit!” Seth remembers saying as Cheddar. “You gotta record your shit at Paisely Park, yo!”
“Where, yo?” Segal responded, as Rabbit.
“Paisley Park, muthafucka!” Rogen said.
With lines like these sprinkled throughout the entire scene, Rogen and Segel soon broke down, and both walked out of the audition cracking up. “It was so silly, we just couldn’t finish,” Rogen explained. “We just excused ourselves and saw ourselves out, tears streaming down our faces.”
Evan Jones (Jarhead) ended up securing the role of Cheddar, while Eminem of course received critical acclaim for his portrayal of Jimmy “B-Rabbit” Smith Jr.
Oh, what could’ve been.