Eric Braeden is obviously best known for playing Victor Newman on The Young and the Restless (Y&R). But even film buffs who’ve never watched a soap opera often recognize the actor for his small role in the biggest film of all time, Titanic.
In a new interview with TV Insider, Braeden reveals that he stormed out of his audition for the James Cameron film. Why? Because the casting director was a few minutes late.
“I walked out of an interview with a casting director for Titanic,” Braeden said of his tryout for the role of John Jacob Astor. “I was there at 11 a.m. At five past, I said, ‘One more minute and I’m out.’ It was a power game they were playing.”
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Apparently that minute passed, because Braeden ran into the casting director on his way out.
“I opened the door and the casting director said, ‘What are you doing here?’ I said, ‘You know, I’m just asking myself the same question. You have a nice day,’” Braeden recalled.
“I walked out. I told my agency, ‘Don’t ever send me there again,’” the actor continued. “About a month later, they begged me to come back.”
The soap star admitted that he gave the audition another chance, not only because he had researched Astor’s biography, but because his family convinced him.
“I read about John Jacob Astor and thought, ‘This is an interesting character.’ My wife and son said to me, ‘You’ve got to work with James Cameron,’” Braeden admitted.
“Finally, I did. I showed up early at Warner Bros. and walked into the office. There was a video camera in an otherwise empty room,” the star explained. “I was asked, ‘Can you say these two lines?’”
Given that Braeden once convinced Y&R writers to craft a backstory for Victor Newman to explain his wild temperament, this scrap of dialogue was offensive.
“What, pray tell, can you learn from two lines?” Braeden asked incredulously. “[The casting director] said ‘Thank you.’ I said, ‘No. Let me tell you about John Jacob Astor, the man I read about.”
Alas, Braeden’s passion for the role didn’t budge the writers, in this case. Despite a rocky start, Braeden managed to score the bit part of a lifetime, as Titanic would go on to become the most successful movie in Hollywood history.
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