Turns out Mahershala Ali fans could have seen the actor on Game of Thrones but his audition for the popular HBO series did not go too well.
Ali served as a guest on a recent episode of Jimmy Kimmel Live, where he proceeded to recount the audition for everyone viewing. Turns out the audition was for the role of a “merchant who gets locked in a safe in season three or something like that.” Fans of the show can safely assume that Ali was trying out for the role of Xaro Xhoan Daxos, which ultimately went to Nonso Anozie.
“I think my audition guaranteed that I wasn’t almost on Game of Thrones,” Ali told Kimmel when the host asked what happened. “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,” Ali continued. “Totally off-book, had all my lines memorized. Had this whole thing worked out with this chair…had my stuff all worked out…”
Then, as Ali entered one of the HBO offices to audition for the part, he was directed towards a stool that had no back, so he could not audition the way he had wanted to. Unfortunately, Ali gave a stiff performance (which the casting director acknowledged and told him to “loosen up”) and did not receive the part.
But he has still done well for himself. Not only did the actor portray one of the most compelling characters a part of Marvel and Netflix’s Luke Cage TV series (as antagonist Cottonmouth), but he had a standout role in the critically acclaimed Moonlight too (and made an appearance in Hidden Figures).
Check out video of Ali describing the audition below.