Jessica Alba auditioning for the role of Agent 99 in Get Smart, which went to Anne Hathaway? Julia Roberts doing an unknown audition before she became Pretty Woman? A very young Natalie Portman auditioning for her breakthrough role as Mathilde in Leon: The Professional? Robert DeNiro auditioning for the role of Sonny Corleone in The Godfather?

I’ve always wanted to see the audition tapes of famous actors, for many reasons. First, it’s really refreshing to see that the stars too, had (and have!) to stand in front of a four headed committee, unflattering light and everything, and act with a monotoning casting director. And second, it’s really educative! You see pure self-generated acting from the greats without props and sets and costars. You might also get an idea of what your audition tapes look like, and what does and doesn’t work.

So I present to you here: 15 great (and not so great) audition tapes of famous actors…

Jessica Alba for Get Smart
Who knew even famous actresses still had to audition? I found it quite an interesting discovery! Here is Jessica Alba, just a few years ago, auditioning for the role of Agent 99 in Get Smart, which went to Anne Hathaway. Word is that there’s also a video of Jessica Biel auditioning for this very same role going around. Will try and look for that one!

Rachel McAdams for The Notebook
This is a pretty amazing audition tape, I think. Rachel McAdams has been one of my favorite actresses ever since she went from brilliantly bitchy Regina George in the comedy Mean Girls to an impulsive, sweet girl in drama The Notebook. I do need to add that I’m not with the 95% of women that love the Notebook, but I like Rachel. And I like this tape.

Megan Fox for Transformers
And from that greatness we go to this audition tape with Megan Fox. Megan is the reason I sometimes think I could be a lesbian, but I don’t think this is a very good audition. Granted, she isn’t given much to work with either. Michael Bay should just spare girls the trouble of auditioning and have them send in bikini pictures.

Gerard Butler for Dracula 2000
I haven’t seen Dracula 2000 nor do I plan on it, but this audition is probably better than the movie deserves. It is fantastically weird and mime always makes me cringe, but Gerard totally goes for it despite the absurdity of the scene he has to do. Pretty impressive! I’m sure that crazy conviction helped him land the lead in 300.

Scarlett Johansson for Jumanji
Only 9 years old, but already with the full lips and raspy voice that made her famous later on. The role in Jumanji eventually went to Kirsten Dunst, but it’s still major cuteness!

Evangeline Lilly for Lost
Okay, Evangeline is my girl crush so I can never say anything negative about her. It’s a pretty good audition I think. Especially considering she started auditioning for TV and films as an experiment, without wanting anything out of it. Which probably made it easier, not having the pressure of having it being your be-ll and end-all.

Russell Brand for Forgetting Sarah Marshall
This is an improvised audition and a pretty good one at that. Russell Brand is a comedian of course so it must have been a walk in the park for him. Funny stuff. Amazing how he keeps a straight face!

Natalie Portman for Leon: the Professional
Leon is one of my favorite movies of all time, and boy did I want to play the role of Mathilda when I was young. Here is Natalie auditioning for the role that would be her first feature film and made her famous at the age of 11. Although I loved her performance in the film, I felt this audition was a little bit underwhelming. She does have something appropriately dark in her eyes though.

Jennifer Garner for Daredevil
Nice contrasts in her acting and I was surprised by her natural beauty. I don’t think anyone can dislike Jennifer.

Robert DeNiro for The Godfather
Well, it’s Robert DeNiro, need I say more? The role was given to James Caan instead, but Robert got to play the young Don Corleone in The Godfather part II.

Rose Byrne for Get Him to the Greek
Ever since I saw her as a prissy princess in the very funny Bridesmaids Rose is quickly becoming one of my favorites. To go from that role to this, with the voice and accent changes (she is actually Australian) is pretty admirable. She got the job, of course.

Gabourey Sidibe for Precious
According to Gabourey, she was pushed by friends to go audition for Precious. Whatever the story, she does an amazing job for someone who has never had acting classes. And got a deserved Oscar nomination for it. Although I think the movie was a bit overrated.

Ellen Page & Olivia Thirlby for Juno
Those two girls worked great with each other in Juno and it shows in this audition, which I’m guessing is actually a chemistry test since they’re playing together. Chemistry tests are one of the final audition rounds in which they check whether actors who made it through the first rounds work well together.

Julia Roberts Auditioning in 1986
Before she got the lead in my favorite Cinderella story Pretty Woman and won the world with her smile, here is Miss Julia Roberts auditioning for an unknown movie with actor Alan Boyce in 1986.

Emma Stone for Easy A
It’s becoming more and more usual to audition through self taped scenes. Here is Emma Stone auditioning for what would become her break-through role in Easy A. And she does make acting seem easy, doesn’t she? The fancy words just roll off her tongue…

So, what do you think of the acting in these audition tapes?