Mahershala Ali is on the road promoting his critically acclaimed film “Moonlight,” in which he plays a “drug-dealer with a heart” named Juan. The 42-year-old actor stopped by “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” and revealed that he auditioned for “Game of Thrones” — and completely blew it, which he blames a set of stools.
“You were almost on ‘Game of Thrones,’ which is interesting. How did that happen? They must be kicking themselves right now,” said Kimmel.
“I think my audition guaranteed that I wasn’t almost on ‘Game of Thrones,'” Ali responded. “That was one of the worst auditions of my life.”
The actor said he auditioned for the role of the “merchant who gets locked in a safe in season three or something like that,” which seems to be Xaro Xhoan Daxos, played by Nonso Anozie.
“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 said. “Totally off-book, had all my lines memorized. Had this whole thing worked out with this chai… I was working with doing all these power moves and stances and what not, had my stuff all worked out…”
But once he went into the HBO offices, instead of chairs the actor found two very uncomfortable high stools without backs, which made it almost impossible for him to look natural during his audition. At the end, he did not get the part, because he “looked too stiff.”
“Now you know, you gotta bring a chair with you next time,” Kimmel joked.
But even though he did not get the “Thrones” part, Ali has done very well for himself. He was nominated for an Emmy for his work as Remy Danton on Netflix’s “House of Cards”, and also joined the Marvel universe in “Luke Cage” as Cornell “Cottonmouth” Stokes. On the big screen, Ali is getting buzz for his work in “Moonlight,” for which he was nominated to a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor.
Watch the clip below.