Diane Kruger Details ‘Inappropriate’ ‘Troy’ Screen Test with Studio Executive: ‘I Felt Like Meat’

Kruger recalled an "uncomfortable" encounter with a studio executive in the lead-up to starring in the 2004 swords-and-sandal epic.
Diane Kruger attends the MoMA Film Benefit presented by CHANEL honoring Penelope Cruz at the Museum of Modern Art on Tuesday, Dec. 14, 2021, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)
Diane Kruger
Evan Agostini/Invision/AP

Diane Kruger has revealed how her turn as Helen of Troy in Wolfgang Petersen’s 2004 historical epic film came to be amid an uncomfortable circumstance.

Speaking to Variety during the ongoing SXSW Festival, Kruger opened up about an audition process for “Troy” that left her feeling degraded.

“I remember testing for ‘Troy’ and having to go to the studio head in costume,” Kruger recalled of the Wolfgang Petersen-directed film, which Warner Bros. released in May 2004. “And I felt like meat, being looked up and down and was asked, ‘Why do you think you should be playing this?'”

While the “Swimming with Sharks” star did not name the Warner Bros. executive she was referencing, Kruger continued, “I’ve been put in situations that were so inappropriate and so uncomfortable. I think when I first started out, it just felt like, this is what it’s like. This is what Hollywood is like. Also, I come from modeling, and believe me, they have their moments.”

The “Inglourious Basterds” actress added, “I’ve definitely come across the Weinsteins of this world from the get-go.”

Kruger’s past experiences, though, did in part lead to her decision to join the Roku Channel’s “Swimming with Sharks,” about the dark side of the studio system. “What really drew me to this part is that it is the Hollywood of 2022,” Kruger said. “So women have careers, they put their families or their desires on the back burner. What does that mean once you are in a position of power? How do you complete your life? The vulnerability of this character, combined with this excessive abuse of power, was really intriguing to me.”

Kruger pointed to a particular scene in “Swimming with Sharks” where her character, a Hollywood CEO, is forced to perform a sexual act on a nurse in front of her boss (Donald Sutherland) while he’s on his sickbed. “Shooting that scene was just a reminder of how disgusting and acceptable bad behavior was at a certain time in our society, not just Hollywood, “she said.

As for “Troy,” Kruger’s co-star Brad Pitt in 2019 said that the film turned out “not how [he] wanted it to be.” Pitt credited the high concept period piece for marking a “distinct shift” in his career. “About that time I made a decision that I was only going to invest in quality stories, for lack of a better term,” Pitt said.

Kruger previously discussed the difficult audition process it took to convince “Basterds” director Quentin Tarantino to cast her in the role that earned her a Screen Actors Guild Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress.

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