Silly Mistake Cost Michael Cera A Film That Made $672 Million At The Box Office
Michael Cera has a long, but not very illustrious career.
While he appeared in quite a lot of films and TV series, all of his most notable and successful roles came in his teenage years, and nowadays he is clearly nowhere near the A-list of Hollywood actors.
However, things might have turned out differently, had he managed to get a certain role.
The Sixth Sense (1999), directed by M. Night Shyamalan, was the very definition of an unexpected hit, and it helped to propel multiple careers. Among the six Oscar nominations it got was that of Best Supporting Actor for Haley Joel Osment, who played 9-year-old Cole Sear (arguably Cole was one of the two main characters of the movie). Osment did not get that Oscar, but he earned 16 other awards for supporting actors/young actors.
However, as Michael Cera revealed in an interview with Esquire in 2009, at one point he too auditioned for the role of Cole Sear. As he said: "I auditioned for The Sixth Sense, which I didn't know was about seeing dead people."
As he explained, the reason he bungled the audition because nobody bothered to explain to him what sort of film The Sixth Sense was going to be:
"They didn't mention that in the breakdown. After seeing the movie, and remembering the scene they had me read… It was the scene with the penny. Bruce Willis is saying, 'I can't be your doctor anymore,' and Haley Joel Osment starts crying and slides the penny over to him."
And due to that misunderstanding, young Cera got the mood of the scene wrong: "I did it upbeat. I said 'Some magic's real' very optimistically."
Maybe that episode was what made Michael Cera dislike auditions. In any case, he missed his chance. Though it is hard to say, how getting it would have impacted his later career. Haley Joel Osment is somewhat similar to Cera – the role of Cole Sear still remains his most memorable performance by far, and as an adult actor he never managed to replicate that success.
Though given that The Sixth Sense made $672 million at the box office, at the very least playing in it would have made Cera wealthier.