Brad Pitt’s co-star in the 2004 blockbuster Troy has revealed that the screen test to get their role was “so inappropriate and so uncomfortable.” The German actor Diane Kruger told Variety that in order to be cast in the central role of Helen in Wolfgang Petersen’s epic Hollywood take on the ancient Greek legend of the fall of Troy (which starred Brad Pitt as Achilles), she was allegedly required to go in person to an unnamed Warner Bros studio executive’s office in costume and was made to feel like “a piece of meat.” While screen tests are a typical part of the Hollywood casting process (usually used to determine an actor’s suitability for a particular role on camera), requiring it to be in person and for an executive rather than a casting director is not typical. Kruger told Variety:
I remember testing for Troy… and having to go to the studio head in costume. And I felt like meat, being looked up and down and was asked, ‘Why do you think you should be playing this?’
The MeToo Movement was originally created by activist Tarana Burke in 2006, initially on the early social media platform MySpace. The movement was brought to greater prominence by the actor Alyssa Milano in 2017, and particularly by the use of “MeToo” as a hashtag on Twitter. In the wake of the allegations against Miramax head Harvey Weinstein (and his eventual and ongoing imprisonment), the basic goal to expose sexual abuse and sexual harassment has grown even more prominent. In the interview with Variety, Diane Kruger went on to say that she encountered the “Weinsteins of this world” immediately upon arriving in Hollywood, and that the modeling industry she had first made her career in has its own issues. While Brad Pitt was the most prominent lead in the large ensemble cast of Troy (which also included Sean Bean, Orlando Bloom, Brian Cox, and Eric Bana), he did not have a production or executive role in the making or casting of the film.
This is not the only casting issue that Diane Kruger has publicly spoken about. After starring in Troy with Brad Pitt, she would reunite with him in the 2009 Quentin Tarantino-directed war film Inglourious Basterds. According to Kruger, the director of Pulp Fiction and Reservoir Dogs was adamantly opposed to her being cast in the role and only auditioned her after “there was no one left to audition.” He also allegedly made her pay for a flight from America to Germany to audition, though in fairness, in literally every other industry but Hollywood, it is fairly standard to manage your own transportation to get to a job interview. Kruger was ultimately cast in the role of a German film star turned double agent in Inglourious Basterds, and was nominated for a Screen Actors Guild Award.
Ironically, Diane Kruger’s next upcoming role has her playing the part of an abusive film studio boss in the Roku mini-series Swimming with Sharks, co-starring with Chilling Adventures of Sabrina’s Kiernan Shipka and film icon Donald Sutherland. Brad Pitt has several parts coming up in the Sandra Bullock/Channing Tatum adventure comedy The Lost City and starring in the action-comedy Bullet Train. Hopefully, future auditions for Kruger will not be as difficult as these ones.