Mankind was almost denied that absolute greatness of seeing actress Carla Gugino on the big screen, according to a story the actress recently told. In an appearance on The Late Late Show with James Corden, the 50-year-old actress admitted that she lied to get her first film role. Thankfully, the lie went undetected, so she kept the role and we’ve been graced with her appearances in television and film for over 30 years. Here’s the story, as told by Gugino, about how she actually nabbed a role in the Columbia Pictures film Troop Beverly Hills.
As Carla Gugino tells it, when the casting call went out for Troop Beverly Hills (released in 1989), they needed girls of a certain age to fill out the scout troop. At the time, she was 16, too old for the role, so she told the producers and casting director that she was 14. The Huffington Post points out that, without the resources of the internet to verify her age, Gugino got the job, although if you watch the film, she towers over the other girls, and is nearly as tall as lead star Shelly Long. Gugino pointed out her height difference was due to the fact that she was three years older than most of the other girls.
CheatSheet points out that lying about your age is a pretty common thing in Hollywood – Anne Hathaway, George Clooney, and Mila Kunis have admitted to lying about their age for a role. Amazingly, not only was Carla Gugino too old to play a kid, she was an emancipated 16-year-old, and considered an adult in the eyes of California authorities. Gugino had been modeling from a young age, and was legally emancipated (with her parents’ support) at 16, in order to make it easier to get jobs. She had already booked some small TV roles at the time (including Who’s The Boss and ALF), but wanted to get into movies. Troop Beverly Hills gave her that chance, and she’s been working ever since. Gugino also retold the story during an appearance on The Rachael Ray Show.
In Troop Beverly Hills, Shelley Long plays a wealthy socialite who agrees to lead her daughter’s troop of “Wilderness Girls” in order to spend more time with her. Rather than spending time “roughing it” in the woods, the troops instead spend their time on Rodeo Drive, and the usual hijinks ensure. Carla Gugino played Chica Barnfell, a girl whose parents often leave her with the troop so they can travel without her. Amazingly, Gugino said that she admitted her true age to the director, Jeff Kanew, when it was too far into filming to be recast. He told her she never would have been hired had they known, but she never had trouble getting roles after that.
In 2019, Entertainment Tonight reunited some of the cast, including star Shelley Long, to reminisce about the film and reveal a few secrets in the video below. As it turns out, Troop Beverly Hills was also the big screen debut for Tori Spelling, who would go on to fame in a television series with a similar title, Beverly Hills 90210. Carla Gugino was not able to attend the interview/reunion, as she was in New York City at the time, but she is featured sending her shout out to the cast in a recorded message.
Carla Gugino would go on to fame for her role as Silk Spectre in 2009’s DC comic book film Watchmen, as well as her roles in Sin City and the Spy Kids series. She would also appear on TV shows including Spin City and Chicago Hope. Her other film appearances include Gunpowder Milkshake, Sucker Punch, and San Andreas. She will next be seen in Fall of the House of Usher for Netflix, a follow up to two other Netflix series she appeared in, The Haunting of Hill House and The Haunting of Bly Manor.