Lena Dunham Gave Director Penny Marshall Attitude When She Was 12

The star of Girls, Lena Dunham, almost got chosen to perform in Riding In Cars With Boys, but according to the actress and filmmaker, she messed up her audition. In a recent interview, Dunham was talking about her new movie, Sharp Stick, and at a certain point, she was asked which was her favorite movie. Her answer was A League of Their Own and Cagle, and the follow-up question was if she ever met people who were involved with the films. While she had met both Tom Hanks and Madonna, she recalled her disastrous encounter with director Penny Marshall.

Lena Dunham Auditioned for Riding in Cars With Boys When She Was 12

Lena Dunham

At the age of 12, Lena Dunham auditioned for Marshall’s Riding in Cars With Boys and gave him a bit of an attitude. Apparently, Marshall was not impressed and gave the role to another actress. Dunham further shared that she now understood why she didn’t get the role. It seems Marshall asked the young actors to say their names, height, and where they were from and then smile. Dunham’s response was to say she was Lena, from New York, and that she didn’t smile on command. She remembered how Penny Marshall responded by telling her that smiling on command was called acting.

Lena Dunham Thought Her Career Was Over After the Rejection

Lena Dunham and the cast of Girls

In hindsight, Lena Dunham realized that her attitude at the time was certainly not that of a professional actress. She admitted that she was on the director’s side, stating that Marshal was right to choose somebody else because no one would hire an actor who says they can’t smile on command. Dunham concluded by recollecting how she went home after that, knowing that she would not get the part. She also remembered how her mother would later tell her how she lay in bed for about a week and moaned that her career was over.

Fortunately, Dunham’s career wasn’t over, and she went on to create and star in HBO’s hit show Girls. Since then, she has continued acting, writing, and directing.