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Sean Penn Recalls How His 'Fast Times At Ridgemont High' Audition Went Terribly

Sean Penn Recalls How His 'Fast Times At Ridgemont High' Audition Went Terribly
June 18, 2020 - 20:13 / Amanda Stanford

Sean Penn is reliving the breakout role that got him launched into Hollywood! The actor recalls the "terrible" audition that landed him the part!

It was like, a total bust, man!

Sean Penn may be a Hollywood superstar now, but before he was an A-lister, there was his breakout role in Fast Times At Ridgemont High!

Playing the iconic stoner "Jeff Spicoli," Penn recalls what it was like filming and auditioning for the '80s teen comedy.

Sean Penn attends the 7th Annual Sean Penn & Friends HAITI RISING Gala benefiting J/P Haitian Relief Organization

Jimmy Fallon interviewed the star on Wednesday's The Tonight Show and asked Penn about a little rumor he heard on the audition process.

"I heard a story that when you auditioned for Fast Times," Fallon started.

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"You came in for the audition and you said 'I'm not gonna audition. I know who Spicoli is so if you want to see him you have to hire me,'" he continued.

"It's mostly true," Penn laughed before launching into the story.

"The way I remember it was that I — long before I had a penny in my pocket — had a kind of feeling of entitlement as an actor, not because I thought I was so good, but because I thought that the rest were not so good," he said.

"And that gave me an awful lot of confidence," the Oscar-winning actor added.

He then went on to say that he was terrible at auditions and resented them.

FAST TIMES AT RIDGEMONT HIGH, Sean Penn, 1982

"But I auditioned — terribly," he continued. "So they dismissed me and I left." But somehow, the director Don Phillips saw something in young Penn and chased him into the parking lot to demand a second shot.

"Don Phillips came running into the parking lot where my broken down Mazda I borrowed was sitting and I was just about to leave," Penn said.

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"And he said 'Get back in here and audition your ass off,' something like that. He says, 'You're not going anywhere,'" he continued.

He then said that they ended up taking a gamble, and good thing, too, since he had so much fun shooting the film!