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12 Hollywood Nepotism Babies Who Actually Had To Audition For Their Parts, And 10 Who Got To Skip Straight To The Spotlight
These days, it seems like everyone in Hollywood is a "nepotism baby" — aka someone with already-famous parents. However, not all of them are just handed their roles on a silver platter. Sometimes, their parents make them audition just like everybody else.

12 Hollywood Nepotism Babies Who Actually Had To Audition For Their Parts, And 10 Who Got To Skip Straight To The Spotlight

From the Smiths to the Coppolas, a lot of big names in Hollywood can trace their successful careers back to the leg up their celebrity parents gave them in the industry.

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However, while some actors, directors, and producers are willing to hand their kids a role in a TV show or movie, others make their children go through the audition process alongside other actors.

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Here are 12 celebs who made their kids audition for a role:

1. Though Maude Apatow’s early roles were parts in movies her dad Judd Apatow directed, she had to audition for the role of Claire Carlin in The King of Staten Island.

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She told Variety, “I always want to make sure I can prove myself and that I’m right for it and that it’s not just given to me.”

Judd told Variety, “I wanted to make sure the chemistry with [her onscreen brother] Pete [Davidson] was correct and wanted to see them together, to see what their vibe was.”

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In the same interview, Pete added, “We held a bunch of auditions, and Maude stood out from day one. I was always a fan of Maude, and right after we read with her, we were like, ‘Bingo!'”

2. Isan Elba auditioned with her dad, Idris Elba, for the role of his onscreen daughter in Beast. He “was very tough on her” — and she didn’t get the role.

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Idris told The Breakfast Club that, despite what a great job Isan did in her audition, their real-life chemistry “wasn’t right for film, weirdly enough.” Producer Will Packer added that “some of the nuances of that real-life relationship sometimes doesn’t translate onscreen.”

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He also said that, after she learned she didn’t get the role, she didn’t speak to him “for about three weeks.”

He said, “We got through that, you know. And I’m really proud of her to go through that and to not get the role, but still come to the premiere.”

3. O’Shea Jackson Jr. was studying screenwriting at USC when his dad — legendary rapper Ice Cube — asked him to audition to play him in the biopic Straight Outta Compton.

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“It was about cementing my family’s legacy,” O’Shea told The Jenny McCarthy Show. “That’s just what the main importance was.”

However, Ice Cube wanted the best actor for the job, so he encouraged his son to study the craft of acting. For two years, O’Shea “was going to acting classes, learning techniques, going to auditions, callbacks, and things like that.”

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He told People, “When you haven’t acted before, it’s a big dish. But I couldn’t sit in a theater and think someone is portraying my father the wrong way. If I was thinking ‘Oh, he wouldn’t have done that’ it would’ve nauseated me.”

Ice Cube also said, “If we found a better Cube, then we had to go with the best man for the job. That’s how acting and movie shoots work. So I couldn’t give it to him – and I wouldn’t if I could because that’s easy.”

In the end, what set O’Shea apart from the other two final contenders wasn’t his familial connection to the role — it was his rapping skills.

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He said, “When Universal finally picked me, it was a weight off my shoulders. And making me do all that work built confidence.”

4. On Young Sheldon, Zoe Perry plays Mary Cooper — the younger version of a role her mother Laurie Metcalf originated on The Big Bang Theory.

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Zoe told Entertainment Weekly she got the role through the “typical” process of auditioning, but there was “this other crazy layer to it.”

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She said, “I went in and auditioned for the casting directors and for [executive producers] Chuck Lorre and Steve Molaro. Then, the rest is my lucky history.”

5. Jaden Smith made his onscreen debut playing his father Will Smith’s onscreen son in The Pursuit of Happyness — but the studio prohibited director Gabriele Muccino from asking Will if he could cast Jaden in the role.

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According to the actor’s memoir, Will, the director told him, “The studio felt like it was a death sentence for the film from a marketing standpoint. They felt that people wouldn’t be able to suspend disbelief seeing Jaden and you on camera as father and son.”

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Will also wrote, “The studio also felt that it would seem like nepotism, and just put us in the hole from the first announcement.”

However, after auditioning almost five hundred other children, Gabriele finally got them to let him bring Jaden in for an on-camera chemistry test with his dad. Afterward, Jaden was “asked to audition an unprecedented nine separate times.”

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Will said, “It was such a touchy subject at the studio that Jada [Pinkett Smith] and I removed ourselves from the decision-making process…there were conflicts of interest everywhere we looked.”

When the studio asked Jaden to audition for a tenth time, his mom told them he was no longer available — which pushed the director to finally tell the studio that “he was emotionally incapable of making the film without Jaden.”

6. Clint Eastwood made his son Scott Eastwood audition for small roles in the movies he directed, including Flags of Our Fathers and Gran Torino.

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Early in his acting career, Scott used his mother’s last name, so his early credits are under Scott Reeves.

Scott told Sunday People, “It was probably the best thing dad could have done for me. He could have made it easy, but I wouldn’t have learned anything from that.”

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Clint also made Scott pay for his own college. He “would audition for parts and then drive back down to San Diego to work that night.”

“He grew up during the Depression, and he had to work hard for everything, including his early years as an actor,” Scott said. “He believes you have to earn your way in life and I agree, although there were a lot of times when I would be angry with him because I knew he could have helped me out with money.”

7. On a flashback episode of Riverdale, Michael Consuelos guest-starred as the teenage version of Hiram Lodge, who’s usually played by his dad Mark Consuelos. He was nervous to audtition.

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On Live with Kelly and Ryan, he said, “Dad had told me that they wanted me to audition for it…and I was so nervous. I never auditioned for anything before.”

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He continued, “I went there with a bunch of people who could’ve been brothers or cousins. It looked like it was a bunch of Michaels in the audition room. I’m like, ‘Gosh, am I gonna get it?'”

8. After Mad Men creator, Matthew Weiner, wrote the character Glen Bishop, he asked his son Marten Weiner if he wanted to audition — with the caveat that “If there’s a kid that’s better, I’m gonna choose him.”

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Marten told Vulture, “I learned my lines, auditioned, and then I got the part…I said it was fine [if I didn’t get it], of course. It wasn’t that harsh. That’s what my dad was afraid of, that people would think that he hired me just because I’m his kid.”

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Matthew was initially hesitant to ask him to audition. He told NPR, “He was cast because he was the best person available for the role. I would have never thought of him if he wasn’t my son. It was actually someone else’s idea, and I was counseled against it from all the complications that could happen from him failing at that job. But he really nailed it, and he’s a really good actor.”

9. Angelina Jolie doesn’t want her children to become actors, but she let her daughter Vivienne Jolie-Pitt take the part of young Aurora in Maleficent because “the other three- and four-year-old [performers] wouldn’t come near [her].”

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She told Entertainment Weekly, “It had to be a child that liked me and wasn’t afraid of my horns and my eyes and my claws. So it had to be Viv.”

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However, her other children weren’t able to withstand her villain look as easily. She said, “When Pax saw me for the first time, he ran away and got upset — and I thought he was kidding, so I was pretending to chase him until I actually found him crying. I had to take off pieces [of the makeup] in front of him to show him it was all fake and not freak out so much.”

10. Though Natasha Bure has appeared in several movies alongside her mom Candace Cameron Bure —including Switched for Christmas and Faith, Hope & Love — she wants people to know that she doesn’t get those roles handed to her.

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She told Today, “A lot of people will kind of assume that if I get any job or work at all that it’s from her. Or it’s given to me or it’s handed to me, and it’s honestly quite literally the opposite.”

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She continued, “I work hard for everything that I do, and I’m out here like everyone else just grinding and trying to follow my dreams and make them come true. So I think that’s one misconception that’s a little bit frustrating to see.”

11. Portraying the younger version of her mom Milla Jovovich’s character Alice, Ever Anderson made her onscreen debut in Resident Evil: Final Chapter — which her dad Paul W. S. Anderson directed.

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Milla and Paul put her through two years of training before she auditioned, but Milla was still nervous about letting her daughter act. She told Entertainment Tonight, “I said, ‘I don’t want to torture our daughter, I don’t want to burn her out. The last thing we want to do is like, nip this in the bud.'”

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However, Ever turned out to be a natural. 

Milla said, “Not only did she bring all this talent to the table, but she was very professional and very well-behaved on set and was very serious about what she was doing. I didn’t have to play the mom card or anything, she got it. It was unbelievable.”

Her parents are ” just trying to make sure that she works for it” because “one of the biggest problems that young actors or celebrities have in this industry is too much too fast.”

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12. And Tori Spelling first heard that her dad Aaron Spelling was producing Beverly Hills, 90210 from her agent. After snooping through her dad’s briefcase for more information, she decided she wanted the part of Andrea and auditioned under a fake name.

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She told Entertainment Weekly, “I went in under a different name, then I got the part of Donna — which I’m sure had something to do with my dad.”

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And now, here are 10 celebs who handed their children roles:

13. Maya Hawke guest-starred on an episode of her father’s miniseries, The Good Lord Bird, and she’s set to star alongside her mother Uma Thurman in the upcoming comedy thriller, The Kill Room. She’s very open about the fact that she didn’t have to audition for either part.

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She told NME, “It was like, ‘It’d be so fun if you were here and we could do this together because it’s hard to be together.'”

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She also said that it’s “super familial” when she works with either of her parents.

14. Francis Ford Coppola faced a lot of backlash for casting his daughter Sofia Coppola — who had virtually no acting experience — in The Godfather Part III.

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After Winona Ryder got so sick she had to drop out of the role, the director made the last-minute decision to cast Sofia over the other two contenders, Annabella Sciorra and Laura San Giacomo.

Sofia told Entertainment Weekly, “When I got it, I was worried. Did I just get it because I’m his daughter? I was upset, so I asked my Aunt Tally [Talia Shire, who was also in the film], and she said, ‘He’s not going to put his movie and you in jeopardy, no one would do that to their kid.'”

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However, behind the scenes, Talia was worried about her. She told EW, “I said, ‘Hey Francis, I’m not so sure. This is a big film, I’m real scared for her.’ When it was a fact, and he really wanted her, and she knew he wanted and needed her, I said, ‘You are going to be fine, don’t worry.'”

“I didn’t realize how much pressure I would be under — people want to see Francis’s daughter fall on her face,” Sofia told EW at the time.

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She continued, “My whole life I’ve had to prove myself harder. But any time you are under a lot of pressure, you do try harder. Catching up on years of acting training was the most difficult.”

15. Director Kevin Smith has been casting his daughter Harley Quinn Smith in his movies her entire life, starting with the baby version of his own character in Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back. Her first leading role was Colleen McKenzie in Yoga Hosers, a spin-off for her character from his movie Tusk.

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She told Front Row Features, “It’s a very weird, unique situation to be in — being in a film where you’re starring in with your family and your friends and actors you’ve looked up to your whole life while also being handed it.”

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She continued, “I had a seamless introduction into the entertainment world, which doesn’t usually happen with most people. I’m extremely thankful that my start into this world was a breeze so that really motivates me to work twice as hard as any other actor to compensate for how easy it was to get into this business.”

16. When Richard Linklater got the ball rolling on his 12-years-long project Boyhood, he didn’t intend to cast his own daughter, but then-8-year-old Lorelei Linklater pleaded with him to give her the role of Samantha.

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Three years in, Lorelei asked her dad, “Can my character die?” However, her desire to leave the project faded, and years later, Richard learned that it had stemmed from a Harry Potter book release scene they’d filmed, which felt like an invasion of something she held dearly.

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Richard told the Telegraph, “I had Lorelei dress as Professor McGonagall, though I think she wanted to be Hermione. Those stories were so real in her life. She thought she was going to get a letter from Hogwarts saying she could go there. She thought she might date Harry Potter. Not Daniel Radcliffe, Harry. So I think us filming that scene felt to her that we were belittling that, invading her space. She couldn’t admit it then. But she can now.”

17. After writer/director Ben Falcone cast his wife Melissa McCarthy in Thunder Force, he found the perfect person to play the younger version of her character — their daughter Vivian Falcone.

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In the movie’s press notes, Ben said, “[We usually] kept Vivian out of acting, but she’s very good at it. We needed a person to play a 12-year-old Lydia, and Vivian is a dead ringer for Melissa at that age.”

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He continued, “She’s like her mom in that she can stay in the scene and then you can pitch her alternate ways that the scene can go based on what you think might be a little funnier or different  — and she is able to make those adjustments. And she is only 12.”

18. Director Bruce Paltrow was hesitant about letting his daughter Gwyneth Paltrow act, but when she was 17, he cast her in the TV pilot High so she could get her Screen Actors Guild membership card.

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They didn’t work together again until the movie Duets, which he spent four years finding financing for. At first, Gwyneth’s then-boyfriend Brad Pitt was supposed to star alongside her, but he dropped out after their breakup.

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No longer having Brad attached to the project made it even more difficult to get the movie made.

Production began soon after Bruce was diagnosed with cancer. Gwyneth’s biggest challenge was “to just be professional and grown up and not be a scared daughter and just try to make his life as easy as possible.”

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She told the Chicago Tribune, “I got a sense of how to play [Liv Dean] because I was so close to my own father and he has been so important to who I am and so important to my life. The thought of not having him in my life informed the way I played her. The edginess I’d feel without him was the way I’d suspect she felt.”

19. When Eugene Levy was working with his son Dan Levy to get Schitt’s Creek off the ground, he offered his daughter Sarah Levy the role of Twyla Sands.

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Sarah told TV, Eh?, “[They] had this idea and they asked if I wanted to be a part of it, if it was even something that I want it to be a part of. And of course, it was.”

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“The opportunity to work with my family seemed a really wonderful thing. And we obviously had no idea where it would go, but I went along for the ride gladly,” she said.

20. Writer/director Noel Marshall and his then-wife, actor Tippi Hedren, cast themselves and their children — Melanie Griffith, John Marshall, and Jerry Marshall — in Roar, which has been called “the most dangerous movie ever made.”

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The rest of the cast included over a hundred big cats and several other wild animals. Many of the human cast and crew were injured because of unsafe working conditions with the animals. 

Melanie was attacked near her eye and had to have facial reconstructive surgery. 

The movie was in production for 11 years before its international release in 1981, but it didn’t premiere in the States until 2015. At the time, John told the NY Post, “Dad was a f–king a–hole to do that to his family.”

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“It seemed like a really cool idea at the beginning, but it was dangerous,” he said.

21. When Dakota Johnson was nine, her then-stepfather, Antonio Banderas, cast her and her mom Melanie Griffith as mother and daughter in Crazy and Alabama.

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He also cast Dakota’s real-life sister, Stella Banderas, as her onscreen sister. Stella, was who still a baby then, got scared every time Antonio yelled, “Action!” Dakota told Vanity Fair, ” I was the one holding her the whole time, like running down the street, holding this crying, crying, baby.”

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She also said, “He’d yell cut, come over and be like, ‘Stella,’ and she’d be fine and happy … and I think she thought it was really scary when he yelled action.”

22. And finally, when director John Huston cast his then-15-year-old daughter Angelica Huston in A Walk With Love and Death, she was reluctant to play the role.

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Despite her initial effort to throw away the opportunity, she stuck with acting and continued working with her father. When she was 34, she won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her portrayal of Maerose Prizzi in Prizzi’s Honor — which John directed.

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The year prior, John directed his own father, Walter Huston, to an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for The Treasure of the Sierra Madre.

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