Peter Facinelli landed his breakout role with Can’t Hardly Wait, but he might have starred in a different iconic 1990s high school comedy, if not for his unwillingness to adjust his vision for the part.
The 47-year-old Twilight star visited the On the List podcast on Monday, April 26, where he told host Brett Gursky he “was very close to getting” the role of Cher’s crush Christian. In the film, the lead, played by Alicia Silverstone, eventually learns that the guy of her dreams, portrayed by Justin Walker, is gay.
“There’s a list of movies I almost got—Clueless is one of them,” Peter said of director Amy Heckerling‘s beloved film. “I read for her like six times. I got along really well with Amy Heckerling.”
As Peter explained, he was dead set on giving Christian a New Orleans accent, which proved the aspiring thespian to be, for lack of a better term, a bit clueless.
“I was just new, and when you’re new, you just don’t know,” he said. “You just think, I’m an artist, and this is what I’m doing. My whole thing was, I kind of based it on Harry Connick Jr., that role. I kind of came in, and I was doing this New Orleans kind of little accent, like a little twinge of a New Orleans accent. He was a kid from out of state that was going to this school anyway, so I thought that that was interesting.”
Evidently, the director, who was also known for Fast Times at Ridgemont High, didn’t agree. “Then Amy goes, ‘Well, can you try it without the accent?'” he continued. “And I go, ‘No.’ And she goes, ‘No?’ I go, ‘No. This is what I would do with it.’ Plus, I had a little bit of a New York accent, too, so I was trying to hide it with the New Orleans accent.”
Needless to say, the audition was not a success, although it proved a learning experience for Peter, who went on to play the pivotal role of Mike Dexter opposite Jennifer Love Hewitt in 1998’s Can’t Hardly Wait.
“So I didn’t get the role because I told the director to f–k off, basically, when she, in the audition, told me to try something else,” he recalled. “You learn right away: Don’t be a dick.”
He went on to explain that he wasn’t trying to be disagreeable but was worried he would then “have to rethink the whole thing. Now, if someone’s like, ‘Drop the accent,’ you just drop it.”
We’re not buggin’ when we tell you Peter’s full interview can be heard here, where he also shared why he narrowly missed out on a role in Leonardo DiCaprio‘s 1995 The Basketball Diaries.