John Slattery's Audition Nightmare: Black Hair Dye and No Running Water (Video)

8:00 AM PST 06/12/2013 by THR staff

During THR's drama actor roundtable, the "Mad Men" star recalls reading to play Sylvester Stallone's brother with dye dripping down his face: "I look like an anemic vampire."

Being something of a silver fox has worked out well for Mad Men’s John Slattery.

But before he was Roger Sterling, the actor once dyed his hair black to audition to play Sylvester Stallone’s brother. It did not go well, the actor recalled during The Hollywood Reporter’s drama actor roundtable.

Slattery was living with his sister when he got the call to read for the part (black hair required) in an hour.

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He didn’t have any money, so he took his sister’s laundry quarters and went down to the corner drug store – and noticed on the way a group of construction workers digging up the street near the apartment.

“I got this black Clairol hair dye and went back, put it in my hair, and it was like tar. And I go to turn the water on, and it goes, 'Gug-gug-gug-gug-gug-gug-gug-gug,' and I realize that the guys digging the trench had shut the water off to the building!” Slattery said. “And I was like, ‘Holy shit.’ I could stick my head in the toilet, but I wasn't that desperate.”

He went to the refrigerator and attempted to use club soda to complete the dye job.

“It's also about 111 degrees in Manhattan, and I have this shit dripping down my face. I look like an anemic vampire,” Slattery said.

At the audition, things got even worse as he played opposite the casting director for the role of “Stallone’s coke-addled brother.”

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“I saw myself on my knees, wiping my hair dye off my face with this casting director yelling at me, and I had a complete out-of-body experience. ‘What the f--- are you doing?’ I was probably the reason the movie never got made,” he said.

Slattery was joined at the roundtable by fellow Emmy contenders Kevin Bacon (Fox's The Following), Jeff Daniels (HBO's The Newsroom), Mandy Patinkin (Showtime's Homeland), Dennis Quaid (CBS' Vegas) and Corey Stoll (Netflix's House of Cards). The discussion was moderated by THR executive editor Matthew Belloni and senior editor Stacey Wilson.

Watch the video at the top of the post, with Slattery’s story beginning at the 2:18 mark.

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