Mira Sorvino: A Casting Director "Gagged Me With A Condom"

She was 16 at the time.

Mira Sorvino recently appeared on an episode of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s HFPA in Conversation podcast, recounting a particularly awful audition from the beginning of her career.

Speaking to journalist Katherine Tulich, Sorvino described the audition with the unnamed casting director vividly, saying:

“In order to scare me for this horror movie scene, he tied me to a chair, he bruised my arm—I was, like, 16 years old—and then he gagged me. I was all game because I’m trying to be scared for the scene, and at the end he takes the gag out of my mouth and says, ‘Sorry for the prophylactic.’ He gagged me with a condom. I was too young to know, thank god, what a condom tasted like, but it was so inappropriate. What the heck was a casting director doing with a condom in his pocket at an audition? That was one of my introductions to how the acting system works.

Sorvino, who has been at the forefront of Hollywood's #MeToo conversations and was one of the first actresses to speak to Ronan Farrow for his exposé on Harvey Weinstein, also detailed a meeting with an unnamed director who tried to begin "an affair" with her.

Describing him as "a big director who's got Oscars and is known for his social justice profile" from his work, Sorvino recalled meeting with him: "[He] literally said to me at an end-stage audition meeting, ‘You know, as I look at you, my mind can’t help traveling from the artistic possibilities [to] the sexual’."

"I think my mouth just opened, and I smiled nervously back… I thought this was a legit meeting," she continued. "I thought you had me here because you thought I was talented or that I brought something good for this role, not that you were here, fishing to see if I would have an affair with you.

Sorvino believes that turning down the director's proposition is what lost her that role.

"I didn’t get that part," she said. "I know for a fact that’s why I didn’t get that part."

Sorvino said that these examples are just two that point to a larger problem of young people being exploited by people in positions of power in Hollywood.

"When you’re young, you don’t question. When you’re young, you’re like, ‘I gotta be tough. I gotta be, like, down to really perform, and if that means they need me to go this extra mile [I will]…’" she said, adding: "People take advantage of that. People have always taken advantage of that."

Feature image: Getty Images