Robert Downey Jr. & Jimmy Fallon Reflect On Auditioning For The Holiday Together

“If Jack Black says no to this movie, I’m so in. I’ll do it for half his price.”

THE TONIGHT SHOW STARRING JIMMY FALLON -- Episode 1188 -- Pictured: (l-r) Actor Robert Downey Jr. du...
NBC/NBCUniversal/Getty Images

Cameron Diaz and Kate Winslet’s The Holiday has become a holiday classic for obvious reasons, but it nearly looked very different. Robert Downey Jr. and Jimmy Fallon auditioned together for the leading male roles, as the duo recalled during an interview on The Howard Stern Show, revealing how director Nancy Meyers eventually turned them down.

While preparing for the film, Meyers needed two people to read with Diaz and Winslet for the roles that were already almost given to Jude Law and Jack Black, but the duo went in with the hope that they could land the roles anyway. “We both got called in just as seat-fillers and we saw each other,” Downey Jr. said. “We’re sitting there going, ‘It’s about to happen for us.’” Fallon quipped that he remembered thinking, “If Jack Black says no to this movie, I’m so in. I’ll do it for half his price.”

However, their chances were almost immediately blown when Downey Jr. started speaking in his British accent, which offended their English scene partner. “I was like, I’ve got to have a better English accent than Jude Law at this point, and Winslet said, ‘That is the worst British accent I’ve ever heard in my life,’” he said. “I was like, ‘I’ll check out now but I’m taking the gummy bears from the minibar.’” Eventually, Meyers gave them very gentle but negative feedback. “Nancy said to both of us at the same time, ‘This was great. It’s just not a perfect fit,’” Downey Jr. added.

Nonetheless, Fallon looks back on their failed audition as one of the highlights of his career, even saying it was the last acting he ever auditioned for before becoming a late-night host. “Without a doubt, I’m sitting across from Robert Downey Jr., and I go, ‘This is the best actor I’ve sat across and did a scene with in my entire life,’” he recalled. “It was mind-blowing for me. I quit the business. I never went back.”

As fans know, Law and Black did accept the roles opposite Diaz and Winslet, who play two newly single women who decide to swap homes in search of a different Christmas celebration and wind up falling in love with people in each other’s worlds. Fallon quipped that the 2006 film’s plot was “like Airbnb before it existed.” “You remembered the logline, I blocked it out,” Downey Jr. joked, leading Fallon to joke that he has a tattoo of “us arm in arm, leaving dejected not being cast in this movie.”