Hannah Waddingham and 6 actors told they would never make it

The Ted Lasso star has revealed a teacher told her she would never make it on screen because of her looks.

Hannah Waddingham walks the red carpet at the 75th Emmy Awards on Monday, Jan. 15, 2024 at the Peacock Theater in Los Angeles. (Photo by Mark Von Holden/Invision for the Television Academy/AP Images)
Hannah Waddingham has revealed her drama teacher told her she would never make it on screen. (AP Images)

Hannah Waddingham has revealed she was spurred on to make it on screen after a teacher once told her never would. The Ted Lasso star's comments come in the same week that Nicole Kidman admitted she used to lie about her height because she was told she was too tall to become an actor.

And the award-winning leading ladies are not alone. It seems that many successful acting stars were knocked back when they started out on the path to fame, by teachers and producers who told them they had the wrong look for the industry. The comments only made them more determined to prove their critics wrong - so perhaps it pushed them further.

Here are some of the stars who have had the last laugh after being told they would never make it.

Hannah Waddingham

Hannah Waddingham, winner of Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series for 'Ted Lasso,' poses in the press room at the 73rd Primetime Emmy Awards held at L.A. Live on September 19, 2021. (Photo by Michael Buckner/Variety/Penske Media via Getty Images)
Hannah Waddingham won an Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series in 2021. (Getty Images)

The Game Of Thrones star told Michelle Visage's BBC Radio 2 Rule Breakers podcast: "I had one drama teacher that said to the whole class 'Oh Hannah will never work on screen because she looks like one side of her face has had a stroke'. And I thought, 'I will do, I will do. Come hell or high water, I will work on screen'... and it gave me a complex for years".

Waddingham, 49, had a successful stage and musical career for many years but was determined to fight for a starring role on TV because of what her teacher said.

Nicole Kidman

Nicole Kidman attends a special screening of
Nicole Kidman was told she was too tall to act. (WireImage)

The Big Little Lies star has confessed she lies about her height after once being told: “You won’t have a career. You’re too tall.”

The Australian Oscar-winner admitted to the Radio Times podast: “I say I’m 5-foot-10-1/2, but I’m really 5-foot-11.” The Paddington star revealed what her experiences had taught was how to handle rejection - and become stronger. Kidman said: "Inner resilience as a human being, that’s the superpower, really.”

Dame Judi Dench

Judi Dench attends the
Dame Judi Dench was told she had the wrong face for film. (WireImage)

Judi Dench's acting career has spanned 66 years, from leading lady with the Royal Shakespeare Company, to M in the James Bond films, long-running sitcom As Time Goes By and playing Queen Elizabeth I and Queen Victoria on the big screen. She has won an Oscar, a Tony, Baftas, Oliviers and many other awards.

But the 89-year-old celebrated star was told she would not become a movie star because she had the wrong face. Dench said at the Zurich Film Festival in 2018 that her greatest achievement was making a film, because: "I was told very, very early on that I would never make any films... They said 'You have everything wrong with your face'."

Kate Winslet

British actress Kate Winslet poses upon arrival to attend the
Kate Winslet was told she would have to settle for 'fat girl roles'. (AFP via Getty Images)

The star of Titanic, The Reader and The Mare of Easttown has revealed she was just a teenager when a drama teacher told her she would only make it as an actor if she was prepared to "settle for the fat girl parts." And in the early ages of her career people would even ask her agent about her weight.

Winslet admitted it was hard and there were moments when she thought about giving up acting. But she said eventually the comments made her stronger and she became unapologetic about being herself. The award-winning actor said: "I learned to embrace my flaws, to make no apology for who I am. This is who I am."

Gary Oldman

US actor Gary Oldman arrives for the 81st annual Golden Globe Awards at The Beverly Hilton hotel in Beverly Hills, California, on January 7, 2024. (Photo by Michael TRAN / AFP) (Photo by MICHAEL TRAN/AFP via Getty Images)
Gary Oldman was advised by drama school RADA to pursue a different career. (AFP via Getty Images)

The actor and filmmaker, star of Harry Potter and Slow Horses, has revealed he failed his first audition to get into prestigious acting school RADA and they suggested he pursue another career.

Oldman told said in 2011: "Maybe I wasn't ready, or maybe I just had a bad day? Maybe my audition wasn't very good? But you can't not enjoy the irony. I really wanted to go. That was my sort of dream because so many of the people I looked up to had been there."

Dame Joan Collins

British actress Joan Collins arrives for the 75th Emmy Awards at the Peacock Theatre at L.A. Live in Los Angeles on January 15, 2024. (Photo by Robyn BECK / AFP) (Photo by ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images)
Joan Collins's drama teacher thought she lacked confidence. (AFP via Getty Images)

The Dynasty star is now known for her confidence and stage-presence. But one of her tutors at RADA apparently said of the Joan Collins: "She seems to lack the confidence to project and make the most of the voice she does possess. If she will make up her mind to cast away fear, doubt and self-consciousness, she will find her confidence increasing and the unsure element in her acting will disappear."

Andrew Garfield

Andrew Garfield attends the red carpet on the closing night of the Red Sea International Film Festival 2023 on December 07, 2023 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. (Photo by Tim P. Whitby/Getty Images for The Red Sea International Film Festival)
Andrew Garfield was turned down for a role because of his looks. (Getty Images)

The Spider-Man actor has revealed he was devastated when he was turned down for a role in his early career because of his looks. Garfield lost out on a part in the Chronicles of Narnia films to Ben Barnes because he was deemed "not handsome enough" by producers.

The Social Network star nobly said: "Ben Barnes is a very handsome, talented man, so in retrospect, I’m not unhappy with the decision and I think he did a beautiful job."

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