Teyonah Parris almost didn’t make it past the casting directors for her role in How Do You Know.
Teyonah stars alongside Reese Witherspoon in the romantic comedy, playing the Hollywood sweetheart’s BFF Riva. But the role called for a girl with some muscle and casting directors just didn’t see that in Teyonah.
"It was actually interesting because they didn’t want to see me at first because your picture has to sell you first," she told S2S. "I guess my picture didn’t say ‘atheletic enough.’"
Undeterred by the initial rejection, Teyonah went to her manager and told them about her rather extensive athletic past.
"I had to tell my manager, ‘Look! I played softball for 12 years. This picture is telling you lies. Make them see me!’" Teyonah lightheartedly recalled. Somehow Teyonah’s rep got her back in the door, and things rolled along from there.
"Then I got a call back. Then I got another call back. And then I got another call back," Teyonah said.
Her talent could not be denied. Not to mention, the role called for her to play softball, so she’d basically been training for the role for years! Despite her background, though, Teyonah never thought she had the part in the bag—even after she’d gotten it.
"After the final call back with [director James L. Brooks], I was like, ‘Even if I don’t get the best friend, I’m okay just being one of the non-talking soft-ball players,’" she told us. "I just wanted to be part of the project and that’s pretty much how I left the final audition."
Of course, as we know now, she got the role. See Teyonah in action in How Do You Know, in theaters on December 17.