Not ringing a bell. Nina Dobrev needed a little help jogging her memory about auditioning for the Gossip Girl spinoff centered on a young Lily van der Woodsen.
“To be honest with you, when I saw that headline and I clicked on it … I didn’t remember it,” the Vampire Diaries alum, 33, told Us Weekly exclusively on Friday, February 4, after the premiere of her directorial debut short film, The One, at the Mammoth Film Festival in Mammoth Lakes, California. “And then I read it in depth and remembered. [The articles] jogged my memory. And I was like, ‘Oh yeah, that’s right. I did audition for that. That did happen.'”
The Let’s Be Cops star didn’t land the part, but she wasn’t too upset about the rejection. “I fully understood it,” Dobrev told Us. “And I think I even remember when they sent me the audition and I was like, ‘I’m never gonna get this. I don’t look like [Kelly Rutherford],’ but I did it anyway.” Ultimately, everything worked out for the best as Gossip Girl casting director David Rapaport made sure to praise Dobrev to the CW executives.
“I’m glad that I did that anyway because … I think probably a month later I got [cast on] Vampire Diaries,” she recalled. “Everything’s a stepping stone. One thing leads to the other and it always works out exactly like it’s supposed to.”
While Dobrev might not remember reading for the role, Rapaport hasn’t forgotten her audition. “You know who did the best read for that?” he recalled earlier this month during an appearance on Jessica Szohr‘s “XOXO” podcast. “Nina Dobrev: that was one of the best auditions I had ever seen, and for that role specifically.”
He continued: “I just remember thinking, ‘I am going to think about this girl in a couple of years and be like, Oh god, I missed that opportunity.’ She was so incredible.”
In the years since, Dobrev has shown off her talents in front of the camera and is now honing her skills behind the scenes as well. “I have been in front of the camera for so long, I really used it as an educational experience,” the Love Hard star told Us about making her directorial debut with The One. “I really soaked it in. … I was lucky that I was surrounded by really incredible people that sort of helped me guide me to make this dream come true.”
Dobrev is hoping to make her dreams of being a triple threat come true, now that she’s ventured into directing. “This is just the first step on a new adventure,” the Flatliners actress said. “I’m not gonna [quit acting.] I’m definitely gonna do both [acting and directing] and produce and continue to write.”
Ultimately, all of her past experiences made it easier for Dobrev to take charge of the psychological thriller, which she also co-wrote. “I loved being on set. I loved talking to the actors and watching them sort of do their thing and guiding them in certain places. Because I’ve been there!”
Reporting by Diana Cooper
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