Imagine that. Robert DeNiro playing Sonny Corleone. Doesn’t seem right, does it? I was watching The Godfather (1972) again the other day and I was reminded that he was once considered for the role.

When Francis Ford Coppola was casting The Godfather many an aspiring young actor came for an audition and screen test. There may even be some footage of Robert DeNiro saying hotheaded Sonny’s lines. As you know, the part of Sonny went to James Caan instead.

Was it a waste for DeNiro to have gone after the part? Absolutely not. When Francis Ford Coppola was beginning work on The Godfather: Part II (1974) he had a problem. Since it covered the early years of Don Corleone, brilliantly played in the first movie by Marlon Brando, he needed a young actor that would be believable as that iconic character in his early years. Where to find such an actor?

And the way I heard it, Francis Ford Coppola remembered DeNiro from his failed audition. Although he hadn’t been right for any role in the first movie, he would be perfect for this pivotal role in the second. And he was.

So when my clients ask me whether they should go for the interview if they’re not sure the job is a perfect match, I encourage them to go. You never know what other roles may be available and if you make a strong impression and are truly yourself, they may remember you for something in the future. As they say in Hollywood, “always take the meeting” and do your best. You never know what unexpected opportunities might arise for you in the future.