Actor and director Illeana Douglas, a sly and self-effacing comedienne, has a special knack for getting canned. At age 19, she was thrown out just four hours into her gig as a coat check girl after unwittingly defying the orders of a mob boss. Years later, she managed to get herself fired by her director, agent, and manager, all in one day. Known for her charming roles in Ghost World and To Die For, Douglas, 42, was in the CBS show Shark and is developing a reality program about celebrity garage sales.
Why have you been fired so much?
If you're smart you have a tendency to be over-analytical. You're curious and you ask questions, but it sometimes seems like you're trying to be superior. I always had the best intentions, but things seemed to escalate.
Has 20 years of auditioning thickened your skin?
I never really have accepted rejection. With auditions, you're trying to get people to agree to hire you. They're more likely to prefer vanilla or chocolate, and I'm coconut. I realized that early on. You just need to find one person who believes in you and thinks you're talented. If you're different, you're going to find fewer people who like you, but the people who like you, love you.