Reese Witherspoon Says She 'Didn't Know Who Robert De Niro' Was During Early Career Movie Audition

"I'm not in that movie because I got so scared when I walked in the room," Witherspoon recalled during her Thursday night appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live!

Reese Witherspoon is reflecting on her early career mishaps.

During an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live! on Thursday, the 46-year-old actress revealed that one of her auditions when she 14 years old included meeting Robert De Niro and having "bricked that audition" because she did not know who he was.

"I'm not in that movie because I got so scared when I walked in the room," she told host Jimmy Kimmel about De Niro's 1991 thriller film Cape Fear.

"I didn't know who Robert De Niro was, so I was standing outside talking to the receptionist. She was like, 'You know he's the most important actor of our time, right?' " Witherspoon added while emphasizing that she was very nervous during the audition process as a teen.

Explaining that the receptionist's comments increased her anxiety, she continued: "I was 14. I'd never seen Goodfellas. I'd never seen The Godfather. So it totally got on my nerves."

JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE! – “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” airs every weeknight at 11:35 p.m. ET and features a diverse lineup of guests that include celebrities, athletes, musical acts, comedians and human interest subjects, along with comedy bits and a house band. The guests for Thursday, February 2 included Reese Witherspoon with Wesley Kimmel
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According to the Morning Show actress, De Niro, now 79, had to finish her lines during the audition — and still remembered her blunder ten years later during another audition.

"I thought, 'He's never gonna remember that I bricked that audition,' " she told Kimmel. "And he was like, 'I remember you.' I was like, 'Me?' He's like, 'Oh yeah. You're the one who couldn't say the word.' "

"Oh, my God! This is so bad," she added, stressing that it was an embarrassing second encounter with the actor.

During her teen years, Witherspoon also had memorable encounters with Denzel Washington.

During the late-night talk show appearance, Witherspoon expressed that she served as a pre-production intern on the set of the 68-year-old actor's 1995 film Devil in a Blue Dress and was in charge of parking cars for the cast.

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"Whenever Denzel came in, I had to park his Porsche. Which is not a good idea for a 17-year-old kid with a brand-new drivers license. Oh my God, I stripped all the gears, it was terrible," she said.

"But the funny story is I saw him a few years ago at a wedding," Witherspoon said. "And he's like, 'I heard you tell this story about how you used to park my Porsche.' And I was like, 'Yes, I did.' And he's like, 'But, did you know, your costumes for [2011's] Water for Elephants, who took them in and out of your trailer?' No, I have no idea. He's [like], 'My daughter.' "

"And I was like, 'That is amazing.' So it [was] full circle," she continued.

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