Jeff Daniels sat in a waiting room to audition.
He wasn’t Jeff Daniels yet. He was a twenty-something kid from tiny Chelsea, Michigan, home to Jiffy mix muffins. In tenth grade, he’d tried out for South Pacific because they didn’t have enough guys. Then he’d done theater at Central Michigan.
But there in that waiting room, there were people from Juilliard and Yale and the Royal Academy of Arts, Mr. Daniels said when telling Mens Journal about the experience. There was pedigree in that room. And he wasn’t part of it.
“It doesn’t matter that you’re from a small town in Michigan. Whatever it is you’re going after, go get it,” Mr. Daniels’ father had told him. “You’re as good as they are.”
The people in the waiting room asked Mr. Daniels where he went to school. Central Michigan, he said. The room went silent. The people looked away. Who knows what they were thinking about the twenty-something kid.
But that didn’t matter. Because the twenty-something kid, what he was thinking about was his dad, his dad saying, “Go get it.” So he did.
And Jeff Daniels from tiny Chelsea, Michigan nailed that audition for Terms of Endearment.