Last November, Eddie Redmayne was on the Happy Sad Confused podcast and told the story about how he auditioned for Star Wars: The Force Awakens – and how things went so terribly it crushed his childhood dreams of being in a Star Wars movie. Redmayne often talks about how he’s lost parts to Domhnall Gleeson, most specifically the role of Bill Weasley in the Harry Potter films. (That all worked out in the end considering Redmayne is now the star of the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them franchise.)
So, many assumed (including me) that Redmayne had auditioned for the role of General Hux, which was played by Domhnall Gleeson in The Force Awakens. On Monday I spoke to Redmayne, who is of course promoting Fantastic Beasts (the full interview will publish closer to the film’s release), and asked what role he specifically auditioned for. Nope, it wasn’t Hux. As it turns out, the Oscar winner could have been Kylo Ren.
On the Star Wars: The Force Awakens director’s commentary, J.J. Abrams confirms that he saw others for the part of Kylo Ren, saying, “We saw some other actors, some great actors, partly to keep an open mind.” Ahead, Eddie Redmayne will fill us in on how that went.
You mention auditioning for the same roles as Domhnall Gleeson a lot. When you auditioned for Star Wars, did you audition for Hux?
No. So, I was going for, I think, for Adam Driver. They gave me like a Star Trek scene – or like something from Pride and Prejudice. It was one of those films. With films that top secret, they don’t give you the actual lines. So they give you a scene from Pride and Prejudice, but then they tell you you’re auditioning for the baddie. If you’re me, you then put some ridiculous voice on.
That was really a hilarious moment. Because it was Nina Gold, who I have to thank a lot because she’s cast me in several films. And she was just sitting there and I was trying again and again with different versions of my kind of “koohh paaaah” [Darth Vader breathing sound] voice. And after like ten shots she’s like, “You got anything else?” I was like, “No.”
[The rest of this interview will publish closer to when Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them hits theaters on November 18.]
Mike Ryan lives in New York City and has written for The Huffington Post, Wired, Vanity Fair and New York magazine. He is senior entertainment writer at Uproxx. You can contact him directly on Twitter.