Taylor Swift once dreamed a dream of starring opposite Eddie Redmayne in Les Misérables, but unfortunately, that dream quickly turned into a nightmare.
The 32-year-old pop star was a guest on The Graham Norton Show episode airing Friday (Oct. 28). Also on the couch was Eddie Redmayne, whom Swift recalled meeting 10 years prior during a screen test for Tom Hooper’s 2012 film adaptation of the musical based off Victor Hugo’s 1862 novel.
“Basically I was up for two roles,” the “Anti-Hero” singer explained. “I had the look of Cosette and the range vocally of Éponine, so it was established I was there for a good time but not for a long time.”
She went on to say that she knew immediately she probably wouldn’t be cast, but still decided to go through with the screen test knowing she would get to meet Redmayne. The Fantastic Beasts star had already been confirmed for the part of Marius in the film, and Swift said he was one of her “favorite” actors at the time.
“I wasn’t going to get the role,” she told Norton. “[But] this isn’t an experience I am going to get again in my life.”
When she arrived in London to audition next to Redmayne, however, it wasn’t the glamorous cinema experience she’d been expecting. “When I got there they put me in full 19th century street-urchin costume and told me they were going to paint my teeth brown, and I was like, ‘You are going to do that after I meet Eddie Redmayne right?'” she joked.
“They made me look like death and it became a nightmare,” she continued. “When I met Eddie I didn’t open my mouth to speak!”
It wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows for the Theory of Everything actor either, though. “I thought we would just be singing off each other — I didn’t know we would be in each other’s arms,” he said. “My overriding memory of it is that I had pizza and garlic dough balls beforehand and all I could think about was my garlic breath while Taylor was dying in my arms and I was trying to show emotion.”
Suffice to say, Tay didn’t get the part. She did, however, end up getting cast in another of Hooper’s films just a few years later. When the director started working on his 2019 live action Cats movie, he immediately thought of Swift, who ended up starring in the project as Bombalurina.
“She rather brilliantly auditioned for Éponine. I didn’t cast her, but I got very close to it,” he told Vulture in 2019. “Ultimately, I couldn’t quite believe Taylor Swift was a girl people would overlook. So it didn’t quite feel right for her for the most flattering reason.”
“I knew she was curious to work on a musical,” he continued. “When [Cats] came up, I wrote to her and just said, ‘Would you like to meet? Would you like to see the world I’m creating?”
The Graham Norton Show episode featuring Taylor Swift and Eddie Redmayne — as well as U2’s Bono — airs Friday at 11 p.m. on BBC America. Watch the clip about her Les Mis audition above.