Eddie Redmayne holds a rare distinction in Hollywood: He’s one of about 20 people to have won both an Academy Award and a Golden Raspberry Award. His Oscar-winning role came in 2014’s The Theory of Everything, in which he played renowned scientist Stephen Hawking, while he scored a Razzie for his ridiculously over-the-top performance as Balem Abrasax, the villain in last year’s Jupiter Ascending.
We now know that Redmayne auditioned to play another bad guy in space: Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ Kylo Ren.
[Note: The following contains spoilers for Star Wars: The Force Awakens.]
In an interview for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, the first Harry Potter spinoff film, Uproxx asked Redmayne about his previously reported audition for The Force Awakens. On an episode of the Happy Sad Confused podcast two years ago, Redmayne described his audition for the film as “pretty catastrophically bad.” At the time, all he said was that the part was “for a baddie.”
Uproxx notes that Redmayne has spoken about losing out to Domnhall Gleeson for roles such as Bill Weasley in the Harry Potter series, so many people assumed Redmayne would’ve played General Hux in The Force Awakens. Not so: Redmayne told Uproxx that he was going for the role that went to Adam Driver — the mask-wearing, black-clad Kylo Ren.
Redmayne explained that in auditions for projects as secretive as a Star Wars film, casting personnel don’t give actors actual lines from the script.
“So they give you a scene from Pride and Prejudice, but then they tell you you’re auditioning for the baddie,” Redmayne told Uproxx. “If you’re me, you then put some ridiculous voice on.
“That was really a hilarious moment,” he continued. “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.’”
Now the only thing we’re left with is our imagination. How would The Force Awakens have turned out with Redmayne’s silky Voldemort-esque voice in the role of the artist previously known as Ben Solo, rather than the teenage angst and daddy issues that Driver brought to the part? Can you picture the contortions of his matinee-idol visage in his Force duel with Rey, or hear him screaming “traitor!” at Finn during the film’s climactic battle?
This’ll have to do:
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, the first in a planned series of five films, hits theaters on Nov. 18.