It’s hard to imagine likable Eddie Redmayne playing a hardened villain like Kylo Ren — but apparently, that’s the role that was on the table when Redmayne auditioned for Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Two years ago on MTV’s Happy Sad Confused podcast, Redmayne admitted to blowing an audition for the film. In a new interview with Uproxx, the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them star offered a few more details, including the role (Kylo Ren, ultimately played by Adam Driver) and what went wrong.
“I was going for, I think, for Adam Driver,” Redmayne told the website. “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.”
The “ridiculous voice” — a vague Darth Vader impression, to be specific — was apparently Redmayne’s downfall. “That was really a hilarious moment,” he said. “Because it was [casting director] 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.'”
Redmayne doesn’t like to do auditions halfway; he’s told a similar story about his botched audition for The Hobbit, when he did a bold impression of Ian Holm (who played older Bilbo in The Lord of the Rings) that went over like a lead balrog. Fortunately, he seems to have no trouble getting cast nowadays. Perhaps if he’s nice to J.J. Abrams, he could even show up in a future Star Wars sequel as Kylo’s mild-mannered cousin Eli Ren-mayne.