Taylor Swift And Eddie Redmayne Reveal Just How Bad Their Les Misérables Screen Test Was

Left to right: Taylor Swift in the Anti-Hero music video and Eddie Redmayne in Les Miserables.
(Image credit: Republic Records and Universal)

While Taylor Swift is one of the most successful pop stars, especially after the release of her latest album Midnights, she’s also acted in a few movies, including one on the 2022 movie schedule. Now she’s opening up about one big movie musical she auditioned for. The screen test in question was for the adaptation of the classic musical Les Misérables. Swift along with Eddie Redmayne, who played Marius in the film, told the story of just how bad their screen test went. 

Both Swift and Redmayne were on The Graham Norton Show (via EW) to promote their projects Midnights and The Good Nurse, respectively. The story about their Les Mis auditions came up, and Swift said: 

Basically, I was up for two roles. 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. I wasn't going to get the role.

As Swift said, she knew she wouldn’t get the roles. Cosette ended up being played by Mamma Mia! star Amanda Seyfried, and Broadway and West End actress Samantha Barks played Éponine. Both characters have deep relationships with Redmayne’s character in the musical, which is why Swift was supposed to screen-test with him. While Swift knew she wouldn’t get the roles, she wanted to act with Redmayne. She even said the Fantastic Beasts star is one of her “favorite actors,” and she didn’t want to turn down the once-in-a-lifetime experience to work with him. 

She continued the story saying she arrived on set and they put her in a “full 19th-century street urchin costume” and painted her teeth brown. 

I was like, 'You are going to do that after I meet Eddie Redmayne, right?' But no, they made me look like death and it became a nightmare. When I met Eddie I didn't open my mouth to speak.

Meanwhile, Redmayne was also nervous about the screen test. However, it was for a completely different reason. The scene required the two to hold each other, the actor said: 

I thought we would just be singing off each other — I didn't know we would be in each other's arms. My overriding memory of it is that I had 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.

So all around this sounded like a hot mess of an audition, however, it’s fun that they can all laugh about it now. What makes this story even more interesting is before Les Mis both performers were extremely successful, however, since 2012 both people have entered an even higher stratosphere of success. 

While Les Mis was successful, and Anne Hathaway won an Oscar for her performance, Redmayne found his way to an Oscar a few years later. He found himself on the 2015 list of Academy Award winners for his remarkable portrayal of Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything. Along with his great film performances, the actor has also had a successful stage career, winning two Olivier Awards for his roles in the 2010 production of Red as well as the 2022 production of the musical Cabaret

Meanwhile, since 2012, Swift has released nine albums, and her most recent, Midnights, has already broken records. She also has numerous other projects in the works. Plus she has started writing, directing and starring in her music videos, including the short film All Too Well, and the cameo and Easter egg-filled video for “Bejeweled.”

Both Swift and Redmayne are at the top of their crafts, so it’s interesting to hear stories of auditioning and awkward moments in their careers. They are both extremely busy humans who are working on lots of projects. At the moment, you can check out Swift’s album Midnights and Redmayne’s film The Good Nurse, which can be watched with a Netflix subscription

Riley Utley
Weekend Editor

Riley Utley is a Weekend Editor at CinemaBlend. She spent many years working in local journalism across the country writing about art, news and sports. One of her favorite films is When Harry Met Sally and she walks around constantly quoting Ted Lasso.