Academy Award winner Eddie Redmayne is about to jump into his first entry in JK Rowling's Wizarding World, as Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them will finally introduce film audiences to magizoologist Newt Scamander. But if he had it his way, he would have already been a part of the blockbuster franchise a long time ago. Fourteen years, to be specific, as Redmayne auditioned for the role of Tom Riddle in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.
With his recent press rounds for Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them, Redmayne made his surprising admission to Empire Online that he'd previously tried to become a part of the Harry Potter universe. The following anecdote recalls the actor's previous audition, and the effect it had on him:
I actually auditioned to play Tom Riddle when I was back at university. I properly failed and didn't get a call back. Over the years, I always hoped I might be cast as a member of the Weasley family, but unfortunately not.
While Eddie Redmayne would have made either an awesome Tom Riddle or a pretty sweet Weasley brother, it's kind of hard to see him in either capacity in the Harry Potter saga. Even just by looking at the trailers for Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them, the role of Newt Scamander just seems to fit Redmayne better than anything else in the Harry Potter series. It's a hard line to walk, especially while re-watching some of the Tom Riddle scenes from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, like the flashback included below.
If Eddie Redmayne had landed the Harry Potter gig, not only would it have possibly derailed any efforts to cast him as the alternate universe Newt Scamander in Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them, it might have even altered his career enough that he might have missed out on his Oscar for Best Actor as Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything. Though that hypothetical door works both ways, as Redmayne may have also dodged his role as Balem Abrasax in Jupiter Ascending, so this alternative isn't without its positive attributes.
Past history aside, it should be interesting to see the first non-novel based chapter of JK Rowling's Harry Potter universe plays out. And you can do just that, as Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them will make some magic with early showings on Thursday night.