Eddie Redmayne Filmed A Desperate Audition Video To Land His Role Les Misérables

After a film has come out, it's always nice to look at how the performers got their roles. You often hear about actors who don't actually have to audition for the part, but when they do, it tends to be a fun story. Eddie Redmayne recently broke down his career in a new video for Vanity Fair, and spoke about the role of Marius in Tom Hooper's film adaptation of the musical "Les Misérables." Redmayne did not get invited to do the role, it seems. He had to send in an audition tape like everyone else. 

Redmayne said that everyone in Hollywood wanted to be a part of "Les Misérables," and that "half of Hollywood came running out of the musical theater closet to express their undying love for that piece." He was really excited about doing the film and very desperate to be a part of the whole thing. Of course, he didn't think he was a perfect fit for the part and said that the role wasn't exactly the easiest to sing.

'Dressed as a cowboy singing'

Redmayne says in the video that he'd already worked with Tom Hooper on a TV series, which was the 2005 show "Elizabeth I." What he was doing at the time of the audition, though, was very far from the role of Marius, the young revolutionary in "Les Miz." He explains:

"I was in North Carolina playing a Texan meth addict with a limp in a film with Chloe Moretz, and I heard that they were doing [Les Misérables]. I just felt a bit embarrassed that this person I knew was directing it, and I knew that I probably wasn't the obvious fit for Marius, and it's quite a strain to sing that part. But my inner nine-year-old was desperate to be a part of this. So, in my Winnebago in the middle of North Carolina, I filmed myself dressed as a cowboy singing 'Empty Chairs and Empty Tables' and sent it off into the ether."

The film he was doing with Moretz was "Hick" in 2011. The most adorable part of this story is imagining his co-stars hearing him sing a song from this famous musical while in his Winnebago. He doesn't mention anyone hearing him, but in my headcanon, there was a group of people outside, just enjoying a preview of the film.

Trying to do a great performance in a Winnebago must have been stressful, but Redmayne says later in the video that everyone was feeling anxiety while actually shooting the film. "Singing live, in the moment, none of us have done that before," he reveals. "And very few people had done that on film before, so it was this great leveler. It meant that everyone had their own levels of anxiety, which we were playing with together."

'Everyone had their own levels of anxiety'

While singing live might not seem like that big a deal to those of us who have done musical theater, film is a very different beast. Everything is overemphasized when you're projecting from a stage, but when you're used to keeping your emotions at a more contained level in front of the camera, that's quite a balancing act. 

Redmayne wasn't the only one with a crazy audition, though. On the October 28, 2022, episode of "The Graham Norton Show," Redmayne was a guest alongside Taylor Swift, who says she was flown to London for a "Les Miz" audition. She already knew she wasn't getting the part of Éponine (played by Samantha Barks in the film), the poor young woman who falls in love with Marius, because, while her voice was right, she actually looks more like Cosette (played by Amanda Seyfried), the ingenue. Still, she said she wanted to have the experience of singing with Eddie Redmayne. 

Of course, they decided to put her in full costume and makeup, complete with brown teeth. While she was embarrassed about doing that, she had to focus on dying in the arms of Marius. All the while, Redmayne was dealing with another issue. He says, "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."

Kind of makes that "Guys and Dolls" audition you did in high school seem a lot less terrible, doesn't it?