Eddie Redmayne will soon make his debut as the magizoologist Newt Scamander when Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them hits theaters Friday, but it turns out that he almost joined J.K. Rowling’s wizarding world years ago.
Redmayne may play the hero of Rowling’s new film, a good-natured former Hufflepuff, but in an interview with Empire, he revealed that he almost played a far more villainous role — perhaps the most villainous role in the entire series.
“I actually auditioned to play Tom Riddle when I was back at university,” Redmayne told Empire. “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.”
Christian Coulson played the young wizard who grew up to be Lord Voldemort in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, enchanting Ginny Weasley with his cursed diary. In The Half-Blood Prince, when Harry and Dumbledore journey back into memories using the Pensieve, Hero Fiennes-Tiffin and Frank Dillane played the child and teenage Riddle, respectively. (Dillane now stars on Fear the Walking Dead, and Fiennes-Tiffin is the real-life nephew of the adult Voldemort, Ralph Fiennes.)
This isn’t the first time Redmayne has recounted the story of a blown audition. Last year, he revealed that he auditioned to play Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit, a part that ultimately went to Martin Freeman, and earlier this month, he talked about going out for Kylo Ren in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. (Adam Driver landed the role instead.)
Luckily for Redmayne, he eventually joined the wizarding world with Fantastic Beasts, which follows the young Newt as he journeys to New York City in 1926. Fantastic Beasts opens Friday.