Taylor Swift Was Almost Cast in ‘Les Misérables’ Movie
Taylor Swift could have starred in a critically acclaimed big studio film adaptation of a Broadway musical classic — but instead we got her as an unholy CGI feline abomination in Cats. Oh, what could have been!
Speaking to Vulture, Cats director Tom Hooper revealed that not only was Swift the first person cast in his critically maligned cinematic adaptation of the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical, but that the pop star also almost appeared as a main character in his much better received 2012 film, Les Misérables.
"[Taylor] had auditioned for Les Mis. She rather brilliantly auditioned for Éponine. I didn’t cast her, but I got very close to it," the director shared, adding that he ultimately didn't cast her in the role of the tragic, impoverished teenager because he "couldn’t quite believe Taylor Swift was a girl people would overlook."
"It didn’t quite feel right for her for the most flattering reason," Hooper explained. "But I knew she was curious to work on a musical. When [Cats] came up, I wrote to her and just said, 'Would you like to meet? Would you like to see the world I’m creating?' And I did a presentation."
Swift was apparently impressed by Hooper's pitch, which included paintings by Eve Stewart and a "10-second clip of a dancer with fur, lifelike."
"She loved it and was very gracious and really supportive from then on. At that point, I had no idea she’d end up getting involved in writing the new song and getting involved as a lyricist," Hooper shared.
For Cats, Swift was cast as the flirtatious, mischievous Bombalurina, but the role could have actually ended up being played by two actresses.
"In the show, [the role is] performed by two women," the director explained. "And for a long time, I thought, 'Well, it’s going to be Taylor Swift and X.' Then eventually, part of me was like, 'Why does it have to be two people?' I called Andrew [Lloyd Webber] and said, 'Just remind me why.' And he goes, 'Oh, we only gave it to two people because we felt guilty that the other girl didn’t have enough to do.' Apparently, it was originally designed for one person. I called Taylor up. 'Do you mind if you do it by yourself?' She was obviously totally happy with it."
As for the Éponine featured in Hooper's Les Mis seven years ago, the role went to Samantha Barks, who previously brought the character to life on stage in the West End of London.
Hooper's Les Misérables earned eight Academy Award nominations, of which it took home three: Best Supporting Actress (Anne Hathaway), Best Makeup and Hair Styling and Best Sound Mixing.
The silver lining for Swift? Her Cats performance did draw some of the film's only positive reception from critics, and her original song for Cats, "Beautiful Ghosts," is already up for Best Original Song at the 2020 Golden Globe awards.