Swift auditioned for the Oscar-winning feature, directed by Tom Hooper, in both roles that centered on the love triangle with Marius, played by Eddie Redmayne.
“Basically I was up for two roles,” Swift said during “The Graham Norton Show” opposite Redmayne (via Entertainment Weekly). “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.”
Redmayne’s Marius falls in love with Cosette, while Éponine pines for him. Redmayne was already cast in the role when Swift auditioned, as the “Midnights” singer said that the Academy Award winner is one of her “favorite” actors.
“This isn’t an experience I am going to get again in my life,” Swift recalled at the time. However, her experience was more like a fairytale gone wrong.
“When I got there they put me in full 19th-century street urchin costume and told me they were going to paint my teeth brown and I was like, ‘You are going to do that after I meet Eddie Redmayne right?'” Swift said. “They made me look like death and it became a nightmare. When I met Eddie, I didn’t open my mouth to speak!”
Redmayne similarly was nervous meeting the Grammy winner, saying, “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 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.”
Director Hooper said in 2019 that while Swift had “rather brilliantly auditioned” for the role of Éponine, he ultimately couldn’t cast the “Love Story” singer because there was disbelief that Swift “was a girl people would overlook.” Similarly, Swift was also turned down for a role as an extra in “Twilight: New Moon.”
“It didn’t quite feel right for her for the most flattering reason,” Hooper told Vulture at the time. “I didn’t cast her, but I got very close to it.”
Newcomer Samantha Barks was cast in the role that Swift — along with “Funny Girl” Broadway star Lea Michele, Evan Rachel Wood, and Scarlett Johansson — had auditioned for. Swift was later cast in Hooper’s 2019 musical film “Cats.”