Eddie Redmayne recounts his embarrassing Bilbo Baggins audition

Contributed by
Jan 2, 2015, 6:10 PM EST

Eddie Redmayne's had a pretty good few months. He's newly married, he's a rising star, and he's got (among other honors) a Golden Globe nomination for his work as Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything, a role that could earn him an Oscar nomination soon. Redmayne's being praised left and right for his talent lately, but while making the rounds to promote The Theory of Everything, he's also revealed that not all of his performances are winners.

Redmayne was on The Graham Norton Show this week, and the chat turned to the subject of how Redmayne managed to miss out on franchise films packed with other British actors, like Harry Potter and Peter Jackson's recently completed The Hobbit trilogy. Redmayne revealed that he had, in fact, auditioned for the leading role in The Hobbit, Bilbo Baggins, but the audition ... didn't go well. At all.

"I went to this audition, and I'd been really rigorous about it, and didn't want to just do my usual boring thing," Redmayne said. "So I went on YouTube and I found Ian Holm, who'd played it in The Lord of the Rings, and I tried to copy his character. I arrived there, and the casting director put on the camcorder, and I started reading the scene."

Redmayne apparently chose to read the scene in a voice as close to Holm's as he could muster, accompanied by some rather bold arm gestures. The casting director quickly cut him off.

"I thought I was being brave, and before the word Baggins had come out of my mouth she said 'No, no, no, no. Own voice. Own voice.' I never got a call back."

So the role ultimately went to Martin Freeman, and Redmayne went on to play Stephen Hawking in what could end up as a career-defining role. Watch the full video, complete with Redmayne's weird arm-waving, below, and stick around for the response to Redmayne from actress Anna Kendrick (Into the Woods), who notes that it's refreshing to hear a story of an actor being bold in an audition that didn't result in them getting the part.

(Via The Mary Sue)