Joseph Fiennes Reflects On Losing A Main Star Wars Role


It seems that every successful actor has a near-miss story when it comes to auditions, and they can often provide an amusing glimpse into not only what might have been, but also the decision-making processes used to cast important roles. Infamous examples include the time that George Clooney tried for the role of J.D in Thelma And Louise – which ultimately went to Brad Pitt – and Joe Manganiello reaching the final stage of casting for the role of Superman in Man Of Steel. The most recent revelation in this arena comes from Joseph Fiennes, and it concerns Star Wars.

Speaking to The Wrap about his new television show The Handmaid’s Tale, Fiennes explained what happened when he tried to become a Jedi.

“I auditioned for a great director. It was whittled down after many auditions to myself and another fine actor who I was at that time at drama school with. [At the final audition, I met] a lovely, delightful child. Must’ve been around age five — and he introduced me, ‘this is Joe and he’s quite possibly Obi-Wan Kenobi.’ His daughter turned around and said ‘I don’t like this guy. He’s weird. I don’t like him.’ And that’s how my audition went.”

Clearly, it’s not necessarily the case that the infant child of George Lucas had influence on the director’s casting decisions – he was, by the time of Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace, a highly experienced filmmaker who had already created some of the most iconic heroes in modern cinema. But, it’s fascinating to consider the extent to which casting Joseph Fiennes as the legendary Jedi would have impacted the franchise in a different way.

Ultimately, Ewan McGregor took the role, and did a fine job with difficult material. Stepping into the shoes of Alec Guinness is no mean feat, but the Golden Globe nominee managed to convince us that he was indeed the younger Obi Wan, and is now synonymous with the character. His association with the role is such that he continues to face questions about a spinoff film every time he promotes a project – a situation compounded by the seeming reluctance of Lucasfilm and Disney in announcing the focus of future Star Wars Anthology movies.

But, Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace premiered 18 years ago, so the question must be asked: If Lucasfilm and Disney do announce an Obi Wan Kenobi spinoff film, who could play a younger version of Ewan McGregor? The mind boggles, but we can be sure that such a search would yield some great Star Wars near-miss audition stories.

Source: The Wrap

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