In an alternate universe, Newt Scamander isn’t traversing the globe in search of magical creatures, but causing trouble and opening the Chamber of Secrets at Hogwarts as a young Tom Riddle.
Going from Hufflepuff to Slytherin is quite the departure, but Eddie Redmayne, who plays Newt Scamander in the upcoming Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them told Empire that long before he landed the role of Newt, he’d auditioned to play the Hogwarts-age Tom Riddle.
“I actually auditioned to play [Chamber of Secrets villain] Tom Riddle when I was back at university,” Redmayne said. “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.”
He’s certainly made up for the lost role now, though, playing the Hufflepuff hero instead of a villain. The Tom Riddle from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets — Young Riddle, played by Christian Coulson, as we know him — was confident and sinister.
He was the embodiment of the very beginning of a cold, calculating, power-hungry and ruthless wizard who was willing to maim, torture, and kill if it served his agenda and his rise to power. But the key aspect of Coulson’s performance might have been playing young Tom Riddle as equal parts charming and malevolent.
Given what we’ve seen of Newt Scamander, it’s probably best that Redmayne later found his way into the right role. Redmayne’s Newt is warm, odd, and a quiet kind of heroic that stands a good chance of becoming indispensable to the evolving Potterverse. That said, we can’t help but wonder what Eddie Redmayne’s alternate dimension Tom Riddle mightve looked like.
It’s not as if Redmayne’s a stranger to the villain role. He went evil for Wachowski space epic Jupiter Ascending, playing erratic baddie Balem Abrasax. Granted, Abrasax and Voldemort are very different villains, but perhaps Redmayne’s take on the barely-restrained evildoer gives us some insight into what that AU Tom Riddle might look like.
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them arrives in theaters November 18.