While Justin Timberlake mulls over the possibility of playing Elton John in a musical biopic, another famous face from the world of pop is gearing up to sing on the big-screen. Though her rep has yet to confirm, Taylor Swift has reportedly been offered the role of Eponine (aka the one who sings what is arguably the show’s most well-known song, “On My Own”) in the upcoming screen adaptation of Les Miserables. If this turns out to be true, as thrilled as we are for Swift landing one of the hottest roles in Hollywood — Lea Michele, Scarlett Johansson and Evan Rachel Wood were all allegedly gunning for the part — this is a terrible idea for several reasons.
Though Taylor and the character of Eponine share a lot of the same qualities — they’re both young and prone to falling in love with the wrong guys and singing about it — we just can’t stand behind this choice of casting.
First of all, this show requires extremely gifted actors. It’s a musical, but it’s an emotional drama, too, and director Tom Hooper (The King’s Speech) certainly knows that by the pedigree of the rest of the cast he’s picked out: Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, Sacha Baron Cohen, Anne Hathaway, and just-announced Amanda Seyfried, who will playing the role of Cosette. Not all of the these people are Oscar winners, but they’re all fairly respected actors who have previously done impressive work in their field.
And then there’s Swift in Valentine’s Day:
Secondly, much of the singing will be filmed live on-set. Yes, Swift is obviously a singer — one of the most successful singers the music industry has right now — but being able to sing country-pop songs you’ve written specifically for your voice is a lot different than being able to pull off beloved Broadway standards that require some extreme belting:
Yes, we purposely chose a clip of Lea Michele singing “On My Own”. As grating as her character can be on Glee, she nails this song, and we’re assuming it was Swift’s star power that nabbed her the part over Michele. (If that’s the case, then why not just cast Justin Bieber as the pint-sized street urchin soldier Gavroche?) But can you picture Swift effortlessly delivering the necessary power and control on a ballad like this? Live?
What’s more, the film opens on December 7, 2012, and rehearsals begin next week. This means Taylor will barely have any time to focus on her follow-up to the immensely successful Speak Now. We already knew it would take her at least a year to write new tunes, but if she’s too busy rehearsing, filming, recording and promoting Les Miz, we’re looking at a major album delay. And that we just can’t stand behind.