While Cats may be Taylor Swift’s first role in a musical, it turns out she was close to starring in a few others. Most notably, she was almost cast in the role of Éponine in 2012’s Les Misérables, which was directed by none other than Cats’ Tom Cooper.

In an interview with Vogue, the director said that he came close to casting Swift, but ultimately chose Samantha Barks. However, it’s the reasoning behind it that’s rather surprising. Speaking to Vogue, he said:

[Taylor Swift] had auditioned for Les Mis. She rather brilliantly auditioned for Éponine. I didn’t cast her, but I got very close to it. Ultimately, I couldn’t quite believe Taylor Swift was a girl people would overlook. So it didn’t quite feel right for her for the most flattering reason. But I knew she was curious to work on a musical.

How Taylor Swift Was Cast In Cats

How Taylor Swift Was Cast In Cats
Credit: Cats/Universal Pictures.

This doesn’t mean that Cooper forgot about the audition, however. Instead, Swift was one of the first names that came to mind when casting Cats. When thinking of Bombalurina, he believed that Swift would be a natural fit. He then asked her for a meeting so he could show her the world that he was creating.

As he tells Vogue:

And I did a presentation. Eve Stewart had these wonderful paintings she did of the world. I had a ten-second clip of a dancer with fur, lifelike. That was my pitch. She loved it and was very gracious and really supportive from then on. At that point, I had no idea she’d end up getting involved in writing the new song and getting involved as a lyricist.

The Critical Failure Of Cats

Ultimately, Taylor Swift starring in Cats would do nothing to help it at the box office. Despite having a well-known cast, the movie adaption has been critically and commercially smashed. Scathing reviews have also meant that it’s been removed from awards consideration.

Much of this could have been seen from the film’s initial trailer, which was met with widespread dislike. Critics and viewers highlighted the poor CGI and several other areas that were perceived to be lacking. This carried over to the final product, with few audiences admiring Cats‘ visuals.